ross nickerson

Ross is a UPenn graduate originally from Boston, MA. His scientific approach to coffee stems from his background in Mechanical Engineering and interest in building race cars while at Penn. After graduating, Ross moved to Winchester, UK where he taught Physics for six years.

Before opening Function Coffee Labs, Ross was a competitive marathon runner. Funnily enough, he didn’t drink coffee in college but started while living in Winchester because of its performance-enhancing nature. Ross used to make double or triple strength French Presses with coffee roasted for espresso. Looking back on it, it was terrible, but he didn’t know any better. Ross's life-changing moment occurred while sipping on espresso at Sterling Coffee in Portland, OR. This experience made him realize there was something better out there. In typical engineering fashion, Ross began to read every technical thing he could about coffee, bought his own cheap little espresso machine and grinder, and did a lot of experimenting. Today, Ross's obsession with the technical aspects of brewing and his need to always be improving the quality of the coffee define his craft. 

 

Getting Started & Inspiration

When we met, we shared a love of coffee and even joked about opening our own coffee shop. We had no idea it would actually become a reality! 

We started Function Coffee Labs in April 2015 in a very simple way: starting an Instagram account as a way to start gaining followers.  Eventually an LLC was born in September 2015.

Our love of coffee grew by traveling to dozens of countries while living in England and seeking out great coffee shops everywhere we went, not just because we are coffee lovers, but also because we love everything that a coffee shop can be.

We played chess in a tiny basement bookstore/coffee shop in Bergen, Norway. We made a great connection with a small record/coffee shop owner in Amsterdam, Netherlands. We had our Eureka or "aha" moment in a shop in Bath, UK where we both finally tasted all those flavors that bags of coffee promise but never really seem to deliver. We became regulars at the smallest cafe we’ve ever seen in Paris, France while we lived there for three weeks in April. The barista there was the epitome of cool, the coffee was great, and everyone talked to everyone else the entire time.

 

Megan mccusker

Megan, a Philadelphia native, has always had many interests, graduating from Columbia in 2011 with a degree in Psychology, Anthropology and Business Administration. She had PR internships, worked as a media buyer and planner straight out of college, an Admin Coordinator at Penn and most recently, had a teaching fellowship in Winchester where her an Ross met. 

Megan brings to Function Coffee Labs her interest in what makes a coffee shop great - it's decor and ability to bring the community together. Her passion lies in the behind-the-scenes operations of the coffee shop, including a knack for setting the vision and strategy for FCL's brand.