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.
It is so much fun to finally have a working kitchen - well, sort of. Stephanie and I have been here all week playing with all of our new equipment, and we cannot wait to share it all with you. If you see us working in there, we hope you will pop in to say hello!
Gosh! So much is going on at the Coffeehouse that I hardly know where to begin. The counters are in, the cabinets are done and the wall tiling has begun - such progress! But the most exciting news I have to share is that I have hired a manager in whom I see such great things to come. It is my great pleasure to introduce Stephanie Korzec as the General Manager of Mimi's Coffeehouse.
Funny enough, I'm the newcomer and she is the one who grew up down the road so her name is probably familiar to many of you. I feel so lucky that she said Yes to our grand adventure, and I believe that her experience and enthusiasm will benefit us all.
Stephanie and I will be at the coffeehouse next week to start setting the kitchen up and getting all of our new equipment fired up. We still have a little ways to go before we are ready to officially open our doors but if you would like to stop in and check on our progress, please do so. You may even smell a pot of coffee on to brew!
Just to keep the excitement building, we are also ready to start hiring baristas, and hopefully you will notice a new page on the website. The job application is available to download on the website. We will be accepting completed applications some time next week, so stay tuned for a schedule of when to turn them in.
One parent asked me what kind of people we will be hiring; specifically, does each candidate need to already know how to pull a good espresso shot. Great question! A barista is simply someone who makes and serves coffee (such as espresso) to the public. We will be hiring baristas but the coffee part is something that we can train. The quality that is more important is being able to talk to people, and that is the part that we cannot train. We will be looking for those individuals who like to be around people and who want to please someone by simply providing great customer service. Who doesn't appreciate that?
I look forward to seeing you next week!
It is said that the only time you should ever look back is to see how far you have come. We had reached that point long ago where going back was no longer an option and when I hope to speed things along, I find it useful to look back at where we started and see the progress we have made. It truly is dramatic. The new cabinets have been installed and the appliances have been delivered. And the bathroom is ready for a whole new look.
We received approval from the town Planning Board, and with team-building firmly underway, my excitement is starting to build. What had started as the seed of a dream has sprouted and is growing as well as the trees on the common. Many more changes are still to come but I can finally begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I have said it before, but everyone I meet has been so supportive and could not be any more helpful as we take this journey. Their enthusiasm is infectious and as we inch closer to opening, I find that I am even more determined to take the great suggestions I've received and incorporate them into the final plan. So bear with us, and stay tuned for more updates!
Any great business is only as good as its people, and we have come to the next phase in our exciting plan where we need to start putting our team together. As I see it, the key to taking any enterprise from the drawing board and breathing life in to it is to understand what is the essential lifeblood for that business. In my many years, I have worked in so many different kinds of jobs. My first job was in our very small town's McDonalds. During college, I was a security dispatcher for campus security. I've taught at the high school and college levels, worked as a secretary but my longest tenured job was at Barnes and Noble, holding almost every job they had from bookseller, café barista, department leader, community relations/bookfair organizer, head cashier and others.
In every instance, the most important skill that determined success in any given situation was the ability to relate to people, to be able to understand what people needed and to respond to that need in such a way as to make them feel a connection however brief.
I have written the job description and if I were to describe what it is that I am looking for, I would say it is that person who is able to speak to the brain surgeon and the tradesman but more importantly be able to build the environment where they will speak to each other. The link for the job posting is below, and if you can think of someone who may be a good fit for the Coffeehouse, I hope you will encourage that person to apply. We won't exactly have the theme song from Cheers playing in the background everyday but we look forward to learning your names and being part of the great Hardwick community.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.