Coffee Life Skills

Wake Up and Smell the Coffee, Dang it!

There are some of you out there who just don’t seem to get it.  You either say you don’t like coffee or you drink bad coffee – and both of these illnesses need to be cured quickly before it spreads to other innocent victims.

This week, in the office lunchroom, I was privy to hear the following statement made:

“That’s awesome! The McDonalds coffee [they sell it in tin cans, if you didn’t know] has been replaced by Tim Horton’s coffee! Finally!  This is so good!!  This coffee is SO much better!”

I almost, nearly, borderline, got closed to ripping my own ears and skin off and jumping out the window.  But I held back for the greater good.  I took a deep breath and kept my big mouth shut.  I decided to view this poor woman for what she is – a victim of marketing and sheltered from the truth.

I viewed her much the way people probably view me when they ask me about wine or sports.  Sometimes we just do things because we don’t have time to figure out a better way or simply because don’t know that we are lost.

You need to first understand that you need coffee.  If you don’t drink coffee, there is something wrong with your DNA.  So start with that.  Go get some fresh roasted beans, have a skilled barista make you a nice cup of espresso or at least an americano.  Then, drink that bad boy black. Don’t add cream, sugar, or any other blasphemy.  Would you do that to your wine?  Didn’t think so.

Now, that you are a coffee drinker, let’s fix your addiction to bad companies and coffee.  First, both of those companies above are not famous for helping the little guy around the world.  Do you want your money going there?  Also, as a quick side note, Tim Horton’s is *not* a Canadian company.  Hasn’t been for years.  Owned by Wendy’s out of the USA I believe…

Coffee is a very sensitive fruit.  It’s a fruit.  It comes from a cherry tree.  In a green bean state coffee is amazingly resilient to time and conditions, but once it’s roasted, the clock is ticking *fast* to get that into your cup and drink it.  If you seal it in a bag whole bean, it’ll keep for a week or so.  If you grind it, good luck.  I don’t think there is any hope at all getting more than a day or two out of it no matter what you do.  And that’s what you are drinking all the time – old, stale coffee.  And that’s also why you are loading it full of cream and sugar, by the way.

Don’t be cheap.  This is not the product you need to cheap out on.  If you are going to cheap out on coffee, make it at home instead of buying it in a store and the savings will be enough to make yourself the best coffee in the world.  The difference between a crap cup of stale coffee and a great cup of super fresh coffee is pennies per cup.  Pennies.  Do not cheap out on this most excellent drink.

Tinned coffee won’t work.

K-cups won’t work.

Bagged coffee won’t work.

Only freshly roasted green beans roasted within days and ground within minutes will work.

Once you change your coffee ways, you’ll be cured!  You’ll be a new man!

I hope this pep talk has encouraged you and given you the necessary slap to your face that will get you back on track.

Victory is yours!

Make the change!

You’ll thank me for this insulting post one day.  Mark my words…

Coffee Humour

Procaffeinating – Definition Corrected and Expounded

You may have seen this most excellent image floating around the webs:


I thought it was pure genius and if I had the energy or time, I’d probably track down the source and give them credits but that kind of work is for previous generations.

Also, I couldn’t find any detailed expounding on this new and most excellent word.

Also, the entry above is incorrect….

So let’s correct it and expound it, shall we?

In this form above, it’s either a verb (v.) or an adjective (adj.), but it’s definitely not a noun (n.).

As an adjective (adj.), it could be used perhaps in the following examples:

  1. Bob is a procaffeinating individual.
  2. This truly was a procaffeinating experience.

As you may have agreed, both of those examples suck like a vacuum.

As a verb (v.), obviously, it works well:

  1. Enough procaffeinating, Bob, and step away from the french press.  We failed to deliver product to this client and we need to call them and apologize.
  2. Jim, you are 15 minutes late to our Monday morning sales meeting.  You can’t procaffeinate this forever.

Now, the original author was partially correct.  It could have been used as a noun (n.) quite well, such as in any of the following scenarios:

  1. Our Vice President of Sales is running 20 minutes behind as a result of a nasty case of procaffeination, but has assured us that he will be here shortly.
  2. Roger is not only a slacker and a slob, but also a full-blown procaffeinator.


alternative spellings:  procaffinating, procaffination, procaffinate, procaffinator,


Awesome Coffee Interview: Get Coffee Educated

I have already watched this twice.  For me, watching something *once* is rare.

If you like coffee, if you are interested in learning interesting things about coffee, then this is the 1 hour video to watch.  The cool thing is that it has a detailed breakdown of the topics covered so you can skip through to what you like.

My favourite was the part about kids drinking coffee.  Really.  Who says kids can’t drink coffee? We just think this.   These guys say ‘go for it’ and in Brazil it seems to be encouraged to get higher test scores.



