The buzz on Mad Anthony Wayne Coffee & Roast Boasts with Joe Lewis
By Carmen Greger
PF: Joe, you’ve come so far, so fast and have worked so hard with this coffee company. Can you give us an overview of how and why you got involved, including your experience both in and after Iraq, and what you’re up to as an entrepreneur and a war Veteran with Mad Anthony Wayne roasts and mission?
JL: I thought to myself after serving, ‘What do veterans know a lot about?’ and one of those things is coffee. When you spend as many nights awake and alert as we did- you have to be able to get through somehow! Upon retiring, I had an interest in developing artisan coffee with veterans in mind.
PF: It’s intriguing that each of your roasts tells a story; what a phenomenal idea, it’s in your words, ‘Revolutionary Coffee’. Sipping Mad Anthony is like diving into the past for a multi-dimensional, interactive experience, a potent history lesson coupled with a deep, timeless rich roast. How did you come up with this brilliant concept and how is it received by your clientele?
JL: In the veteran business Space, everybody has wanted to push and highlight in every aspect that they are veterans and military. I wanted to make sure I kept ties to the military in a subtle, respectable way, sharing the events that took place in the area I now reside, where general Anthony was born. I wanted to highlight people, places and events that were directly tied to the formation of our country, as well as tied to our local area. Pairing history with an excellent brew just seemed like an important and unique concept that our customers really appreciate. People seem to really enjoy the historical aspect and it shows that we are not just a brand for military related individuals but also on a much larger scale, for those who simply have a passion for great coffee.
PF: You’ve personally shared many impactful stories with me about your time in Iraq. If you’re comfortable doing so, would you mind sharing some of those moments with our readers so they can get a closer understanding of who you are, where you’ve been, what you’ve gone through and where you’re going?
JL: When I joined the army as a young man, 22 at the time, I was not as focused as I should have been. 6 months after enlisting, 9/11 occurred. We all know this changed many people’s lives and altered the trajectory of many service members, including mine. After surviving multiple combat tours, I feel a need to help my brothers and sisters be fully able to come back home whether be through physical or mental health recovery.
PF: In 10 words or less, who is Joe as an Entrepreneur, as a Veteran, as a Man?
JL: As a veteran- thankful and proud.
As a man- loyal and compassionate.
As an entrepreneur- dedicated and driven.
PF: As you know, I’ve had the honor of sipping Storming Stony Point, your Medium Dark Roast as well as Valley Forge, your Medium Roast, both Fair Trade Organic, and both exceptional! Which of your roasts is your all-time fave and why?
JL: Storming Stony point because I am an espresso drinker, and it is one of the roasts that I worked diligently to perfect; it’s my idea of the best espresso out there. For a colder coffee I’m a huge fan of our cold brew. We are about to come out with a roast to honor the founding of the Marine Core as well as the Colonial Navy (Navy and Marines, don’t you worry, I didn’t forget about you!).
PF: Where do you source your beans? And where do you roast them?
JL: The beans used are sourced from all over the world. We do not have single origin roasts, but to highlight some areas- Brazil, Columbia, Ethiopia, and Sumatra
PF: Do you find there is a lot of competition in the coffee biz?
JL: Yes, there is definitely competition in the coffee business, and quite a few Veteran coffee operations and small artisan roasters nationwide.
PF: What sets you (&MAW) apart from the crowd?
JL: The story our bag tells and its connectivity to both our local and national history.
PF: What is the most challenging obstacle you’ve experienced?
JL: Trying to be a father and a soldier at the same time.
PF: What is the best experience of your life so far?
JL: The day my son was born.
PF: Best cup of Joe you’ve ever had…
JL: The best cup of coffee I’ve ever had was definitely the first cup I ever poured of my own coffee, because it meant so much more than just drinking any random brew.
PF: If you could have coffee with one person past/present/future, who would it be and what would the coffee talk sound like?
JL: Mad Anthony Wayne, obviously! I think I would want the gossip on his court Marshall.
PF: Who is your greatest mentor and role model of all time?
JL: My Mother, and a close second is Srgt. First Class Jerome Day, who upon retiring opened a bee farm in Douglas, GA.
PF: Most impactful book you’ve ever read and why….
JL: The book is called “You Were Worth It” by Kyle Carpenter, a Marine Corps Medal of Honor recipient. It taught me that no matter how bad things get in life there is always a reason to be grateful and thankful.
PF: If you were invited to do a TED talk on any topic you chose, would you accept, what would your topic be and what message would you hope to get across to your viewers?
JL: I would gratefully decline. I would rather connect with someone on a personal level.
PF: What is the motto you live by?
JL: I don’t know if it’s necessarily a motto, but I try to live with the utmost integrity and treat people the way they I want to be treated, and honor the way they deserve to be treated.
PF: If you were given ten million dollars, what would you do with it and why?
JL: Start a foundation to support veterans and their families struggling with the effects of physical and mental health concerns. There are so many individuals who are not as fortunate as I am, and I feel like it is my duty to pay it forward. This is a goal for the company in general- to hopefully, in the future. create a charitable arm.
PF: What’s on Joe Lewis’s current Playlist?
JL: I’m brutal- 90s rock and grunge with a bit of country.
PF: What is your biggest dream personally and professionally?
JL: Personally, to live a happy, quiet life with the love of my life. Professionally, to build a coffee empire!!
PF: What’s on the horizon for Mad Anthony as a business, and for Joe Lewis as a man?
JL: For MAW- moving into a new coffee company space and expanding operations. We have some new products on the horizon that we are really excited about and partnerships with a canning company. As a man, I think it’s important to not lose site of your values and your own physical and mental health.
PF: What do you love most about living in Philly?
JL: There is so much inspiration to draw upon from the history of this country that is readily available in our area to witness, visit, experience and learn from.
PF: What would you change about the world?
JL: I wish everyone lived proactively with the same values that the military lives by; treat everyone with the same respect and decency, and instead of focusing primarily on the external stuff like gender, race, ethnicity, socio-economic background, religion, etc., that we remember that we really are all on one team, and on the same playing field, and that we’re all here for a common task.
PF: What’s that common task?
JL: To live a happy, healthy existence where your voice is heard and respected and you’re valued for what you bring to the table, and to be able to embrace and support the understanding that we can have healthy debates and unique perspectives without disliking or disrespecting someone for their differences or opinions.
PF: What would you change specifically about Philadelphia?
JL: Consistency in Philly sports teams. They’re on a high right now and it’s awesome!! I want to see them playing in the championships every year, or at least close to it! Super bowl, World Series, Stanley Cup, MLS Cup…
And, of course, also that everyone in Philly drank my coffee daily.
PF: Is there anything else you’d like for Philly or the World to know about Joe Lewis?
JL: Well, here’s a little story…. we were on the invasion of Iraq in 2003. We were stopped, pinned down on the road, and I was laying on the ground telling security there’s a fire fight going on. I start yelling to my platoon sergeant that there’s a group of soldiers coming directly at us, and he responds, ‘well, handle it; I’m making a cup of coffee’. I looked over and there he was warming up some brew. I yelled back to him moments later, ‘Handled, make me some too!’.
Even in the midst of combat, coffee is essential.
PF: How can people find you, order from you, follow you?
JL: www.madanthonywaynecc.com or Instagram at madanthonywaynecc.