Why it matters: You’ve likely seen Umeshiso’s signature product: the rainbow cupping spoon. Umeko Motoyoshi started the brand in 2019, initially making rainbow spoons as freebies for their friends. “Traditionally, cupping spoons are regular silver soup spoons, but Umeshiso spoons are an intentional visual reminder that everyone is welcome to the table,” they write. “I’d bring these spoons to coffee tastings to remind myself that I belonged, and it turned out that others resonated with the intention and drive behind the spoons.”
- Umeshiso is looking to expand its silverware line and offer forks and knives. They’ve operated without investors or financial backing for the last three years but need support from the community to launch them into the next phase of their business. “This will allow us to reach a much wider audience, introducing more and more people to our products and our approach to coffee: gay, fun, accessible, and for everyone,” a press release states.
- Motoyoshi also makes a personal plea on the GoFundMe: “For three years, I’ve worked nonstop running Umeshiso,” they write. “I’m proud of how far we’ve come, but I’m also extremely burnt out, physically sick, and mentally struggling.” Part of the GoFundMe will keep the business going as Motoyoshi takes a short break.
The Full Extraction: Since 2019, the coffee wares brand has expanded beyond rainbow cupping spoons. They make items like chopsticks and mugs with encouraging messages and feature the art of BIPOC coffee creators.
- Umeshiso’s products align with their goal to get more people excited and comfortable about the sensory experience of drinking coffee. “We want to offer a range of products for both coffee and food and give customers the confidence and freedom to explore coffee without anxiety about ‘doing something wrong,'” the press release states.
What’s More: Umeshiso is a team of three, and founder Motoyoshi is a recognizable figure in the coffee industry with over 15 years of experience within the industry and a slew of accomplishments under their belt:
- Get Psyched, a nonprofit started by Motoyoshi, provides free psychiatric care for coffee workers.
- The original rainbow cupping spoon was called The Best Spoon by Bon Appetit Magazine and can often be spotted in the BA Test Kitchen during cooking videos.
- Motoyoshi has also written an award-winning book called “Not Wasting Coffee” and has worked on several collaborations with coffee personalities like YouTube creator and 2007 World Barista Champion James Hoffmann and 2022 Cup Tasters Champion Julien Langevin.
Disclosure: one of our staff members assisted in editing and writing the statement on Umeshiso’s GoFundMe page.