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Raising Money for Wounded Warrior Project

I am running the Tough Mudder for the third time this year. One of the most important aspects of this now tradition is raising money for the Wounded Warrior Project. The first year we raised $160. Last year, I raised over $550. My team as a whole raised over $700. 
Since the stakes were raised by enormous generosity last year, I will attempt to match those efforts. 
I, with the help of my team, am going carry a cinder block the length of the course. I will carry my cinder block from home to work and (nearly) everywhere I go. Last year, Tough Mudder HQ donated an extra $100 if Mudders would carry a brick through the course. After carrying this block the length of the 10+ miles and grueling obstacles, I will drop this block in the pile to have additional money donated.
I ask for you to show your generosity and honor those who have given so much.
Please follow the link below to donate to the Wounded Warrior Project. https://www.eventbrite.com/donate/wolfpack-20-brandon-ray/1179195


- Bran…

Starting the Design – Freud…What?

I want to throw some Freud at you. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
We as humans have the Id, Ego and Super-ego. We should consider this when developing a business as well. Businesses are living breathing entities with a life of their own. We need to understand and utilize that to our benefits.

Starting the Design – Know Thy Self

I started Muertos Coffee because it is very applicable to me here in Az. The art is edgy and building in popularity. It is rooted in tradition and religion, two very strong human binding agents. I wanted my customers to have a strong sense of community, even tradition, when they came into my shop. In a previous blog (Change in the Name?), my friend Ricardo stated that this doesn't work for a larger customer base. So what do we do? How do we go about starting something new?

Techno Fresh

At Coffee Con LA I met and spoke with the team at Perfect Coffee (http://www.perfectcoffee.com/). They had samples of a lot of top roasters (Blue Bottle, Ruby, Four Barrel, etc). They were wonderful to talk to and very passionate about their product.
They are a coffee subscription company that sends pre-ground coffee through the mail. We instantly called shenanigans on this. There is no way you can grind coffee and it still be fresh by the time it gets to the consumer. We pressed to try and get more information, but they wouldn’t spill the beans. The most they would give us is that it is a zero oxygen environment (???) All I can imagine is people in space suites and oxygen tanks grinding coffee and putting it in little bags.

The Story Behind the Coffee

Standing in the hot sun sweating, waiting for the doors to open to Coffee Con, I thought about all the awesome coffee I would get to try. I was excited. I was becoming less excited by the minute though, as they opened the doors 20 minutes late. By then we were all so hot that everyone was just looking for ice coffee. I, having a baby in tow, took my time and started at the first table. It was a SteamPunk brewer managed by men in beards and leather aprons. I didn’t get to try the coffee because they were still dialing in the machine.

Coffee Con LA 2014 Experience

After my experience at Coffee Conn LA 2014 (http://www.coffee-con.com/) my main thought is: I can do this!
That may seem like a strange revelation, but I have nasty habit of elevating others onto unattainable pedestals. Why? I have no freaking idea, because it’s stupid. I was there tasting coffee, watching people brew, asking questions and picking brains. I even called shenanigans on a few people and watched their response. As I did all this, the thought that kept trickling up into my brain was, “I already know this.”

KAHHN!!...wait, no...COOONNN!!!!

I must first apologize for not posting in quite some time. The birth of my baby girl took priority for a while. It also took my sleep and higher brain functions as well. I’m back and this blog is going to change slightly. So stay tuned.
So, what got me back into the saddle? Coffee Con LA. I am super stoked for this. Yes, William Shatner yelling and chasing down Kahn excited.

Review of Ground Control

Ground Control (http://www.yelp.com/biz/ground-control-goodyear) is a shop I have known about for quite a while, but not for the reason you would expect on a coffee blog. I know of this place because a guy my wife carpooled with loves the beer they have. I have also heard they make amazing gelato. So, I thought it was strange that they won the coffee duel in Phoenix Magazine’s Best Of edition. SO…I stopped by and checked the place out.

