Aussie transplant and Noosa founder Koel Thomae talks about grass-eating cows, grassroots business practices and why, when it comes to the recent yogurt explosion, it’s not all Greek to her.
On the inspiration: “The genesis of Noosa in the U.S. was purely my desire to eat what I think is the most delicious yogurt in the world [Queensland Yoghurt] more than the one time a year I go home to visit my family.”
On the sales pitch: “Over lunch and a couple beers, I convinced Queensland’s family owners to let me launch their product here under the name Noosa.”
On the second sales pitch: “I was in my local Boulder coffeeshop one day when I saw a flyer for Morning Fresh Dairy, also a family-run business. I love that they are a farmstead operation and they don’t feed their cows growth hormones, [which aligns with Queensland’s practices], so I pitched them the idea to be our primary milk supplier.”
On the inside scoop: “People sometimes miss the fact that we’re produced onsite [at Morning Fresh Dairy]. Morning Fresh cows are milked less than 50 meters away from where we’re producing the yogurt. As we’ve grown, we’re also sourcing milk from other family-owned farms in Colorado. We’re very committed to that. When you can work so closely with the farmers, you know the quality of the milk. And because milk is the main ingredient, producing the yogurt onsite reduces our footprint and allows for traceability.”
On what’s in each scoop: “Aussie-style means it’s made with whole milk plus a touch of cream that gives it that wonderful creamy mouthfeel. All 10 flavors (except plain) are infused with locally sourced honey in addition to their respective all-natural pureed fruit. It’s a full-fat, very indulgent product, so we’ve claimed a niche among people who understand the health benefits of Greek yogurt (protein, healthy bacteria, etc.) but maybe don’t love it. We’re about producing the best-tasting yogurt on the market. We’re not the lowest in calories, but we’ll always be the most delicious. I can guarantee that.”
On the best way to scoop: “In Australia, we just dig in; a bite might have just a little bit of the fruit or a lot. Stirring breaks down the creaminess. We suggest just digging in and taking delicious random bites, but a lot of people like to stir, and we don’t want to mess with that.”