Interview: Jared Truby of Cat & Cloud

Friday, 13 November, 2020

Creative Coffee Week is NEXT WEEK, 15-17 September 2021. It is happening!

Jared Truby of Cat&Cloud Coffee will streaming in live from Santa Cruz, Thursday at 4pm.

We know. It’s hard to imagine that a company helmed by three white dudes wearing baggy pants is one of the most progressive coffee companies out there, but believe it, because it’s true. We love Cat & Cloud’s honest approach to building a business, warts and all, no topic off limits, high standards for what they want to achieve. We spoke to Jared Truby, one of the co-founders to figure out what makes this company tick.

Who are the brains behind Cat&Cloud? Tell us a little bit about how the team started.

In the beginning it was Charles Jack, Chris Baca & myself, but we knew we needed an amazing and versatile team. We were all guys who drank and worked in coffee and we had watched a lot of companies do a good job, but we always felt like we wanted to improve upon the things we’d seen, and do things differently, and we had to do it ourselves.

We leaned into finding amazing cultural fits with strong leadership presence. We found people who believed in our mission & vision ultimately connecting to Kristen Hutson, Tanner Roark, Grace Lee, Nicole Junod & Alex Marse who all are still with us heading up Wholesale, Team Leading, Cultural Development, Roasting Ops & Skills Development! 

Our Roastery leadership team is entirely women as well, which we are very proud of. 

We're on a mission to leave people feeling happier than they were before, and have a vision to change the way the world does business. We believe the success of everyone is more important than our personal success. We strive to create a work experience and environment that allows us to impact people's entire lives, invest time into our staffs career and personal development, encourage people to fail without judgement, strive for growth not perfection, develop people so we can promote from within rather than hiring from the outside and be open to new, untraditional ideas.

Your focus as a team has always been making sure each team member feels valued and has the possibility of growth in the business. How does that actually work on a day to day basis and how did you come to adopt that ethos?

This is a good challenge we are learning to do better every day. At first there was a lot of reliance on us as owners and as the time has passed we have learned to lean more on the leaders mentioned above. Often the challenge is letting go of our exact method and allowing for autonomy and open communication. There is always a mix of listening and allowing for trial and error coinciding with direction when needed. The challenge is to allow space and not over-manage.  In order for the ethos to work we need clear mission, vision and values alignment and then follow with good communication and trust. Often times we get in our own way when we try to hard to put our individual stamp on things. 

Why is fair pay and this different style of a running a business so rebellious in today’s world, do you think? 

I don’t look at it as rebellious, but I do see it as harder. I mostly believe people are unnerved by trying something different. When you don’t feel supported by other businesses and feel alone in your pursuits it kicks in the natural human tendency to negatively question yourself. I think it’s brave to pursue because it requires a level of selflessness that essentially means the highest ranked people take less than they could for the betterment of the whole. 

You’re still standing after taking on corporate giant Caterpillar (Cat are trying to stop Cat &Cloud from using ‘Cat’ in their name, crazy right?!) . Are you able to share with us if there was a positive resolution here? And if you can’t share details of the actual case, can you share how the experience affected you and your team? We’re hoping you’ve come out stronger on the other side.

Still standing but also still waiting. Our court date was set for June 2020, the theoretical settlement regarding our trademark could happen by May, but things are still at a standstill until we hear back from the big CAT. Who knows how this virus will effect proceedings as well...

In your opinion, as the hosts of a successful podcast, what makes a successful podcast? 

Successful podcasting comes from being yourself, having a reason bigger than personal gain and ultimately being entertaining in some regard. That could mean informative, funny, you name it. The world looks for creativity and authenticity where they can feel connected. So I guess lastly, success might be different for all of us, but if you want listenership, you best be in some community first. 

What techniques do you use to stay motivated, keep hustling and stay true to your principles?

I read and listen to podcasts, I constantly look to things that make me happy and see how we can manifest versions of those things in our business. I also thrive on collaboration and throwing ideas at the wall with other business owners and inquisitive team members. Exercise and meditation are big for me as well.

In the face of the COVID-19 virus, what words of advice or encouragement can you offer the global coffee community? How can consumers support local business at this time?

I am encouraged by the idea of coffee being relatively recession proof. I believe people will give up going out to eat before they give up getting coffee. If we lean into the opportunity to leave people happier than we found them, the luxury of an amazing coffee experience may be the best thing any of us could offer a human in the day to day following this. No one gets a Michelin experience for $5 but we can give them our best equivalent. 

On a lighter note, what’s your favourite way to brew coffee at home? And can you provide a little recipe for our readers?

I am a 1:16.5 (20g coffee:330g water)ratio person unless it’s espresso. At home I brew on a Breville, Kalita Wave or AeroPress. 

If it’s Kalita it’s staged pouring, aiming for 4 min brew time and flat bed. 

If it’s an AeroPress it’s a 270g brew, 16g of coffee, inverted method. 100g pre-infusion for 30 sec with a stir, top off and flip at 2:30, plunge to about 3 minutes. Party time! 

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