We are extremely excited to announce that we are now donating 10% of the profits of every bag of coffee that's purchased, to a scholarship for a graduating high school student facilitated through the Carpinteria Education Foundation. This scholarship will be provided to a high school senior who has been actively involved in the Carpinteria After School Programs through Elementary, Middle, and High School.
Prior to this opportunity, we were donating a portion of our profits to Old Skool Cafe in San Francisco, a youth led youth run cafe (see below blog post). However, we are very excited to shift focus to the youth of our wonderful Carpinteria community. Although we are still far from our long term goal of opening a cafe, we feel so blessed to be able to financially support a student who has come up through the Carpinteria After School Programs!
Blessed with all of the orders that have been placed lately. The coffee subscriptions have been a good addition to our website. We'd love to hear feedback from those interested in a subscription or those who are on a subscription right now. We've been doing most our roasting in the evenings after work or once the baby is asleep. Thankful for the continued support!
A lot of the work that goes into your morning cup of coffee goes unnoticed. All of your coffee was hand-picked, most likely by a family farm, de-pulped, washed, sorted, fermented, dried, packaged, shipped, distributed, roasted, cupped, packaged, ground and THEN it was ready for consumption. Pretty amazing!!
Currently, we are learning lots of new things about the business world. Learning a lot about frustrations, set backs, and how permitting will never be a fun thing to do..... ever. We are also experiencing the joys of little victories, but most importantly, about the necessity of perseverance. We are slowly understanding how to look at each set back and challenge not as an unimaginably tall mountain, but as an opportunity to persevere through a obstacle that inevitably has made people quit in the past.
Our Recent Victories:
1. We were able to purchase our first miniature sized commercial roaster! This is a big step because it will allow us to roast roughly 16-18 pounds of coffee an hour instead of 2 pounds :). Since I will start working at Carpinteria High School as the After School Program Director in a few weeks, this will allow me to roast bigger quantities 1-2 times a week instead of small quantities 6 times a week. This roaster still allows us to roast in small batches, the turn around is simply much quicker.
2. We landed our first wholesale account at a beautiful little store called "Industry Home" near State Street on De La Guerra in Santa Barbara. With this partnership, our coffee will be available at a local store for the first time! We also will be doing occasional pop up shops and maybe even a "Coffee Brewing Education" class on various ways to brew delicious coffee! The best part about this is that the owners of the store are amazing people and we are looking forward to developing a long lasting partnership with them.
3. Lastly, the most important victory is that we recently found out we have a little boy on the way! I constantly daydream about this little guy hanging out in the Roastery with me alongside my wife. Sometimes I get so excited that I have to stop thinking about it in order to stop myself from excitement overload.
For those who live in Santa Barbara, you probably are aware of the up and coming zone by "The Mill" on Haley Street. They are calling this the "up and coming Funk Zone". Needless to say, we recently were approached by one of the property managers who wants us to house our new coffee roaster in the back area of the space! Essentially we would be located right next to the new juicer, "Ah Juice".
Though that location could be really exciting, we have a few more options of places to house our roaster, so we are trying to weigh our options and make the best decision for the business at this time!
We are trying to sell as much coffee as humanly possible with the resources we have right now in order to be profitable enough to hire an apprentice coffee roaster that will spend time roasting coffee with me at the roastery! I love the idea of working alongside youth, teaching life skills and job skills, so we are praying for this opportunity to arise soon! Our vision for the near future is to have a few apprentice positions that will learn the craft, acquire job skills, and talk life over long hours of roasting.
Please join us in prayer for more wholesale accounts and God given opportunities!
Yesterday Katherine and I got the chance to visit Good Land Organics Coffee Farm in Goleta, CA. It is family owned farm and also the northern most coffee farm in North America. We got the chance to learn about the process that it takes to get coffee from the tree to the cup. The picture above shows what a coffee cherry looks like while its growing. Once the cherry is ripe (a good cherry will take 10-12 months before it is ready to harvest), it is hand picked from the tree. Each cherry contains two seeds (what people call "beans") unless one seed took all the nutrients throughout the process. If only one seed survived, it grows alone and is known as a "peaberry". Peaberry coffees are round all the way around instead of a semi circle (typical coffee seed).
From there the ripe cherries are put in the "de-pulper" where the outside red skin is removed and a slimy slippery textured coffee seed remains. This process is done on the same exact day as the harvesting of the cherries in order to prevent molding and ensure a fresh cherry. I didn't get a picture of the fermentation process but that is what comes next. After the cherries are pulped, the seeds are fermented (washed process coffee). The point of the fermentation process is to remove the slippery sugary layer on the outside of the coffee seed. While the seeds are fermenting, the "floating seeds" are removed and the seeds at the bottom of the fermenting tank are put out to dry.
