Peace, Love, and Coffee

A diary of the wonderful and wacky goings on at Coffee to the People, an independent coffeehouse located at 1206 Masonic Avenue in the Haight Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco, California.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween

Halloween snuck up on me this year, as Karin & I had a rare vacation last week hiking around Yosemite. By the way, I think Yosemite may have a park-wide contract with Seattle's Best. I'm not a fan. Anyone want to start a petition to get this national park to carry organic, fair trade coffee instead?

With the arrival of Halloween, we are heading into "specialty drink season" in the coffeehouse business. I think we are trying out two drinks today: a Monster Mocha and a Monster Matcha Mocha. Matcha is the traditional Japanese tea ceremony green tea that is made with crushed leaves that form a dissolving powder instead of leaves to steep. Mixing it with the chocolate creates a kind of chocolate mint flavor. We are employing orange and black sprinkles to dress the drinks up.

If anyone has any favorite seasonal coffee or tea drinks (whether for Halloween, Thanksgiving, or Christmas), send your suggestions along and we will think about adding it to our offerings.

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 21, 2005

Harreit Miers - Fellow Blogger

Did you know that in addition to all of her hard work answering questionnaires, and then answering them again, that Harriet Miers also works hard to keep up with her very own blog? Harriet Miers' Blog

It is always good to know that if the whole Supreme Court thing doesn't work out, she'll always have blogging to fall back on.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Missed Connection

Earlier this week on Craig's List there was a sweet little posting about a missed connection here at Coffee to the People. The note was written on 10/8 and it said:

Coffee to the People on Masonic this morning - w4m - 30 (haight ashbury)

You commented on my dancing. We smiled a few times. Maybe next time we're there, we can have coffee together. Do you live in the neighborhood?

Let's see if we can help these potential lovers find each other. Click here to respond.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Sundays - Try something new

Karin & I try to taste everything we offer at Coffee to the People, if not before we offer it, then shortly thereafter. Sundays always make for a good day to try new things, especially a Sunday like today when the sun is shining and the temperature is perfect (very rare for San Francisco). Today's treat was the chocolate cupcake with icing. Small, but very tasty. This is the kind of little gem that takes you by surprise.

This got me to thinking that we could do a better job of letting people know about all variety of options we developed here to serve up coffees and teas. We must figure out a better way to advertise these options without inundating guests with signage.

For example, in addition to getting a "cup of coffee," at Coffee to the People you can get single cup brew of any coffee we offer for the same price. Very fresh. The only drawback is that it takes about three minutes, so you don't enjoy quite the same instant gratification. But isn't that what Sunday is for? We do all of out decaf one cup at a time using the pour over method, both because the demand for decaf isn't high enough to brew a half gallon at a time (we will not keep any brewed coffee for more than an hour), and because it seems to get better flavor out of the decaf.

My personal favorite is to get the coffee in a french press. You get 2-3 cups of coffee from our french presses (they are the 1 liter size), and french pressing the coffee is one of the best ways to get the full flavor out of the coffee. Again, that way you can get any of the coffees we have.

I do see people getting these once in a while, but I think if people tried it we would have many more people getting the single cup pour over or french press brewed coffees.

On the tea front, we offer two very unusual services that I have not seen at other coffeehouses, too. First, we offer pots of "blooming tea," which, as the name suggests, are flowering buds that bloom while they steep. We have these cool little glass pots so you can see the bloom unfurl while your tea steeps.

Second, if you like chai, have these chai bowls with metal strainer straws that maximize the extraction. It's a very communal, hippy thing because people often share and pass the chai bowl around.

Anyway, we do have a little menu board where we rotate items for emphasis, but I think there has got to be a better way to get people onto these options. Are is it the comfort of habit that keeps people with "the usual"? I'm thinking of starting a Sunday experiental thing, where we offer heavily discounted items to get people to try something new.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Dust Redux

Well, after our earlier false alarms, the roofing people actually did come this week and do the first half of their skylight replacement job. Talk about loud. The first morning was especially bad and drove a lot of our guests away. It had to be done, though. When we moved into this location, the walls under the skylight had bubbled up from water running into them from the broken skylight. Fortunately, having finally showed up the roofing crew was in and out in three days. More fortunately the skylight is not over our service area, so we did not have to shut down completely during that time.

But now the waiting begins while someone custom-makes the replacement. Meanwhile, our sunny living room is a little more cave-like (they temporarily replaced the skylight with plywood). I think they said something like six weeks. Ugh. Any suggestions on how to make that area more attractive (other than add more lights, we figured that one out) are welcome.