Husband and Wife Team
Caskai was founded by a husband and wife team, Joel Jelderks and Uschi Zimmermann in 2017. Their backgrounds and interests in specialty coffee, healthy living, and upcycling came crashing together to form Caskai.
Roots in Specialty Coffee
Uschi, a native of Salzburg, Austria, is the founder of Panama Varietals Coffee, a green coffee importer of specialty Panamanian coffee and Goldkind Coffee Roastery, both based in Austria. It was Uschi's interest in coffee that led to their involvement with Cascara. Her clients in Europe starting requesting wholesale cascara back in 2013. Joel joined the business in 2015 and immediately began working with the cascara as he had been a fan since Uschi first started importing it. Cascara tea was his go to afternoon winter and pre-workout drink.
Lifetime of Upcycling
The theme of upcycling has been part of Joel's life from the beginning. Joel grew up in Portland and the Colombia Gorge area of Oregon. From a young age, his Mom had their home's basement full of antique furniture that she painstakingly stripped, renovated, and sold. This eventually turned into buying and renovating old homes.
But the bug ran in the family. Joel's grandfather used to buy and sell used canning equipment. He would find it and sell it in old factories and sell it overseas. It eventually led him to investing in warehouses in Monterey's Cannery Row, back when no one wanted them. His grandfather wanted the equipment, but the owner's at the time would only sell the building and equipment as a package, so he invested long before it was considered a good investment.
Joel didn't realize he had the bug until he began working at Second Base, a used sporting goods store in Seattle, back in the 90's. His penchant for finding, buying, and selling quality used and antique sporting goods surfaced and he realized he had the family bug.
But the interest didn't stop with Joel, Uschi also had the bug. While living in Panama and working for Red Bull, the two formed a company that renovated old buildings in Panama's Casco Viejo neighborhood, a Unesco World Hertigage Site, where they also lived, again long before it was the hot destination that it is today.