I’ve been home, thinking too much.

27 Dec

As of 4:30 PM, on Monday, Dec. 22, my flight… that is, flight 569 from LAX to PDX was still scheduled to take off and arrive on time. I was partially in shock. I’d been watching flight for days before hand, simply hoping somehow I’d be taken away from Los Angeles for Christmas. Our departure time came and went, and it was evident this would not so easily be the case. by 5 PM, the airline had announced my flight as canceled. The came shortly after that the next available flight for PDX was not until the 31st.

As you may have seen from my previous post, I like Christmas. I like the parts of Christmas that you don’t spend with the people you work with. I like the part that pulls me away from coffee. It’s the part that forces us to be with family and to simply take a day and relax. These are things that are not synonymous with Los Angeles. However, the past few days couldn’t have gone much better. I’ve consoled myself by eating at one of the best restaurants in Los Angeles… and as if that wasn’t enough, I decided to make Christmas Eve dinner… including roasted duck filled with an apple and sausage stuffing. Some absinthe to top it all off, and I’ve been sitting pretty.

I’ve had some time to think. I’ve been formulating ideas for the Western Regional… not so much new ideas, but how to make up for the short amount of time I’ve now given myself to fully prepare. I’ve been thinking about ways to keep myself in shape… eating this much should make one question their physical shape. I’ve even been working on a financial plan for the first quarter. After all, the USBC and the WBC are right around the corner, and as great as UStream is, Ustream doesn’t take you to the parties. Nor does it put the coffee on your palate.

I’ve been thinking about home brewing beer. I was thinking about the first home brew kit my friends and I ever purchased. It was the perfect kit. It gave us everything we needed and nothing that was excessive. There were two set of instructions… one for general brew guides and one set that was specific to the brew we were trying to make. We had all kinds of odds and ends, and we had fun… In the end, the first batch was delicious. It was a lovely, balanced American Heffeweizen.

I think as coffee retailers, more of us should consider these kits. I walked in and I spent $180 to brew beer. I went home understanding how to do it, and how to have fun doing it. I think that to really push people along on understanding how to enjoy a fine COE coffee, or some crazy micro-lot, we should start working on easier ways to market and push home brewing kits. I’ve had the idea for awhile, of pitching the grinder as the place where it all starts. I like the idea of giving a 15-20% discount on a brew method when someone buys a grinder. I think it sets the priorities straight in a customers mind.

Coffee people like to talk up and down about how much coffee is like wine… The problem is you can’t run home and immediately rip open a bag of coffee and enjoy it. It must be brewed. I think 2009 needs to be a year of less throwing around our language (i.e. always talking varietals, processing, cupping, and all kinds of obnoxious descriptors that soar over peoples heads) and way more simply teaching people how to make coffee themselves.

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2 Responses to “I’ve been home, thinking too much.”

  1. Doug Zell December 27, 2008 at 4:49 am #

    Ryan,

    Excellent, thoughtful post. It IS after all about making great coffee accessible, democratic, and easily digestible. As it stands we do sell the items to brew great coffee at home, but you are EXACTLY right, they are sold as parts and not as an unintimidating precisely prescriptive kit. I am committed to offering these “kits” in our store. Nice work. And sorry about the flight cancellation. I’ll see you in Los Angeles next week.

    Doug

  2. James Hoffmann December 27, 2008 at 5:24 pm #

    ” I think 2009 needs to be a year of less throwing around our language (i.e. always talking varietals, processing, cupping, and all kinds of obnoxious descriptors that soar over peoples heads) and way more simply teaching people how to make coffee themselves.”

    I could not agree more!

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