The actor-turned-entrepreneur shares the inspiration behind Scotty P's Big Mug coffee.
Talk to Scott Patterson about his new company, Scotty P’s Big Mug Coffee, and the conversation turns serious. The first thing you need to know: This is not Luke’s coffee. This is Scott Patterson’s coffee. It’s his business—the actor is adamant about this. While Scotty P’s is in no way affiliated with Gilmore Girls, the show on which he played the beloved proprietor of Luke’s Diner and the love interest for Lorelai Gilmore, there still a lot of love out there for Luke, as proved by a Luke’s Diner pop-up that invaded New York City this year and turned out to be wildly popular among the show’s die-hard fans. But Patterson says he doesn’t want to “lean on the fact that I’m this guy on this show.” He always planned to create the coffee company. In fact, it’s been a lifelong ambition.
“[The coffee] comes from growing up in a diner culture in Southern New Jersey,” he explains. “I spent my life in diners and I know diner coffee very well. I miss it and love it, and I don’t taste it anymore.”
He decided that he wanted Scotty P’s Big Mug Coffee to be “reminiscent” of that flavor. He calls a cup of diner coffee “reliable,” but also knows that in an age when artisanal and gourmet coffee is one of the biggest trends in the food world, “people are little more sophisticated.”
He hoped that his coffee would be a combination of both the high-end tastes of the coffee connoisseurs and the classic, familiar, even nostalgic flavor of a cup of coffee from your favorite diner. Patterson says he was “flying all over the country trying coffee,” sometimes even receiving loose samples of coffee grounds in envelopes, looking for a “something you could drink black that [isn’t] bitter.” To complicate matters, Patterson also fought to keep the price point under ten dollars, a tall order when coffee beans tend to be so expensive. But he took all these challenges in stride—because coffee means a great deal to Patterson, even, if not especially, on a personal level.
“In the ritualized behavior of my misspent youth, one of the better rituals was sitting with my mother and drinking coffee deep into the night,” he recalls. “She was really the only person that I had in my life that I could sit down with and really open up to and get wisdom and support and love.”
Patterson admits that it was his mother who inspired his new business venture (and definitely not years spent playing the owner of a diner).
“It really is all about her, and my connection to her (she’s gone now, for a decade almost). It interesting how the memories flooded in when I started to move forward with the company,” Patterson says. “All I could think about was her face and recall the conversations that we had. We would sit there and we would drink this coffee, which to me tasted like love and support. Everyone associates warm feelings with coffee and I’m no different.”
Bringing his vision of a coffee that imparts drinkers with these happy memories is “hard work,” according to Patterson, who says that he’s “really exhausted,” after crafting, promoting, and bringing his product to the public, but that the whole venture has now been “worth it.” Patterson had to wait for what he calls “a period in my life when I could devote my attention,” to the business, which was put on hold in order to film the 2016 Gilmore Girls revival.
More than anything, Patterson hopes that his coffee brand feels authentic. Sure, fans of Gilmore Girls might try his coffee once, as a novelty, but Patterson wants to build a new fan base, one that keeps coming back, not because of a character he once played on television, but because of the quality of his product.
Scotty P's Big Mug Coffee is available for pre-order now, and will officially go on sale December 16, at scottyp.com.