Sunday, November 27, 2011

Yemen Mocca Sanani and Why do the angels drink it?

There are about 100 lbs. of Yemen Mocca Sanani left in my holy green bean room. I'm beginning to miss it like you miss a dear friend who is about to leave town for 4 months. Before we say our farewells, I'd like to share some information about one of my favorite coffees that causes me to claim, "The angels drink Yemen Mocca Sanani."

Mocca (you say Mokha and I say Moka) was the main port for San'a, the capital of Yemen. Mokha was a famous port for coffee from the 15th to 17th centuries. Mocca Sanani also means from San'ai but originally was the name of the special arabica beans found in Yemen. Our Yemen Mocca Sanani has strong notes of chocolate which reminds us why many Americans order Cafe Mochas or Moccachino. These are often a combination of espresso, hot chocolate, and milk. Mocha used to be the port city of San'a, but they moved the city because of some sand bar issues. You should also know that there are some Ethiopian beans that are called Mocca Harrar because of their similar shape to the Mocca beans found in Yemen. It is believed that the Yemen coffee was brought over from Ethiopia Harrar region during the 6th century or earlier. Chocolate was never imported or exported in Mocha.

If you pay attention to what is happening in the world, Yemen and especially San'a are experiencing painful growing pains and the people are revolting in the city of San'a and elsewhere.

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Another fantastic mistake: The Mystic Blend

This week, we shut down the coffee roaster for a few hours and did some much needed maintenance. We replaced some parts before they failed and tuned it up so that it now roasts with a smile. However, we allowed too much space between the face of the roaster and the roasting drum. For 10 hours yesterday, about 5 lbs.beans dropped into a pan inside the roaster and accumulated all day long. There were so many orders to complete that I could not shut off the roaster, let it cool down and then fix the problem. I decided to place all of the beans that accumulated in the roaster pan into a bucket and Julie named it the "Mystic Blend." I roasted the full 5lbs today after fixing the roaster.

So, with mystery blends, there are two possible outcomes. One, it's horrible and barely palatable. Two, it's one of the best coffee blends I have ever tasted. The outcome was fortunately the latter of the two. Get it while it lasts because it tastes like a chocolate milk shake- notes of banana, chocolate, and milky cocoa creaminess. I call this a great mistake.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Return on Luck: ROL

What's Luck Got to do with it? This was the title of one of my favorite recent business articles found in the New York Times. It was cleverly written by Jim Collins and Morton T. Hansen.

The authors discuss and study a new metric, Return on Luck or ROL. Businesses talk about ROI, Return on Investment, but we don't talk about ROL because it's not discussed until you get lucky and you capitalize on that luck. 

Mr. Collins and Mr. Hansen write about people who are 10 times more successful than others in their same industry. They call them "10x-er"
For example, Bill Gates grew up lucky. He is the product of an upper middle class family and we went to a school that had one of the rare Teletype that was connected to a computer in the 60s and early 70s. Truly, he was born at the right time. 
But then...
  • His friend, Paul Allen, saw an article in Popular Mechanics about the Altair computer.
  • They then guessed that Basic would work well to make a personal computer out of the Altair
Then some luck again:
  • Mr. Gates went to school at Harvard where they had a PDP-10 mainframe computer that Mr. Gates could test out the Basic program.
But then, he got a warm introduction to the Altair CEO- got hired, and spent several days programming, debugging, and installing Basic on the Altair. He seized the opportunity presented to him by luck and made the most of it.

These are some of the ways, in my opinion, to increase your ROL:
  1. Do you have a well crafted 30 second commercial at your fingertips at all times that fit the situation? If I introduced you at the cafe to someone who needed your services, could you turn the intro into closed business? You must be well prepared for meeting anyone who is in your target market.
  2. Bring business cards everywhere- If you are so successful that you don't need to carry business cards with you, then don't. It drives me absolutely mad (crazy) when someone who clearly needs and wants more customers, doesn't bring them whenever he/she leaves home or the office. 
  3. Be highly visible and be credible when you're visible. Be a homerun king- hit it out of the park with every customer. 
  4. When you receive a great warm introduction, be prepared for anything, but just be prepared.
  5. Talk to everyone- You never know who and what they know.
  6. Convert leads into closed business. When someone says, "Here's a lead," respond to them, "Thank you for the referral, but I don't want to mess it up- could you please call them and set-up an appointment for me to meet them." In that way, your referral partner must call the lead, toot your horn and explain your business to the lead, and then set-up an appointment. If they are not prepared to do that 
The authors conclude with this great advice:

Getting a high ROL requires throwing yourself at the luck event with ferocious intensity, disrupting your life and not letting up. Bill Gates didn’t just get a lucky break and cash in his chips. He kept pushing, driving, working — and sustained that effort for more than two decades. That’s not luck — that’s return on luck.