I think it’s obvious that I am slowing down, at least as far as posting here goes. Last year I was a vendor at three different farmers’ markets, acting as Chair of the Board of Directors at one, market manager at another and the third just as a vendor. That was a lot of work for an old guy. This year my plans are a little more modest. I might go to one market as a vendor and forget about all the stress of organizing vendors.
I have been rationalizing my stock since last summer. I would love to offer a selection of higher end coffees but not enough people in my little part of Ontario are adventurous to try them nor practice ostentatious consumption in their diet. Who knows, maybe this latest screw-up by Tim Hortens over the minimum wage increase will get more people to look at good tasting options to their usually Timmies Double-Double. If that happens then maybe I can bring back the Cuban or Galapagos Island coffees….but I don’t think I will even carry the Jamaican Blue Mountain or Kopi Luwac again. So I will be picking up a small selection of cost effective coffees at my supplier in Montreal next week.
Over the winter I will be attending a few events to provide coffee service and sell some coffee while I’m there. The wine and cheese events at Upper Canada Creamery are a blast and surprisingly I not only provide the coffee but quite a few people are buying. There are small business events and charitable events galore over the next few months and I plan to be at them all spreading the gospel of fresh roasted coffee.
They spelled Mr. Coffey wrong …..but you get the drift.
It has been a long and busy summer …… and wet. Yes it was wet most of the summer in this part of Canada. This year I lost my mind and decided to do three different farmers’ markets. One as just a vendor, one I was “volen-told” to be the chair of the board of directors and the third, a Wednesday market, I started from scratch. And that is my excuse for not keeping up on my coffee info blog.
My cold brewed ice coffee sold very well at the markets as did our iced green ginger tea. The season for iced coffee is pretty much done now so I won’t have to schedule that task now until next summer. We will continue to make the iced green tea but mostly for our own consumption. My wife makes the iced tea so I use the term “we” when discussing it.
And now for the stock adjustment topic, I have actually run out of stock on several of my premium coffees and have to do some soul searching to decide if I am still going to carry all of them. The coffees are delicious but are very low volume sales so I am not going to stock them over the winter. Once next summer comes around I will reconsider adding more premium coffees.
So the coffees I am not going to re-stock are: Cuban Crystal Mountain, Galapagos Island, Papua New Guinea, Maui Mocka, Hawaii Yellow Caturra and Espresso Decaf Blend. (I know, I don’t understand Espresso Decaf either but the customer is always right, until they stop buying it.)
That being said, if a customer requests a particular coffee and is committed to buying a minimum volume, I will do everything I can to accommodate them. As usual is some coffee becomes available that tickles my fancy, flavour and cost, then you will see it on my price list.
After filling out my production records today I realized that I have completed over 2000 roasts on my little efficient Solar Roaster. When I bought the roaster in 2012 I didn’t really think I would be using it this long. Sure, I have had a couple of problems with electric coils but that was mostly because of a poorly designed ventilation system….and operator error. Just another reason to celebrate this year, 10 years roasting in Eastern Ontario and 5 years of roasting with my efficient electric Solar Roaster.
I know this sounds like an ad for the company that makes the Solar Roaster but you have to give credit where credit is due.
Once again it is farmers’ market season and we are attending 3 different markets this year. It has not been particularly pleasant weather wise but people depend on me to provide fresh roasted coffee and fresh brewed cuppas. I will brave the weather to do my duty to the vendors and community and continue educating the public at large about the healthy benefits of fresh locally roasted coffee as well as the delicious flavour.
One thing I am looking forward to is trying out my new Barbecue roaster as soon as it gets warm and dry enough to spend an afternoon outside. I think it should provide an interesting smoky flavour. I’ll let you know how my trials work out.
As I write this on March 8th 2017, the sun is shining and it is relatively warm (6°C) for the last days of winter. I can see grass and my wife is planning her garden for the summer. I don’t have spring fever yet but I can see the promise of shorts and sandals weather.
I have already restocked my green coffee bean supply for the spring and I now have a limited supply of a new coffee to offer you, Tanzanian AA. “Grown on the famous slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, this coffee offers a winey acidity, medium-body and berry-like aroma.” At least that is the advertised description of the cup. I have just finished my first roast and once I cup it I will post my opinion of this special African coffee.
Currently, I am making my plans to attend various farmers’ markets this summer. I may be going to three markets this year. I am the new chair of the board of directs for the fabulous Kemptville Farmers’ Market so I definitely will be going there on Sunday afternoons. I also plan on peddling my coffee at the scenic Chesterville Farmers’ Market on Saturday mornings. I am also attempting to organize a new market during the week at The Community Market in Long Sault. It is still in the planning stage but I am hopeful that we will be able to enlist enough vendors to get it going on a Wednesday or Thursday afternoon.
I know what you are thinking, or maybe it’s just me thinking this. That doesn’t leave me a lot of time for golf. I am going to have to do some strategic thinking to be able to fit it all in.
The big news for 2017 is I have been roasting coffee here in Eastern Ontario in lovely downtown Ingleside for a full 10 years. Doubters and nair-do-wells tried to negatively affect my resolve to improve the quality of the popular caffeinated beverage in my small area of Ontario, but I have survived and you can see the trend towards good coffee taking hold. I’m not saying that I am solely responsible for the rise of good coffee shops in Cornwall and area but I definitely made an impact. Yay for me!
