Maleisha and Lulu Pullano. Photo from  Kaitlin LaMoine Photography .

Maleisha and Lulu Pullano. Photo from Kaitlin LaMoine Photography.

Nothing beats a cold brew on a hot summer market day, and Maleisha Pullano of Mamaleelu Cold Brew knows how to make it just the way we like it. She crafts her coffee using organic and fairly traded beans, creating a small batch beverage that has been steeped in room temperature water for 18 to 24 hours. The result is a smooth, balanced, and low acid beverage that is perfect as is or served over ice with your milk of choice. We're partial to coconut, and most Saturday mornings you'll find the market team eagerly waiting on Mamaleelu to arrive and help get us through the day.

What is your business mission?

Mamaleelu Cold Brew was born of hard work, empowerment and a deep commitment to quality. Whenever you pick up a bottle of this coffee at a store that shares your values of fairness and sustainability, you are fueling my hard work and yours. 

Photo from  Mazawi

Photo from Mazawi

What is your favorite way to use your cold brew?

Probably my favorite way is to pour it over ice with half and half and a little maple syrup. I also made a great coffee-like liquer for holiday gifts this year. 

Will we be seeing anything new this season? 

I've been trying to market ready to go drinks. Instead of being a concentrate it would be a grab and go item. I'm currently working on keeping cold brew on tap at the PFC, though.

How many people work for you?

I do everything on my own right now, but it would be nice to expand. I do work with local businesses at times- Missy from Handmade Kalamazoo (also a market vendor!) designed my logo.

What is another vendor that you frequent? What do you buy?

Well I like to barter with Chantrelle of Silverbeet Farm for veggies, and I go to Carlson Farm for meat most of the time. I've just started rotating breakfast between The Organic Gypsy and Gorilla Gourmet. I really like the gypsy hash wtih Carlson meat, but the breakfast tostado from Noel (Gorilla Gourmet) is also great. I try to stick to who is selling around me since it's usually busy on market day. It's nice to be able to barter with vendors- that helped when I first started out. Things are tight with a small business!

Where else do you sell?

I have two Whole Foods, one in East Lansing and one in Ann Arbor, and in town it's the PFC Natural Grocery and Deli, Sawalls, Earthfare, Irvings, and Hardings. And also the coffee kiosk in Bronson, Battle Creek.

Do you have any advice to others starting out?

Expect there to be a lot of ups and downs, and I think for me there is a lot of personal growth. I'm not a person who likes to be aggressive, but I have to follow up and do things that aren't natural for me. 


Last but not least, when will Lulu be running the show?

Next year. She already made her first sale! I went to the bathroom and told her that if anyone comes over it's $10 for a bottle. Someone bought one, and when I came back she handed the money right over. She's four, but soon she'll be able to mix drinks and handle cash. 


Follow Mamaleelu Cold Brew on Facebook, and look for her in the courtyard every Saturday. We recommend getting the Tropical Market!