In my early 40s, I started watching Emma Chamberlain’s YouTube channel. As a former millennial, I realize I’m a few years behind: The 20-year-old influencer has been vlogging since 2017 and has 11.2 million subscribers. But discovering her very entertaining videos at that time was almost inevitable: she did nothing, and I did nothing. It was the reassurance I needed that my lack of activity was absolutely OK. For the uninitiated, most Chamberlain vlogs document mundane everyday events such as making breakfast, preparing outfits, drumming, feeding his cats and, of course, drinking his morning coffee (and coffee. noon, afternoon and late afternoon). To call her a coffee lover would be an understatement.
In 2019, she launched her own signature coffee brand, the eponymous Chamberlain Coffee, available through her website. After a rebranding in 2020, Chamberlain Coffee introduced characters, single serve packaging, and new blends to its audience. And just this fall, Chamberlain Coffee became available to Angelenos in the influencer mothership, Erewhon, a health-focused grocery store with seven locations that has been around since the ’60s. Its coffee is sustainably sourced and packaged, as well as fair trade and organic, making it a perfect choice for the store. Here it is available in several varieties: Social Dog Blend, Family Blend, Fancy Mouse (espresso blend) and Cold Brew Elephant.
When I went to buy some during launch week at the new Silver Lake location, the cashier noticed how things were “flying off the shelves.” There, no surprise. The fact that Chamberlain Coffee is being sold at Erewhon is a complete moment for Chamberlain and her supporters: Subscribers have seen her verify the store’s name while singing the praises of their kale and avocado salad to more than one opportunity.
We recently caught up with Chamberlain to discuss his evolution from social media star to coffee entrepreneur and looked at everything from his new product line (also now available on Amazon) to his favorite LA cafes.
Thrillist: When did you start drinking coffee? (at what age) And do you remember your first time?
Emma Chamberlain: My first coffee experience was when I was six, but it was very dysfunctional LOL. I used to order soy latte with extra foam and just eat the foam then give my mom the real coffee.
Thrillist: When did you realize this was your favorite thing?
I think it really became a passion at 15 (which is probably too young to drink coffee). It started out as something I used as a tool to help me stay focused in high school, but became a part of my daily routine that I cherished the most. I had always liked going to cafes with my parents and sitting with them as they had their decaf after dinner every night, but that wasn’t necessarily the case. my thing until high school.
Thrillist: At what point did you say to yourself, ‘OK, I need my own coffee business’?
My dream job has been to be a barista since I was probably 12, so I have been interested in the coffee business for more than half of my life. When I had the opportunity and the resources to start my own coffee business, I did so when I was 18.
Thrillist: Walk me through the process of creating Chamberlain Coffee, from idea to debut this year, how long did it take in total?
I started creating content for YouTube in 2017 and a lot of my videos showed me making coffee or going to cafes, so people started associating me with coffee. The coffee integrations weren’t on purpose, they were completely natural. We launched Chamberlain Coffee in 2019 and honestly it has been a big learning curve for me with all the behind-the-scenes work that has been involved. In those first six months, I learned a lot about the type of product and brand we wanted to produce, which ultimately led to our rebranding in 2020. It’s so hard to know exactly what you want. immediately so we had to fix the issues. With our rebranding, we started to introduce charming characters, more vivid colors, and started to expand our product line. This year we’ve released limited edition hoodies, matcha, a box of five mixes, and there’s still so much more I want to do. We’ve also expanded to retailers like Erewhon and Amazon, which is SO much of a dream come true. Chamberlain Coffee has evolved a lot since day one and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Thrillist: What makes a great cup of coffee?
I really like a sweet and nutty coffee. A mixture with notes of almonds, cocoa, toffee and anything in this world is my favorite.
Thrillist: Tell me about the creation of the different mixes.
When creating the original seven blends, we wanted to make sure that each was unique in its own way, while still being extremely drinkable. We didn’t want the mixes to be too strong or intense. For most mixes, we have a matching character to match. We tailor the animal’s personality to the mix based on caffeine levels and flavor notes. Honestly, I just used my gut for this process.
Thrillist: As a fan and subscriber to your videos, I loved watching the evolution of seeing you coffee and shopping in Erewhon, until now you have your own brand of coffee on its shelves. How does that feel !?
It is a moment full of humility. Erewhon is simply the best. I know everything I buy at Erewhon is top quality and having Chamberlain coffee on their shelves is such an honor.
Thrillist: What are your favorite cafes in LA?
Haven’t found a real favorite place in LA yet, but for now my favorites would have to be Alfred (classic LA spot and very good), Andante Coffee (for a higher experience / coffee nerd), and Go Get Em Tiger (their almond macadamia latte is very luxurious, and they have great food too).
Thrillist: Do you see yourself launching more food and drink related products in the future? Would you one day make a cookbook?
I would like to widen the range of Chamberlain Coffee products as much as possible, I don’t see why! Food and coffee can complement each other so well that I’m excited to think about ways we might sell a food / coffee experience. Recently I learned to cook, I’m obsessed with it. I’m definitely not at the stage where I know how to develop recipes, but if I do, I’d love to make a cookbook.