Brewing Methods - Press Pot

The Press Pot, or French Press, is one of the simplest forms of brewing coffee, and continues to enjoy a huge following. The irony is that many press pot devotees produce cup after cup of poorly executed coffee for a number of reasons. With a little knowledge and technique, the results can be improved.
Target Cup – The first point that needs to be understood is that the press pot is not the best brewing method for every roast and every coffee drinker. Press pots tend to excel with darker roasts that offer body and roast more than subtle coffee flavors. That does not mean that a delicate light to medium roasted coffee cannot be brewed well in a press pot, but darker roasts needs less finesse to achieve decent results.

What If?

I can’t deny the dragon I’ve been hunting all these years when I finally feel its breath. Michael Johnson
I have been thriving on the idea of our coffee cart for month now. It has been energizing me. Now that we have had to start putting our talk into action, I have found myself paralyzed. No fresh ideas, constant doubts, completely shooting myself in the foot. This became evident when we recently met with the roaster we wanted to partner with. I realized I was stuck in the negative lane of “what if’s.”
The moment we decided we were going to approach this roaster for our concept I filled myself with worry and doubt. I began asking myself, “What if….”

Change in the Name?

What is in a name?

The question above was raised so famously in Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”. In that prose, the conclusion was that the name did not matter.
For a coffee brand, on the other hand, the name can make a big difference. We started exploring this business idea with the name “Muertas Coffee”, which links to the Mexican culture that seeps through the South West. “Dia de los Muertos” is a very important cultural element of traditional Mexican culture, and has very well developed imagery and feel. That imagery can be earthy and rich, which reflects some of coffee’s qualities. The brand name also has to have an image which can evolve over the years and is easily recognizable from afar. When you think of the strongest brands, Golden Arches, Nike Swooshes, and even a green circle with a siren come to mind.

Evolution of Coffee Cart Concept

When we first began considering a coffee cart we were going to do it for community garage sales, farmer’s markets, and other random gatherings of people. I wasn’t ever planning to serve very many cups of coffee. Therefore, I did not need much of a cart.
My original plan was for a mobile kitchen island. They are right around $120 at Big Lots. Table top would be 18inx24in. Just enough room to brew pour overs one cup at a time. I was going to carry along propane burners to boil water (Hazard? I don’t think giant open flames in a dry desert landscape would be dangerous). The cart would be doable. It would be a lot of little pieces, but I could do it. The main benefit to this set up is that I could cover the cost out of pocket.

La Colombe – World Tour Review

I am a big fan of Todd Carmichael’s work at La Colombe Coffee Roasters. Recently, my loving wife bought me “Todd’s Faves: World Tour”, which is three cardboard tubes with two ounces of coffee each: Mexico – El Mirador, Ethiopia – Werka Bauka, and Brazil – Moreninha Formosa (http://shop.lacolombe.com/products/todds-faves-world-tour).

Review Village Coffee

I stumbled across Village Coffee as I randomly Googled coffee roasters in the Phoenix area (http://www.villagecoffee.com/). This has been a jewel of a coffee shop. I stop and get coffee every time I am anywhere near the area. Being my favorite shop in town has its perks, but that also means I sit there and analyze it more than any other shop.

Can Specialty Coffee be Mass Produced?

Sam’sClub has recently begun selling “FIREHOUSE COFFEE ROASTERS” whole bean coffees in their clubs here in the Phoenix Valley (http://www.firehouseroastery.com/ ). FIREHOUSE claims to be exclusively a Specialty Coffee roaster, so I had to try a bag. After sniffing each type through the vent while physically abusing the poor bag, I decided to try the “Island Blend”, which is described as “South Pacific coffees with sweet & complex notes. Wonderful aromatics”. That is about as specific as my horoscope today – You will be presented with great opportunities if you know where to look – but it did smell good.

Starting up

Now that we are ready start brewing coffee for people, I am finding it very difficult to get over the first hump.

