Image: Compass Coffee
Michael Haft, WashU alum and co-founder of Compass Coffee, was interviewed by Jewish Insider about his unconventional entrepreneurship path and his passion for uplifting his community.
Compass Coffee is a chain of cafes with locations throughout Washington D.C. and Northern Virginia. Haft (BSBA ’09) co-founded the company with Harrison Suarez, another WashU alumnus (AB ’09), after the two served together in the Marines. Their path to entrepreneurship was not without stumbles: They first attempted digital publishing with an e-book on coffee. They soon realized that although digital publishing was fun, the business was losing money. So the partners took what they learned and scaled up. Now, 7 years and 12 locations later, Compass Coffee is in the midst of constructing a roastery facility that will eventually produce 10 million pounds of coffee a year.
Even during construction of the company’s new facility and the very real business challenges presented by the pandemic, Haft finds time to engage with his local community. He sits on the steering committee of his synagogue’s young professionals network and leads “Espresso Shot of Torah,” teaching attendees at a weekly virtual Torah study about coffee. Compass Coffee also has supported the DC region’s Muslim Bar Association and local Black Lives Matter groups by supplying tea, water, and snacks at their events.
Compass Coffee products currently are sold online and at Whole Foods. Haft looks to expand into more retailers in the future.