Coffee, Quarantine, & DnD

I think I’ve covered my love for the titled items a few times recently, but I figure I’ll hit on it again.

Running a coffee business has its share of challenges on its own, but when you throw all the COVID-19 restrictions on top of it, it get’s tougher.  We’ve moved to an almost entirely online business, shipping bags here, there, and everywhere. It’s a good thing that we have some sort of survivability, don’t get me wrong, but I would love to have both going strong.

I suppose beneficially, I’ve been able to reach out for potential advertisements with potential partners (speaking of which, go check out MrRipper‘s YouTube channel) and try to get our name a little further out there. But, on the personal side, it’s also given me the chance to work on my DnD campaign. Even further than that, it’s given us the chance to play more. So, as of right now, I’m playing DnD on Wednesdays and Saturdays with my friendgroup, and then Fridays and (some) Sundays with my son and wife. It’s actually been a blast.

Yikes, I thought I had more material to post today. I was wrong.

 

Guess I’ll go mail some packages of coffee.

Quelling the Quarantine

A red plastic ball rolls down the hallway, though I’m not sure who hit it. Had to have been one of the cats, because everyone else is sleeping, I think. The vague sounds of the house settling is no unusual note to my early morning. In a minute, I’ll hear the jingling of tags on my dog’s collar, and he’ll want to go out — or, maybe not. I already hear the sound of the television in the front bedroom, and ah, yes, there goes the coffee maker.

For a brief moment, I consider laying back on the couch and dozing for a few minutes before I really just have to go — no questions asked. Of course, I don’t. I grab a shirt, my shoes, all the stuff I need to be socially accepted, though at this point who’s out there to judge me? Briefcase slung over my shoulder, I head out the door.

The sound of silence outside is palpable, tangible, even; like I could just reach out and grab it. Normally, there’s the rush of vehicles on the closest highways and the interstate, as well as the sound of vehicles warming in their driveways, or getting ready to leave. Today, and for the last week or so, it’s been almost completely silent. There have been no car doors, no idling motors, nothing. These days it’s just me, quietly getting in my car and heading on down to work.

The roads are virtually empty, too, which is even wilder. I meet maybe one or two vehicles on the way in, and one of those is usually police or EMS. Most aren’t inbound for a call either, just riding. It’s a quick trip to work, usually, because of how clear it’s been.

Work is a different animal, too.  It used to be full days of customers coming in to the storefront to get hot, brewed coffee, or to pick up bagged coffee from the shelves. Now, we still serve customers curbside — so, as to conform to Health standards in the midst of this crisis, but we’re otherwise empty. I’ve taken the opportunity to read between roasts, and sometimes write, but mostly just keep my head low and go about my day with as little human contact as possible.

Our cafe, which was full regularly, now sits empty most days. It’s an experience worthy of note, that’s for certain. There is truly something to be said about the precautions we’ve all had to take.

The biggest awakening I’ve had during this craziness is that as much as I’d like to say that I enjoy my time alone, in my home, taking my date nights in front of a television instead of a theater screen — I’m every bit the extrovert that both I, and my wife, know that I am. As Ariel says, I want to be where the people are.

For now, I just can’t. And you shouldn’t either.

So, take this time to grow, and learn. Become a better version of you. Use it to reflect, healthily, and decide who you should be when we come out of our cocoons.

 

Running a Coffee Business – Especially Now

Starting Adventurer’s Coffee Co. was (IS!) a dream come true, but it’s been a stressful climb all along. There’s several points where you look at starting your own business, particularly in the United States (or so I’m told), where you sigh and say “Well, should I really keep doing this to myself?” And, I think, at least in my case, the answer is yes.

The dream — for lack of a better term — when starting Adventurer’s Coffee Co. was to start a company that cared as much for its people as it did its product, and its money. Greed is such a compelling force in the business world, and it always has been. It drives our political structure. It drives our corporate structures. Hell, it drives our personal lives, too. The thing we have to do, as responsible business owners and people of Earth, is take a step back and realize how bad greed is. Sorry, Milton Friedman, greed is a bad thing. His viewpoint on greed and mine are two different ones, and his point is well-placed, but his verbiage is incorrect. Greed is not the motivator; Drive is the powerhouse. Greed is a vice that leads us to place our desire for money — simply a tool — over others. Drive, alternately, is a powerful tool that can push you to the stars. Drive is what got us all where we are today. Driven people are who built the foundations of the world.

Alas, I digress. The world of coffee is much the same as others, but we wanted to find a niche. Adventurer’s is this brainchild of three nerdy guys who wanted to capitalize on escapism. We had a really crap cup of coffee one day, not even sure the brand, and decided that we could do better. We bought a bag of green beans online, and then we set out to buy a roaster. First, we just used an air popcorn popper, and it worked! Well, once we figured out that we could do it, we started honing our art. That was February of 2019. We opened the storefront and roasterie in October of 2019, and we’ve been sailing — albeit on choppy waters — ever since.

