Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jelynn Malone, Co-Founder of Mostra Coffee, located in San Diego, CA, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

We are Mostra: a women, minority, veteran, and immigrant-owned micro coffee roaster based in north county San Diego. Our customers are local and nonlocal beer and coffee lovers.

Tell us about yourself

The Mostra Coffee story begins with us childhood friends, Beverly and me. After traveling for charity work in the Philippines, building homes for less fortunate families, we were inspired to start a business that would make a difference in both their local community of San Diego and abroad in the Philippines.

We started this company fueled by a dream to close the divide between rich and poor and to help elevate and dignify the Filipino farmer. Our mission is to source high-quality beans from the Philippines —shining light on a lesser-known coffee belt region while giving back to the community that inspired us. A percentage of sales from Philippine coffee retail bags are given back to the farmers to fund special projects, including building infrastructure and providing educational opportunities for the children. It's good to create coffee for our customers that not only tastes good but does good.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

In 2015, we sourced approximately 50 lbs of coffee from Mindanao, Philippines, and in 2021, we purchased via direct trade relationships 70% of the total coffee bound for the United States, totaling approximately 17,000 lbs of coffee. The economic impact directly on farmers in the Philippines is estimated to be over 10,000,000 Pesos. In 2020, we received the international and coveted Micro-Roaster of the Year award from ROAST Magazine, becoming our biggest accomplishment. We are so proud and so grateful for the opportunity to elevate Philippine coffee and the farmers.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

When you own a business, you start from scratch. No one hands you a blueprint. With every day, you're learning, and you don't know what you don't know until it happens.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Have a clear vision and mission for the company.
  2. Surround yourself with people who have aligned values, culture, and work ethic.
  3. Learn how to gracefully pivot when necessary for the good of the company.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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