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Coffee and Conversation

It is an understatement to say I have spent a lot of time over cups of coffee.  No matter how simple a mug of coffee may seem, it seems to foster a connection in people that is anything but simple.  As a matter of fact, this connection may be needed now more than ever.

Please take a moment to watch this video before reading further.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQ15cqP-K80

I think you would agree, we are bombarded every day with messages that highlight the differences in people.  I also hope you agree that there is far more that connects us than divides us.

Now is the perfect time to reach out to those around us, especially people different from ourselves, and learn about these commonalities.  In the process, you might learn just as much about yourself.

In my time spent over coffee, I have had so many conversations.  Some with people I know, but some with compete strangers.  The best thing is, by the time the cups are empty, those who started as strangers are like old friends.

What if the new family down the street were like old friends.

What if the lonely, single mother was embraced like an old friend?

What if the refugees were treated like old friends?

The divide would shrink.  We can share a cup of coffee and have conversations.  We would see that there’s more that connects us than we thought.

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Are you Ready for an Adventure?

Asking if you’re ready for an adventure is rather silly for two reasons.

First, everyone looks for adventure in life. Your idea of adventure is as unique as your fingerprint but the fundamental desire for adventure is universal. For some, adventure is found in the escape of a book or movie. For others, their adventure occurs in the creation of culinary masterpieces. Some engage in shooting sports, some go camping, and some (like me) take to the sea.

The second reason the question is flawed centers around the word ‘ready’. Of the times in my life when I recall the greatest adventure, I was anything BUT ready. I’ve been prepared, but never ready.

What’s the difference?

Prepared implies being knowledgeable and having the tools. It’s what comes before– PREpare.

Ready, on the other hand, is NOW. In the moment. Take action. Make an experience. It’s a totally different matter.

I have been prepared to go sailing. I rig the boat, get the lines in order, and chart a course. But when I leave the dock, I’m ready; I feel the wind, analyze situations, and make adjustments.

The same is true for driving, doing your job, raising children, or a million other examples. You can be prepared, but you’re not ready until you’re knee deep.

So why do we long for adventure? I firmly believe that we want to be tested in our lives. We want to see how capable we really are. We want to see if we can. If we can complete the task, if we can succeed, if we can feel.

Spoiler alert; you can. If you are willing to prepare, invest the effort, and not shy from the work you CAN. Because you are capable of much more than you think.

So have an adventure. Go hiking. Take a road trip. Climb a mountain. Cook that dish. Read that book. Experience life.

“Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Twenty-one Hours

Over the last several years, people have focused quite a bit of time and energy on the subject of time management. There have been books, podcasts, and blog posts urging readers and listeners to analyze, synchronize, and prioritize.

But you can’t push a string. After all of this reading and listening, people ultimately choose to make changes to their lives as an individual. In addition, and this is important, they must be willing to put forth the effort to make the change.

However, this is not a time management post, simply a quick statistic.

The statistic in question? Twenty-one hours. This is the amount of time, on average, people spend waiting for coffee in one year. That’s 5 minutes per day, 5 days per week, for almost 52 weeks.

Don’t overlook this point: 5 minutes per day.

By the way, this is an average. Your wait time may be more or less, depending on the time of day or what concoction the person in front of you has ordered. It should also be considered that this does not account for the extra time traveling to and from the coffee stop.

What could you be doing with an extra twenty-one hours per year? Spending more time with your family in the morning? Catching a few extra minutes of rest? Maybe getting a jump on errands? Whatever you choose to do with this time, it’s time that you could choose to spend differently.

How do we go about saving this twenty-one hours from the prison of lines and traffic? Simple; make your coffee at home. It can brew while you’re in the shower or drying your hair. Then, it’s ready for you when you want it.

This also gives you incredible control. You have control over the quality of coffee, sweaters, and flavors. You also can rest in the fact that you are decreasing your environmental impact.

Twenty-one hours, your for the taking. A little effort, a little energy, and a huge reward.

