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Posts Tagged ‘Good Turn Coffee’

Freshly roasted beans cooling in my roaster

Freshly roasted beans cooling in my roaster

What a year. The business I started is chugging along slowly but consistently. I’ve slowly reduced the amount of jobs I’m working from four to two. I set my goals and followed them, but I didn’t get the results I hoped for. I’ll update all of you on this soon.

Two full years ago, a guy out west named Jack read my blog. He was intrigued that I was roasting coffee and whipping up sass way up here in the frozen north, so he reached out and told me he liked my moxie and what I was doing. He also told me he liked food. He and I were a match made in Heaven. He asked if I would somehow get a video of myself roasting coffee, and of course I said yes! Then I realized that I’m an idiot with video. Sure, I’ve made a sex tape or two in my day, but a polished, fully clothed, edited video? I had no idea what to do.

Enter Mr Joe. A man I knew from middle school and high school knew what to do. He owns a successful media company that could do exactly what I needed. I hated that I couldn’t afford to pay him what he was worth, but he graciously accepted an offensively small amount of money to shoot this video. He shot it, he polished it up, and he sent it off. Done.

Now this didn’t happen without a hitch here and there. When Jack contacted me, it was January. Due to the amount of smoke generated when coffee is roasted, we would need a LOT of light to get a good video. Bright studio lights would make a nice haze in all that smoke. To vent the smoke, we would have needed to open the garage door. When it’s 20° below zero outside, that’s just not an option.

Spring came late that year. We had record snowfall in Minnesota as late as May 1st, and it was cold ALL. OF. THE. TIME. It wasn’t until mid-may until we could shoot, but thanks to Joe’s kindness and patience, we pulled it off. And God in Heaven was it terrifying.

I can feed off of an audience. I LIKE speaking in front of groups. But a camera? A camera doesn’t react. A camera doesn’t give you a helpful YOU SUCK when you don’t nail a punchline. The camera just stares. Thank God Joe was kind enough to feed me a courtesy chuckle or two as I talked.

I’ve posted the video below. I really hope you like it. I have since cut my hair and shaved my beard, grown both out again, and cut each again. Many people are mystified by the process of roasting coffee, and I hope that this is a nice, introduction. I hope you learn something, and I hope you keep reading.



roasted coffee, roasted coffee beans, coffee, beans, espresso

I make these. I make ALL of these.

I know. I’m terrible. I had a successful giveaway on the blog and then quit writing. I. Am. Awful. But really, guys, I can explain!

It’s been extra busy around my house. Halo 4 was recently released and it takes HUGE amounts of time to convince my friends to let me come over and play it. Mr ‘Hoda finally relented, so one night we went out and got steak and played Halo. It was totally killer.

In my other spare time, I sat in my garage, often times with some liquid encouragement. Alone. Inhaling smoke. But it wasn’t just any old smoke. It was caffeinated smoke. Cooking smoke.

It was ROASTING smoke.

I got it in my head that I could roast coffee and make a living. Back in April, a very kind client of mine taught me how to make yogurt and how to roast coffee. I got my hands on an old Home Innovations fluid bed roaster that works pretty much just like a popcorn popper. Roasting coffee in that was satisfying, making coffee with bright flavor and nice happy smells, but at 3 ounces per 15 minute roast, a pound of coffee took over an hour. Something had to give.

I made a half-joking (but hopelessly serious) plea on Facebook, asking for money to buy a new roaster. I was going to need $820 just for a new, higher-capacity roaster, plus several hundred more for a bulk bag of green coffee beans. Business fees, license fees, bag fees, supply fees… I would need a few thousand dollars to make this work.

Enter two angels: Mr Book and Mr White. Mr White sent me enough to cover my LLC registration fees. Someone had walked into his life previously and done the same, so I hope I can pass this on some day soon. Mr Book asked what I needed and ultimately funded all the hardware I would need. Holy crap, this was going to HAPPEN.

I got the idea to run this as a way to support my Boy Scouts and other youth leadership initiatives in the Twin Cities. The YMCA has WONDERFUL leadership camps that kids in the inner city can’t afford, but with a scholarship from me they can. My low-income scouting district can get some much needed funds from this as well. Once I thought of this, Good Turn Coffee was born.

At this point, I started to get a little spooked. I tried to talk myself out of doing this. Here are some reasons I felt that I shouldn’t be a professional coffee roaster:

I’m not skinny.

I don’t have tattoos.

I don’t know how to make a website.

I listen to music that most people have probably heard of.

My coffee maker is a Mr Coffee.

I never worked as a barista.

Once I killed a guy with my boot.

I don’t wear glasses.

I don’t live or work in a cool neighborhood.

I don’t have an iPad.

I have a heart condition which probably means I should take it easy on the caffeine.

I’m up against some serious pressure here. I might screw everything up, bankrupt myself, and destroy my life and my marriage.

On the other hand, here are some reasons why I SHOULD roast coffee:

I’m using some of the profits to support inner-city kids want to learn how to be leaders.

I know how to roast coffee in a cast iron skillet over a fire.

I can make espresso using 4 different types of electronic and non-electronic processes.

I can make an iced non-fat sugar-free triple caramel macchiato that will reduce a Starbucks barista to tears.

I can kill a guy with my boot.

I can roast coffee blindfolded and know exactly how the roast came out.

I can taste the difference between Folgers, Maxwell House, and my coffee.

I can make Swedish egg coffee better than your grandparents AND your church basement ladies.

As you can see, I have some SERIOUS qualifications. I also have drive, a love for underprivileged, awkward kids who want to make something of themselves, and a desire to have a job where I can make a difference. Looks like I’m getting a chance to make it all happen and make it BIG.

To buy my coffee, you can paypal me your order! Send it to It’s $16 for a full pound of delicious coffee, or $10 for a half pound. Shipping is $6 more dollars. Website is coming soon!