[Homeroast] OT: And then there were three....

Michael espressoperson at gmail.com
Thu Jun 3 21:09:13 CDT 2010

Hey miKe,

What an amazing whirlwind of a journey you've been on these last few  
years. Thanks for continuing to share your story with us. Wishing you  
and Bryan breakthrough success with Java Nation.

On Jun 2, 2010, at 11:33 AM, miKe mcKoffee wrote:

> I know a few have been following my exploits taking coffee  
> professional the
> last couple years. At approximately 5pm last Friday finalized  
> closing the
> deal on coffeehouse number three. Java Nation Beaverton, OR is now  
> fully
> owned by Nor'West Coffee. I'll have to revise my original 10 year  
> business
> plan of opening 5 to 6 coffeehouses, one every 2 years, in Clark  
> County, WA.
> My original vision was too limited being still impaired by lingering  
> fears
> of going head to head with Portland's Stumptown on their home turf.  
> The
> gloves are off! Hairbender has already been replaced by Delirium as  
> the main
> espresso at Java Nation Beaverton and customer feedback has been  
> excellent.
> In just two days I've already heard from some customers what I've  
> heard many
> many times before in Clark County, that's the best latte, cappuccino  
> etc.
> I've ever had.
> My blinders are off. Most likely Nor'West Coffee will be rebranded  
> as Java
> Nation soon. Plans are already in motion for the remodel and July  
> 5th Grand
> Re-Opening of downtown Vancouver's Paradise Café as Java Nation.  
> Java Nation
> has a much more marketable ring to it than Nor'West Coffee thinking  
> beyond
> the borders of Clark County or even the borders of Washington and  
> Oregon.
> There are no limits other than those I impose on myself!
> Many of you have known Bryan for some time. Bry has been a true God  
> send.
> I'd like to share with you a letter I just sent to my staff. (Via  
> our own
> private staff email list that operates just like this one! Just  
> discovered I
> had it offered by my domain host recently)
> ***
> Hi Gang,
> Don't recall if I ever officially informed you of Bryan Wray's  
> status, other
> than his biz cards saying Assistant Bean. :)
> Bry is not an employee of Nor'West Coffee, he is a co-owner of  
> Nor'West
> Coffee. Bryan is an exceptional young man who's coffee career I've  
> followed
> for six or seven years from afar. We'd gotten to know each other  
> over the
> years via various online coffee forums. Early last Fall I posted on BX
> (BX=Barista Exchange for those of you who aren't on that forum, highly
> suggest it), anyway I'd posted I was looking for a coffee  
> professional to
> join the team of my young company. Being on the outskirts of the  
> heart of
> EspressoDom (Portland of course, not Seattle, depending on who you're
> talking to) I fully expected to hear from serious coffee people near  
> by. Yet
> almost immediately after posting on BX Bryan contacted me. Strangely  
> (to me)
> I was also contacted by someone from Ithaca New York. Over the  
> course of a
> number of weeks Bry and I exchanged many lengthy emails and phone  
> calls. A
> seemingly insane plan ensued. There had been virtually no discussion  
> of
> "what will I be paid" etc. it was about our visions and dreams of  
> the future
> in coffee. Bottom line Bry quit his Head Barista position at a place  
> he'd
> helped build from the ground up because he'd come to realize his  
> coffee
> journey would never go where he wanted it to go there. He simply  
> gave his
> notice, tied up affairs in Michigan and drove cross country to help me
> finish the build out of the St Johns Roastery Coffeehouse arriving  
> about 8pm
> or so December 18th. He called about an hour out, of course I was  
> working on
> the build out. I asked if he wanted to go to our house or meet at the
> Roastery, Roastery it is. I called Debi and had here pick up pizza  
> and head
> over to join us. We met, munched, talked, surveyed the disaster area  
> in
> progress, dreamed, dove back into working on the build out as Debi  
> left for
> home to go to bed. From that night Friday Dec 18th 'til we opened my  
> 2nd
> coffeehouse New Year's Day we worked side by side no kidding  
> averaging 20
> hour days. Working on the build out almost round the clock, while I  
> split my
> time on the build out and keeping our downtown Vancouver location  
> Paradise
> Café running doing the shopping and roasting for there and wholesale
> accounts. I've never seen anyone work as hard or long or tirelessly  
> other
> than myself. I've been cloned! And at this stage of the game Bry and  
> I had
> still had no formal or even informal discussions of monetary  
> compensation
> other than I was broke pouring every cent I could beg or borrow into  
> the
> build out and he kept saying doesn't matter, it's about the coffee  
> and it'll
> work out eventually! Almost six months later Bry still hasn't been  
> paid or
> asked for a dime. No he isn't living in his car and going hungry, he  
> was and
> still is living with us in our spare bedroom. And he gets some shift  
> tips
> from Paradise of course and all tips at the Roastery Coffeehouse  
> whether I'm
> working there too or not. Truth be told he has truly become the son  
