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Life & Work with Derek McKeith

Today we’d like to introduce you to Derek McKeith.

Hi Derek, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.
Funny enough, I started Bad Beans Coffee behind the bar while working as a barista at a Starbucks. I found myself daydreaming of an alternative space where I was running the company the way I would and wanted to.

I slowly started to work on my idea bit by bit, day by day. Eventually, my daydreaming led to this point, and here we are today. It’s essentially the same route I took in my music career. Think about it. See yourself doing it. Then do it!

I’ve been a musician my entire life, and have toured and traveled the world a couple of times because of it. On my last few outings, I noticed that my conversations began to lean more towards coffee.

Was it the fact that I always had a cup in hand? Who knows? Then I discovered how much I knew about coffee. Now let me backtrack. At the time I was coming off of a #1 Video on BET, on their Top 10 countdown back in 2010 /11. I was always taught growing up to have a steady income, even on your downtime so that you’re never without. I was living in Brentwood, CA, and would frequent the local Starbucks on San Vicente and Barrington. I’m a friendly guy and don’t mind the conversation.

A few of the baristas asked me what I did because they always saw me with headphones on. I explained what I did, and who I was and somehow we got on the conversation about making drinks. I replied, “It looks like fun. I worked at a Starbucks when I was in college”. The supervisor replied, “We’re hiring. Do you want to come work here?”

I told her I was usually out of town two to three weeks out of every month due to touring. She didn’t care and hired me on the spot. It was weird! Hahahaha. Little did I know, I would actually fall in love with coffee and the industry. Not only did I learn and grow to love coffee, but I was able to inspire and teach about it as well.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
The road has been tough. A lot of times I can clearly see that I’m on the road less traveled shall we say. The industry itself is tough. For me, the hardest part has been shipping. Dealing with shipping costs. Inflation

Things like that. We tend to work smart, and not hard so it minimizes the obstacles and challenges as much as possible.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I own a coffee company and I make music, and travel the world. I’m a singer-songwriter, music producer, artist, performer. I’m most proud of the fact that I am independent.

Do you have any memories from childhood that you can share with us?
Hanging out at Jackson’s house on the weekends in Encino.

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Image Credits

J3 Collection – Derek McKeith

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