Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Mehmet Sogan, a Sensory Professional of Memli Coffee Lab, located in San Marcos, CA, USA.

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

Meli Coffee Lab is a boutique coffee roaster based in California with quality, transparency, and education in mind. Our mission is to offer a unique sensory experience by consistently sourcing traceable, seasonal, and fine lots of coffee with exceptional flavor profiles. To do so, we highlight each coffee's terroir via our delicate roasting approach and reveal the beauty of each coffee from the inside out.

This results in a series of outstanding coffee mindfully roasted. We believe in passion, transparency, and mindfulness in every coffee we roast. The way we respect those values is by bringing awareness, ethics, and authenticity in everything we do, from sourcing to delivering to revealing the beauty of our coffee from the inside out.

Our objective is to create a coffee that conveys specific memories, places, or moods. Our roasting approach highlights the quality of each coffee's terroir, making sure the producer's craft is not lost during the roast so that you can enjoy the authentic quality.

Tell us about yourself

Coffee has flowed in my blood since my childhood in Paris, France, where I observed how connecting it could be. From the cafe at the terrasse to a warm cup of coffee, it was always a connecting moment between people and culture. Keeping coffee in the corner of my mind and heart, I studied thermodynamics engineering and worked as an Engineer first. I then started to learn about coffee farming in Colombia out of curiosity during a road trip. What was a little trip that ended up being a fortune? I then worked as a barista/bartender in Sao Paulo, Brazil, before getting trained in coffee in London, UK.

All these international experiences shaped and influenced my will to start Memli Coffee Lab with three main values. The first is to showcase each coffee's intrinsic flavor through our roast. The second is to provide a fully transparent and traceable approach for each coffee. The third is to share knowledge and expand education in coffee because we don't know what we don't know.

Every day, our objective is to develop flavor profiles that convey specific memories, places, or moods. Our roast style highlights the "terroir" of each coffee, making sure the DNA is not lost during the roast so that you can enjoy the pure quality. We are proud to showcase the full traceability of each coffee we source. This results in a series of outstanding coffee from all over the world you can enjoy and improve your sensory skills.

Coffee has allowed me to meet people around the world and share my passions. Since my childhood, I have always experienced coffee as a bonding moment between us. There's always a cafe wherever you go, and there's always a story behind it. Via Memli Coffee Lab, I want to share my passion for coffee, as well as share my knowledge with you to find the coffee you like.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

There are a lot of ups and downs in entrepreneurship, and celebrating wins and accomplishments is important. From rewards to competitions, we can name a few, but if I were to choose one big accomplishment is the impact we had on some people, from the producer to our coffee community, I believe we have improved people's appreciation of fine coffee and opened up a glimpse of hope to follow a passion.

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

The road has been lively, sometimes bumpy, sometimes scary, sometimes exciting, and rewarding. Struggles were multiple, and the uncertainty of the world in the last couple of years can be doubting. I managed to learn to accept and adapt to uncertainty. Our world is consistently changing, and regardless of the situation, we must accept and adapt if we want to change things for our future.

Nothing is constant, and we are always changing. In fact, I'd never guessed 10 years ago that I would be living in California after my first trip to the USA in 2013, some dreams take time, but they eventually happen. Last but not least, the emotional struggle is something we don't hear often.

As an entrepreneur, we often ask ourselves the questions: Am I doing the right thing? Does it make sense? Why did I even start? That's why a little reminder of your bigger purpose from time to time is helpful.

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

  1. Dare.
  2. Don't give up.
  3. Keep learning.

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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