> we never
> could have. While we still haven't gotten the formal paperwork drawn  
> up Bry
> is 25% owner of Nor'West Coffee. Because I say so and my word is my  
> bond.
> And when Debi & I both continue our eternal journey beyond this  
> temporal
> realm he will inherit full ownership. I had actually just started on
> legalese paperwork when this Java Nation whirlwind first hit me May  
> 4th so
> it's gotten side burnered! While Bry may be young of years he is a  
> force of
> nature, wise beyond his years and a phenomenal coffee talent. Sure  
> he's
> young and has a lot to learn, and he knows it. Which is one of the  
> many
> reasons I respect him so much! I'm gittin to be an old fart yet one  
> thing I
> unequivocally know is the more I know the more I know I don't know.  
> And it's
> especially true in coffee.
> Some might say Bryan is "lucky" to be given 25% ownership of a young,
> growing, surviving the recession on the verge of really thriving  
> coffee
> business at such a young age. Wrong. Luck is when hard work and  
> opportunity
> meet. Luck is toiling endlessly to exhaustion and beyond with no  
> thought of
> recompense other than the far distant possible dream of success, and  
> in his
> case success of an enterprise that wasn't even his! Luck is working  
> like you
> own it around the clock when you don't own it and then it happens,  
> now you
> own it too. Bryan has been "given" nothing, his freely given sweat  
> equity is
> being rewarded. It's a truly rare individual who'd have the guts and  
> vision
> to leave his family and friends moving across the country to join my  
> young
> and struggling company without even a promise of minimum wage! Simply
> because he shared my vision. We are both INSANE be warned!
> But insane in a good way. One definition of insanity is doing the  
> same thing
> over and over and expecting different results. Not that kind of  
> insane.
> Cubicles are full of that type of insane. Dreams don't come true in
> cubicles, merely bare survival. No, the kind of insane that doesn't  
> follow
> the masses. The kind of insane that doesn't believe it when someone  
> says
> something isn't possible. The kind of insane that would rather sweat  
> blood
> than quit even when the goal seems a far off haze. The kind of  
> insane that
> doesn't know when to quit but instead does what needs doing, whether  
> you
> feel like it or not, whether you feel like you're on your last  
> breath or
> not.
> Paradise Café has seen some rough times during this recession yet  
> we've
> persevered and kept the doors open. I thank you all for the  
> continual hard
> work you do. We're not out of the woods yet but the recession seems  
> to have
> bottomed out and beginning it's slow recovery. Yet insanity would be
> continuing a business model for Paradise Café that hasn't really  
> worked for
> a decade under my and two previous ownerships. The work flow layout  
> is nigh
> on to impossible to be efficient and profitable, especially when it  
> comes to
> food. I think we all agree on this! Your management team has been over
> loaded beyond belief lately with the whirl wind acquisition of Java  
> Nation
> Beaverton and will continue to be for some time getting it pulled  
> out of the
> quagmire it had been run into, but rest assured YOU are not being  
> ignored!
> One of the big hurdles in our plans for re-launching Paradise Café  
> has been
> jumped, finally finding a dual zone combination deli/pastry case at  
> a great
> price. Our plans are still to have the front bar redone  
> incorporating the
> deli case, painting and generally making us look and be new for a  
> Grand
> Re-Opening July 5th. AND you will no longer be working for Paradise  
> Café. No
> worries, you'll still have your jobs! July 5th Paradise Café will die
> forever and be reborn as Java Nation. No longer will you have  
> customers
> confusing us with Paradise Bakery or Paradise Pizza. No more where's  
> the
> hamburgers, fries, omeletes or pancakes! We ain't no greasy spoon  
> joint so
> kickin' the word café out the door! We are a high quality coffee  
> centric
> company (hell let's face it, we're fanatics:) that also offers some  
> food,
> not the other way around.
> Hold on to your hats, Java Nation Vancouver will finally fully  
> become Clark
> County's shining star of the Coffee Culinary World. Prepare to get  
> slammed!
> You're a great team. Struggle on just a bit longer with the old ways  
> of
> Paradise Café, soon they'll be put to rest forever. Time of her Wake  
> to be
> announced at a future time:)
> ***
> If you've read this far you're as nuts as I am :) Have a Great day!
> Slave to the Bean miKe mcKoffee
> www.NorwestCoffee.com
> URL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer, some recipes etc:
> http://www.mckoffee.com/
> Ultimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know  
> I must
> first not know. And in knowing know I know not. Each Personal  
> enlightenment
> found exploring the many divergent foot steps of Those who have gone  
> before.
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espressoperson at gmail.com

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