For all the challenges we faced, getting licenses, financially, structurally, utilities… all those things don’t compare to the brunt of this situation we’re up against with COVID-19. It’s really been challenging. We’re limited to curbside orders only — online orders for the bagged stuff — and we still get to roast full time. Thankfully, we have a very supportive customer base, and each and every day we have those faithful customers coming by. But if we didn’t, we’d be in deep trouble.

If you’ve ever found yourself interested in trying some coffee that’s roasted in small batches with love and care, give us a shot. We’d love to make you a return customer.

Dungeons & Dragons

Do you know what Dungeons and Dragons is? Of course you do! It’s become super popular again in the last five years or so, thanks to the efforts of programs like Critical Role. Critical Role kind of made it cool to get together and roll dice around on a table, whereas before it was us greasy nerds. All that being said, I hadn’t really been able to dedicate myself to a good campaign. Something always got in the way.

The first campaign I ever played was a single session. What was intended to be several sessions, became a one-shot, because my party member threw a fireball at me and then after a series of bad rolls by the DM, the whole kingdom burned down with magical fire. End campaign.

The second one was kind of a bust.

The third one had some real potential, though. My character was Lemmy Thendrix, and it was a 3.5 game. I was a bard with some crazy high charisma (as it’s supposed to be) and I convinced everyone I ever met that they  had “most likely heard of me”. Even some of the higher levels we ran into absolutely knew who I was — at least after I convinced them that they did. That game fizzled out after four sessions, and everyone had to split up and go their own way.

Following that, my fourth campaign only lasted five sessions. She was an awesome DM, and she probably had one of the best lasting impressions on me as a player.

Now, though due to time constraints and scheduling with my friends, we’ve finally picked a new time to play and… now, I’m the Dungeon Master.

Cue maniacal laughing.

I’ve created a homebrew setting with some core traits that remain the same for most DnD sessions. The theme isn’t your standard “World in danger! Save the people from the big bad evil guy!” Instead, I wanted to drum up a world that needed help from adventurers regularly, and because of that, there was a guild that specializes in training adventurers. Our party is a team of adventurers that graduated together. They find work by choosing jobs from a job board. Their first mission was finding little Miss Janna Dovins’ missing cats. Turns out there’s essentially a rat mafia in the sewers, and our party had to take down the dire rat king, Unfortunately, Janna’s cats were dead. Fortunately, they found a burlap sack with kittens in it that they brought back to her.

All that to say, especially right now, DnD can really bring your friends together in a time where it’s hard to socialize.  We’re stuck at home, social distancing, and things like Roll20 or Discord can close that gap and make it a whole lot of fun.

Go roll some dice.

 

Art by Jaimie Martinez, for March of Empires.

Holy moly, I haven’t blogged in forever.

It’s been almost a year since I blogged the last time, and I genuinely can’t believe it. I made sure that I re-upped my site info and subscription so I could eventually come back to it, and honestly, the world has been such a busy place. During my last post, I mentioned that I started a new day job — and at the time I had. It didn’t work out, unfortunately. But it was all for the better. Now I’m a managing partner in my own business… Adventurer’s Coffee Co.<-Check that out while you’re here.

But, yeah. So, in August we started focus firing on getting the cafe side of the Coffee company opening, while roasting in the background. Little by little the dream came to life, and now it’s a fully functional business that roasts coffee and makes quality coffee-based drinks for sales during the day.

If you want to know more about the coffee company, though, go check out the website I linked above. I won’t dwell on that, even though it’s still super exciting to me.

I still game — though I’m pretty obsessed with Dungeons and Dragons (as a matter of fact, if you find yourself interested in some of that, go check out the page I’m putting together for my campaign(s) right here) right now as my creative outlet.  My PC games include Modern Warfare (the Q4 reboot of the super popular franchise), and still some super obsessive Rocket League. When Shadowlands comes out, I’m sure I’ll dip on into World of Warcraft again.

This rambling really has gone on, sorry. Let me see, here…

Ah, yes. COVID-19, the dreaded coronavirus. Maybe that’s the reason I found time to get back on here and blog. With the drop in activity at work and everywhere else, and I sit six feet away from everyone, I guess the blog was a good place to drop all my past six months. On that note, we’ll all be okay. This is a super confusing time, and I think we’re all in a place of fear and unknowing, but as we grow together, we’ll come out of this storm a little more human than before. Listen to your heart, and let’s pull it together.

Anyway, I promise, promise, promise to post more often, as I’ve said in the past. But, there’s no reason for me not to.