Here the coffee seeds are set out to dry for 7-14 days. There are many different processes in which coffee is dried before it is roasted. The process we got to see is the "Washed Process". This is the fermentation process where coffee is "washed" and set out to dry. Another common process is the "dry process". Ethiopian coffees are commonly the result of a "dry process" in which the coffee cherry is set out to dry before it is pulped. The result is a raisin looking cherry that is very sweet. This is why Ethiopian Yirga Cheffe coffees are very inconsistent in color (before and after roasting).
After letting the coffee seeds dry for 7-14 days it is ready for "REPOSO", also known as the resting period. The coffee seeds will rest for 2 to 3 months before it is ready for transit or roasting. This is the form of the coffee we receive here at Penny Wagon Coffee Roasters. But as you can see, there is so much work and labor that goes into the process before the roasting. If not meticulously cared for before the roasting process, the result will still be a poor cup of coffee.
This is the final product that you receive at your door. However we forget about how much work goes into the process before we get our coffee. As you can see on this bag of Good Land Organic Coffee, the harvest date was on 7/1/14. This is almost a year before it was roasted. There is so much love and care that these coffee farms put into growing, picking, washing, and resting that we do not see. A lot of the time we try and find the cheapest coffee we can and forget that the price of the coffee is also reflecting the wages we pay those who are harvesting our coffee. Many small farmers in central america are working on wages of less than 2 dollars a day. Today we got a small glimpse into how much work these farmers put into creating the drink 75% of American's consume every morning. We bought this 5 oz bag of coffee for 30 dollars for Good Lands Organics. You might read that and say "30 dollars, are you crazy?". Yet a lot of people are willing to buy a 100 dollar bottle of wine and get 5 maybe 6 glasses out of it. We got a chance to a have a cup today and it was well worth what we paid for. More importantly, we feel blessed to be able to support this farm and all the work their family puts into making a great product. It was fun watching their two little boys and one girl run around the farm teaching all of us all about how to pick, de-pulp, and ferment the coffee. We hope that each person that drinks our coffee will become aware of the hard work and love that many small farm growers put into making your daily cup of coffee. It is worth a higher price than we charge, because so many workers are being underpaid for the work they put into this process.
If you are in the Santa Barbara area, please go visit Good Land Organics Farm and support them! It is a once in a life time experience where you will get a chance to develop a sincere appreciation for the work that goes into putting that delicious drink in your system.
Hope you are all having a happy new year!
It has been a few weeks since our last blog post, so we are really excited about this one! As most of you know, we are not yet to a point in our business where we can open our own coffee shop, but we are trusting in God's perfect timing. In the meantime, we have prayerfully decided the organization we will be donating a portion of our proceeds to.
We are excited to announce and very blessed to be able to donate 10% of our proceeds to Old Skool Cafe, a high end youth-run supper club in San Francisco, California! After sharing our vision with a lot of friends and family, our great friend Greg Swanson advised us to look into Old Skool Cafe in San Francisco. Greg heard about the cafe when going on "Westmont in San Francisco", which is an abroad program offered by Westmont College. Watch the video here! It outlines the vision of Old Skool Cafe under the leadership of fellow Westmont alum Teresa Goines. For those that are wondering, "The Westmont Mafia" is a real thing and we are incredibly blessed to be part of such a big supportive network of Westmont alumni.
We are very excited to continue donating 10% of our profit to Old Skool because their vision is so similar to ours and they are changing the lives of the youth through lasting relationship. It truly reflects the heart of Jesus. We are prayerful that we will also be able to live out this mission in Carpinteria, CA (God willing).
So to recap, as of today, 10% of every purchase you make from Penny Wagon will go to Old Skool Cafe! If this is a real passion of yours, please consider donating directly to Old Skool Cafe by clicking HERE.
Kat and Dave
P.S. As Kat and I were making our first donation to Old Skool we couldn't help but think, "Wow, how cool is it that we get to do something we love, and give away money at the same time!?"
Thank you so much for all of your support thus far, making all of this possible. We feel truly blessed by all the love!
WHERE WE ARE..
With 2014 coming to a close, we are very grateful for all the support we have gotten from all of our customers throughout the holiday season. We were blown away with all the orders that were placed during the holiday season, it kept us very busy! As we enter into the 2015 year, we are brainstorming ways to keep business going as it has slowed down a little bit during the couple weeks following Christmas. We are in a very interesting spot right now because we are still operating out of our apartment so we don't have enough space to upgrade to a bigger roaster. The inability to house a bigger roaster is keeping us from approaching local restaurants and churches to ask if we could get a shot at being their coffee providers.
WHERE WE ARE GOING...
We are searching for a place with a garage that could house a 5 kilo roaster and even toying with the idea of renting out some space at a local Carpinteria business that would rent us some space. With both Kat and I working full time jobs, we are willing and wanting to put in as much time as we need on top of our 40 hour work weeks to keep our momentum going. I recently contacted the director of the local farmers market to see if their was any potential for us to get a spot in a weekend farmers market in Santa Barbara but unfortunately have not heard back yet. Today I contacted a real estate agent in charge of some local retail spaces to see if he knew of any place that might be willing to rent some space out for a larger coffee roaster.
