Sunday, December 30, 2007

2008 stuff

yes, he still blogs.

no, he has not died.

yes, he still thinks about good blog topics and how to develop them.

no, he has not been ignoring you.

yes, 2008 will spell the return of the brown blogger in his new and improved, er, way. (don't know why especially it will be "new and improved" other than that we're always working to get better over at brown.)

anyways, i thought about a year in review but someone already beat me to it. then i thought about a top ten list but a certain other "across the ponder" stole the first punch. darn brits. so this entry will just be what i personally and professionally hope to see happen in 2008.

in no particular order...

  • i hope to expand my current roster of coffees that are purchased directly from the farm from about 20% to over 50%. baby steps, of course, and all that, but it's important to build that relationship. and since brown is building its volume it begins to make more sense to start talking in quantities that wouldn't just make farmers laugh. they may still laugh; just less.
  • getting this roasterie/warehouse/office/lab finished is key to expanding out operations. at this stage, barring inspection catastrophe or unforeseen obstacles, we should be finished with our refurb and have test fired big brown and have her ready to go into full production. this (setting up the new roaster) has taken longer than i had anticpated, primarily due to the fact that we are spitballing at best and have gotten to this point by sheer trial and error, without graphs or instruction manuals to guide us. no complaining. just it is what it is and we will lick this problem mid-january.
  • this is the year brown will become a member of the coe. i have no illusions brown will swoop in and steal a prized auction coffee that will shock the world. no, no. not my intent. basically we just want to put our money where our mouth is and since we finally are faced with the prospect of having some spare money...
  • i'll be traveling again in 2008. not sure where but i have my eye on el salvador and possibly even africa. but we'll see what pans out.
  • more stuff to buy. shirts. brewers. grinders. developing your market and so forth.
there's more to the story. maybe you haven't banished me from your feedreader and you'll stick around to see it unfold. 2

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Tuesday, December 25, 2007


email me if you want a homemade brown shirt. i cannot promise you a particular shirt color, ink color, or that i'll have your size. but hey, for $12 including s/h, what've you got to lose? plus, j.r. did his best to model these in his most american apparel-ish fashionisto stances.

brownshirt [AT] browncoffeeco [DOT] com

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

moving along

oh dear Lord it's been a long time since i've updated this blog. in my defense, life here has been arriving fast and furious and we are in that three month period i predicted two months ago would be, well, fast and furious. the issues right now over at brown are mostly the bottleneck created by the volume of coffee needing to be roasted through our little tabletop roaster (affectionately known as 'little brown') as we await the final touches to be put on 'big brown.' when you have to roast so long so many days out to the week the fun of blogging just isn't.

but let's not dwell on the negative. the good news is we closed on our new roasterie/warehouse/lab across town and this week will see us making our big plans to renovate and build out to suit our needs. our needs aren't very elaborate right now, owing mostly to the fact that we are still a tiny company with a very focused market. but that space will help us take brown to the next level, both in terms of expanding our reach in our current markets (more volume to more customers) as well as to branch strategically into new areas (already we have begun our first toe dip into reselling allied products). and it will be refreshing to be back in a dedicated commercial storage space where trucks can pull up and deliver the goods, instead of me raking out the back two rows of the van and picking up pallets of coffee at the local freight terminals.

as i said, our plans are simple for our new space. we will store and roast beans there; keep retail and related wholesale inventory there (brewers, shirts, bags, boxes, etc.); i will office there; the kids will have a play/learning space there (my wife and i homeschool our children); and i will also build out a lab for espresso play and cupping with eventual regular public cuppings. while we will not be a retail space, we will likely have some dedicated display space and locals will be able to stop in and purchase whole beans and maybe talk a little coffee talk if i'm able.

here are some pics of the space (and the printerie that is behind our building) on my flickr site. you have to scroll through quite a few macro shots of old printing machines first before you get to the 'before' pictures of what the space currently looks like. just keep telling yourself, "these are the 'before' shots."

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