Paper Co + Mueva Coffee

“Your decision of what coffee you drink actually does make a big impact.” That pretty much sums up my time at Paper Co in Houston, TX during my interview with head roaster, Josely Yuko of Mueva Coffee.

Paper Co is a coffee shop that’s housed in huge wherehouse in downtown Houston. The building is also housed by a church that purchased and remodeled the location that used to be a paper factory. Hence, the name.

Dave Foong – an accountant by trade and chef runs the coffee shop. Since shooting there they have expanded their food program and are offering a full service food menu. Even hosting guest chefs and pop ups for special events.


And that's where this joint is different. 

What makes a good cup of coffee?

I’ve shot at numerous coffee shops in multiple states and for the most part this site has featured people with a long history + passion in the field of coffee. But the cats at Paper Co are a bit different. Although Dave runs the joint this is his first job in coffee. As he put it, both him and his staff are, 

Asking tons of questions along the way.

 But that’s not a bad thing, I was just a bit surprised. I mean, the space is freakin’ beautiful. And huge. There’s an on site roasting facility and they had just purchased a brand new – super sexy – Black Eagle Spirit espresso machine. So they’re doing their thing. They’re just learning and doing their thing at the same time.

And I’ve been there. I vividly remember the first time someone asked me if I could direct a commercial. Verbally, I said, “Yeah, I can do that.” Internally, I thought, “Yeah, I can figure that out.” And I did. And they dug the spot. Boom! I’ve even told my crew – while on set – that the best time to test out a new lighting concept is on the clients dime. Because it HAS to freakin’ work. Ha. That’s how we roll.

I told my father, Im sorry but Im never working in coffee. And now ironically I’m the only daughter that works in coffee.

After speaking with Dave I sat down with Josely Yuko, the on site roaster and owner of Mueva Coffee. She is a seventh generation coffee grower. Her family has owned a coffee farm in Nicaragua since the 1920’s. In the 1970’s her grandfather hosted a group of foreigners – missionary expats who we’re being forced to escape the revolutionary war. Little did he know how much of an impact that would have on their business in the decades to come.

That act of kindness came back to help them in the early 2000’s when a coffee roaster who had heard her Grandfather’s story reached out to purchase coffee from them. And in doing so, introduced them to the concept of direct trade.

Her families farm currently hosts 85 families on a year round basis. They have a community kitchen, a church and they provide transportation to the children of the families so that they can attend school. So she really does mean it when she states that your decision of where you drink and pay for your coffee can make an impact. And that’s only one farm. In one country.

She goes back to her families farm in Nicaragua every quarter and during harvest she handles quality control. She even has micro lots on site where we can test out different profiles. Pretty cool. And a bit crazy since she didn’t even drink coffee until she was 18 years old as a act of rebellion to her coffee loving family.

Working directly and bringing the story of what coffee really is, is that it’s about families. The relationship you can bring by working directly or as closely with the coffee grower can literally save families.