Dirigo Coffee is no ordinary coffee company. Originally Maker's Mug, a mobile coffee cart that owner Jacob Perry built from scratch, Dirigo wants to do much more than caffeinate you. They use educational programming and special events to craft unique coffee experiences that are more memorable than the average cup o' joe. Together with White Cap Coffee, Dirigo keeps the Fork Food Lab awake and alive for those long days in the kitchen. We sat down with Jacob and General Manager Amanda Porter to talk shop. They took it semi-seriously.
What was your first job?
Jacob Perry: Working in a redemption center.
Amanda Porter: Camp Counselor.
How did you get involved with food/beverage work?
Jacob: I got a job delivering pizza because I was tired of sitting behind a desk while working at a TV station. I picked up a job making pizza and found that working in restaurants really spoke to me. The immediacy of creating something for someone to enjoy was really fulfilling.
Amanda: Jimmy John’s making sandwiches. I was their marketing manager. I would take samples out around town, pass out sandwiches all day.
What did you bring in to share with us? Why?
Jacob: I brought in my food cart. It’s meaningful because it is what has kicked off this whole thing, this entire business. It was like a challenge to myself to try and do something that I had never done before, that I expected to be a side gig - I didn’t expect it to be what it is now.
What motivates you to continue and grow your business?
Amanda: Passion for what we’re doing, a love of coffee and people.
Jacob: All those things and the drive to provide something unique to Portland's growing food scene.
Who are some food entrepreneurs that you admire?
Jacob: I think everybody admires people like David Chang or Anthony Bordain right? Those guys stay true to themselves while maintaining a love of foods and culture from all across the globe. Also Rwanda Bean Company: they’re focusing on people first.
Amanda: Rwanda Bean Company, a local example.
What’s your go-to weeknight dinner?
Jacob: We usually just make a grain and a roasted vegetable to keep it super simple. Or like, a pot pie if I'm hosting friends or family, there is just something so comforting about a pot pie.
Amanda: I’m gonna make curry tonight cause it’s easy and inexpensive and I have a lot of vegetables.
Where do you like to eat in Maine?
Jacob: At home.
Amanda: Pai Men Miyake.
Jacob: Oh yeah, Pai Men. And I like all those old-school seafood places like Ken’s or Clambake or Bayley’s. I like the Harraseeket Lunch & Lobster Company. Anyplace that’s quintessential Maine.