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August 11, 2015

Tea-drinking billionaire now majority owner of La Colombe

Chobani CEO Hamdi Ulukaya is sole investor in Philly-based coffee roasting company

Investments Coffee
Iced Latte La Colombe/Instgram

Iced latte at La Colombe.

Chobani CEO Hamdi Ulukaya has become the majority owner and sole investor of La Colombe Torrefaction, the coffee roaster that operates 12 cafes in Philadelphia and other cities, Philadelphia Business Journal reported.

The billionaire yogurt titan will not be on the board of La Colombe or even have a management role, and La Colombe co-founder Todd Carmichael will continue as CEO of the company.

In fact, Ulukaya admitted to The New York Times that he doesn’t even like American coffee. He was born in Turkey and prefers the coffee of his native land, or better yet, tea.

"Anyone will tell you, I am a tea maniac," he told the paper.

But Ulukaya needed a quality brand to supply coffee for the Chobani SoHo Café in New York and chose La Colombe to fulfill that role.

While Ulukaya remains focused on yogurt, the move will help finance La Colombe as it aims to expand into a coffee empire. The company has 3,000 wholesale customers, grew 40 percent last year and has plans to grow to 150 stores.

Carmichael is also a TV personality; his show "Uncommon Grounds" will debut on the Travel Channel in September.