Challenge 1: Fear and doubt leading to paralyzing over-analysis
We worked on our business plan to the point of realizing we don’t have enough data to put together a sound business plan. Decision made: do a test. We have a good plan for our test, but it keeps getting stalled because we are unsure about what we are doing. How many options do we offer? Where do we go? How do we manage grinder noise? And a thousand other questions.

Diner Coffee

We have been talking about specialty coffee the whole time here, with good reason since we want to brew specialty coffee. This Chick-Fil-A coffee has got me thinking though: Does specialty coffee go with everything?

Chick-Fil-A Specialty Coffee?

http://coffeewithastory.chick-fil-a.com/?utm_content=MainCTA&utm_source=email&utm_medium=promo&utm_campaign=081114_CoffeeLaunch_Active



Can specialty grade coffee be produced at a mass level?
Chick-fil-a has put an effort the tell people that their coffee is direct trade and specialty grade. Though I don’t buy that their direct trade actually helps the communities as much as they claim, I do like that they are working to cut out the middle man. That’s just good business sense. I don’t think we need to always make good business decisions pretty with pious make up. Now the real issue is the coffee. Is it as good as “specialty grade” makes me think it will be? I am going to say the answer is both yes and no.

Tasting Cheap Coffee

As I have said in previous posts, I’m cheap. Let’s just call it what it is. I like to get good stuff for as little money as possible, often times sacrificing some quality for price. Sound pretty typical of American buying practices? Darn toot’n. So why do I find myself constantly frustrated with the coffee I drink? Easy answer: I’m drinking crappy coffee.

Brewing Methods - Pour Over Part 2

Proper pour over technique is a matter of great debate and a fair amount of science. In fact, there should be a college course on pour over brewing technique! There would certainly be enough material to justify a full semester, and entire generations could be saved from wasted years of drinking terrible coffee.

Obviously, one blog post is not enough space to nail the mysteries of the universe, much less to fully discuss proper pour over technique. To be honest, I have not reached 100% pour over technique mastery, even though I can consistently produce a wonderful cup of coffee awesomeness.
We can, however, get the basics down well enough to make great coffee and troubleshoot most problems. This post applies to pour over equipment such as the Hario V60, a Melitta, or the Able Kone.

My thoughts on the Fair Trade Debate

I have been casually following the responses to the study completed at the University of London claiming Fair Trade does not do what it claims. I will openly admit right now that I do not have all the facts, so this is my opinion. Please feel free to comment so we can discuss.
The article by Nora Burkey posted on Daily Coffee News (http://dailycoffeenews.com/2014/07/09/in-defense-of-fair-trade-a-response-to-the-farmworker-problem/) had one major point that I really grabbed hold of. I really don’t like adding large quotes, but I think she says it best:
“Fair Trade was never about paying a fair price to farmers in exchange for making sure that all their workers were treated well. In fact, Fair Trade was never equipped to manage farmers or development projects at all. Fair Trade began with a commitment to buy only from cooperatives. By belonging to an organization, small landowning farmers can achieve direct market access through said organization instead of selling their coffee to coyotes…

Brewing Methods - Automated Pour Over

I may have to partially drink my words. I have previously written that "coffee machines" almost invariably produce a poor cup of coffee. I will be clinging to the "almost" part of that statement to feel better about my reputation...

Coffee shops, including the giant, use commercial coffee machines routinely. They produce drip coffee that can be rich, full bodied, and flavorful. The differences between a home coffee brewer (think Mr. Coffee, Cuisinart, etc.) and the commercial brewers are mainly temperature, agitation, and brew time. That means that a home coffee machine CAN produce good coffee, but has to fix those problems. In fact, there are a few that fit that bill.

Final Pan Roast - An Edison Success

"I haven't failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."

I approached this test with the mind set of proving the coffee roasting world wrong. Here is my exact thought: Ethiopians have been pan roasting for 400 years, surely it can’t be that bad.” I was right, but I was mostly wrong.

To re-boil, or not to re-boil: That is the issue (What? You thought I would plagiarize?)

