Esquire’s current issue features an article named “The Moment Leonardo DiCaprio Became a Man” which includes a few paragraphs about the coffee he did with us, namely Lyon. This is the story of how La Colombe CEO Todd Carmichael met DiCaprio and made the blend to match his taste.
Guy goes to Leo’s house to make him a coffee. The guy’s name is Todd Carmichael. He’s an adventurer who has set records for wilderness trekking and who develops coffee farms in very remote and impoverished parts of the world. He spawns little economies by buying the coffee, roasting and selling it. He also believes that “every man should have his animal.” Carmichael’s animal is the Indonesian orangutan. When he heard that one of Leonardo DiCaprio’s animals is the Sumatran tiger, he gave him a call. “I thought that the conversation would last two minutes. But it kept going and going, and by the end we had a product. I said, ‘I’m going to make you a coffee.'”
He did not mean that he was going to grind beans and pour hot water through them. He meant that he was going to create a coffee for Leonardo DiCaprio. DiCaprio would put his name on it, and Carmichael would sell it under his brand name, La Colombe, with all profits going to the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation. The coffee would be called Lyon. But first DiCaprio had to approve it. So Carmichael went out to L. A. to have lunch with Leonardo DiCaprio and create a Leonardo DiCaprio “taste profile.”
The lunch took place at DiCaprio’s house. The food was brought in. Carmichael offered different kinds of foods to DiCaprio and noted whether or not he liked them. “I’d give him some frisée, and he’d shake his head. And I’d say, ‘So no bitters?’ ‘No, no bitters. No way, frisée!'”
In many ways, it was the quintessential Leonardo DiCaprio experience. It was kingly. It occurred in the house where he feels comfortable. It was for a cause, but it allowed him to exert control. Lyon coffee would exist as an expression of both his generosity and his ongoing efforts of discrimination. And he has to do nothing but lend it his Leo-ness, knowing his Leo-ness is enough.
And so Carmichael bought the coffee and roasted the beans, and when DiCaprio tasted it, he was amazed at how perfectly it captured him.
“I felt like a genius,” Carmichael says.