d As I turned the calendar page to July yesterday, I realized again how quickly time passes! And, here we are approaching our 1 year anniversary, and things are hopping at the coffeehouse. We are a couple of months into our dinners on Thursday nights, and the response has been resoundingly positive. We are so glad you appreciate our effort. As we move forward, we'd love your feedback on dinners so far. What have been your favorite dinner options? What would you like to see us do more or maybe less? How can we improve what we do to better accommodate your needs? Let's hear you, Hardwick!
With our 1 year anniversary quickly approaching, we are hard at work planning some fun stuff. Currently, we have another soap party on the books for Friday, July 20 and spots are filling up fast so respond today to reserve your spot. Our last class filled quickly and space is limited; don't wait to put your names on the list. We have something extra special to kick off the class so stay tuned for more info.
Our new menu has been a success and your feedback really positive. Keep those comments coming on what you'd like to see us serve here at the coffeehouse. We've got new syrup flavors for some creative and new coffee drinks, and we'd love to create another just for you.
If you're able to stop in during the morning, you'll notice we bake every day so that the items in our bake case are as fresh as possible for you. Who knows, with my new bread cookbooks and hot off a bread-making class, maybe we can start to make our own fresh-baked bread. Things are always changing here so if you haven't been in in a while, maybe it's time for a visit. For example, did you know that we provide boxed lunches to Hardwick Winery on the weekends? While enjoying their amazing wines, you can snack on a freshly-made chicken salad sandwich or maybe a turkey bacon wrap. What a great way to spend an afternoon!
We've gotten so many great summer party catering orders, and we'd love to help make your event perfect. Need brunch ideas? Or how about a backyard pool party with family and friends? Ask us how we can take some of the burden off your shoulders while planning that fun summer party. We could offer to deliver your order if that would be helpful as well. Maybe you'd like to host a party at the coffeehouse (including that back patio); we're happy to help!
Things are changing, and we are so grateful to be a part of this community. Your support has been so important to us. We hope to see you soon for a cold beer with friends or a peaceful glass of wine in one of the rocking chairs. Everyday is a great day on the Common!
Phew! We made it through the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's! What a fun holiday season with Santa visiting the coffeehouse, our first Christmas party and a successful start to this new year. In January, we had a fun event with essential oils and in February, we made soap together. Both events were at full capacity, and we cannot wait to plan more functions!
Winter seems to always provide that quiet time to look ahead and plan out the year, and that is just what we are doing at the coffeehouse. With our liquor license successfully won, and our amazing staff trained and ready to pour, we can't wait to share some of our favorite beer and wine selections with you.
We are hard at work planning a fun wine-paring dinner, so be on the lookout for details about that March event. And, because our soap event was such a hit (with quite a few people even on a waiting list!), we plan to schedule more times to make all those great, all-natural items we've come to expect from Dr. Carolyn Bessette.
As we move through the year placing events on the calendar, we'd love to hear your thoughts on different ideas you'd like us to plan. Would you come to Trivia Night? How about a movie night? Want a wine tasting or beer tasting? Please feel free to suggest something that would excite you enough to join us in the coffeehouse! Or would you like to plan your own get-together at the coffeehouse?
Have you checked out our new menu? Steph and the girls have been hard at work creating a selection of super yummy breakfast and lunch items as well as fresh-baked goodies to snack on!
What I love about Hardwick is that we don't let a little snow or cold temps keep us down. We look forward to serving you soon. See you on the Common!
Over the last few weeks, so many of you have told me such great things about this awesome team we have at the coffeehouse. Over and over again, I have heard how well they handle your special requests with grace and ease. Back when the idea of this business was just starting to form, I had thought the most important thing I could do would be to select the right coffee or have the best made-to-order food. These last few months I have learned from everyone that those are things that can be found in many places but what keeps so many coming back to us are the smiling faces behind the counter.
I always appreciate the feedback on what is working and what may not be working but the common thread in so many conversations is how well this team does. Who doesn't enjoy going in to a business and knowing that the people working really do appreciate you? I give all the credit to these amazing women. As I watch them interact with each other and you, I know that the best thing we have done is to have put this team together.
It all started with Steph, and I couldn't be prouder of her managerial skills or in knowing that she has allowed this great team to blossom while being genuinely good at everything. I love watching Emily connect with everyone; she's so good with people and putting that together with her ability to do anything in the kitchen makes her such an important piece of the puzzle. These two together are great at coming up with the best ideas to steer the ship!
Caitlyn joined us for the fair in August and decided to hang around, running the weekend crew, and I am so glad she did. There isn't anything she can't do well! Our kitchen queen, Jeanne, is our only culinary school grad, and she comes up with the most delicious and creative baked goods. Her presentation skills and inspired cooking ideas make her such an important asset. She even MAKES our butter!! Samantha is such a fun person to have around, and if you want an amazing latte, she can steam/foam milk really well. Last, but not least, is our newest addition, Riley. She is eager to learn about everything we do, is a fast learner and super dependable in the kitchen.