Anyone who journeys towards the perfect cup of hand-crafted coffee has to find a way to bring water to the perfect temperature. Ideally, we would heat only the perfect amount of water to just below boiling, brew some amazing coffee, and be done. Ah… but life rarely allows for simplicity. The coffee gods like to toy with our technique!

Review of Death Wish Coffee

I have not made it to Death Wish's shop, but I hope to one day. They seem to have a very loyal following and should be a great down-to-earth kind of shop.

My partner and I were discussing caffeine in coffee and I pointed out that Death Wish claims to have an “irresponsible” amount of caffeine in their coffee. We had no idea how they could claim that so we started looking into it. There is not a lot of information on their website regarding the coffee (http://deathwishcoffee.com). So we emailed them.

Pour Over Brewing – Part One

Pour over brewing is one of the most common and simple, yet often misunderstood brewing techniques. At its essence, pour over brewing is as simple as it sounds. Hot water is poured over, then runs through, coffee grounds. And that is where the simplicity ends.

Every coffee drinker has had pour over coffee. The most common form is from a home or commercial coffee machine. From your good ol’ Mr. Coffee machine to a large commercial BUNN brewer, machines typically heat water, then pour it over a basket or cone filled with ground coffee. The idea is that the machine will take all of the guesswork out of brewing, and unfortunately, it often replaces guesses with bad decisions. To explore that statement, and to understand where heavenly coffee can come from, let’s review some of the variables in pour over coffee brewing.

Review of Giant Coffee

Giant Coffee (http://giantcoffeeaz.com/) is one of the shops that pops-up at the top of my Google machine when I search for coffee shops in AZ. I was in the area this weekend and decided I would give it a whirl. My first impression of the shop is that it is both a great location and a terrible location at the same time. It is a great location because it is right across the street from the Art Museum and that just felt very right. The problem is that it is kind of hard to find. It is on a very small side street with no signage on the main road. I also think I got lucky with parking. I’m still not sure where everyone inside was parked (so it may not be as bad as I think).

Brewing Methods - AeroPress

The AeroPress is currently my favorite method of brewing. That does not mean that the AeroPress is without flaws, but we will go over my list of Pros and Cons later in this entry.

The AeroPress is an inexpensive option for brewing coffee, costing under $30 from most sources. A quick Google search will find a unit near you, or one that can be shipped quickly.
Its operation is simple, and similar in many ways to a press-pot, but crossed with a giant syringe and using a filter. There are dozens of variations and schools of thought on how to use it, but a fantastic cup can be produced using the simple inverted technique: Place the plunger in the body just a bit, add coffee in the other end, add hot water, stir, wait, add filter, and plunge. The resulting coffee can be diluted much like an Americano. On top of that simplicity, the AeroPress cleans easily. All you need to do is take the filter cap off the front, and push the coffee puck and filter into a trash can, toilet, of compost bin. One…

Non-Traditional Market Research – Reviews

We have officially started researching for our business plan and we noticed that one of the best sources of information is customer reviews. Maybe this isn’t as non-traditional as I think it is, but it seems fairly new to me.

We have our concept for a coffee shop. We know what we want to create. The question is, will the customer buy it? That is always the hardest part about starting a business. Without customers paying you for what you do, you don’t have a business. So how do you get to know what customers are buying? You ask them.

Brewing Methods - Intro

A great cup of coffee takes a whole series of perfect steps. One mistake is often what separates a good cup from a premium cup.

The coffee seed must be grown between the right latitude and longitude, grown at the right altitude, provided shade and fertile soil, with enough water to support growth but not so much that fungi can get a foothold. Once grown, the fruit must be picked by hand to ensure every single berry is fully ripe and without major defects. The seeds must be separated from the fruit and mucilage, then quickly dried. At this point, even a light rain shower can ruin an entire batch.

