Insight’s Lucky

Posted on July 26, 2016

15 Minutes with Lucky Rodrigues

Photography by Ryan Angel

Age: 31

Day job: Co-owner of Identity Coffees in midtown Sacramento with business partner Ryan Rake

Claims to fame: 16-year veteran of the coffee trade, father of six, co-founder of Insight Coffee Roasters, from which he parted in 2015

The identity behind Identity“We’re not a very brand-y or market-y company. Part of our identity is that we’re an indie family. We’re not a very mainstream, classic group of people. We’re kind of like the Empire Records of coffee companies, where we have all of our little quirks but we’re all about rolling up our sleeves and keeping everything in-house.”

A family affair“Our intention is to stay a focused, traditional, family-funded, family-operated, pure, independent grid company. Most of that is about the revival of the American small business, which I think has really been lost. Ryan and I are true believers in the traditional independent worker mentality, which is where you get out what you put in. The whole purpose behind our business model is to create a sustainable, profitable business that can meet our personal ethical guidelines, and that comes with challenges.”

Caffeine for the masses“We are keeping an emphasis on traditional coffee drinks, but I think the menu is going to ultimately expand. One of the things that we’re trying to veer away from is the overspecialization of coffee. When I look at something, what I see is that the more specialized it becomes, the more fancy and exclusive it becomes, the less intriguing it is to the general populace. Part of what I’ve always wanted to do is make really yummy coffee more widely accessible and try to make that more of a cultural standard, and I don’t believe the way to do that is by making it too exclusive, too specialty, too upper-middle class.”

Cafe as cultural space“Ryan and I met through music—we were introduced because we were both musicians—so we lived that life, being a part of the local arts and music culture, with coffeehouses being an integral part of our lifestyle. We think that one of the moral responsibilities of being in the community and being in business is to share our space in a manner which helps nurture a community. We’ve designed our location to accommodate events that primarily focus on building community culture.”

Brew of choice“Me personally, I’m a very traditional coffee guy. I like to taste our classic brewed house coffee and our espresso. I’m kind of more of a taster than a drinker nowadays.”

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