brad-amalSierra started in 2010, registered as Bishkek Coffee Roasters. By February of 2011 we had received our coffee roasting equipment and were up and running. Starting with small batches we have built up our roasting capacity and client base, to serve many of the hotels and restaurants in Bishkek and beyond, with key corporate clients like the Hyatt Regency of Bishkek and Kumtor Gold.

Where does the name “Sierra” come from?
click here to find out

The dream of opening a coffee roasting and café business in Bishkek was formed a long time ago by Brad & Amal Brenneman, while living in Uzbekistan. Good coffee and the “just right” café experience was hard to find at that time. So, they set out to build one themselves! Hailing from New Zealand, Brad had seen New Zealand go through the transition from a “tea” culture to a “coffee culture,” and recognized that Bishkek was on the verge of this global cultural trend. It was already happening in places like Moscow, St. Petersburg and Almaty.yemen

After finding a local partner, Brad & Amal began working in earnest to get Bishkek Coffee Roasters and Sierra Coffee KG up and running in Bishkek. Why Bishkek? After spending time in Kyrgyzstan on holidays from Uzbekistan, especially visiting the Issik Kul region, they found the Kyrgyz Republic to be open, inviting, beautiful, and a great place to raise their two active boys. Also, the Kyrgyz Republic has created a favorable business environment for foreign small and medium investors.

Over the past few years the dream of Sierra has become reality and all of us at Sierra are proud to be part of building up the Kyrgyz Republic through business.

Where does the name “Sierra” come from?

During the months we were waiting for our container of equipment to arrive from Seattle, we occupied ourselves with a critical question – What will our brand be? As any Startup entrepreneur knows, your brand is just about everything.

Our team ruled out Italian names as too cliché, for the same reason the idea of “Tien Shan” coffee was nixed. We did not want an English name, or something from the USA, or Russia either. To make it harder, we wanted a name that would communicate the idea that coffee comes from mountains.

The name also had to roll off the tongue in Kyrgyz, English, Russian and other Central Asian languages. Of course, we had to be really careful not to pick a name that would be something offensive in a language we ourselves did not know (Tajik?)

What to do?

After whittling down a long list of names to a few finalists, the team settled on “Sierra.” The direct translation from Spanish is “saw,” – the kind you cut wood with. It is used to describe mountain ranges. For this reason in North America, Colombia and other countries you have the “Sierra Nevada” mountain ranges. The Spanish, through their colonies, turned their word to describe ranges into a word that is used all around the world.

So what does Sierra have to do with coffee?

Coffee is grown at altitude. Specifically, the Arabica bean grows from 1000 to 3000 meters in altitude. Making it harder for coffee, the trees cannot survive freezing weather. That is why coffee is grown in the mountains of tropical countries. Originating from Ethiopia, and first grown commercially in Yemen, we now know that the mountains of Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia, Peru, Guatemala, and other similar countries, produce the world’s best coffees.

Kyrgyzstan being a mostly high altitude country, seems a perfect place to grow a brand which ultimately means “mountains” to the world.