The beginning of the year is always a bit slow. There are no markets or fairs that I participate in but my usual customers are still ordering to keep me busy. It is a time to rationalize the equipment and types of coffee that I currently carry. I really should cut down on the varieties of coffee beans that I stock but when a new bean is available to me, I just have to try it, unless of course it is just way too expensive like the Jamaica Blue Mountain again this year. I actually am sold out of the Gamea Espresso Machines and I’m not going to restock.
Some exciting news for me this year is that I have been chosen to be the Chair of the Board of Directors for the Kemptville Farmer’s Market. I am truly honoured that the Board elected me to be the chair, even though I know it is the least important position with the least amount of work. They just want a cool, pretty face to represent them. Yes, that means I am their eye candy.
OK, I missed a month. I do have an excuse though. The past 6 weeks have been very busy with the Christmas Craft/Farmer’s markets and filling pre-Christmas orders. They are all finished now and this week I have filled all the long standing orders. I now have some breathing room to think about what I have missed. That is a much better excuse than simply claiming I’m old, sick, tired and stupid.
We have had a sudden increase in orders for coffee brewers and grinders which had eliminated some from my inventory. I have made the appropriate changes to my listings. I will see if there are any opportunities to add more brewers and grinders to my stock and I will keep you updated.
I did manage to obtain a small amount of Maui Yellow Caturra from my supplier but not enough to list it on my sales sheet. This exotic coffee is smooth, mild with a bit of spiciness and naturally lower in acidity! Only a couple of customers got a chance at buying some but mostly I drank it myself. After all my whole business is based on motivated self-interest. I love good coffee and without roasting it myself there simply wouldn’t be anything available that I would buy. My business simply gives me the opportunity to buy quality coffee at a reasonable price. Selling it to my customers is just a bonus. It helps me cover my expenses so I can try more coffee.
My next post will be in the new year and I will have a major announcement to post. Keep in touch.
This farmer’s market season has gone by really quickly. The Saturday market that Coffey’s Coffee attends has ended for the year on Thanksgiving weekend but it ended on a good note. There were a lot of customers out buying last minute items for their holiday meal and coffee was the first thing on their list. The Sunday afternoon market will be going on until Halloween. I’m just hoping that there will be no snow falling until after the ghosts and goblins make their rounds.
I have been taking pictures and videos at the Sunday market for promotion on their web and facebook site. Every vendor had the opportunity to promote their business in video and a lot of still pictures were taken. The one thing that I did for myself was to try to take a picture of every dog that came by my booth. I find a lot of honesty in a dogs face.
Next up on the coffee calendar are Christmas markets across the district and planning for next summers activities. Coffee is a demanding mistress.
This summer has been extraordinarily hot and dry which makes selling hot coffee and tea at farmer’s markets particularly difficult. Thank God for our cold brew coffee and iced green ginger tea. We have sold a ton of iced coffee.
I haven’t offered the cold brew for retail sale yet. I only sell glasses of it at the markets. Once I start bottling it and offer it for sale I will have to make a label including nutritionals and do a shelf life study. That is a complicated matter as you will see in the video clip below.
It won’t be long before the nights get colder, the leaves start falling off the trees and holding a hot steaming cup of fresh roasted coffee will be the highlight of your day.
It is actually the middle of the farmer’s market season here in south-eastern Ontario. It is hot and steamy with occasional violent thunderstorms. It is a perfect time for a fresh roasted, well brewed hot cup of coffee. OK, some people might see that as a little extreme, having hot coffee on a hot summers day. Never fear my friend, we also have iced cold brewed coffee or ice ginger green tea for those looking for something a little cooler to quench their caffeine requirements.
I have little change in my coffee or tea selections to report this month. I still have the same great line-up of premium quality coffee beans from all of the main growing regions around the world. My tea selection, and I do mean tea not tisane (herbal), is small but elegant. Organic Hot Chocolate is still a favorite among-st my customers, but not so much in the summer. You can also purchase a new or used coffee brewer from my assortment of coffee equipment.
Forget about going to the beach or drinking beer at an outdoor barbecue. A good cup or glass of coffee will help you enjoy this wealth of warm weather and keep your memories of the sun on your skin during the long cold winter.
The picture above is just one of my cold brew devices. It make fantastic cold brew coffee concentrate but is very time consuming. You have to adjust the ice water drip to 40 drops per minute so it takes about 4 hours to make 900 ml. My other techniques produce more volume and is more convenient to use, but as with all compromises, it leaves the coffee a little lacking compared to the smaller device.
Since my last post we have had very hot weather at the farmer’s markets (which was great for selling iced coffee) and very cold and wet weather. Last weekend the winds were so strong in Kemptville my tent almost blew away. I am going to take a leap of faith and plan long term for hot steamy weather and start bringing a lot of cold brew coffee, ice and 16 oz beer cups.
Unfortunately those who are looking for a Timmies iced crap-a-chino are going to be disappointed because my ice coffee tasted like coffee.
As always, I offer fresh brewed hot coffee at the Farmer’s Markets as well as fresh roasted premium coffee beans, but why wait until the weekend. You can order fresh roasted coffee directly from me by email or phone.