Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Brent Bromstrup, co-founder of Top of the Lake Coffee, located in Berthoud, CO, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

We roast and sell single-origin coffees to a broad range of coffee lovers in the United States. We discover ways to partner with coffee producers, their families, and communities for their economic benefit.

Tell us about yourself

I first began to develop a small-batch coffee roasting business after a visit to the beautiful community of San Juan La Laguna, Guatemala. During my first visit to the community (guided by co-founder Alex Velasco), it quickly became clear that the community's economy was strongly impacted by coffee production and tourism. We determined to leverage the economic gain from coffee roasting and sales and return a solid portion of the money earned to the community through micro-loans, tourism, and service visits and creating opportunities for artisan goods from the village to be sold in our own community and internet sales. I've come to know many people in the community and have built collaborative relationships which have had a meaningful impact both for the community and for Top of the Lake Coffee. My daily motivation is drawn from the memories of the people with whom we work and the positive outcomes that arise from our collaboration.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

The biggest accomplishment of Top of the Lake Coffee is the genuine trust and friendships which have been developed and sustained in the community of San Juan La Laguna. Through those relationships, we have opened doors for commerce and economic development for local cooperatives, families, coffee farmers, and a school. We have come to see the tremendously creative work done by our partners pays off with simple touches from us, such as providing access to a website, hosting a local bank account for internet sales, and micro-loans for local entrepreneurs who turn their small loans into a solid business, hosting local artisans in our home community for pop sales, to name a few.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

Managing the diverse details such as bookkeeping, marketing, sales, and sustaining vision.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Sustain your vision, and don't waiver! Tweak as necessary but don't be distracted from it!
  2. Treat each person you encounter with respect. Honor them through honest communication.
  3. Remember why you started the business. Note and celebrate your progress.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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