It’s your time. Keep it.

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The 3 ‘Up’ Rules to Making an Impact- Introduction

If you are like most people, you want to be heard.  Even more than heard, you want someone to listen, to pay attention to you, to verify your identity and recognize your thoughts and ideas.  You want to make an impact.  Like the old investment firm commercials that mention the name “EF Hutton” and a hush falls over the room (because “when EF Hutton speaks, people listen.”)

Commanding that respect is easier than you think.  With a little knowledge, awareness and effort, you can expand your influence and make a lasting impact on those around you.  How would you feel if people took you more seriously; if they truly heard and understood what you had to say?

We are investing the bulk of this week to being heard, understood, and taken seriously; the three ‘up’ rules to making an impact.  No matter what position you hold, from parent to C-Suite, these three steps will help you make more of an impact.

Step 1- SHOW UP

Have you ever been in a conversation with someone who seems distracted, on their phone, or blankly nodding to your comments?  Doesn’t that make you feel unimportant; like you’re talking to a wall? 

This is the situation we want to avoid.  In order to make an impact, you need to be willing to invest your attention into the conversation.  There is no shortcut, no magic bullet. You must be willing to SHOW UP.

Being fully present, showing up, is the first step in making a bigger impact with those around you.  When I say ‘presence’, it’s much more than physically being in the room.  It is devoting your energy and attention to those in the conversation.

In certain cases, you may need to remember the details of a conversation.  When this situation arises, ask if you can jot a few notes.  Write as little as possible, write in pencil or pen (as opposed to tapping on a device), and keep your face up as much as you can.  This will help keep you present in the conversation and connected.

Showing up and be emotionally present in a conversation is not natural for most people.  It will probably require practice and you might not get it right every time.  Like everything else, the more you practice the better you get.

DO:

  • Make eye contact as much as possible
  • Minimize distractions: turn off the TV, put the phone in your pocket or face down
  • Put yourself in their position

DON’T

  • Allow yourself to be distracted
  • GIVE UP!  Keep practicing; the effort will be worth it!

Tomorrow, we will unpack part 2.  Today, start practicing SHOWING UP!

Step 2- Listen Up

We all know people who are good listeners. They practice Step 1 and show up physically and emotionally to a conversation. They come without distraction, ready to participate. Good listeners give you their full attention, take in every word, and offer (not force) their view.

First, we must view listening as a skill. It’s a skill that goes much deeper than simply hearing; it’s is the process of allowing words or music to soak into the brain. Like a golf swing, it’s a skill that we must study, practice, and refine if we expect to be successful.

Second, listening requires effort. We must be willing to engage in listening with energy. Listen with the goal of understanding where the words are coming from; is this person worried? Downhearted? Excited? Put yourself in their position. Yes, it’s difficult, but true listening requires empathy.

*WARNING:* Being completely present in a conversation may lead to increased desire to give advice. 

Finally, try to avoid sharing your opinion and ideas unless they are specifically requested.   Showing up in the conversation partially means allowing the speaker to have the spotlight.  This is their time. Affirm their identity with facial expressions and nods. (This is especially challenging when you feel yourself getting defensive or when you personally disagree with what’s being said.)

I never said it would be easy. But I will say it’s worth it.

Step 3- Speak Up

Let me begin by repeating part of step 2: listen intently for meaning and understanding, NOT to formulate a response.  Otherwise, ‘making an impact’ gets derailed into rebuttal and defense.

Speaking up is more art than science.  First, guaging the conversation while involved in the conversation requires energy.  It’s difficult to be empathetic and try to see the world through the eyes of someone else.  Second, carefully measuring words as to not sound demanding or condescending requires a rich vocabulary.  Finally, it’s all about timing.  If your thoughts are requested, that’s simple.  Otherwise, there are ways to open a response.  For instance, you can restate what you heard.  (This is as much for meaning and clarification as it is for understanding.)  You can also simply ask if they would like your thoughts, or if you have been in a similar situation, experience.

