The amazing and funny world of coffee

In the last couple of weeks I’ve been reminded about how people and their coffee really do interact. Over the course of time, some of the coffees I have available change, or come from a different growing region or farm. I’m always amazed at how some subtle changes can affect people’s reactions to their coffees.

For example, I’ve always carried a coffee from Ethiopia. Ethiopian beans are my favorites and so will always be available.  The longest running Ethiopian we had carried was a Fair Trade Organic Yirgacheffe (roll your R’s when you say that). It was very popular and definitely one of my favorites. One of the challenges in carrying that coffee was that the current price was very, very high. So, decision time. Keep the same coffee but raise the price, or source something new.

Carlos, who I buy from out of Calgary, recommended a new Ethiopian bean. Shegitu, Natural. It’s a coffee from the Harrar region, instead of Yirgacheffe. “It will be quite different” he let me know. Since it was a new one from Ethiopia, I thought let’s give it a try.

Right from the first batch, I noticed that it was a very aromatic coffee, even right out of the roaster. Usually that much aroma takes some time to develop while the coffee rests before delivery. This one certainly was an exception to that line of thinking. My first tasting, or cupping as coffee tasters call it, was amazing. This was a coffee that was loaded with dark berry tones. Blueberry specifically for me. And rich blueberry at that. But as with anything we taste, different flavors are there for different palates.

So, one of my most regular Yirgacheffe customers orders and I let him know about the change. No problem. We’ll give it a try. Ha!! Next morning there was a message in my twitter feed  (that’s how some customers order from me): “Um, yea, the new coffee. Definitely not our favorite. Do you have the Yirgacheffe?” Sadly I had to tell them I didn’t and have worked to find something else until it returns. Which it will.

I was prepared for people to say, yes, that’s different. But was not prepared for the “we don’t really like it at all.” No worries. The Yirgacheffe will return. And they’ll be happy. And I’m reminded that my customers really do know their coffee.

Ten years and counting

10 years ago Bean There Roasting Company opened to provide people with fresh roasted coffee, delivered to their door. It’s been quite a journey. From the early beginnings experimenting with a popcorn popper, to the first larger batch roaster and now to the shop roaster that roasts 3.5 lbs per batch. The world of coffee is always changing and evolving and it has been incredibly fun to be a part of it.

From the first conversation about coffee as a business while visiting Nairobi, Kenya with my friends, to a year of researching and learning about green coffee and how to roast it, home renovations, permit applications, finding suppliers. It was a busy time. As with any business, the goal is to make enough to keep the business strong and growing. However, after traveling to Zambia and Kenya to meet new friends, the other goal was to help provide support to those friends in their ministry work in those countries. So far, we have been successful in that we can provide monthly support to our friends as well as additional one time gifts at Christmas and for special occasions.

Over the past 10 years, I’ve had a chance to learn a lot about coffee. And the world of coffee has changed much in those 10 years. The science of coffee has given us a much clearer picture of how the black brew can affect the producer and consumer, and it’s that science that has been exciting to see and learn about. My library of coffee books continues to grow with some of them not just fun reads, but highly educational materials to enjoy. One of the first things I learned about coffee is that “fresh” seems to have a multitude of meanings for anyone who makes it. Fresh for me is not based on what time the coffee was brewed and served. I’m talking about knowing exactly when it was roasted so that the customer gets the freshest coffee possible.  One of the great things about having a home based business that deals in coffee is that I know I will always have the freshest coffee possible to drink. Whether it’s brewed, french press, pour over, aeropress, or shots of espresso, it will be great to enjoy.

As with any business, your success is directly linked to your customers. My goal has always been to provide the best possible service alongside the freshest coffee you can buy. The delivery side of the business definitely sets us apart from anyone else, and is the key to the service side of what we do. Thankfully, the business has grown each year and I hope to be able to continue to provide exceptional service alongside exceptional coffee. My customers are obviously a key part of what I do. One of the things I’ve discovered over the past 10 years is that with any business, your relationship with your customers is key. I have met many people during my time roasting coffee. I’ve had customers come and go, some have moved away but still order from me when they visit or have me ship it to them. I’ve seen countless new additions to families. (New babies and increased coffee consumption seem to go hand in hand) And sadly, I’ve seen customers pass away as well. The one thing that stands out is the relationships. Getting to know my customers and being able to talk with them like friends has been the greatest reward I’ve gotten out of my time in this business.

It’s been a great 10 years. Building relationships with people around coffee just seems right. So I’m looking forward to meeting new customers, getting to know them, and providing them with fresh roasted coffee for years to come.

Bean There Roasting – a new adventure begins

One of the ideas I have tossed around for quite some time was blogging. However, I was never sure how it would look for the business. Thankfully my wife began blogging, and found me the Blogging 101 course to get started. So here it goes.

My name is Brian and I am the owner of Bean There Roasting, a small home based custom coffee roasting and delivery business. Basically what I do is roast coffee fresh to order for my customers, then deliver it to their door. Just like your morning newspaper. Just not so early and with a larger caffeine content.

Why blog? One of the main reasons will be to help promote my business. We are approaching our 10th anniversary (tomorrow) and it was time to do it. Another key reason is there is so much information and reading on coffee these days that it’s hard to narrow it down. I’m going to use the blog to help provide relevant coffee reads to help people know and understand their morning brew better. Blogs also help provide a forum to ask questions and have good discussions about just about anything. In this case, mostly coffee. Although, being from a small city, I’m also known as a dad, and a husband, a basketball referee, and other titles. Not just ‘the coffee guy.’ So you might see something from those aspects of life as well. But mostly coffee. I’m hoping to incorporate pictures and maybe some video as well. My teenage kids will be valuable assets for those technological aspects.

I’m looking forward to this course to spur me on to making this blog happen and to learn how to better utilize my blog to promote the business. So far, seems to be going well. But I might need another coffee before I start our anniversary and history blog to send out tomorrow.