Its been eons since my last post, and there is a perfectly good explanation for that. My coffee bar and roastery (Fresh Seven Coffee) is still not effing open! However, we are FINALLY in the final stages of almost being open for business...thank the lord. If we were not almost there, I would be in fetal position crying for my mom, which has happened once or twice in my adult life, but that is getting totally off topic.
This has been a long journey. There have been several times I have considered giving up and asking for my job back at Royal Coffee Bar in Phoenix, Ariz. Being an employee was fun! As an employee, I wasn't responsible for day to day operational disasters and/or costs. At Royal Coffee I got to practice my latte art, learn about coffee, interact with amazing people and collect money. I could leave my job for the day, shut off my brain and drink a glass of wine or read a book or just sit on the couch and eat French fries. It didn't matter, as long as I was alert and charming during actual work hours. It was also nice to get paid for doing something fun. It never really felt like real work, which is probably what lead me to the crazy idea of opening my own coffee shop in the first place.
The idea initially surfaced in May 2011 while I was working at Royal Coffee. My husband, Kale and I were preparing to leave the United States for an eight-month, around-the-world excursion. We talked a little bit, at that time, about opening a coffee shop in Denver upon our return to the states. But it wasn't until a few months later (October 2011) that our idea began to take form. Every morning (right before the power would shut off for three hours) we had our coffee at a smaller than small coffee shop in Pushkar, India that boasted "real Italian-style coffee." The simplicity of the shop, as well as the owner's dedication to his customers made us feel happy while sitting there, enjoying our coffee. The cafe was called Honey Dew, Cafe and Restaurant. It was constantly busy. All coffee was served in a beat-up moka pot with steamed milk and sugar on the side.
Sitting in that shop made me miss working at Royal, and my husband suggested we open something small and simple upon our return to the states. Thus began our initial planning stage. We bought a children's drawing pad on the street as well as some pencils and began sketching our ideas.
We pretty much had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. We knew we wanted to keep the operation as simple as possible without compromising the quality of our coffee, so we decided to construct a small mobile kiosk. We also wanted to roast our own beans, so we began researching roasters. Our idea was to roast beans at the kiosk and brew coffee in a moka pot on a cook-top surface. Our initial plans made opening a coffee cart seem quite inexpensive. We were looking at no more than a $12,000 investment to complete the setup. HA! Ignorance is awesome when you believe you are on the verge of serious innovation! Fortunately we were passionate about our endeavor, and after eight months of traveling from country to country we were more than motivated to make it happen. According to our naive calculations, we would be up and running by the summer of 2012. Although things have not gone as planned, we've learned a lot along the way, which will hopefully make us better at what we do in the long run.
The first major change we made in our plans came with our decision not to move to Denver upon our return to the States. We took advantage of an opportunity to purchase a building in St. Francis, Kansas, which is my husband, Kale's home town. The cost of the building was cheap. Kale could run his business out of the front half of the building and we could build a loft in the back half. Our coffee cart would be mobile, and the coffee-service locations would be at events and in front of our building.
St. Francis is in the northwest corner of Kansas, in what is referred to as the "Tri-state" area where Colorado, Nebraska and Kansas meet. St. Francis is approximately 250-miles east of Denver. Our hope and long-term dream is to be able to spend most of the year in St. Francis, and a good portion of the winter either traveling, or visiting family in Phoenix, Denver and Texas. At the present time, that plan along with all of our other plans, is still very much a work in progress. But I believe we are getting there.
When I consider how far we have come since that October morning at the Honey Dew Cafe I feel grateful for having the passion, balls, perseverance and healthy level of insanity to keep moving forward despite many bumps in the road. I truly don't think I would have made it this far without my family ... and my coffee ... and my wine:)