Having helped out at the fair, and coming in to help when their busy schedules allow, our team is completed by Melissa and Kim who bring mad kitchen skills and in addition to being really good at what they do, are just fun to have around in a busy kitchen!
As we plan holiday events such as pie orders and Christmas parties, we will keep working hard to maintain that high standard everyone has come to expect from us. We hope you will consider us for your gift needs and our newest option is the coffee catering for coffee and espresso for your business or family events. We love being part of Hardwick, and look forward to seeing you on the common!
One of the things that I missed almost more than anything else when we lived in Florida was the turning of the leaves. It could also be the smells that are unique to fall but without a doubt, it was the colors bursting from the trees as they prepare to hunker down for a cold winter that I longed for every year. City dwellers can get the colors but they miss the joy of growing up with fall in smaller settings. The chore of raking leaves was inevitably followed by leaf wars that required you to re-rake every time. My memories are filled with images of jumping into huge piles of leaves and breathing in the last of the outdoors, listening to the sound of wind rustling through the drying leaves still on trees.
Here at the coffeehouse, we've taken down bright summer blossoms we enjoyed through the warm months and have replaced them with pumpkins and mums. The thermometer creeps slowly down, and our thoughts are turning to preparing for the upcoming winter but as long as possible, the porch and patio will remain open to soak up the last of the season's sun. What better place to watch the leaves turn to bright yellow, orange and red on the common?
As one would expect, we have seen a decline in demand for iced drinks but for those brave souls who crave a great cold brew in 10 degree weather, have no fear for we will not let you down! Mr. Large Iced Vanilla Latte, you can count on us! Find yourself needing an iced mocha to get your mojo on, you know where you can find us!
As for the food? Who doesn't love a cup of hot soup on a chilly day? Want something more substantial? Check out our specials because they do rotate, and you won't want to miss them. Yesterday's special sandwich was a spicy ham & cheese on a toasted pretzel roll. A-Maz-Ing! Last week we offered a chicken, sun-dried tomato, pesto wrap that was to die for! Friend us on Facebook to find out our specials. When the kids are in school, what better place to savor a hot Latte and enjoy a book, an easy chair and a fresh-baked muffin!
I would like to offer my continued thanks for everyone's support, and we look forward to seeing you on the common.
Is there any better way to kick start the day? One of my favorite aromas is the scent of coffee brewing in the house. Even if you do not drink coffee, the smell is still so appealing. But do we understand what coffee actually is? The beans you brew are actually the processed and roasted seeds from a fruit, which is called a coffee cherry. At the heart of the coffee cherry, side-by-side, lie two beans, each covered by its own skin.
In about 5% of the world's coffee, there is only one bean inside the cherry. This is called a peaberry (or a caracol), and it is a natural mutation. Some people believe that peaberries are actually sweeter and more flavorful than standard beans, so they are sometimes manually sorted out for special sale.
The appearance of coffee plants can range from small bushes to tall trees that are purple, yellow or the familiar dark green depending on the region but for the commercial coffee business there are only 2 species to know - Arabica and Robusto.
Coffea Arabica is descended from the original coffee trees discovered in Ethiopia. These trees produce a fine, mild, aromatic coffee and represent approximately 70% of the world's coffee production. The beans are flatter and more elongated than Robusta and lower in caffeine. On the world market, Arabica coffees bring the highest prices. The better Arabicas are high grown coffees — generally grown between 2,000 to 6,000 feet (610 to 1830 meters) above sea level — though optimal altitude varies with proximity to the equator.
Most of the world's Robusta is grown in Central and Western Africa, parts of Southeast Asia, including Indonesia and Vietnam, and in Brazil. Production of Robusta is increasing, though it accounts for only about 30% of the world market. Robusta is primarily used in blends and for instant coffees. The Robusta bean itself tends to be slightly rounder and smaller than an Arabica bean.
Does knowing about the origins of coffee make it taste better? Probably not, for there are few things in life as satisfying as a good cup of coffee but selecting the right bean for your best cup can make all the difference.
Here at the Coffeehouse, we only select the best Arabica beans, and can't wait to share a cup with you. Don't forget to check out our daily specials to go with that cup. We look forward to seeing you on the common!
Image credits: Lilibeth Serrano - USFWS via Wikimedia Commons, Wikimedia Commons, Michael C. Wright via Wikimedia Commons
It's back to school time, and even though my kids are older, I've always found this time so exciting. At the start of any new school year, everyone has the opportunity to reinvent himself and refocus on those goals that keep us moving forward. And, even though we aren't in school here at the Coffeehouse, we learn something new every day to help us be and do better.
With the fair behind us, we can take everything we've learned in these past weeks and fine-tune our goal of providing the best customer service and the freshest, well-prepared foods and drinks possible. The support we have received this past month reminds us why we are so grateful to be part of this great community. We take each comment and suggestion seriously and love that everyone helped us prepare and execute for the fair. From recipe suggestions to other thoughtful ideas, it truly was a team effort, and for that, we will be forever grateful. One good friend even stopped on her way to the doctor's with a great idea she had, and it's these small gestures that make us want to improve every day.
