Then he added, “Why don’t you package your coffee in these K-Cups?”
Peters said she had thought about it but learned that Keurig, the leading maker of single-serve brewing devices, required coffee roasters to produce and sell volumes that were beyond her reach. Gorbatenko, who had been an engineer and patent litigator in his career, offered to build a machine that could package her coffee in single-serve cups.
She expressed interest, but she told him she wanted the cups to 100 percent biodegradable. “I thought it would be simple wimple,” Gorbatenko said.
Peters couldn’t afford the machine that Gorbatenko first produced. But he kept working on the idea, spending much of the past six years developing the product while looking for a partner to supply coffee.
Last year, he approached Peter Middlecamp, owner of Black Sheep Coffee in South St. Paul, asking whether he would be interested in purchasing his specialty machine.
“George’s machine is great. It’s fast, it’s easy … and it makes that dream totally a reality.” Peter Middlecamp, who rebuffed Gorbatenko’s small-scale coffee pod idea 20 times before coming aboard