Review of Lion Coffee

I was in San Diego for a get away from the Arizona heat and decided to visit a coffee shop. I went to my trusty Yelp app for recommendations. Downtown San Diego has a ton of restaurants that do coffee and breakfast, but not a lot of just coffee shops. The coffee shop that I chose was called Lion Coffee (http://www.lioncoffee.com/).
I looked at pics on Yelp and loved their phrase, “Lion coffee is king of coffees.” We walked to the store and there were more pictures on the windows that looked like adds from early 1900’s. When I got to the front door I was suddenly confused. It was a Hawaiian theme. I have no idea what lions have to do with Hawaii. From what I can gather from the website, the company moved to Hawaii and they began focusing on Hawaiian coffees at that time.

Problem With Being Cheap

I have expressed before that I am a value based individual. This is often times assessed as cheap. At times there really isn’t much of a difference. Sometimes it helps me keep from doing silly things and sometimes it hinders my enjoyment of good things. Now that I am moving into the specialty coffee world, I find that it is hard to be cheap because everything is so freak’n expensive.

What Is The Perfect Roast

I recently met with the roaster from Pearl Coffee. She is starting her coffee business as a home roaster and looking to expand. I was excited to meet with someone else in a similar stage of business development. She had some very good points regarding her coffee, many of which I agreed with and some I did not.

One of the topics was how dark to roast. The coffee shop where we met had roasted their coffee to the dark side of medium. It was a blend though, so that made sense to me (roast helps consistency in the cup). She thought it was roasted slightly too dark, making it bitter. This made me think about the different roasts out there. Starbucks vs. specialty light roasts and all the spectrums in between.

Review of Lola Coffee

I had scheduled a meeting with a local roaster because I wanted to tour her roasting facility for my blog. Her facility was her home, and since we were strangers we decided to meet at a coffee shop. Sweet! 2 birds, 1 stone (no actual birds were injured in the writing of this blog). I would get info for 2 blogs: one for the coffee shop and one for the conversation with the roaster.

We decided to meet at Lola Coffee (www.lolacoffeebar.com). It is on our Roosevelt row. Roosevelt is a street just north of our down town area here in Phoenix. It is basically the artsy/hipster part of town. I love the area. It is a mixture of re-purposed homes and new buildings. The down side to anything in this area is parking. There is some free parking, but it is limited. I was lucky and found a spot not too far down the street.

Investment In Learning

I have decided to actually invest in my coffee knowledge. It seems to help solidify something within me. It is strange how paying money helps make things real.

I have decided to participate in “A Closer Look Into Coffee” presented by Press Coffee (http://www.presscoffeeaz.com/press/blog.php). I looked over the schedule and it is pretty well rounded. I also have the ability to get Barista Guild Level 1 Certified at the end. I’m not sure I want to invest into the BGA yet. I don’t see the value at this stage.

To Partner or Not to Partner

This is something that I have been dealing with for a while. I thought I would lay out my thoughts on business partners and see if it helps me figure anything out. I hope some comments will help too.

I would like to go into business with partners. I believe there is strength in numbers. My experience has shown me that you have to gather a lot of talent around you to succeed. If you try to do anything on your own, you will fail. I have to depend on others for ideas and inspiration as well as accountability. I also need others to fill gaps in my knowledge base. I’m an operations person, so I don’t understand marketing and sales and taxes and such.

Muertos Experience - Ordering and Line

I am developing my concept, my vision. I have written a short story of what I want the customer experience to be like. Here is a small excerpt.

"I got up to the kiosk and it was pretty self-explanatory. It didn’t take me long at all to get my coffee ordered. I moved into the line that reminded me of a Disney queue line. I had to wait there for my coffee, but at least it was interesting. On my right I could see the barista’s making coffee through a small glass wall that went from the table top to about 7ft high. Their operation was a well-oiled machine. I could hear them talking on the other side of the wall and there was no doubt that these people knew how to make good coffee. The bar looked extremely clean and organized, which always makes me feel better about a place. On the other side of the line I could see through a window where they were roasting the coffee. The lady making coffee wore a bright red bandanna around her head to match that matched her poke-a-dot dress. She smil…

What’s In A Name?