No judgments.  No degredation.  Affirm their humanity, empathize with their situation, and offer support.

Making an impact takes time and effort.  But I promise you, it’s time and effort well invested.

 

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Are You Are Getting Robbed?

If you are like most people, you are being robbed and it’s just not right.

First, you are being robbed of the true flavor that coffee was destined to have.  In exchange, you’re forced to settle for stale, bitter brews that have lost their natural sweetness and aroma.

Second, you are being robbed of your precious time by constantly depending on someone else for your coffee.  If your coffee stop takes only 5 minutes, (the average is 7) you lose 20 hours per year.  You can brew the perfect cup, in the comfort of your home, in much less time.

Finally you are being robbed of your money by overpaying for a drink you could make at home, using much better ingredients, for literally pennies.

If you are being robbed, you can stop it.

Coffee from The Mister G Coffee Company is chosen by you, roasted for you, and shipped directly to you.  The full flavor, aroma, and natural sweetness of the coffee is preserved for you to enjoy.

Brewing coffee at home not only saves time but also allows you to experience the aromas of freshly roasted coffee.  From citrus, to vanilla, to dark cocoa, the scents that fill the air during brewing are all there for you to enjoy.

For less than 30 cents per cup, you can taste the fullness of coffee, only adding flavors to enhance, not mask, the body and richness of the brew.

Visit www.mistergcoffee.com today.  Explore the single origins and exclusive blends.

Stop getting robbed and start experiencing the fullness of coffee.

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5 Inspirational Thoughts

inspiration, (noun)

1. The process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something especially to do something creative.

2. A sudden, brilliant, creative, or timely idea.

Being inspired is the first step to success. Whatever your goal, there will be obstacles and every now and then we all need a little extra motivation. Often, inspiration is found in the words of people we admire or who have accomplished great things.

As we make our way through the week, you may need a bit of extra inspiration. Here are 5 of the motivational quotes that inspire me.

“It doesn’t matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” -Confucius

Keep working at your goals, even if you take small steps. Even small steps in the right direction are better than no steps at all.

“The secret to getting ahead is getting started.” -Mark Twain

Sometimes it’s simply taking the first step that seems most difficult. Once you set a goal, get start ones achieving it!

“Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me.” -Carol Burnett

If we want something to change or improve in our lives, it’s ultimately up to us to make it happen.

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” -Charles Swindoll

Attitude is everything.

And a personal favorite;

“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.” -Walt Disney

Disney has many setbacks. He was told his goals were impossible. Even when people thought he was crazy, he persevered and look what he created.

I hope these words have inspired you to keep working toward your goals!

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The BEST Homemade Coffee Liqueur

Since I am always curious about ways to use freshly roasted coffees, I decided to make coffee liqueur. I followed a simple recipe and experimented with different coffees to get the flavor I desired.

The recipe I used called for:
8 oz. brewed coffee (I used a strong medium/dark roast Nicaraguan)
2.6 oz. dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
60 ml. vodka

Slightly warm the coffee and brown sugar.  This allows the sugar to dissolve faster.  Once dissolved, add the vanilla and vodka (optional).

Why bother?

First, you are in control of the ingredients.  If you desire less sweetness or a stronger coffee flavor, you can adjust the recipe to accommodate.  If you wish to have less alcohol, or none, you have that option as well.

Second, you can make small batches and experiment with flavors.  You can add chocolate, cinnamon, cream, pumpkin spice, or any other ‘coffee friendly’ flavorings without committing to a large quantity.

Finally, it’s fun!  If you enjoy experimenting with your drinks, this is a great way to discover new flavors combinations and impress your guests.

I hope we’ve encouraged you to start thinking about your coffee in a new way.  If you have other suggestions, please comment!

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Challenge

“I don’t know who named them swells. There’s nothing swell about them. They should have named them awfuls.”   -Hugo Vihlen 

You know that feeling, I’m sure.  Your stomach sinks.  Your palms sweat.  Your mind starts to race through all the things that could go wrong.  You wonder if you’re in over your head.

