Table Top RPG Creators Corner — Found Familiar Coffee
by Anton Kromoff
Welcome to the table.
I recently had a chance to talk to some of the coolest people in the TTRPG industry, Aaron and Lindsay from Found Familiar Coffee.
Anton Kromoff: Hello and thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me. Before we dive in too deep, tell our readers a little bit about yourselves.
Aaron: I’m Aaron and I’m one-half of Found Familiar. If you’re interacting with us on social media, it’s probably me you’re talking to! I actually have a primary job that I work in healthcare too, which has been intense (to say the least) over the last couple of years. Luckily, it’s mellowing out and Found Familiar has been able to get a lot more of my attention lately. I’m also an artist, drummer, and ADHD-haver that picks up way too many other hobbies.
Lindsay: I’m Lindsay, the other half of Found Familiar. I handle the day-to-day business for Found Familiar (like making the coffee bags and fulfilling/shipping orders) while taking care of our two kids. I recently started learning web design and UX/UI. If I’m not doing any of the aforementioned, then I’m probably reading, throwing pottery or watering my plants.
Anton: Now, you guys have been operating Found Familiar Coffee for a few years now. What made you decide to start selling some of the best coffee on the market?
Aaron: It was a combination of a few things. I’ve had an intense love and interest in coffee since I started drinking it in my teen years and knew I had the knowledge and resources in Kansas City to make a coffee business possible, but we struggled at first to justify starting one. There are a ton of small coffee companies on the internet and we didn’t want to add our name to the mix without offering something special.
We had a moment one day where we were talking about our Dungeons & Dragons campaign and it just sort of clicked – we could offer coffees inspired by fantasy themes and role-playing games. That would be really cool right? Great coffee and TTRPGs; two things we’re passionate about. We spent a few days searching the internet and found that there were a few others businesses doing sort of the same thing.
We started thinking about how we could stand out. What ELSE could we offer? At this point, we felt like we would just be slapping some fantasy-themed names on some bags and we knew there was more we could do. During one of our brainstorming sessions, we happened to be waiting for a Critical Role stream to start and their fan art rolls were playing on the screen. I remember talking to Lindsay about how much I appreciated the attributions to the artists on the stream and having their work displayed full-screen. I knew it meant a lot to them too, and when I mentioned that to Lindsay she said that was what we should do too. At least in our own way.
So that was that, and we set out to launch Found Familiar – a business dedicated to supporting artists and creators. We would commission artwork from artists in the community, display their work front-and-center, with attributions, and they would maintain full rights.
Lindsay: I didn’t grow up drinking coffee. In all honestly, I didn’t start drinking coffee until about 6 months before we started Found Familiar and Aaron actually got me to try some of the coffee that we would eventually start selling. The coffee my parents drank was always the super stale stuff you just pick up at the grocery store and I couldn’t stand the taste so I just never drank it because I assumed that was what all coffee was like.
I somehow survived my college years taking eighteen credit hours a semester while also working full-time as an assistant manager at a retail store without coffee. When Aaron first brought up the idea of starting a coffee company, I wasn’t sold because I didn’t drink it. Eventually, he got me to try fresh roasted, specialty coffee and I was hooked. Now I drink our coffee every day and am planning out a coffee-themed tattoo.
Anton: The idea of spotlighting talented fantasy artists on the labels is such a love letter to the community. How often do you get new designs in?
Aaron: We’re working on getting a whole batch of new art and artists to show off at this moment! We try to commission/license new art as often as possible, but we won’t pursue it unless we know we can pay artists fairly for the right to display them. The last batch of new additions was pretty large, so we had to go quite a while without anything new, but we’re ready for more now!
Anton: Is the art made for the packaging or do you see something and say “Ahhhh that will work!”
Aaron: A little bit of both! If we can budget it and the artists we’re in discussion with would like to create an original piece we’re ecstatic about commissioning something new.
Lindsay: We are currently working towards a new coffee option that will allow for any art to be featured on the bag, instead of specific designated pieces for each coffee – kind of like a mystery bag of art. This way some of the amazing art we’ve been given access to that doesn’t yet have a designated coffee can get shown.
Anton: Now my favorite is “Spare The Dying” and occasionally I’ll brew up a few espressos with “Regular Gnoll.” How many different offerings do you guys have in total?
Aaron: It’s varied over the last few years, but usually we have 10 to 12 options available at one time, including two decaf options.
Anton: I know the always talented Deven Rue has a collab with you called “Cartographers Blend” that’s such a great way to combine forces and make something really special. Do you have any other collaborations on the horizon?
Anton: In regards to the process, can you take us through a normal bean delivered to you to beans delivered to our door day at the Found Familiar roasting and packaging playground?
Lindsay: Sure! Our coffee is roasted-to-order so we make note of all orders received on the night prior to roasting and then the individual options are roasted in batches on the next roasting day. The beans have to cool off before they can be packaged, so they’re given overnight to do so before being moved to the packaging facility.
From there, the coffee is measured into individual bags, heat-sealed, and boxed up before being moved again for the actual order fulfillment. We separate every coffee into their orders, write a thank you note to our customers, and pack it all up to be shipped out that day or the next morning! All in all, it’s typically a 2-day process from order to shipment.
Anton: And that’s all just you two?
Aaron: Yes and no. Since we’re a partnership, Lindsay and I are the only “employees” of Found Familiar, but we work with a team of people in our local Kansas City coffee collective to make Found Familiar possible. Two local roasteries have been gracious enough to lend us their spaces to store green coffee and also bag it after it’s cooled.
We’ve even been able to take advantage of the collective’s green coffee sourcing rep, which makes it possible for us to source coffees from WAY more countries than before.
Anton: I still don’t know how you find the time to do it all. Now, do you guys have anything new or exciting coming up that you can talk about yet?
Aaron: That we can talk about? We’ve been working on a small redesign of the packaging, as well as bringing in some new single origins for a limited time.
Anton: As always I’m delighted to talk with you both, grateful you are in this world creating as you do, and happy to know we will have more to talk about soon! Before we go, please let our readers know where they can find you both and follow the Found Familiar Brand.
Aaron: We’re most active on Twitter but we have an Instagram page as well and you can order from us at foundfamiliar.com