Mythos has nearly, if not completely, died out of coffee houses. My good friend Google defines mythos as a myth or mythology (reoccurring themes); a set of beliefs or assumptions about something. It is my position that people want, maybe even need, mythos to bring value into their lives. For example: religion, political parties, and fraternities/sororities. These groups all have a reoccurring theme or established assumptions. What is the first step? The name. Christian, Muslim, Republican, Democrat, Sigma Alpha Epsilon. When we read those names, we all pull certain assumptions and beliefs about those groups.

Review of Songbird Coffee

I have been looking for a great coffee shop in the Phoenix, Az area for quite a while. I have been given some recommendations and they haven't quite panned out. Maybe my expectations are too high... No, I don' think that's it. All I want is a good barista and a good cup of coffee. I don't think that's too much to ask for, do you? My wife and I had tickets for a show downtown Saturday night. I knew there were quite a few shops in the downtown area because I asked the city about tax breaks. He said they already had enough coffee shops, so they weren't helping start anymore. (Can you really have enough though?) I Googled coffee shops and there were a few that I put on my list to try. Songbird was one of them (http://www.songbirdcoffeehouse.com/). I had high expectations based on the location. It's in an artsy area where they have converted some historical houses into wine bars and such. This shop was across the street. I loved the outside. It stuck out of the…

Pour Over Coffee Station

I posted on Twitter that I was going to try my hand at roasting again over the long weekend but focused on building my pour over station instead. It wasn't hard, but did end up costing me a little more than anticipated. Here is what it took to make it:

Coffee and War

I have been reading the book Uncommon Grounds by Mark Pendergrast. This book is packed full of information as it follows coffee through the ages. I am currently reading about coffee in the era after WWII. There is a theme that seems to run through a lot of these pages and it is that coffee has played a major role in all the American wars. So, as it is Memorial Day here in the US, I thought I would share some of that info and ponder to consequences of coffee for our troops.

So first, let me redefine "major role." Coffee did not ever win a battle. No coffee bean jumped up and resolved the civil war. The role that it played was on the human level, with the individual. Revolutionary and Civil war soldiers would save their fire starting materials for coffee. It was their one refuge. Marching long days through freezing conditions, the only thing they had to look forward to was coffee. In the more modern wars, coffee remained the drink that helped get troops through their time. The…

First Attempt at Roasting

I have tried my hand at roasting for the first time. It was a good learning experience on both roasting and the coffee I drink.

I am not exactly a rich man, so I am starting with the old school: Pan Roasting. Everything I read said that it makes terrible coffee, but I wasn't buying it. The Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony, that continues to this day, is done by pan roasting. I told myself that there has to be some merit in pan roasting. (The question by the end will be is the value worth the cost. Hint: it's not.)

I got my wok and turkey fryer out. I used a wok because I thought the beans would move better in the wok. I immediately recognized the issue with using a wok. The center was 600°F, an inch out was 400°F and the top was 200°F. Right off the bat, I had no consistent cooking surface, and my cooking surface could drop 100° with a strong gust of wind.

Charlton's Coffeehouse

My wife and I recently made a trip to Colonial Williamsburg, Va. Having just started my blog, I thought, "Great! An opportunity to review some coffee shops outside of Az." The coffee shops I went to were...underwhelming. I even went to a shop that did their own roasting in house, but they somehow managed to serve a flavorless coffee. There was one surprisingly delicious cup of coffee and it came from the most unexpected place.

Adding Value

I am an operations person, so I tend to like things that add value. If something doesn't add value, I want to "lean" it out (remove it for efficiency). How does that relate to coffee?

Let's be real, coffee is just dirty water to majority of Americans. We have had a surge in specialty coffee that is MUCH better (in every way) then what our parents drank. So why do people still buy coffee at Circle K (or other gas stations)? My position is that they do not see the value in specialty coffee.

Vacation time!

I won't have any posts till next Thursday because my wife and I are going on vacation. I hope to find at least 1 great coffee shop in the Williamsburg area.