Some people enjoy that feeling.  They put themselves into these challenging situations on purpose.  It could be a roller coaster, a performance, a phone call, or the instant you look over the bow toward the huge approaching wall of water.  These moments are not only defining but, in some cases, life changing.

Challenges come in many forms.  They can be physical challenges such taking dance or scuba lessons or learning to sail. It could be a mental challenge such as learning to make a great pizza crust or take a class in something interesting to you.

The lesson here is don’t shy away from the challenge.  Take on the swells. You will often find that you learn something very important about yourself; YOU ARE ABLE.

(Want to share your challenge?  Leave a comment on this post!  We’d love to hear about them!

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Logos

What’s in a logo? It is the symbol of a brand. A fingerprint. It is the abbreviated form of ‘logotype’ and from the Greek means ‘imprint’. A step further to philosophy and it means ‘reason’ as in ‘reason for being ‘ or ‘purpose’.

Over the past few years, many stories and blog posts have circulated about company logos. Businesses have been very creative about the information they display (and sometimes hide) in their logos.

The Mister G Coffee Company is no different. From the very beginning, we designed everything with a nautical feel. The main logo is a compass rose, signifying direction and purpose. (The original logo was created in my living room on Microsoft Paint.) We display the compass rose to signify two things; raw coffee comes to us from all points of the globe and is shipped to clients all over the world. The underlying colors are red and black, muted to signify raw coffee has no developed flavor or aroma, but has the potential. The brighter colors of yellow and orange indicate the awakened flavor and aroma of freshly roasted coffee.

For the single origin coffees, we go one step further. Alphabet signal flags indicate the starting letter in each word. For example, the flags on Sumatra Mandheling are “S” and “M” and the flags on Costa Rica Tarrazu are “C”, “R”, and “T”.

Almost all of the custom blends are named for nautical purposes as well. From ‘Southwest Harbor’ (one of my favorite places along coastal Maine) to the ‘Sail Loft Collection’, almost everything is designed with the sea in mind. We even have a special section of the site dedicated to yacht provisioning.

Now that you know a little more about what’s on our Omnidegradable pouches, perhaps you would like to experience the flavor inside. Please visit www.mistergcoffee.com and request a free sample and taste the difference.

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4 Reasons to Ditch Your Single Cup Brewer; And a Better Way to Brew

Single cup brewers are very popular. They provide what many people look for; convenience. However, their shortcomings far outweigh the benefit. Let’s look at the four reasons you should rethink your single cup brewer. (At the end, we’ll give you our recommendation for a better way!)

  1. Flavor– When it comes to coffee, freshness is vital. Once roasted, coffee releases volatile oils that contribute to sweetness, flavor, and aroma. Once those oils evaporate, the coffee is stale; bitter, flat, and dull. This happens in a letter of weeks: coffee used in single cup brewers is often months from roasting.
  2. Waste– Single cup brewers create a huge amount of plastic waste. As a matter of fact, there is more plastic used for each cup than there is actual coffee. As I’m sure you’re aware, plastic waste is choking the planet.
  3. Cost– What if you had a choice between a cup of stale, bitter coffee that costs 50 cents or a sweet, aromatic, flavorful coffee that costs 45 cents. The choice is clear, yet many settle for more expensive, lower quality coffee. (Not to mention the cost of the machine!)
  4. Cleaning– When was the last time the inside of your single cup brewer was cleaned? Can it even be cleaned?

So what’s the alternative? A flavorful, clean, economical, and environmentally friendly brewing method like a manual pour over.

With nothing but a cone filter, freshly roasted coffee, and hot water, you have the power to craft a flavorful, aromatic cup of coffee with the natural sweetness that coffee was meant to have.

In addition, a pour over brewer is economical and the only waste can dropped into your garden or compost bin.

I hope you take a minute to examine the flavorful possibilities of a pour over brewer and start experiencing better coffee.

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