Nanelle and Andy Newbom have spent almost 25 years of experience in the coffee industry, in almost every field of coffee—from roasting to green coffee sales to co-founding the Barista Guild of America.


They founded Torque Coffee in 2022 with the goal of creating price transparency for consumers and ensuring their pricing supported greater equity across the coffee value chain.


They believe that the true magic of coffee comes down to the people who make it, at every stage, because “great products come from great people.”

Nanelle and Andy Newbom

Co-Founders, Co-owners, and Coffee Roasters, Torque Coffee

Expertise: coffee roasting, coffee importing & exporting, green coffee sales, sustainability, social accountability

Coffee insight: When you purchase a cup of coffee at a café, less than 10% of the cost goes to the coffee itself.

Coffee fun fact: The name Torque Coffee is a nod to their commitment to establishing equilibrium and equity in the coffee industry; consumer choices are the torque that can bring that balance to the system.

Nanelle and Andy’s Coffee Origin Story

While Nanelle has been obsessed with coffee since the late 1980s, it took Andy much longer to come around. When Nanelle was dancing with the Cleveland Ballet in 1987, she frequented Arabica Coffee House, which happened to be near her neighborhood laundromat.

U3 Top 3 - Nanelle What’s your favorite brewing method? drip What’s your coffee drink of choice? drip with whole milk How many cups of coffee do you drink a day? 3+
U3 Top 3 - Andy What’s your favorite brewing method? Chemex and espresso What’s your coffee drink of choice? macchiato How many cups of coffee do you drink a day? 3+

Experimenting with different coffees fueled her interest in the flavor profiles that came from various coffee regions, something she’s carried with her throughout her career. She explains, “My whole coffee journey has been driven by this curiosity about why is this [coffee] different from that [one]? And who did this? And where is that [place] even?”

That interest fueled Nanelle’s long-time dream of starting her own coffee bar. But when they originally started developing their business plan in the early 2000s, Andy originally wasn’t enthusiastic about running a café. In fact, he says he thought coffee was “disgusting.” So, instead, they planned to open a coffee and wine bar, where Andy could focus on the wines while Nanelle headed up the coffee side of the house.

Andy finally had his coffee aha moment at the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco. After taste-testing espressos all day, he was unimpressed. He jokes, “I was, like, ‘All right, they’re all equally disgusting. Who cares? I’m done.’” As he headed to the wine pavilion, one last coffee vendor caught his attention and convinced Andy to try his espresso. Andy says that one cup transformed his entire view of coffee—the taste literally stopped him in his tracks. He recalls, “I shouted at the top of my lungs, out loud, ‘Oh my God, I have to be the one that makes this!’…From that moment on, I was done. I was in a hundred percent.’”

Nanelle and Andy’s Current Roles

Today, Nanelle and Andy consider themselves “coffee lifers,” with almost 25 years of experience in the coffee industry, in almost every field of coffee—from their first specialty coffee roasting company, Barefoot Coffee, to co-founding IPCoffees Mexico Exporters/Importers to co-founding the Barista Guild of America.

Their current business, Torque Coffee, is a specialty coffee roasting company in San Diego, CA. At Torque, they’ve embraced their unique interests and strengths, a balance that benefits their business. Nanelle explains, “He’s the frontman of this band. I’m more the bass player. I like the background stuff, forming structures, production, teambuilding, and he does the front stage…, sales, marketing, messaging, brand evangelism.”

Find Torque Coffee’s Dark Drop blend in the U3 Exchange!

What Fuels Nanelle and Andy’s Work

When Nanelle and Andy started Torque Coffee in 2022, they had a key goal in mind—finding a transparent way to ensure their pricing supported greater equity across the coffee value chain. They’d started mapping out that work at Barefoot, but Torque offered an opportunity to put this tenet at the center of their business model. Nanelle and Andy realized that, in many cases, the system became opaque and complicated and often didn’t capture all the nuances of the market, which made it challenging to share with consumers.

Andy had the idea to base their pricing model around a simple ratio—producers received 20% of consumer price of each bag of coffee. Their Proportional Pricing model is their effort to establish equity in the coffee value chain. The goal was to make it as simple and clear-cut as possible while still having a tangible impact. They opted to reverse engineer their consumer price, starting with the cost of their processed green coffee rather than the Farmgate price (which can be opaque and difficult to calculate), because, according to Andy, “That is a definable point in the transaction.”

What Nanelle and Andy Want Coffee Drinkers to Know

Andy says that one of the most impactful moments in his coffee journey happened during his first trip to Guatemala. While discussing a pile of green coffee, Andy commented that it didn’t look like the high-quality coffee he was used to seeing. Edwin Martinez (of Finca Vista Hermosa) replied, “Every coffee has a home.” Andy took that motto to heart in reshaping his understanding of coffee. While specialty roasters and third-wave coffee consumers might be focused on the highest quality green coffees, there was still a place for, and value in, every coffee yield, whether or not it was objectively “perfect.”

How Nanelle and Andy Cultivate Community through Coffee

Nanelle and Andy say that the magic of coffee, at every stage, is the people. Andy learned this lesson early on in his coffee journey, when he optimistically entered the Western Regional Barista Championship. In spite of the fact that he was working with one of the best coffees, he couldn’t get his espresso right in the heat of competition.

Just as he was about to give up, another barista, Bronwen Serna, offered to help him troubleshoot the equipment. Andy recalls, “She didn’t do anything that I could see—no adjustments, no machine changes,” but somehow, she managed to solve the problem. Andy says, “I realized that it was the hands that craft the drink that made the difference…So it reinforced that it’s really hard to make it good, that it takes technique, but it also takes people.”

They’ve carried that lesson forward in all of their coffee ventures, including Torque. Andy explains, “We’re not really looking for coffees, like, we’re not hunting for cool, rare coffees. We’re basically hunting for amazing coffee people who want to make amazing coffee.” Nanelle says they both understand that the two things go hand in hand: “Well, great products come from great people.”

Where You Can Find Nanelle and Andy

Torque Coffee: https://torque.coffee

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/torquecoffees

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TorqueCoffees

U3 Coffee exists to create the most meaningful coffee experience for millions of mindful, motivated humans like you. Because here, we’re United by Coffee.

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