Health, Hobbits, Hot Coffee: Lindsey Holland and Emma Soechting and Pincup Coffee
Lindsey Holland and Emma Soechting roast adjacent to CrossFit Nashville, a gym owned by Emma’s husband, Preston, and his brother Dustin. The growth of both companies has been intertwined since the beginning; it offers a unique angle to the gym, and a low-cost space for the team to roast, and allows them to effectively dodge the rising cost of commercial rent in Nashville.
Setting the Scene
Lindsey and Emma, casual coffee fans for life, started their coffee company in their spare time. Lindsey, currently in the acute care nurse practitioner program at Vanderbilt University and Emma, mental health therapist and mother, always wanted to start their own business, and they chose coffee because they saw opportunity in Nashville’s beverage scene, as well as in their own interest in the drink. “We knew what we liked but not why we liked it,” Lindsey says.
In July of 2021, they purchased a Behmor home coffee roaster to learn the ropes. “We can be dreamy people,” Emma says. They had high hopes for their hobby, and they didn’t want to spoil any success before it came. So they took the Behmor to an AirBnB one weekend and just sat down together to figure it out.
They also turned to the internet for resources; they watched every Mill City Roasters tutorial, scoured YouTube, and ordered stacks of books to reference, as well as attended Mill City Roasters’ Roasting 101 remotely.
As their company morphed into something more real, they saw how it could be an opportunity to marry their interests in healthcare with coffee. Owning their own business meant they might have more say in the direction it went, and the sort of community pillar it could become. This intersection became the pillar on which they built Pincup Coffee.
The Way Up
Initially, Emma had her sights on a cafe, and she roasted with that goal in mind. But both partners were new to entrepreneurship, as well as coffee as a profession, and their ideas in the beginning were lofty. As more time passed, they realized that the daily work it would take to turn the small roasting operation into a cafe wasn’t feasible. “The first six months were the worst, because no one tells you how to build things,” Lindsey says.
As the team grew more accustomed to the reality of Pincup as a business and not just an idea, those big goals changed a bit. “We realized that, to get [one thing done], there’s actually twenty steps involved. It’s not just A to B,” Emma says. “It took much longer to do it right.”
The goal of a cafe was still there, but rather than being the next goal, it moved back on the timeline. With more immediate space to figure out exactly what the business needed, the team found a new way to measure their success.
Through Pincup, they saw not only an opportunity to marry the two industries, but also an opportunity to ease off the pedal of their healthcare jobs and give more energy to the aspects they cared most about: nutrition and preventative care.
As is, with their schedules wrapped around full-time jobs, it’s hard to carve out time to devote to events like farmers markets. Once the pivot has happened, Pincup will have much more fodder to grow with: the team will need to decide what should happen first, the scaling up of the business (meaning long working days and little time off) or the scaling down of their full-time jobs (meaning relying more financially on Pincup as it continues to evolve).
Pincup Coffee has always, and will always, be tied to CrossFit Nation in Nashville, the gym owned by Emma’s husband, Preston, and his brother Dustin. With returning members coming in and out every day, “we have built-in customers,” Emma says.
Growing quickly past the Behmor, they ordered an MCR-2 in January of 2022; it arrived in March. Following a few delays in ventilation and setup, the roaster was installed and operational by May.
Now, after a year in business, the operation’s biggest challenges of competition, time, and general startup logistics have started to feel smaller. “We’re getting better at taking things on the chin,” Emma says.
It’s easier to power through now that the brand has made connections with returning customers, many through the gym, and as the team has grown their roasting menu for those customers to peruse.
The Pincup Coffee Menu
Pincup Coffee keeps five single origins in stock, with one rotating single origin.
Their customer base gravitates towards medium roasts–easy breakfast coffees, Lindsey says. So the team roasts to that palette, while also making sure that Pincup Coffee light roasts are smooth and sweet as well.
In keeping with their branding, which centers around J.R.R. Tolkein’s the Hobbit and, specifically, the cozy cottagecore aesthetic of the Shire, Pincup Coffee aims to deliver an experience that’s warm and welcoming. Their bestseller, Samwise, is an approachable and chocolatey Nicaragua medium. And their most popular light roast, Bucklebury, is a light-medium Colombia with notes of cocoa and berry. Keeping every product approachable is part of the team’s effort to encourage their customers to explore their full menu and find new favorites while still staying within their comfort zone.
On the website, you can also opt in to a roaster’s choice subscription.
Ultimately, Emma and Lindsey want Pincup Coffee to open a door to preventative healthcare through a fund called Pincup Pours Back, which will encourage and educate customers on the role of diet, nutrition, and fitness in health.
This winter, Pincup Coffee is looking forward to debuting holiday boxes, which will include a Christmas blend and a custom-designed mug from a local artist. The holiday boxes are available now for preorder on their website.
Later down the line, the team hopes to install a walk-up window at CrossFit Nashville, to increase foot traffic to the roastery and ultimately turn it into a storefront as well. Then, the team will aim to land their first wholesale account with a cafe and increase their brand’s recognizability in the area.