Archive for May 2015

The Life of a Bean. The Beginning of a Dream.

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Yesterday, my husband, John,  and I were given the opportunity to tour and observe coffee being roasted. We did not tour just any coffee bean roasting company. We met with THE roasters at THE roasting company where our beans will be roasted, that we will serve in our coffee house!

To say this was cool, is a deep understatement. 

In the last few weeks, I have read all I can get my hands on concerning coffee beans, roasting, coffeehouses and the culture of coffee, to research my new dream. 

You might say I am becoming one with the bean! 

But on the serious side, when I do something, I throw myself fully into it. The dream of opening a coffee house is no different. I truly believe that learning from top to bottom what I am getting into, is the single most important step in this whole process! 

So, yesterday, during my husband's lunch hour, we toured the coffee roasting facility where our fresh coffee will be roasted! 

Again, to say this inspired me, is an understatement!

I love the sights, the smells, and the art form of roasting, that are all a part of this process! 

If Step One was buying our URL, then this is most definitely Step Two! Learning all I need to learn about the coffee we plan to serve, from the bean up! 

Follow along with us, as we learn, and dream, about our coffee house! 

Beans from around the world are delivered in their raw form in these bags.

See in the photo below, the green, raw, beautiful bean shape, ready to roast. It is a pit of a red or purple fruit, called a cherry. You can see both sides of the pit, make up the beans. 

These beans in this next photo are beginning to roast. You can see the slight golden change through the roaster's little tiny window. 

Next, you will see the beans when they are nearer to perfection. The bean roaster cannot talk at all during this process because it is such a fine art to roast the beans just right. 

When they are roasted to perfection, the beans come pouring out, as if they are a waterfall of beans! The beautiful coffee smell, that already is in the air, comes bursting out even more! Ahhhh.... I love the smell of coffee!

The  sights, smells, and sounds of the perfectly roasted beans! 

This is truly an art form! 

Thank you to our friends, John and Ben, and team, for all you are doing to help us make our coffee house dreams come true! Thank you for helping us hire people of all abilities!

John and I could not be more excited!

Coffee House Update

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We are having so much fun learning from so many people, about their experience of opening a coffee shop. The information that has come our way has been amazing! 

We want to help people understand how we hope to grow this business. The best piece of advice many have given us, is go slowly! So we are! We are thinking through all the details, and that is actually fun and scary at the same time! 

Our number one goal is to employ individuals of all abilities! In order to do that for the long term, we have decided it is best that we build this to be able to sustain itself. 

We have been advised by others that jumping into owning the actual coffeehouse in brick and mortar, should be done over time. 

So to get started, we will be opening an online store that people will be able to order gifts, baskets, jams, and coffee. This will right away achieve our main goal. The jams are made by Steamers who employ individuals with I/ DD, as you might know from following our journey.  Right there we will be helping to keep them employed. Locally, we hope that distribution from the online store will be managed by individuals of all abilities as well. So this plan will get our main goal off the ground right away, while we take time to plan and dream of the brick and mortar location. 

We  have been encouraged to do it this way. Walk in, don't jump! Building this part of it is labor intensive, exciting, and scary! It's step one of the dream! 

We will let you know when the online portion of our dream is open! Right now, we are busy working behind the scenes to get that done! 

Coffee House

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If someone told me a year ago, that I would be dreaming of opening a coffee house, I would have fallen over from laughter. I have long thought it would be fun, but never dreamed I would be dreaming of it!

Today, I sit here, typing on my keyboard, excited to share, that I am dreaming of opening a coffee house! 

So how did this dream come to be...

Some will recall that I handed out the most delicious jam, Steamers Coffee House Raspberry JalapeƱo flavored jam, for World Down Syndrome Day in honor of MaryEllen. My goal was to support their business because they employ individuals who have I/DD. My personal initiative is to get behind employers who are walking the talk, and this company sure is doing that!

After I handed it out, some of the people who were lucky enough to get a jar, served it at gatherings on cream cheese with crackers. It is so yummy, that their guests asked them where they got the jam. They were directed to me. So I bought another case, ready to hand out more. But my friends would not have that. So I said I would sell it at cost, with out shipping and handling. The case sold out in 45 minutes.

So I bought another case. And as you can imagine, the same thing happened.

I  decided to put together baskets, and sell them as well, to raise money for the Down Syndrome Association of Memphis  for their "Get Down and Derby" event. We also had individual jars of the Steamer's Jam for sale that I donated to the DSAM for their benefit. People could sample it with the cream cheese and crackers. Once again, it was a big hit!

And so it goes! We decided to find a coffee to go in our baskets as well. The dream was growing!

Which brought us to this point.

We want to continue buying this jam, and keeping the good people at Steamer's Coffee House working!

We would also like to create jobs for individuals in Memphis. Thus the beginning of Our Coffee House! 

We are dreaming! I do not know exactly where this dream will take us, but the dream has started!

We hope to sell the jams and gifts at our coffee house! It would be lovely to sell art work by self advocates, and any products that are made by self advocates.

As every good story goes, more people have reached out, wanting to join our efforts. We are considering every idea that is coming our way, and excited there is so much enthusiasm.

We can't wait to see where this adventure takes us! However, we know one thing for sure, we want continue to buy Steamer's Jams! The more jam we sell, the more we ensure that their employees continue to work! Every jam sold is one more time we are telling the world that jobs matter to all individuals! Jobs do matter, and we are so happy to help the good folks at Steamers Coffee House show the world what they are doing! Now we can't wait for that to spill over in Memphis, TN, where we hope to employ more individuals! We are excited to continue "Changing lives.... ONE JAR at a time!"

PS If you are interested in a gift basket for an occasion, or you are interested in a jar of jam, you can contact me at All proceeds to benefit the Down Syndrome Association of Memphis.

PPS If you are interested in buying jam from Steamers directly, you can contact Jenni at 303-423-8172. They have lots of flavors, and they are ready to serve you!