Lyle's Blog

Coffee

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I was sitting in the backroom having lunch with a few of my old vet buddies when a phone call came in for me. The man on the other end of the line was from St Charles. It seems that their is a man there who had been in rehab for a while now that they are having problems with. He wants them to get better coffee.

They told me that the other day, the man threw his cup across the room and yelled, "Get me some damn Jake's coffee!". So, St Charles was calling to see if they could buy some of my coffee for them to try. Laughing, I quickly told them that I would gladly sell them some at my cost. They soon came by and bought a five pound bag off of me.

Since then, lots of thoughts have come into my mind about their problem but not getting a number from him or not being able to better hear his name (some of the guys were talking loud when he gave it to me), I am unable to check back to see how they are doing. You see, there are other variables that might go way beyond the coffee itself. Like how much they use per pot or how hot the water is.

But the thought of someone thinking so highly of our coffee did feel pretty good. Especially since I have worried from time to time about that same thing mainly since so many people have changed their thoughts regarding coffee and have gone with stronger blends and more trendy mixed concoctions. I need to keep my focus on my main customers who just want a good cup of old fashion coffee brewed the old way.

That very day, my daughter Trinity had a friend of hers down from Portland. I stopped by their table to say hi and the friend, Sandy, looked up at me and said, "I love your coffee!". I told her thanks and she said, "You don't understand, I don't like coffee but I love yours.". She then went on to tell me that she had just talked to a friend or relative of hers to let them know that she was drinking coffee.

I have used the same coffee for years. The brand is Farmer Brothers. I used it because the truckers loved it and it's ability to stay well in their thermoses. I tried changing it twice. The first time I was wooed by one of the food companies. They gave me a price that was half of what I was paying. They said that they were able to make some good green bean buys and that I would always do well by switching to them. They gave me a referral to the largest truck stop on the west coast up in Seattle. I called and found that my price was the same as theirs so I switched. A month later, the price doubled to where I was at before. I called the Seattle stop and found that they had a written contract that kept their price good for a year. I quickly called Farmers and apologised. They were great by putting in all new brewers for us.

A year or so later, a local company came by. I will not give their name as I will not put them down by name. They asked me if I would just try their coffee. Their guarantee was that no one that had ever tried them had not liked them much more than their previous coffee and all had switched to them. So, I tried them out in my back room. Soon, the people in the backroom were asking the waitresses to bring them coffee from the front room. I gave them an honest month's worth of trial before giving in and handing back their remaining stock to them. They were not only devastated but angry with me. There was just no way that a normal person could like another coffee over theirs. I simply shrugged and said, "I guess I don't have normal customers.".

Farmer Brothers has always done me right. When I moved, they brought in new machines. When I renovated, they upgraded at the same time. When I have a problem, they are always right on top of it. The have been a very good partner even though I no longer sell more coffee than anyone on this side of the mountains like I used to when I was filling up all of those thermoses.

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