Friday, December 29, 2006

Coffee fact for the day: Mocha (Java)

Miguel stopped at Metropolis last night to pick up some espresso and got some Mocha Java beans for brewing as well. As I was preparing it for him this morning to take in his thermos, I got to wondering about the name. Java is in Indonesia, I got that, and I knew the term Mocha in that sense doesn't reference the coffee-chocolate flavor that many people think of (as in a Caffe Mocha), but then it seemed probable that the flavor got the name from whatever Mocha originally meant. But why, I wondered. So with a little Google help, here's the skinny on Mocha (a port in Yemen, apparently), with a nice description from Peet's:
Mocha-Java is the world's most famous coffee blend. When someone first thought of combining these two origins, it was before coffee was widely grown around the world. These two coffees were undoubtedly much different from those which the countries of Yemen and Indonesia produce today, although Yemen still produces its coffee under very primitive conditions.

As with any blend everything depends on the quality of the coffees used, and in this case the result is a delicious full-bodied coffee with bittersweet chocolate overtones on top of rich and complex flavors. While Americans associate the word mocha with chocolate, they've reversed the facts: when cocoa was first refined and sold in Europe, it reminded people of Mocha coffee from Yemen.
So that's that. And now we know.

Here's the port of Mocha in 1692.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Still just the beginning...

Now that the lease is signed (and the loan "closed"), the clock is ticking... rent's gonna be due soon.

The space should be turned over to us soon, and as soon as we can get our building permits (please go quickly, please, please...), we'll start construction on our buildout.

Here's the space back in May (when we first looked at it) and then this week after being pretty much gutted and repaired over the past few months. They were going to re-drywall over the brick, but we requested they just clean them up/sandblast them instead... what a difference that made (the brick was filthy)!

It's still just a shell though. Lots to do.

Of course, the actual building is only a part of the business. We still have plenty of other areas to work on, to name a few:
  • finalize the menu
  • secure necessary licenses and inspections
  • wrap up branding/identity development
  • order equipment
  • select vendors/suppliers
  • develop operational systems/materials
  • set up accounting systems
  • initiate marketing outreach
  • implement hiring and training plan
  • return ridiculously overdue library books on leasing retail space.
So... it's time to get back to work! In the meantime, here's something yummy to start the day.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Woo-hoo! (Finally)

Well, friends, the time has come...

The Coffee Studio finally, officially, has a home!

We are so excited to soon be a part of the wonderful Andersonville neighborhood here in Chicago.

It seems so long ago we started on this journey. In reality, it's been fifteen months... and stacks of books, magazines, a Starbucks job, trade shows, barista jams, a trip to Seattle, online forums, podcasts, SBA/SCORE workshops, months of writing and editing the business plan, scraping pennies together, meetings with bankers, scouring the city for locations, space planning, negotiating leases, waiting by the phone, worrying, dreaming and pulling lots and lots of espresso shots.

It's been a hell of an experience so far, already trying in ways we hadn't anticipated, and I don't expect the future to be any different. But we're definitely learning as we go, and it's pretty damn exciting.

Thanks so much for all your support!

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