Motor Oil Coffee Co. is latest venture from Joe Bonilla and Rich Fazio – Albany Business Review – Albany Business Review

Four craft coffee blends are now available for in-person and online purchase from Albany-based startup Motor Oil Coffee Co.
Joe Bonilla and Rich Fazio — partners in the Albany marketing firm Relentless Awareness — co-founded the startup earlier this year. The duo said they were inspired by chatter overheard at several car shows they visited and saw a branding opportunity they couldn’t pass on.
“No matter if a car sold for $1 million or $1,500, people would say the same thing — ‘This coffee tastes like motor oil’ — and chuckle,” Bonilla said. “But I was thinking about it — that’s a really good name for a coffee brand because it’s something quick and it resonates.”
Bonilla co-owned Delaware Trolley House in Albany for two years with Anton Pasquill. The cafe closed in 2017. Bonilla said he’ll use his experience and partnerships from the Trolley House to develop the Motor Oil brand. 
Bonilla and Fazio worked with Chris’ Coffee Service in Latham to create the four branded roasts. They’re currently developing K-Cups and expect to announce availability of the single-serving option later this year. 
Motor Oil Coffee is being sold at car shows and farmers markets, including the Schenectady Greenmarket, Washington Park Farmers Market and the Saratoga Motorcar Auction. The co-founders said they’re discussing physical retail with several downtown Troy retailers, as well.
“There’s so many different brands of coffee. You see them on Amazon, you see them at retailers and it’s no different than our experience working in alcohol where you have the different brands and it only comes down to two things: the quality of the product itself and the marketing of the product,” Bonilla said.
The co-founders said they committed $25,000 into funding the project.
Motor Oil Coffee is positioning itself as an affordable, upscale coffee in the market. It’s priced between $13.99 and $15.99 for a pound of certified organic fair trade whole bean or ground blend.
“A lot of coffees sell 12 oz., we’re doing a full-pound bag. We found [price] was the one area that you could go super, mass market — Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks, Eight O’Clock — then you go to the higher end where the lowest of the higher end is $20 a bag for a 12 oz bag. In that sweet spot there wasn’t really a lot of competition.”
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