North Texas Coffee Innovators NuZee and Farmer Brothers Team to Expand Manufacturing, Scale Sustainably

The Plano-based startup and the 108-year-old Northlake-based coffee company want to brew up success with a new strategic partnership. The vision? To change the way single-serve coffee is enjoyed in America.

Advanced machines in a zero-waste facility could ultimately produce up to 300 million eco-friendly alternatives, including single-serve tea bags, coffee pouches, and pour-over drip cups.

A new strategic partnership has been formed that brings together the capabilities of two North Texas-based leaders in the coffee space: NuZee Inc. and Farmer Bros. Co.

The deal combines 108-year-old Farmer Brothers’ manufacturing and distribution with startup NuZee’s technical expertise and products, according to the companies.

Under the agreement, Farmer Brothers, a Northlake-based American coffee foodservice company founded in 1912, will provide Plano-based NuZee, which produces specialty single-serve pour-over coffee and tea bag pouches, with access to its manufacturing capacity.

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The announcement comes at a time when NuZee is continuing to roll out new coffee and tea products across the U.S. The company also has a subsidiary in Seoul, Korea that manufactures drip cup and tea bag coffee for the Asian market. 

With Farmer Brothers’ help, NuZee aims to accelerate the scale-up in the U.S. and the delivery of its products to coffee companies and branded businesses.

NuZee President and CEO Masa Higashida thinks the partnership will be able to change the way single-serve coffee is enjoyed in America.

Both companies were built on sustainability—Farmer Brothers’ reputation is said to align with NuZee’s efforts to provide an alternative that’s more eco-friendly than a single cup coffee capsule.

“Our partnership features a shared commitment to sustainable practices that I believe will resonate with NuZee’s direct customers and consumers across the nation as they continue to look for environmentally friendly and convenient ways to enjoy the products they love,” Higashida said in a statement. “Farmer Brothers’ leadership vision aligns well with ours, and together, I believe we will be able accomplish our goals.”

NuZee can now put up to 50 co-packing machines in Farmer Brothers’ 500,000-square-foot facility. It sits on more than 28 acres and is located near shipping ports and key distribution routes, according to the company. That placement in Northlake will allow for the efficient movement of raw materials and finished goods for both Farmer Brothers and NuZee, per a statement.

NuZee’s machines in Farmers Brothers’ facility could also produce up to 300 million of its single serve tea bags, coffee pouches, and pour over drip cups.

Last year, NuZee announced it was leasing a facility in Plano that would serve as its headquarters and co-packing hub. In the filing, it noted that the site provides it with a variety of benefits over the Vista, California facility.

The company then filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a proposed $12 million initial public offering and raised $2 million in private equity financing.

NuZee’s move mirrors Farmer Brothers’.

In 2017, Farmer Brothers moved its headquarters from Torrance, California, to a 535,000-square-foot facility directly across from Texas Motor Speedway. It’s a location executives said fit their needs to build the more than 100-year-old company.

The Cupping Room—one of five separate rooms that make up Farmers Brothers coffee lab—is where members of its product development team taste roasted coffee samples for quality. [Photo: Farmers Brothers]

The Cupping Room—one of five separate rooms that make up Farmers Brothers coffee lab—is where members of its product development team taste roasted coffee samples for quality. [Photo: Farmers Brothers]

Farmer Brothers is a roaster, wholesaler, and distributor of coffee, tea, and culinary products to small independent restaurants, foodservice operators, and large institutional buyers.

Its line includes organic, direct trade, and sustainably produced goods, like coffee, hot and iced teas, cappuccino mixes, spices, and baking/biscuit mixes.

“By leveraging our manufacturing and distribution capabilities the agreement provides Farmer Brothers with incremental cost leverage and upside opportunity as NuZee builds its success in the U.S,” Deverl Maserang, Farmer Brothers president and CEO, said in a statement. “Partnering with NuZee also is consistent with our demonstrated commitment to sustainable sourcing, production, and distribution of environmentally conscious products.”

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