Christmas Comes Early to the CoffeeKid Household
Posted December 16, 2002 11:10pm
The generosity of folks at Christmas never ceases to amaze me. Over the past seven days or so, I've had two complete strangers buy items for me off my Amazon Wish List (I won't link it here, but if you go to my rants page on my personal site, www.spiffle.com you'll see a link to it), and I've been the recipiant of five amazing holiday presents from companies and individuals in the coffee business that have come in the mail. I know all five of them didn't do this to get a mention here or on CoffeeGeek, but I'm going to do it anyway:
Brian Swan of Macaw Coffee
Brian is an Ottawa lad, just like me (I was born and raised there) and over the years we've developed a nice email friendship. I've also met him once on a trip to Ottawa, and hope to again in the next few weeks as I go back for my Christmas Holidays.Brian is a true "voice in the wilderness" in a town where quality coffee is sometimes hard to come by. He sells Solis products at truly kick ass prices, and he's still doing what he started out doing; he sells green beans and he sells roasters.
Brian sent me an extremely generous holiday gift of 7 lbs of green coffees and a way too cute Santa Claus coffee bean buddy (like a Beanie Baby, but coffee bean shaped). His choice of beans was first rate, and like I said, way too generous:
- 2 lbs of the excellent Mavis Bank Grade 1 Jamaican Blue Mountain.
- 1 lb of Kona Extra Fancy Grade from Greenwell Farms Estate
- 1 lb of Dominican AA Montana Verde coffee, which Brian says is organic, roasts fast, and he has very limited stock left.
- 1 lb of Yemen Mocha Matari, which is one of the best Yemens I've tried in 3 years
- 1 lb of Papua New Guinea Organic
- 1 lb of Colombian Excelso which is the "best Colombian I have ever tasted, and it comes from one valley, rather than a group of valleys - and I only have 15 lbs left, so please enjoy!' Brian said.
I've sampled the JBM, the Kona, the Dominican and the Yemen and all are first rate coffees. The Papua New Guinea I've had before and rate it highly as well.
Actually, pretty much every coffee Brian carries is a first star choice. He doesn't offer the range and breadth of cupping notes that Tom from Sweet Marias does, but Brian knows his coffee. He's a small business owner who is really trying to make a difference, and I cannot think of a better guy to do business with if you're in the home roasting hobby.
Chris Nachtrieb of Chris' Coffee Service
Chris and I have been friends for over a year now, all since the time I called him up to tell him about a problem his website ordering system had, and how to fix it (along with ordering a set of Illy Schwung cups). Since then, we've done some business together (my company designed the back end to his website, and now it works great!), and we have these long phone conversations talking about anything and everything coffee and espresso related. Chris has given me a real education over the year into the whole 'office coffee' scene and bottom line? I like the guy - he's a straight shooter.
Today, we picked up a gift that Chris sent me and Jeanette; TWO sets of the PS:1 2001 cups, in the "bar" version (these are the cups meant for use in cafes, not numbered sets). He sent these simply because I mentioned to him months ago that Jeanette liked frogs. WOW. With Chris, there's no strings attached in whatever we do, and this was his nice Christmas gift to me and Jeanette. Those who know me know that I have a true love for collecting Illy cups so this was an amazing gift to get.
Elaina and David from Machines N' Beans
Speaking of Illy Cups, another couple of small business owners I know from Vancouver Island (Victoria to be precise) also sent along a Christmas present not only for me, but also for CoffeeGeek readers.
Elaina and David gave me TWO complete sets of the brand new (and still rare) Illy art cup set, Dreams by Shizuka Yokomizo. One set is a gift to me and Jeanette; the other set is a gift to a future CoffeeGeek contest winner. Dreams is a beautiful set that Jeanette also noted earlier this year as something that caught her eye - she loves the child like drawings on the cup, which are showing interpreted dreams.
You know, a year or two ago, I lamented the dearth of Canadian retailers of Illy art cups... then I was introduced to David and Elaina, and they have been like rock stars in terms of what they could find for me, and just perfect service. Their prices are amazing too - very competitive with US pricing you'll find online. If you want to get some of the coolest espresso and cappuccino cups you'll ever own, give them a visit and a call.
James Vaughn at The Coffee Project
James is one of the pioneers of online green bean sellers. I got to meet him at the SCAA show in Anaheim this past year, and I was really impressed with him, his integrity, and his passion for quality coffee. Ever since then, if someone asked a question "has anyone had experience with the Coffee Project company?" I chime in and say they cannot do wrong doing business with James.
James tried to send me a holiday gift this year, but UPS mungled the attempt - he sent me 2 lbs or roasted JBM coffee, but when UPS came to the door, I didn't know what it was: all I knew was they wanted to collect $32 from me for it. I refused the shipment because, well, at the time, I didn't know what it was!
I felt horrible afterwards - here James did something really nice to say thanks for something that he didn't have to thank me for, And in the end, it cost him even more, probably - I have no idea if UPS will try to charge him the "fees" they tried to charge me. But has he complained about that? Nope, instead, he apologised profusely for UPS's pricing and structures.
The guy is, as I've always maintained, a quality guy. He doesn't get mentioned much in the hunt for green beans online, but really he should be much more often.
The fifth gift person asked to remain anonymous - specifically asked it in the package! I'm dying to tell you who it is, but I will respect their wishes. Suffice to say, a very popular vendor that many of you know sent me a Christmas gift that consisted of a beautiful hand made tamper, and 5 lbs of their own custom Christmas roast blend that they roasted at home, specifically for me, specifically based on all my previous commentary about likes and dislikes in flavours in coffee.
Coffee people in the business are AMAZING. Let me tell you.
Best wishes to all and happy holidays. I will be posting once more before Christmas with a holiday wish for all of you, but for now, I wanted to tell you about some people in this industry who are rock stars to me.