Big in Korea - How a Small New Jersey Roaster Began Selling Coffee in South Korea

Big in Korea - How a Small New Jersey Roaster Began Selling Coffee in South Korea

(Original story written by Jeremy Schneider for

Travas Clifton has long prided himself in selling coffee from all over the world.

Now, his New Jersey shop’s beans are making their own globetrotting trek.

Modcup, the coffee roastery with three locations in Jersey City, is being sold in two coffee shops in South Korea.

The New Jersey coffee company’s journey to South Korea actually started in Colombia, when Clifton was visiting the renowned coffee farm Café Granja La Esperanza. They brought some of that coffee back to Jersey City and roasted it, and it was named the No. 12 coffee in the world in 2019 by That honor got the attention of coffee fans in South Korea.

“(They) reached out to us and said, ‘Do you have any of that coffee left?’ We said yes,” Clifton said. “So we sent somebody a small amount to begin with and they were like, ‘We absolutely love this.’ And since then, other people have jumped on board and are buying from us, too.”

The coffee has been so popular in South Korea that two shops — one being Cafe Doan in Suwon — are now serving Modcup coffee in their cafes, and selling Modcup beans to be brewed at home as well. The shops can barely keep it on their shelves.

“They pre-sell it,” Clifton said. “It’s sold out before it even arrives.”

The popularity in South Korea has led to more international orders, according to Clifton, including one customer in Hong Kong.

The international sales are good for the bottom line, Clifton says, but it’s more about the pride they feel in knowing coffee roasted in New Jersey is being enjoyed in other countries. They’ve come a long way from roasting beans out of a garage and selling coffee from a cart in Hoboken.

“I couldn’t ever dream that we’d be selling coffee beans in Korea,” Clifton said. “It feels very satisfying.”


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