Wednesday, March 28, 2007

on-site, off-site, off the grid... ok, not really.

I've noticed an upswing in the number of our blog readers lately (despite our less than frequent posting rate... oops!), so I just wanted to say, 'Welcome!' and I hope we'll have some more good updates to share soon (and pics to post) as the pace of developments is starting to speed up! A particular shout out to some local folks too, who hopefully will start to see the progress outside of their windows, and not just on the blog! Cheers, guys!

With the warm up in the weather (and some heightened nagging on our part), the construction pace has finally picked up and the retail space is on its way to being turned over to us (so we can start our own construction!). My hope/guess is to have turn-over within two weeks! The ceiling finally got its two layers of drywall (to make it fire-rated, since there are apartments above), which really makes a HUGE difference. We had to make some minor adjustments to the bathroom layouts due to discoveries of obstructions on the site which when combined with ADA requirements turned into a bit of a mess, but we got it resolved eventually. It's amazing how many complicated and confusing all this stuff can get!

Meanwhile, our design for the exterior of the store is starting to gel, as are the graphics and brand identity (no pics yet, you curious peeps!).

We've also had some fun shop-related outings recently...

We stopped by our intrepid roaster buddies for a cupping of (almost) all Nicaraguan coffees from neighboring farm plots which was pretty interesting... all the coffees coming from the same geographic area, but with different microclimates, tending and processing!

Some of the aromas and flavors were really surprisingly varied. Of course, I can't pretend that I had marked all the nuances of the flavors that our roaster hosts were describing, but there's just so much sensory information to sort through and make sense of. It seems like a strange/wonderful game of comparisons... like, the more varied one's gustatory/sensory explorations have been (of both coffee and the rest of the world of flavors), the fuller their toolbox of descriptors maybe. It makes me want to smell and taste more!

I actually find it pretty intimidating cupping with these guys... they're like the Olympians of tasters... they work out their palates everyday and know so much about coffees that it's hard not to be overwhelmed. But on the other hand, it's also pretty inspiring... who better to learn from than these folks who are so super passionate about coffees! The more we've learned, the more we've learned how much more there is to learn... but what a wonderful journey to embark on, and we're super excited to translate our own journey for our future customers too, to open up this world for them also. This is gonna be fun!

We also met with a recommended equipment supplier down on restaurant supply row to go over our equipment list, not too far from the Intelly roasting 'Works' actually, and then got some delish sandwiches across the street. Yum!

The next day was actually the FamilyFarmed.org Expo down at the Cultural Center, where I talked to some farmers and distributors about finding local/organic milk and ingredient suppliers. More yum!

And then I've been working on spec'ing stuff for the build out too, including an unbelievable number of hours trying to figure out the lights. It's pretty important to us to be as material and energy-efficient as possible in the design and construction of the shop, but the information systems are really not out there to make it easy. There are lots of sources with little pieces of the puzzle, but at our scale, it's taking a lot of extra time and energy. Oh, and if anybody needs a varied bunch of barely used warm colored, dimmable, compact florescent reflector bulbs, we're starting a collection over here after we test them all out! Not what you need? Then maybe check out this coolio Light Bulb Search from Environmental Defense.

Check back soon!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Celebrate the wins!!!

We have a new drain pipe.

Ok, that may not be exciting to you, but it means work is actually getting done! Woo-hoo!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Short on posts...

... short on progress.

Well, not really, but definitely short on 'post-able'/tangible progress. Unfortunately, due to a number of factors beyond our control, our space still is not ready to be turned over to us, and won't be ready for at least a few weeks still. This will push back (forward?) our opening date, sadly.

In the meantime we do have a bunch going on... we've ordered our espresso machine (yay!) which we are totally excited about, and some chairs too(for which I've been sewing some cushion prototypes). We're also working on spec'ing out all kinds of stuff and getting tighter quotes on equipment and construction. It's tax time too, so I'm also working on a lot of accounting stuff, both for the coffee shop and the design business and still researching lots of logistical stuff.

We've also got a lot of design work coming in right now too, so Miguel's been pulling a lot of late nights/weekends working (not to mention getting stuck all day in upstate New York in the midst of an air traffic fiasco the other day). Dante (le gros chat noir) also got quite scary-sick a couple of weeks ago, and after quite a bit of nurturing (and 'procedures' and medications) he definitely seems on the mend, which is quite a relief. But there's certainly been no lack of excitement around here, even if it seems we're quiet. Hopefully we'll have lots to report on (and photograph) soon!