Mercer students create Papa Dukes Coffee

Papa Dukes is the story of two Mercer students, Jaron Bergeron and Victor Dias, striving to “bring a unique specialty product to coffee aficionados in Macon as well as around the Country.
With specialty arabica beans direct from the Dias Estate in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Papa Dukes Coffee gives the consumer the closest relationship to the farm possible while maintaining superior quality in comparison with other brands,” said Bergeron in a recent interview.
Papa Dukes Coffee found an unusual start on the tennis courts of Mercer University almost two years ago in January 2010. Dias and Bergeron, both members of the Mercer Men’s Tennis Team, began the discussion of different entrepreneurial ventures. Bergeron said that, four short months later, their discussions turned into reality when Dias and Bergeron appeared “at the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s Annual Symposium in Anaheim, Calif. in April of that year.”
Papa Dukes Coffee strives to carry forth the rich heritage, which reaches back to 1876, and tradition of the Dias Estate in Sao Paulo, Brazil; while making a superior product produced outside of the United States accessible to American consumers in a timely and professional manner. Another goal of Papa Dukes that Bergeron said, “is to cultivate a relationship where customers know the farmer; where they are educated on the origin and preparation of their coffee beans.”
Papa Dukes Coffee’s website gives a synopsis of the rich history and characteristics of the Dias Estate. Describing the vastness of the farm’s area, the website states the farm consists “of 108 hectares and 150 hectares…reaching a total of 258 hectares and about 200,000 units of Arabic coffee trees, with mundo novo, catuai and bourbon.” The first plantation of the Dias estate “was developed in 1876 with 100% Arabic bourbon coffee….Today, Victor Dias, the sixth generation of the ‘Junqueira Ferreira Dias’ family, continues to provide the hard work necessary for the high quality of the coffee that has marked the family tradition since 1876.”
Thus far, Papa Dukes is experiencing growing success. They currently have an active social media presence with the campaign designed and maintained by fellow Mercer student, Kaitlyn Schmitt. This campaign has allowed Papa Dukes to stay in touch with the college community around Macon as well as help attract recognition around the country.
When asked how they see Papa Dukes Coffee growing in the future, Bergeron said, “Much like the friendship that was strengthened as a result of the founding of Papa Dukes, [they] look forward to seeing the company grow and prosper each year.” First, Papa Dukes hopes to continue to develop their brand around the local Macon community. However, they do have a growth plan for trying to develop on the national scale.
Having graduated Mercer this past spring majoring in Management and Finance, Bergeron obtained skills in financial management as well as accounting and other developmental strategies that have played a crucial role in the development of Papa Dukes Coffee. Dias, a current Engineering student at Mercer, has been integral with applying his knowledge of process flow and quality management to Papa Dukes’ products. They believe that Mercer has assisted them greatly and will continue to play and integral role in their development.
For those interested in placing an order or finding more information about their company, visit Papa Dukes Coffee’s website at papadukescoffee.com