From My Garage to Your Cup

Small Roaster - Solar Power - Sunny Mira Mesa Location - Specialty Coffee in San Diego - Roasted in a Way that Makes Sense for Southern California

Sun Roasted Coffees

Small Electric Roaster. Solar Panels. Ample San Diego Sunshine. No Gas. So Much Flavor!

Where to Find Me

*** Mira Mesa Farmers Market @ Mira Mesa HS * Tuesdays 2:30 - 7pm *** Mission Valley Farmers Market @ Civita Park * Saturdays 9a - 1p *** La Jolla Open Aire Market @ La Jolla Elementary * Sundays 9a - 1p *** Leucadia Farmers Market @ Encinitas * Sundays 10a - 2p

Getting the Word Out

I'm on a podcast!! Check out the episode of Ryan Woldt's Roast! West Coast podcast featuring yours truly at the link below.

Roast! West Coast Podcast

Are You a Bean Fiend?

That's right - I have a Loyalty Program! Buy 5lbs, receive a 1/2lb FREE!

Micro Batch Coffee in San Diego

The highest quality beans, roasted no more than 6 pounds at a time. Origins you recognize (Kenya, Sumatra, Guatemala), some exotic surprises (Bali, D.R. Congo, Vietnam), as well as ultra-rare and premium beans when I can get my hands on them (Kona, Ka'u, Jamaica).

I use a 3kg electric roaster in a solar-powered home in San Diego - I burn no gas. Roasting on sunny days (pretty much all of them...thanks, San Diego!) reduces my draw on the grid to practically nothing!

What's Percolating in the Bean

  • On Managing Expectations and Quiet Quitting

                   As you peruse this site and my social media, you’ll find that it’s largely dedicated to coffee, gardening, and my dogs.  Privately and personally, I have very strong opinions on just about any topic you want to discuss, but I try to keep my little coffee company out of it.  To paraphrase a young Michael Jordan, “Republicans buy coffee, too.” He meant sneakers, but you get my point.

                   As a very small business owner who’s seriously considering hiring his first employee, the current discussion around the concept of “quiet quitting” hits close to home.  This is the first time I need to consider it from the point of view of a business owner, though, and that shift in perspective, honestly, hasn’t really changed my opinion on the matter.  Spoiler alert: I’m a fan.

                    Quick background:  I earned my undergrad degree from Tufts University, my law degree from DePaul University College of Law, and my Masters in Teaching from National Louis University in Illinois.  As I used to tell my middle school students, “I’ve been some places, I’ve met some people, and I’ve done some things.”  I’ve worked in salmon fisheries in Alaska, I’ve waited tables, I was a damn good barista, I bartended, I worked in undergraduate admissions, I was a tax attorney (more of an advisor, really), I taught middle school, I briefly worked in finance, I’ve had a small speaking role in a movie (will never tell), I’ve worked in marketing and brand management, etc.  At 45 years old, the vast majority of my life has been spent working for someone else.  Agreeing to trade time – my very life essence - for the money necessary to survive.  It’s no small thing to ask of someone.  As such, that time deserves to be respected, if not venerated. It’s finite, and there’s no telling how much we each get.  It’s sacred and should be treated as such.

                   As a job applicant, my least favorite question, by far, was “What’s your biggest weakness?”  My mistake was that I was always honest.  “I have a tendency,” I’d say, “to work to meet expectations.”  I’d meet them, but volunteering to exceed them just wasn’t something I’d typically choose to do.  I didn’t often hear back from those companies, schools, firms, etc.  I was an advocate for “quiet quitting” before it was cool (yeah, I’m being that guy).  If the employer, on their job listing, indicates that I will be paid a certain salary for performing Tasks A-F and I actually complete those Tasks well, then I should be considered good at my job.  Instead, we’ve had decades of companies listing only Tasks A-F, while also secretly expecting you to choose to take on Tasks G-L.  For free. You know, to be a “team player.”  If those Tasks are that important, hire someone to do them.  Explicitly.  For pay.   If you want me to do them, then we need to discuss my terms of employment…specifically the compensation.

