From our June 2021 Newsletter
I know you have all been losing sleep wondering where our beans come from. Great question. They come from all over the world, Indonesia, Mexico, Guatemala, Ethiopia …But they all end on pallets in our basement. The journey they take is quite exciting. Someday we’ll talk about how coffee is harvested because it is fascinating, but it is also highly nerdy so we’ll save it for later. Once the beans are dried and packaged in gigantic burlap sacks they end up in a warehouse in the U.S. (or other countries, but we’re talking about our coffee).
For a while, we were ordering coffee in 20-50lb boxes or less and those bad boys showed up in big ole cardboard boxes on our front porch. Sorry UPS driver.
But we kept growing, and sales kept increasing so we started looking at buying coffee by the pallet. Which is a cost-saving, but… did you remember we roast in our basement? It is most definitely not a walk-out basement.
So how does one get a pallet of coffee into their basement? Before we can answer that question, we have to address how the heck you get a pallet of coffee down our street. Most businesses ordering things on pallets have loading docks and pallet jacks. Things, we do not have.
What we do have is a cul de sac and a driveway as steep as the final ascent to Mt Everest. You think I am exaggerating but we have to exit our driveway one wheel at a time or we will bottom out.
You can see how steep it is here.
We’ve had our pallets of coffee delivered several times now, but each time it is… an ordeal. Our most recent experience was the most exciting. After some wildly complicated deliveries, we decided to go with a new company hoping things would be smoother. Hope is a funny thing.
Big E usually makes the arrangements for the deliveries because… remember Spreadsheet Ninja? He remembers to ask about things like liftgates and pallet jacks.
This company said it had small trucks with liftgates. Which it did, just not at its location in Indy. It had full-sized semis and delivery vans. We had 300 lbs of coffee on a pallet. Everette went back and forth with them showing them satellite images of our neighborhood, explaining how he believed they could drive a semi-truck down our cul de sac and how important it was to not break the seal on the wrapped pallet. And how freaking heavy those bags of coffee were. They were not listening. They assured us that they could load the pallet undisturbed in the delivery van and then their delivery driver could unload them in our garage, located at the top of Mt Everest.
So we let them.
A few things to note about when we receive a coffee shipment. One, it is always the same temperature as the surface of the sun or winter in Antarctica. Never sunny and 70 with a slight breeze. Secondly, we live at the end of a cul de sac which means all winter long there is a giant pile of snow either turning into an ice rink or a raging white water rapids course.
This particular day was a sunny day in February and the river at the bottom of the driveway was flowing swiftly. The driver parked at the bottom of the driveway despite my invitation to scale Mt Everest in his van, he opted to ascend on foot, but not before crossing the raging rapids.
I put on my big girl pants and told the driver that if any of those beans fall into that water they would be ruined and we would not be able to accept the shipment. Still, he was confident. He struggled to get his cart-dolly to stand still at the bottom of our driveway slide. I offered to hold it for him because I am not a jerk. So he reached in the van picked up a 100 lb bag of coffee and forded the stream to the hand cart. And rolled the bag up the mountain. By the time he got to the third bag, he was sweating and asking how much the bag weighs. I told him about 100lbs each… “Huh, they’re a lot heavier than they look.”
“Yes,” I said, ” this is why we asked and paid for a truck with a lift gate.
The coffee makes it to the mountaintop dry and unscathed.
I breathe a sigh of relief and begin the task of breaking down the giant bags into slightly less giant-er bags so that we can carry them down to the basement. The best news is that now Jonathan is strong enough to help carry bags down. I definitely skip leg workouts on delivery days. Can you say quad burns? Once the coffee is safely in the basement it waits there patiently until it is selected to end up in your coffee cup. Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy.