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How Michael Haft Turned Compass Coffee Into Washington's Go-to Cafe

How Michael Haft Turned Compass Coffee Into Washington's Go-to Cafe

TLDR

Michael Haft recognized the need for a neighborhood cafe serving high-quality coffee. Driven by his vision, Haft built Compass Coffee from a single shop into the Washington area's go-to coffee chain. Trace his journey creating a coffee community hub focused on sourcing sustainable beans. Haft's relentless commitment to excellence made Compass Coffee a household name. Now the brand aims to scale new heights with an expanded state-of-the-art roastery. See how Haft's perseverance created Washington's coffee empire, bean by bean.

From Marine to Barista: How Michael Haft Founded Compass Coffee

A Passion for Coffee and Entrepreneurship

After honorably serving in the U.S. Marine Corps for six years, Michael Haft was ready for a new challenge. Together with fellow veteran Harrison Suarez, Haft founded Compass Coffee in 2012 to share their passion for high-quality, ethically sourced coffee with the Washington, D.C. community.

Building a Coffee Empire

Haft and Suarez started small, roasting beans in their garage and selling coffee from a food truck. Through meticulous sourcing, sustainable practices and a commitment to customer service, Compass Coffee gained a loyal following. The company now operates 16 cafes in D.C. and Virginia, with more locations planned.

Adapting to COVID-19

When COVID-19 struck, Compass Coffee was well positioned to adapt. The company quickly enhanced its mobile app and online ordering systems, enabling contactless payment and pickup. Compass Coffee also began selling roasted coffee beans, cold brew concentrate and merchandise through its website to generate revenue as cafes were forced to limit operations.

Looking to the Future

Under Haft’s leadership, Compass Coffee aims to become the premier specialty coffee roaster on the East Coast. The company’s state-of-the-art roastery has an initial capacity of 10 million pounds of coffee per year. By maintaining the highest standards of quality and ethics, Compass Coffee will continue sharing the best of coffee through an unparalleled cafe experience. Overall, through passion, vision and determination, Michael Haft built Compass Coffee into a Washington, D.C. institution.

How Compass Coffee Became DC's Go-to Cafe

Building a Vision

As a veteran and former White House staffer, Michael Haft had a vision to bring high-quality, ethically-sourced coffee to Washington D.C. In 2014, Haft founded Compass Coffee with his business partner Harrison Suarez. They started with a single cafe but had ambitions to become the city’s premier specialty coffee roaster.

Pandemic Pivot

When COVID-19 struck in 2020, Compass Coffee’s business was severely impacted. However, Haft saw an opportunity in the midst of the crisis. He moved 20 cafe staff to help construct a state-of-the-art roastery, enabling Compass Coffee to increase production and sales. The new roastery has the capacity to produce 10 million pounds of coffee annually and includes a full-service cafe.

Community Focus

From the beginning, Compass Coffee has emphasized supporting the local community. They build all cafe furnishings and equipment from scratch and prioritize hiring veterans and those with disabilities. During the pandemic, Compass Coffee provided meals and coffee for frontline workers. They also sell their coffee online and in Whole Foods, with a portion of proceeds benefiting DC-area charities.

Growth and Expansion

Thanks to Haft’s vision and Compass Coffee’s community spirit, the company has expanded to 16 cafes across DC and Virginia. The new roastery positions them for further growth, with ambitions to become the preeminent specialty coffee roaster on the East Coast. Through quality coffee, ethical practices and commitment to service, Compass Coffee and Michael Haft have brewed up a coffee empire in the nation’s capital.

Keys to Compass Coffee's Success: Quality, Innovation and Community

Unparalleled Quality and Freshness

Compass Coffee built their empire on a foundation of high-quality, ethically sourced coffee beans and an obsessive attention to freshness. By controlling the entire process from roasting to brewing, owner Michael Haft ensures only the freshest beans are used in each cup of Compass Coffee. The company’s roastery has the capacity to produce 10 million pounds of coffee annually, allowing Compass Coffee to deliver the freshest possible product to all their locations.

Continuous Innovation

While tradition and consistency are hallmarks of any successful brand, Compass Coffee also embraces innovation. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Haft spearheaded the construction of Compass Coffee’s new roastery, providing employment for 20 staff members during a period of economic uncertainty. The roastery is a testament to the company’s vision for growth and willingness to invest in new technologies to improve quality and efficiency. Compass Coffee is also innovating in other areas like sustainable packaging and developing new blends to satisfy customer tastes.

Through an unwavering commitment to quality, continuous innovation, and community building, Michael and Compass Coffee have crafted a coffee empire and enduring brand. By staying true to these values, Compass Coffee is poised to continue its success and expansion to new markets in the coming years.

Final Thoughts

With relentless passion and unwavering dedication, Haft continues to elevate Compass Coffee, brewing it into an unmatched DC staple. By investing in state-of-the-art facilities, sourcing high-quality beans, and staying true to its community roots, Compass has become our go-to cafe - the perfect place to savor a cup while supporting an inspiring local business. Haft's drive and innovation leave a rich aroma that we'll continue to crave for years to come.

How Michael Haft Turned Compass Coffee Into Washington's Go-to Cafe

How Michael Haft Turned Compass Coffee Into Washington's Go-to Cafe
by
Soma Amir
by
Doron Segal
by
Tomer Molovinsky
by
Olivia Terenzio
by
Jessica Buckley
by
Ashley Rodriguez
October 10, 2022

TLDR

Michael Haft recognized the need for a neighborhood cafe serving high-quality coffee. Driven by his vision, Haft built Compass Coffee from a single shop into the Washington area's go-to coffee chain. Trace his journey creating a coffee community hub focused on sourcing sustainable beans. Haft's relentless commitment to excellence made Compass Coffee a household name. Now the brand aims to scale new heights with an expanded state-of-the-art roastery. See how Haft's perseverance created Washington's coffee empire, bean by bean.

From Marine to Barista: How Michael Haft Founded Compass Coffee

A Passion for Coffee and Entrepreneurship

After honorably serving in the U.S. Marine Corps for six years, Michael Haft was ready for a new challenge. Together with fellow veteran Harrison Suarez, Haft founded Compass Coffee in 2012 to share their passion for high-quality, ethically sourced coffee with the Washington, D.C. community.

Building a Coffee Empire

Haft and Suarez started small, roasting beans in their garage and selling coffee from a food truck. Through meticulous sourcing, sustainable practices and a commitment to customer service, Compass Coffee gained a loyal following. The company now operates 16 cafes in D.C. and Virginia, with more locations planned.

Adapting to COVID-19

When COVID-19 struck, Compass Coffee was well positioned to adapt. The company quickly enhanced its mobile app and online ordering systems, enabling contactless payment and pickup. Compass Coffee also began selling roasted coffee beans, cold brew concentrate and merchandise through its website to generate revenue as cafes were forced to limit operations.

Looking to the Future

Under Haft’s leadership, Compass Coffee aims to become the premier specialty coffee roaster on the East Coast. The company’s state-of-the-art roastery has an initial capacity of 10 million pounds of coffee per year. By maintaining the highest standards of quality and ethics, Compass Coffee will continue sharing the best of coffee through an unparalleled cafe experience. Overall, through passion, vision and determination, Michael Haft built Compass Coffee into a Washington, D.C. institution.

How Compass Coffee Became DC's Go-to Cafe

Building a Vision

As a veteran and former White House staffer, Michael Haft had a vision to bring high-quality, ethically-sourced coffee to Washington D.C. In 2014, Haft founded Compass Coffee with his business partner Harrison Suarez. They started with a single cafe but had ambitions to become the city’s premier specialty coffee roaster.

Pandemic Pivot

When COVID-19 struck in 2020, Compass Coffee’s business was severely impacted. However, Haft saw an opportunity in the midst of the crisis. He moved 20 cafe staff to help construct a state-of-the-art roastery, enabling Compass Coffee to increase production and sales. The new roastery has the capacity to produce 10 million pounds of coffee annually and includes a full-service cafe.

Community Focus

From the beginning, Compass Coffee has emphasized supporting the local community. They build all cafe furnishings and equipment from scratch and prioritize hiring veterans and those with disabilities. During the pandemic, Compass Coffee provided meals and coffee for frontline workers. They also sell their coffee online and in Whole Foods, with a portion of proceeds benefiting DC-area charities.

Growth and Expansion

Thanks to Haft’s vision and Compass Coffee’s community spirit, the company has expanded to 16 cafes across DC and Virginia. The new roastery positions them for further growth, with ambitions to become the preeminent specialty coffee roaster on the East Coast. Through quality coffee, ethical practices and commitment to service, Compass Coffee and Michael Haft have brewed up a coffee empire in the nation’s capital.

Keys to Compass Coffee's Success: Quality, Innovation and Community

Unparalleled Quality and Freshness

Compass Coffee built their empire on a foundation of high-quality, ethically sourced coffee beans and an obsessive attention to freshness. By controlling the entire process from roasting to brewing, owner Michael Haft ensures only the freshest beans are used in each cup of Compass Coffee. The company’s roastery has the capacity to produce 10 million pounds of coffee annually, allowing Compass Coffee to deliver the freshest possible product to all their locations.

Continuous Innovation

While tradition and consistency are hallmarks of any successful brand, Compass Coffee also embraces innovation. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Haft spearheaded the construction of Compass Coffee’s new roastery, providing employment for 20 staff members during a period of economic uncertainty. The roastery is a testament to the company’s vision for growth and willingness to invest in new technologies to improve quality and efficiency. Compass Coffee is also innovating in other areas like sustainable packaging and developing new blends to satisfy customer tastes.

Through an unwavering commitment to quality, continuous innovation, and community building, Michael and Compass Coffee have crafted a coffee empire and enduring brand. By staying true to these values, Compass Coffee is poised to continue its success and expansion to new markets in the coming years.

Final Thoughts

With relentless passion and unwavering dedication, Haft continues to elevate Compass Coffee, brewing it into an unmatched DC staple. By investing in state-of-the-art facilities, sourcing high-quality beans, and staying true to its community roots, Compass has become our go-to cafe - the perfect place to savor a cup while supporting an inspiring local business. Haft's drive and innovation leave a rich aroma that we'll continue to crave for years to come.

Soma Amir

About the author

Doron Segal

About the author

Hey I'm Doron, the co-founder & CTO of Per Diem — a mobile app platform for restaurants. I'm also a dad and a husband. I love to travel and meet new people.I love creating things, and see people using the stuff I built.Prior to Per Diem I worked at Saildrone, OpenTable, Apple, Beats Music, Siemens.

Tomer Molovinsky

About the author

A second time founder with a passion for building products at the intersection of hospitality and technology. I've had the pleasure of launching reservation systems, mobile payment solutions, and loyalty programs at OpenTable and Resy, and witnessed how operators were losing a direct connection with their customers online. We built Per Diem to strengthen the relationships that businesses have with those customers, and to ensure that local businesses can thrive in today's economy.

Olivia Terenzio

About the author

Jessica Buckley

About the author

Ashley Rodriguez

About the author

Ashley is a freelance writer and podcast producer based in Madison, Wisconsin. She hosts a podcast called Boss Barista and writes an accompanying newsletter with full transcripts of each episode and articles about coffee and restaurant work. You can check out her work here (ashleyrodriguez.work/).

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