Spotlight Interview: Cavilo’s Fred Lamb II


Cavilo is an innovative company that has created a new way for coffee lovers to bypass the bland misery we call K cup coffee and usher in a brave new world for an environmentally friendly, better tasting brewing method. Happiness for the earth, and your taste buds. Fred Lamb, founder of Cavilo, sat down with us to talk a little more about his company, and why this could just be the caffeinated revolution we’ve been looking for.

LP:How did Cavilo Begin?

FL: First, the company got started because we saw several problems in the single serve industry. We had purchased a Keurig machine, and very quickly realized that while the convenience of it was fantastic, the other problems that it caused were not so great. Several of these obvious problems were things like the cost of the k-cups, their recyclability, and the lack of choice available. So we dove head into developing something to solve those issues that made sense.

As we did this, and as we studied the coffee and tea industry in more depth, we realized there were a lot of things we could do. We have started by making a product that is not bigger than a Keurig machine itself. This machine enables anyone (in particular the small local coffee shops) to put a pound of ground coffee into it, press a couple of buttons, and out pops a bunch of single serve cups that can be used in Keurig and Keurig style brewers. We also have a 100% compostable solution in development now, and are very excited about it, as this is one of the first kinds that you can brew your coffee through and toss into a garden compost pile. Most solutions that exist today need specialized industrial grade composting facilities to even begin breaking down. We are aware enough of how people use their k-cups, and most just throw them in the garbage, regardless of if they are biodegradable or compostable. Well, if they’re not going to an industrial composter, that doesn’t solve any problems. We decided that there needed to be a solution that will compost, regardless of what happens to the k-cup.

LP: How has the reception been for the company?

FL:Since we are a fairly young company (starting in 2015), we needed to do some market tests with local Pittsburgh coffee shops to validate and test our reasoning. We are currently wrapping up a month-long test, and so far the reception has exceeded our expectations. We discovered that people really like their favorite fresh local coffee in a single serve solution, and that it tastes absolutely fantastic in comparison to what you find in a grocery store, which has usually been sitting in that little cup for months by the time you buy it.

LP: How does your business model differ from other companies?

FL: I think I answered the ethos question a bit above, so I’ll mention our current business model. We are focused on really being the friend of the local coffee shops. We have been blown away at the generosity, openness, and kindness of so many of these owners. They exist in a very different business culture than what is typical in corporate world, and it’s incredible to see how they all work together to serve their communities. We are developing this machine for them now, and we actually have several other products in development at this moment for the coffee shop industry. Our hope is to be able to offer them solutions that really help their bottom line, because being a coffee professional really is more about the passion and craft than it is about the money, and we think we can help on both fronts.

LP: Where did the name Cavilo come from?

FL: As far as how we chose the name Cavilo, well…that was a horrible process! We spent months going over different names, and it was absolutely brutal. Every time we found something we liked, we would find out that it was already taken, or that it somehow meant something awful in some other language, haha. We finally landed on Cavilo, and the meaning is two-fold and the story of how that is, is actually pretty funny. We first chose it because it comes from a Spanish root word “cavilar” which means to think through, brood upon, muse, or puzzle over. We thought that worked out great, as it really defines what we do as a company. Then about 4 months later we were in Taiwan visiting our manufacturer there that is also a good friend of ours. They asked us about the name, and when we told them, their eyes got really big. They then asked “Where did you come up with that?” We were afraid that the name meant something horrible in Mandarin, but they laughed, and said “No, actually, in the local Taiwanese dialect (Hokkienese) it means to come together for coffee!” We were absolutely blown away, and still laugh about it today.