                   As a to-be employer, I need to make it clear what I expect my new employee to do and how much time it should take…including travel/commute time.  It’s still time. I cannot expect my new employee to be a mind reader & take on roles I didn't ask them to...on the off chance that it might eventually be rewarded.  Sometime in the future.  Maybe.  I absolutely cannot expect them to care even a fraction as much about my company as I do (my coffee, yes, but not my company).  Expecting more than you’re willing to be honest and upfront about is a failing by the employer, not by the employee whose time is far more valuable than that company can ever be.  My message to my future employee: Own Your Time. 

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  • On Rolls Royce and Iced Coffee

                    Legend has it that the engineers at Rolls Royce were once tasked with making the absolute smoothest ride possible in an automobile.  They took the task to heart and completely eliminated all outside noises and sensations within the car’s cabin.  Not even a hint of the wind whipping by.  No vibrations from the car’s engine, no matter how aggressively one accelerated.  Nary a tremor felt, regardless of the road conditions…even on streets like we have in Mira Mesa!  (Seriously…what are we paying taxes for??  And yes, I said “nary.” I digress.)

                   Mission Accomplished!  Except that’s where the trouble began. The driver and passengers felt an odd sense of disconnect from the outside world.  They knew they were moving – they could see it happening – and yet, all of their other senses tried convincing them that they were just sitting on their couches at home.  It was disconcerting, if not outright nauseating.  Everyone hated it.  In the end, the engineers had to undo some of their work and allow some small amount of noise and vibration to make it into the car.  Too much noise = bad.  No noise at all = worse. 

                   So, what does cabin noise have to do with iced coffee?  One of my chief considerations when deciding how to brew a coffee is the level of acidity I want in the final cup.  “Brightness” or “acidity” is that slightly sharp, almost tangy sensation that you get in every cup of coffee, to some degree.  (Please, please, please note that “bright” or “lively acidity” are good things, but your coffee should never be “sour.”  At best, it’s a sign of an under-developed roast.  I’ll leave you to imagine “at worst.”) Generally speaking, you get more acidity in the lighter roasts and more bitterness in the darker ones. Everyone’s tolerance for acidity may vary, but, like cabin noise, some is better than none. 

                   That brings me to the Cold Brew method of making iced coffee.  In a nutshell, to make a cold brew, a large amount of coarsely-ground coffee is brewed for a long period of time at room temperature or lower.  I use a 10 : 1 ratio of water to coffee grounds, steeped for 20-30 hours in my refrigerator, for instance.   This slower & colder brewing method depresses the coffee’s natural acidity, resulting in a smoother, mellower cup of iced coffee.  However, if you start with a coffee that’s already low in acidity, you’ll wind up with something dull, flat, and lifeless.  That brewing method would completely hollow out my Honduras COMSA, for instance.  If I’m making cold brew, I’ll always reach for something on the lighter end of my roast spectrum or for a blend that has a nice pop of acidity to begin with.  That way, the final cup should still retain some interesting brightness, while highlighting the darker, more chocolatey taste notes. 

                   I designed my Lilo & Stitch’s Blend to be the perfect cold brew.  This year’s blend is a mix of beans from Hawaii (Kona Extra-Fancy), Vietnam (Lotus – SHG Arabica), and Sumatra (Raja Batak Peaberry).  Overall, it’s a solid medium roast – my City++.  Vietnam makes up the bulk of the blend (~50%), and you definitely taste its milk chocolate and toasted nuts.  The Sumatra’s a little darker than the other beans and adds depth, grounding the blend without adding earthiness.  There’s enough Kona (~30%) to miss it if it wasn’t there.  It adds bright fruitiness and silky creaminess and probably a few more -nesses I can’t think of or describe.  Overall, no matter how you brew it, there’s just enough of a underlying mild acidity to add a little necessary noise to the final cup. I hope you get a chance to enjoy it as much as I do!


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