Roasty Coffee

Jake Cain, Founder

Cincinnati, Ohio
Jake at a coffee roasting facility. Two people cheersing coffee cups.
Building from the ground(s) up

Jake Cain has built content-based websites for years. Born in Cincinnati, he built his first site in 2008 - it’s a site that provides travel tips for every Major League Baseball stadium. The idea occurred to him when he was trying to plan his own baseball road trip with his dad. He’s built other sites on family travel, wedding planning, and bird watching, but it wasn’t until he began working with Spencer Haws, founder of Niche Pursuits, that Jake’s side hustle turned into a full-time gig.

Jake credits Spencer with giving him the tools of the trade and helping to connect him to, which Jake acquired in 2018. Roasty Coffee is a site dedicated to helping people make better coffee at home, with a mission to help you “brew coffee so good, it’ll make a hipster cry.” The site featured unique content and fell into a niche with a dedicated audience, which was exactly what Jake was looking for. “I purchased from its founder, Matt Giovanisci. Everything Matt builds is extremely well done. So I knew the site design was beautiful and the existing content was excellent, but new content hadn't been added in quite a while,” Jake explains.

Espresso machine.
Getting a boost of energy from ads

Jake saw potential immediately in the site and started beefing up content and monetizing with display ads. “Our first step was to figure out what we were missing in terms of content that our audience would want to read,” Jake explains. “At the same time, we started running ads on the site. The new content was well received, our organic traffic took off right away and our revenue quickly doubled.”

With an ability to monetize all types of content, Jake started to see new opportunities on the horizon. “Once I learned about display ads and saw how much money we could earn, it really widened the scope of the content we could create,” Jake explains. “So we just invested more into our team and doubled down on producing the best content for our audience.”

Ads have helped the team expand the breadth of content they’re able to profitably share and better serve their audience. “The ad supported business model helps us build out a site with more diverse content,” says Jake. “We don't really think about "can we make money from this?" when we decide to write about a particular topic anymore. We're more concerned with producing helpful content that our audience wants to read. We try to deliver great content, our audience rewards us by viewing that content, and display ads help us monetize that content so we can afford to create more of it. It's a fantastic cycle.”

To help manage their ads business, Jake turned to Google Certified Publishing Partner Mediavine. “They’ve been awesome and have totally taken over the ad placements and tech side of things,” says Jake.

“Once I learned about display ads and saw how much money we could earn, it really widened the scope of the content we could create.”
Different coffee cups.
Cultivating a passionate coffee community

The vast majority of content is informative, including Q&As, drink recipes, and coffee brewing guides. Among all the sites Jake runs, Roasty Coffee is his largest in terms of revenue. In 2022, it saw a little over 5 million page views, about 5X greater than the year before Jake purchased the business.

“One of our most popular pieces is our coffee to water ratio calculator,” says Jake. “It’s funny to see how much traffic this gets on the holidays, as I imagine people are making more coffee than usual and they need help getting the measurements right.” Though evergreen, pieces like the calculator are a labor of love for their team. “Our 'Willy Wonka of coffee' Jonathan, helped us update the calculator in 2022 with different brewing methods and painstakingly weighed and tested out his measurements so we're providing accurate recommendations,” Jake explains.

“Another post that’s been popular for years is our guide to coffee subscriptions," says Jake. He cites this as his favorite article on the site because, “roasters from around the country send me coffee to sample in the hopes of being included in our list. I even got a personal tour of the Atlas Coffee Club roasting facility in Texas, which helped me appreciate everything that goes into getting coffee from the farm to our kitchens.”

The painstaking attention to detail has helped Roasty Coffee cultivate a broad audience, mostly young (ages 25-34) and based in the U.S.

Roasty Coffee remains the most successful of all his sites and Jake’s personal favorite. “A lot of the sites that I have (outside of Ballpark Savvy), are not really my thing," he says. "But I’ve always loved to drink coffee and running Roasty has helped me start brewing better coffee at home. I’ve even been promoted to the designated coffee maker at all of our family get togethers, which is a true honor."

As for his favorite coffee to drink? Jake keeps it simple with "a simple light roast with a little bit of half and half."

The future of Roasty Coffee

Managing multiple websites is now a full–time job and flexible career for Jake. And he’s built a team of contributors from across the globe. “We have a team of about 10 people that help out with Roasty,” says Jake. “I love that we have a team that’s spread across the globe, we’re able to collaborate and produce content that makes Roasty special.”

The team varies from baristas in local coffee shops, to Specialty Coffee Association-certified coffee roasters and winners of the Grand Barista Cup. “For our video content on YouTube, we worked with a local coffee legend, Austin Childress,” explains Jake. “Austin has top level certification through the Specialty Coffee Association, has judged at regional barista competitions, was a Starbucks barista champion in Southern California and developed and taught the Starbucks Coffee Master Program.”

The Roasty Coffee team means serious business, but Jake doesn’t lose sight of how amazing his job is. “I’ve got a dream gig going here and I feel pretty blessed to be doing it,” he says. “If I want to take a month-long road trip with my family, I don’t have to ask for permission.”

Success didn’t happen overnight, and it took a lot of patience for him to get to this point in his business. “I’m proud that I didn’t quit, because most people do. I spent many years learning how to do what I do while making virtually no money from it. Now our family is able to travel and do some really cool things like sponsor water projects with Charity:Water in Zimbabwe and Uganda because I stuck with it, and the hard work eventually paid off.”

About the Publisher

Jake Cain is an entrepreneur from Cincinnati, Ohio. He builds and buys websites for a living. He spends his free time driving around the country in his late 90’s conversion van, affectionately known as the “Monster Van” with his wife and 3 boys.
Jake Cain and his kids at a baseball game.