Review of Cafe Sarajevo

My buddy and I have been talking coffee for a while and we often discuss the different types of coffee. He spent quite a few years in Brazil and tells me how they brewed it there. The only cultural coffee I knew of was Turkish coffee, so I decided to seek some out.
Living in Arizona, I have a very difficult time finding good cultural experiences. They are here, but they are in hidden pockets, and often in bad parts of town. I finally found a place that served Turkish coffee, Cafe Sarajevo (http://www.yelp.com/biz/caffe-sarajevo-phoenix). It was rated 4.5 stars on Yelp and the pictures looked great, so my friend and our families met for dinner and coffee.

What is a coffee shop?

I have been a coffee drinker for about 10 years now. A little while ago I decided to take an idea of a coffee shop and run with it, see where it goes. I made it a few weeks in and realized I had no idea what to do. Frustrated with not being able to wiggle my nose and make myself awesome, I decided to slow down and start learning more about coffee. I want to make sure that coffee is something I'm passionate about through and through, make sure this isn't just a phase (which I may be prone to).

SO...I went to my local library to get a couple of books. One is 500 pages long and the other is a recipe book. *sigh* There are not a lot of options in the library circulation, at least here in Az. I decided to start with the smaller one, the recipe book. It is Starbucks Passion for Coffee by Dave Olsen, Senior VP for Starbucks at time of publishing.

Review of The Mighty Cup and Spoon

My wife and I were in Old Town Glendale, Az at a cool taco shop that had a beautiful mosaic in the front and was full of great Mexican art (food was good too). I was in the mood to check out a coffee shop and get my first review up. Old Town Glendale is a neat little spot. It is in a very old part of town (as its name would imply) and much of the area is run down. There is a cool pocket of good restaurants and an artsy vibe. A really great place for a cool coffee shop.

I hopped onto Yelp and picked the only open coffee shop (economy has been hard on mom and pop shops in Az) and thumbed through the pics (http://www.yelp.com/biz/mighty-cup-glendale). Looked interesting enough. It had a "New Times Favorite Coffee Shop" poster. Surely that applies to the coffee too, right?

It was a quick drive from the restaurant. Parking was open and easily accessible. The approach wasn't quite and enticing as I would have liked, but I was willing to hold judgment until I had the coffee.


I …

Overwhelmed by Science in Coffee

I coincidentally began my Twitter account just before the SCAA Symposium.It looks like a fantastic event. I also wonder if I would be completely overwhelmed by the collective knowledge in that building.

My current approach to coffee is fairly primitive, “Me like,” or, “Me no like.” I feel, at times, like I am a tadpole trying to push my evolution onto the sand while others are building the Tower of Babel. I read blog posts and picture them in lab coats and pocket protectors instead of aprons. They can be very difficult for me to follow because many of these posts are written with assumptions about coffee that I have not yet established. *
For example, I just learned that the ideal cup extracts only the first 20% of the grounds which results in a 1.4% solution (please correct me if I am wrong because I am assuming brew strength is equal to the percentage of coffee in the solution). I read that and instantly my eyes glazed. Panic filled my heart and I flashed back to Chemistry 151, freshm…

Intro

Hello, Coffee World!

I have a dream of owning my own coffee shop one day. This blog is my first step.

I was first introduced to coffee by my father and his "Cowboy Coffee." When we went camping my father would scoop coffee directly into the bottom of a coffee pot, fill it with water and put it in the coals. As a child, I normally opted for hot chocolate. As I got older and it became more difficult to wake up before sun rise, I started taking coffee. This is where I coined the phrase, "Crunchy Coffee." The coffee was strong, thick enough to float a horse shoe (as my father would say) and had a lot of grounds in it (no filter).

When I was in my early 20's I got a job working at Starbucks. I loved this job. I had been working in restaurants since I was 15 and love service industry. Starbucks allowed me to connect with people in a different way. I also learned that I love the process of serving customers. I eagerly accepted the challenge of 120 drinks in 30 minutes…