Takeaways

1

Stephanie and Bryce Wein founded Pinup Coffee Co. when they were both still active-duty aircrewmen, serving in the US Navy.

2

The heart of Pinup Coffee Co.’s mission is to make specialty coffee more accessible and welcoming for more people.

3

Stephanie and Bryce received invaluable support from their military and veteran communities, something they now pay forward by actively supporting those same communities.

Stephanie & Bryce Wein

Co-owners and Co-Founders, Pinup Coffee Co.

Expertise: entrepreneurship, coffee roasting, education

Coffee insight: Of the $18 billion coffee market, only 8% is considered specialty coffee.

Coffee fun fact: The names for all of Pinup Coffee Co.’s roasts are inspired by pinup art on World War II–era aircraft.

Stephanie and Bryce’s Coffee Origin Story

Stephanie says that her dream for Pinup Coffee Co. started when she was only fifteen—thanks to her first frappe. Those sweet frozen drinks were her gateway into the coffee world, and she started exploring different kinds of coffee (and left the frozen drinks behind), especially specialty coffee. The dream for a coffee business lasted throughout her career as a Navy aircrewman.

When she married Bryce, who was also a Navy flyer, they started to explore coffee together. Bryce said he’d first developed an interest in coffee as a way to supplement his workouts, and the long days in the Navy cemented his appreciation for coffee. “We started experimenting with homebrew methods more,” Stephanie says. “So we got every dripper known to man, grinders, the whole shebang.”

Stephanie
Bryce

While on deployment in South Korea, Stephanie came to a realization—while she’d loved her time in the Navy, she was ready to start something new. She circled back to the dream she’d had since she was a teenager and started to wonder if she could make it a reality. With Bryce’s support, Stephanie dug into the coffee industry and started her first experiments in roasting while still serving full-time in the Navy.

Stephanie and Bryce’s Current Role

Initially Stephanie and Bryce had envisioned Stephanie running her roasting business full-time while Bryce worked in software engineering after his time in the Navy, but when the business started to take off, they quickly recognized the advantages of running Pinup as a team.

Today Stephanie and Bryce co-own Pinup Coffee Co. in Virginia Beach, VA. Stephanie serves as their head roaster, while Bryce focuses on logistics and operations. Together they run a successful roastery, with a focus on sustainably sourced small-batch blends, single origins, and limited run roasts. In 2023, they were awarded the silver medal for Best Coffee by Best of Virginia Beach.

Find Pinup Coffee Co.’s Slightly Dangerous blend in the U3 Exchange.

What Fuels Stephanie and Bryce’s Work

Stephanie says that she was always interested in specialty coffee but that she wanted to find ways to make it more accessible to more people. While she’s excited by the intricate details and science behind specialty coffee, she knows that customers—especially ones who are just starting their coffee exploration—can sometimes find all of that information and jargon overwhelming.

She and Bryce are committed to meeting customers where they are and helping them gradually learn more about the world of specialty coffee. Stephanie says they keep one guiding principle in mind as they build their brand: “Stick to what you are trying to portray at all times. And being welcoming is our number one. Be kind. Be welcoming.” Bryce echoes that same sentiment: “Just be with people. Help them in their journey. That’s the approachable part.”

Bryce says that hearing customers recognize and appreciate that commitment is the best compliment they can receive. “We really love to know that our mission is coming across in a way that we were hoping it would,” he says. “The brand isn’t what you say it is. The brand is what other people say it is.”

What Stephanie and Bryce Want Coffee Drinkers to Know

Stephanie says one of the best pieces of advice she can offer coffee drinkers is for coffee lovers who use an auto-drip coffee pot. “Turn your burner off,” she recommends, “because there’s an acid in coffee that will taste great when it’s hot, but if it sits on a burner and continues to be warmed, it’s going to get extremely bitter, and it’s actually a chemical change that’s occurring in the coffee.”

How Stephanie and Bryce Cultivates Community through Coffee

Stephanie and Bryce both say that the support they received from the military community and programs for veterans was absolutely invaluable to them in starting their business, and it’s something that they’re committed to paying forward.

Stephanie received business mentorship through the Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC), and her mentor is still involved in helping grow and sustain her business. Near the end of Stephanie’s Navy career, she also participated in the SkillBridge program, which offers service members the opportunity to participate in training and internships at select industry partners, to help them prepare for the transition out of the military and into the civilian workforce.

Today, Stephanie and Bryce embrace opportunities to give back to those same communities. They regularly speak at veterans conferences, remain involved with VBOC, and have just recently been approved to be an industry partner for SkillBridge.

Where You Can Find Stephanie and Bryce

Website: pinupcoffeeco.com

Instagram: @pinupcoffeeco

Facebook: Pinup Coffee Co

Related posts

  • Jul 2024 As CEO of the SCA, Yannis leads a team that’s taking a global approach to supporting and promoting specialty coffee through in-depth research into all things coffee, education initiatives that serve coffee entrepreneurs across the value chain, and building a thriving community within specialty coffee, all with one goal: “make coffee better.”
  • May 2024 Carmen and Rafael Silva are part of a six-generation legacy of coffee farming in El Salvador. They share how Sicafe Coffee blends tradition with innovation to create a sustainable coffee business—one that’s won the Cup of Excellence nine times!

Share Your Coffee Story