We did have a great time being part of the fair but I am also a little bit grateful that we have almost a year before we have to do all that over again! Now we can get back to making this coffeehouse run smoothly and efficiently with every latte, every sandwich and every bag of coffee we sell.
Moving forward, we'd love to host a book club or your play group get-togethers. With the kids back in school, need a place to meet friends after morning drop-off? We hope you will join us for a Hardwick Latte or a cup of soup and share your day with us. Need a gift card? They make great gifts and we can even build a gift basket in any price range. We'd love to partner with you to design the perfect gift!
Keep your suggestions coming, and we look forward to seeing you on the common!
It has actually been 12 days since we opened our doors but what a wild ride it has been! How is it that the formula I had originally written did not allow for enough food? Or how did I not expect to go through this much mocha sauce? Or why is there a strange message on our phone line? These are just a few of the questions I ask myself 100 times a day.
Since we are all learning together how best to build mutually-beneficial relationships, I must take this opportunity to thank all of you for your unending flexibility. When we've run out of something unexpectedly, you are great at selecting something else. Trust me that we are working hard to not let those things happen any more but I ask for your continued indulgence while we improve.
We are sorely tired but your enthusiastic and warm reception gives us the energy to keep learning and improving. Your smiles inspire us; your kind words motivate us; and every kind gesture does not go unnoticed.
We love to see the many conversations that spontaneously happen when one friend sees another picking up mail. We understand that all of the waiting and hard work is paying off as groups gather at tables inside, on the porch and out back on the new patio. We'd love to host your small group, so keep us in mind as you plan events. Did you see that we have scheduled our first event for Friday, September 1? Hope you can join us!
Please know that we are hard at work to create something special, and we love your comments and suggestions. Our WIFI is finally live at the coffeehouse so feel free to check in on Facebook while enjoying your custom-made drink. We love the reviews we have received and keep each of them in mind as we work through the day. If you have an area of improvement for us, we hope you will give us the chance to meet your expectations to keep you coming back.
Our doors are open but that is only the start of something wonderful. So stay tuned, and we look forward to seeing you on the Common!
Some days, it seemed as if this day would never come! But here we are. Our doors are open, and we even have a few days under our belts. And, what FUN it has been! The learning curve seems steep at certain points in the day, and you have no idea how much we appreciate everyone's flexibility as we navigate the waters of our new business.
There is so much to learn, and I wanted to share some of the biggest things we have learned so far. First, the generosity of heart of the people of Hardwick, though not unexpected, is truly inspirational for us as we learn our new registers (installed Wednesday), figure out how to navigate the kitchen with 4 people (which couldn't be done until we opened) and decide how to handle multiple orders at once. You make us want to learn faster and do better for you! Training will end at some point, and then we won't need as many people around.
Second, and for the more constructive lessons, no one likes a cold donut! Who does, right? This darn pastry case is bound and determined to freeze everything we put in to it so as our broken record goes, we appreciate your patience as we try to figure out the best way to make it work. Third, 'grab and go' is not a Hardwick fave. We hear ya but we are hoping that in our efforts to improve our speed of service and knowing that everything is freshly prepared as needed throughout the day and using only the best local ingredients, you will give it a try. These cucumbers are out of local gardens in the salads and would be super convenient to grab on your way to work!
Next, no one is quite sure where to order. So, here's the deal - the gals at the registers can take your order and they are located behind the beam. But, if you are seated at the counter and want to order from your seat, flexibility is the name of the game, and we can take your order from there. If you order at the registers and want to eat on the new patio out back, that works for us! Want to eat on the porch? We can find you out there as well when your order is ready. Simply let whoever takes your order at the register know and get comfy.
The list of what we need to learn is longer than some of what we have learned and I look forward to making that list smaller. We hope you will keep coming in and helping us get better! So what do you say, Hardwick? Can you spread the word? See you on the Common!
Another major hurdle crossed on our way to the finish line. There is so much going on at the coffeehouse, it is hard to keep up with it all! I am so very excited to share that we received our official permit to operate a food establishment. That was the last of the big items on my to-do list, and with it officially crossed off, we are almost ready to open our doors.
The brick and tiling are complete, the new bathroom is done, the painters have finished with the walls, and the landscaping transformation has officially begun. I know lots of you have popped in to take a peek at the progress, and I hope you are as pleased as I am with the new look. The final reveal is almost at hand, and we are all so ready!
Stephanie has been working hard on putting together an amazing team, and has her office all clean and repainted in the basement. While I work from afar, she toils away tirelessly under sometimes frustrating circumstances, and I couldn't have done a fraction of what she has accomplished in such a short time.
Please look for Steph at the Farmers Market on Sunday on the common. The coffeehouse may not be ready to open its doors just yet but she will be there to serve up some great iced coffee, cold brew, hot coffee and other menu items you will love.
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