Made in the Northwest: FreshPod

POST FALLS, Idaho — Over the years, Coffee Crafters has captured a big piece of the fluid bed coffee roaster market. Founder Ken Lathrop says its roasting machines can now be found in 33 countries around the world.

“You think about the roasters we have in the mountains of the Himalayas and on Easter Island or the Galapagos. They’re all over the place.”

Lathrop expected a 50% drop in business during the COVID-19 pandemic, but he says Coffee Crafters has actually seen a big increase.

“When COVID happened, these people went home and they were locked up and they decided to start a second business.”

And Coffee Crafters has been there to help, making dozens of videos to help its growing numbers of customers, most of whom had little or no coffee roasting experience.

“We couldn’t just sell them a coffee roaster, because these people needed to know about buying green beans, marketing, packaging,” explained Lathrop.

Several of those customers kept asking about k-cups, or single serve coffee pods. So in September, FreshPod was born.

“So we decided to see if we could actually create a k-cup that had good quality coffee in it,” said Lathrop. “And that’s kind of how it started.”

FreshPods will never sit on a store shelf. They’re made to order and shipped directly from FreshPod’s facility within 48 hours from when the coffee is roasted, because Lathrop and his team determined the coffee is at its best once it’s sat in the cups for five to seven days.

“We use the shipping time and transit as part of the manufacturing process,” said Lathrop. “And so, they rest in transit and when the customer gets them, they’re absolutely at their peak of flavor that you can get out of the k-cup.”

Coffee Crafters invested in a k-cup packaging machine, which will fill about 4,000 pods an hour, so it can pump out FreshPods in high volumes once orders come in on freshpod.com.

Lathrop says the coffee in FreshPods is naturally less acidic and there’s no hydrogen sulfide in the beans.

“It’s about as healthy of a k-cup as you can get.”

And as a self proclaimed coffee snob, he’s proud of the taste as well.

“It’s not as good as a pour over or something out of a French press, but it’s as good as a good drip coffee.”

Lathrop says the hope is that FreshPod catches on quickly and becomes a national brand.

“Because it’s an online business and the USPS delivers all over the United States, we can ship all over the United States.”

Delivering quality k-cups from sea to shining sea out of its facility in Post Falls.