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#TBT - Time & Coffee: Two of Life's Most Precious Gifts

This one was originally written on July 31st 2015. Some things have changed:

1. That main squeeze I write about is now my husband

2. The largest customer I mention is no longer my largest but still my favorite

And a lot hasn't changed:

1. I'm still impatient

2. Traffic is still horrible getting on to the Bay Bridge

3. I still love Blue Bottle coffee


It is roughly 0.57 miles from one of my best accounts in San Francisco to the nearest east bound ramp of the Bay Bridge. The only time this statistic really matters is any week day between 2pm and 5pm. And the only reason it matters is because if you find yourself on 1st Street in San Francisco (where a majority of this 0.57 miles takes place) between 2pm and 5pm you might as well park your vehicle and grab a cup of coffee, or a 5 course meal for that matter.

Today I finished my meetings, grabbed a cup of iced coffee from Blue Bottle and was picking up my vehicle from valet by 2:30pm. At 3:30pm I still had not made it on to the Bay Bridge. In one hour (in a car!) I had not made it more than 0.57 miles. In this time I:

  • Called BrightSign – a company we’re hoping to use for digital marketing in our micro markets

  • Called two East Coast friends and a cousin in Texas (no one answered)

  • Ordered repair tags for our various equipment on Amazon

  • Googled to find out what makes cold brew coffee so special

  • Subscribed to Food Business Magazine (I was willing to pay but [happy surprise] it’s free for business owners and people in food service management)

  • LOST MY MIND!!!!

I am not a patient person. I do not do well when time “on the clock” is wasted. For that matter I don’t do well when time off the clock is wasted. In general I need to calm down. It’s something I’m working on (kind of).

With that said time has come up a lot in conversations this week (or maybe it hasn’t come up any more than normal but because it’s been on my mind I’m noticing it more). Here’s a quick order of events:

  • My main squeeze is now working 6 days a week (4 of which are 10 hour days). He decided that since he was short on time he would pay a local laundry mat to wash his clothes.

  • Later that day I met up with the bridal party for a friend’s upcoming wedding. As we were going over the menu for the bridal shower the discussion started focusing around whether or not we should make everything (and save some money) or pay to have it catered/store bought. One of the bridesmaids stated that as she gets older she values her time more than money so she wouldn’t mind paying a few extra dollars to have the food premade.

  • A DJ on K-Love discussed why as we get older time seems to go by faster. The theory suggests that time goes by slower as a child because 1 year makes up for a larger percentage of your life. In other words “for a 5-year-old, one year is 20% of their entire life. For a 50-year-old, however, one year is only 2% of their life. This “ratio theory,” proposed by Janet in 1877, suggests that we are constantly comparing time intervals with the total amount of time we’ve already lived.”*

  • Wednesday night while speaking to my parents about work they commented on my bad attitude at the office (something I’m also working on…kind of). During the conversation I said I immediately feel overwhelmed when I get to the office because I feel like there is too much to do and not enough time to do it.

  • I attended a coffee seminar (ish) yesterday where I met with similar vending operators on the West Coast to discuss growing our office coffee business. The man leading the discussion said we should look at ourselves as empty garbage bags/vessels ready to be filled with all the coffee knowledge we could find for ourselves. I said I felt more like a garbage bag filled with too much crap** to do.

Despite my sarcasm, this coffee think tank was the best thing I could have done for myself this week. Not only did I learn helpful business practices BUT I was given the best news in the short history of J&J’s office coffee/pantry service life….we have access to (drum roll please)….to an exclusive program to offer Joyride coffee on tap.

I was so excited I literally almost cried.

Now I know why I love cold brew coffee (it’s delicious and kind of cool in a hipster way) but until today, while bored and Googling waiting to get on the bridge I didn’t know what made it different from regular coffee.

Here’s what I learned:

  • In the cold brew process time replaces heat

  • During the process, cold water extracts the delicious flavorcompounds (and some of the caffeine) from coffee beans, but leaves behind myriad bitter oils and biting fatty acids, including undesirable elements such as ketons, esters and amids.***

Although the above was informative, the best thing I read about cold brew coffee today came from Blue Bottle’s website:

“Like surprise parties, camping trips and the supplest of beef briskets, cold brewed coffee is best executed with a bit of foresight…It takes about 12 hours overall, but the rewards for a little patience are many.”

During the think tank I shared with the group my frustrations. I feel like we’re doing everything right (offering local coffee roasters, bringing in more and more healthy [really healthy] products, building our online presence, etc. etc.) but the rewards aren’t coming fast enough.

I was encouraged during this think tank that the road to success was to build brick by brick, that if you continually take small steps you’ll get to the bigger goal.

It took me 60 minutes to drive 0.57 miles today. It was not ideal but it did force me to make time for things I would not have otherwise made time for, it also made me write again and in the end I still made it to my desired destination.

In short: Time is precious so prioritize what you need to do and what you can afford to let others do. If you’re working towards something that really matters it’s okay to get frustrated but don’t give up. Some things, like cold brew coffee, just take time.


** I didn’t say crap


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