IN THE MEANTIME...
We know that right now we clearly are not ready to open a coffee house and so in the interim we need to be able to roast and sell a ton of coffee in order to take another step towards the storefront. Our ultimate goal is to be able to employ "at-risk" and foster youth but we know there are many steps in between. We are currently researching already established organizations that are working with this type of population that we could donate a percentage of all our sales to while we journey towards a storefront. We know this is still the very beginning of this big adventure but are excited to see what God has in store for Penny Wagon.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
We ask you to partner with us in prayer that God might provide a "deal of the century" type space for our next step. In the meantime, tell your friends and family about our vision, share us on instagram and facebook, and most importantly, buy some craft coffee to keep this vision alive!
I am becoming more and more aware of the rarity it is to encounter positive consistency in the world we live in. I add "positive" in front of consistency because I can think of plenty of things that can be considered consistently negative or altogether inconsistent. I am unfortunately reminded of Aldous Huxley's quote, "Consistency is contrary to nature, contrary to life. The only completely consistent people are dead". I fear that this apparently inevitable norm is at the root of all anxieties, insecurities, trust issues, and disappointments we humans experience here on earth. It is no mystery why so many people struggle with anxiety, self-esteem, or perpetually find themselves in a state of timidity. Of course there is the type of anxiety and depression that results from an imbalance in the millions of neurotransmitters that find their home in our brains. But whether it is due to a deficit in serotonin levels or a result of natural events, our anxiety is often triggered by the inconsistencies in life. We live in a world that is constantly changing: we are changing, our relationships are changing, and people tend to be coming and going. For a lot of us, it seems more often than not that people are "going" or have simply never arrived. We all know people who have been let down by their loved ones. More likely than not, we have been that person who has been let down at some point. And if we are being honest, we have all let down those who we love most as well. We have said things that we wish we wouldn't have, we wish we were there in times we weren't, and we have done things that don't match up with the person we really want to be. All of this inconsistency is a detriment to our relationships, especially the ones with the people we love most. It takes YEARS to develop trust with someone, and unfortunately takes SECONDS to break. This leaves virtually everyone with the anxieties and insecurities that are all too familiar. We get scared that the ones we love most will let us down and that there will be times that they wont be there when we want them to. And the truth is that THEY WILL LET US DOWN. Why? Because we are human, it is in our character.
I used to struggle immensely with the idea that a God so perfect could love somebody so flawed like myself. I believe the difficulty came with trying to fathom how his His love could stay the same towards me every single day and not be contingent on "how many sins I've committed that day". Luckily we don't have a God that is bound by the inconsistencies we experience in every other relationship we have on earth. Our Lord is as consistent as it gets. "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8). For many of us that is almost impossible to grasp because we have never experienced a day of consistency in our lives. But with Jesus, "there is no variation or shadow due to change" (James 1:17). Our love and way we treat one another all to often changes like shifting shadows, and this leaves us hesitant to allow ourselves to love and trust those around us. So what now? What do we do with the inevitable inconsistencies we give out and receive?
OWN THEM. As humans we naturally try to cover up our flaws and put on a "perfect identify". We are slow to apologize and ask for forgiveness because that entails admitting that we are not perfect. We are all scared that if we vocalized something we've done, or "if you truly knew who I was", that "there is no way that you could still love me". The ironic thing is that owning your flaws and accepting the fact that WE WILL OFFEND EACH OTHER will actually bring us all into closer relationship. And so if we are going to be quick to ask for forgiveness, we need to be....
QUICK TO FORGIVE. What better way can you reflect Christ to somebody than to look at their past and current flaws and offenses in the eye and say "I still love you through that". Because that is our biggest fear right? That if someone really knew who we were, that there is no way they would love us. I've got some great news, God knows EXACTLY who you are, and EXACTLY what you've done and every thought you have had, and "so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not parish but have eternal life". And the even better news is that He loves us exactly where we are at, but loves us too much to leave us there.
We have the opportunity here on earth to reflect Christ's consistency to one another, to meet each other where we are in our sin, and love each other too much to allow each other to remain in sin. God can use our human inconsistencies for his Glory if we are willing to admit them.
So whereas Huxley's quote does raise an interesting idea, we can refute it with the knowledge that our Lord and Savior has consistently been the same yesterday, today, and forever and is very much alive.
The holidays can be a very painful time because it is often associated with family get together's and can be a reminder of the inconsistencies we have experienced from our loved ones. So this Christmas be quick to admit offense and quick to forgive those around you. What better way to reflect Christ to the ones you love.
*And buy consistently roasted coffee beans from us so we can create a consistent job for those whose lives have been plagued by inconsistency :) (Don't let this last sentence ruin it all for you) :)