Business Coffee Life Skills

Keep it Clean and Don’t Burn Bridges: It’s a Small World After All

It has been a few months since I have been spit out the other end of my coffee shop franchise – the most painful 5+ years of my life.  There are not too many people out there who have lost their entire lifetime earnings plus their inheritance, but when this suffering occurs it creates an instant bond with others who have the same experience.  It’s almost as if others who have suffered the same hardship are drawn to you via some invisible magnetic pull.  So, although there are not many of us out there, I know many of them personally now.  Many of them are victims of the franchise system; a silent machine that has the potential of slowly grinding up innocent families in neighbourhoods where you live in while producing yachts, homes, and luxurious cars for the financially and legally skilled.

When I discussed their nasty practices with an acquaintance of mine – an experienced man of business – his response was:  “So?  They are in the business of making money and especially money off of you.  That’s their business model.  You signed up for it. You agreed to be their slave.”  He is right in the legal sense: that we all unwittingly signed a franchise agreement the size o the Oxford Dictionary.  Some people in business think that as long as a party is willing to sign a document that everything is ethically A-Okay.  I have learned that a contract not reviewed by someone with hands-on experience in that specific industry is a recipe for massive hardship.  I used a top notch law firm in Vancouver to review my franchise agreement before I purchased the right to attempt to make money at my location (because you aren’t actually purchasing anything more than that in most cases I’ve seen) and I guess the firm somehow thought that I had a reasonable chance of success.  They were very wrong as the wording of the agreement made it nearly impossible.  They lawyers hadn’t operated a coffee franchise, although they had reviewed a lot of paperwork throughout their career.  Regardless of which standpoint you take on this, there is a greater point at work that supersedes all of this temporary contractual banter.  It is the law of honour.  Dani Johnson pulled this concept together well for me in her book, The First Steps to Wealth.

At one point in the midst of trying to sell my franchise coffee shop I took a sales position with a printer company since I had a signed and accepted offer to purchase the store with a closing date.  To my surprise and chagrin, the sale fell through (just one of several times) and I was stuck with both a sales job and a coffee shop to operate at the same time.  I decided to keep the job regardless and learn what I could seeing that my shop was going nowhere.  While I was out and about in the city doing sales calls, what was interesting was how the decision makers (typically owners) of many companies had already heard stories about the questionable way in which our franchisor treated their franchisees.  I was shocked.  How did all these people know?  During the year this general awareness increased and at one point I entered a retail business (a prescription eyeglass shop to be specific), and at one point during an unrelated conversation I revealed that I owned this particular brand and he looked as if he was going to vomit and then began spewing very bad things about them – all of which were true, all of which was what I thought inside information, and all of which I was surprised to hear from this unknown and completely removed third party source.  My first thought was one of fear: I’m never going to sell my store if everyone knows how bad they are. I’m never going to get out!  It was a horrible moment but it helped me make the decision that I would ‘lock & walk’ (that’s a term I think I invented) even if it meant walking away with nothing but a debt the size of a Vancouver house.  I would no longer have my named yoked to this kind of operation and drag out the inevitable.

Lessons to be Learned

Here is a bullet list of things I’ve learned from this so that others can avoid destruction in both their current businesses and the purchase of a business (ie. a franchise)

You Only Get One Name and Reputation

  • If you plan to buy a business go into the business community, a dig around to see what their general reputation is.  Business owners are a group that just seem to know things that non-business owners don’t.  They will have the inside scoop and you will find it if there is one. You do not want to purchase a business with a nasty reputation as it will require a complete branding tear down and rebuild to restore it.
  • If you are a business now and you have done wrong to others, drop all your other lofty plans and ideas and dedicate yourself full time to fixing your past before it catches up to you and destroys you – because it will.  I didn’t make the sowing and reaping law and I can’t turn it on or off.  It’s on.  This includes staff, partners, vendors, customers – everyone.  Let no stone go unturned.
  • Transparency is the better option.  Confession of wrongs and restitution of damages is not easy to stomach in the present, but the reward for taking this proactive step is priceless.  Secrets eventually get discovered anyways.  Skeletons always fall out of the closet.  And even if they don’t, the courts can and will force them out.  Why wait that long?  People are amazingly graceful when action follows confession.
  • You only get one name.  Protect it.  In Vancouver, even more so it seems.

Win-Lose = Lose-Lose.  Give-Take = Win-Win

  • Do you think gouging someone you do business with is ok whether it’s a vendor, customer or partner?  If you do, you may gain now but you will lose in the most ugly way later while killing your only reputation.  Therefore, win-win is a recommended strategy in all that you do.  I am pleased to report that at least one coffee franchise appears to be building on this foundation and there is joy and peace surrounding their operation.
  • The yacht won’t cover your guilt or fill your empty heart.  You can’t take your riches to the grave.  They, like your corpse, will eventually decay into the earth below from which they came and the earth will have no recollection of you a few years later.  Why not prioritize your life differently and think eternally?  Why not give your grand kids something they can proudly tell their grand kids about?  Why not fill your funeral house with sad franchisees, vendors, and other people around the city who will miss the positive contribution you had on your city and the people you touched?  Yes, it is possible.

Have a nice day.

That was an unconventional blog ending.