Are you Trespassing?

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I have been getting pressure from the outside to widen my business model to include more than just specialty grade coffee. So, as I was preparing this week’s blog, I decided to post a guest blogger (and friend’s) words instead.  His name is Terry Pruett and he wrote an article which conveys the same message I wanted to post….only he says it better.

Terry is more than a business coach more than a motivation speaker. He has the ability to take you and your company to a much higher level. Here is a quote from his website  At XMO, we are possibility architects. We assist people in designing a blueprint for their preferred future. We achieve this by advancing the “Principles of Excellence”.

Here are his words which express my heart and vision (thank you for putting it so eloquently Terry)…..

I’ve invested many years in the business world and have learned the value of staying in my proverbial swim lane. Discipline of focus is imperative to the success of any organization or person. In life, trying to be something you weren’t created to be results in trespassing into someone else’s territory or swim lane. Their area of specialty won’t be a good fit for you because that swim lane belongs to them, not you. The key to fulfillment is staying in your own swim lane or specialization; not taking up the whole general pool. Finding the niche created for your rare mix yields a greater harvest than dabbling in a lot of “good” things. Greatness is never birthed from being a jack of all trades and master of none. Matter of fact, it’s the opposite.

Specialization is vital to success because you are special; you were created to be one of a kind. You have a unique DNA coding and fingerprint – this distinctly qualifies you to be only “you.” My mother used to say “mind your business.” In other words, focus on your territory; be diligent with your rare mix.  This leads to proficiency and effectiveness. The more specialized you are the more demand there will be for your products or services as a person or organization. When you have a disciplined focus and become highly skilled in your area of expertise you are either a success or a success waiting to happen.

Simply put, trespassing is unlawfully entering someone else’s territory, if you’re not walking in your purpose, then you’re walking in someone else’s – unlawfully, I might add. There is little gratification when walking aimlessly or forcefully in someone else’s domain. There are consequences to trespassing. There is great dissatisfaction and non-productivity as a result of trespassing. You may have heard it said this way before, if the grass is greener on the other side, then water your grass. Stay within your swim lane and walk in your purpose. You are most powerful there!

Terry Pruett

Possibility Architect & CEO

XMO, Inc.

Coffee Club

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You get up in the morning and enjoy a cup or two of great coffee at home and then it’s off to work. At mid-morning and it is time for a little break and you head off to your company’s coffee area.  Alas, you turn around because the thought of drinking that coffee was enough to swear off caffeine. Oh no!  You are on your way to becoming a coffee snob. What are you to do? Why not become the office coffee club administrator which will allow you to drink Tap Dancers Specialty Coffee for free?

The basics of a workplace coffee club is pretty simple. You find the people in the office that would be willing to pay for better coffee at the office then what the employer is willing to pay for. For example, let’s say 10 co-workers and you decide to form a coffee club.  As the club’s administrator, you charge a $20.00 buy in per person. This will be the start up money to buy a good brewer, grinder and a digital scale.

On average, a workplace coffee lover will use 6-8 ounces of coffee beans per week. Which means a coffee club of 11 people will use around 5 pounds of coffee per week. It just so happens that we are offering a 5 pound bag of coffee for $55.00. If you charge each person $6.00 per week, that would cover the cost of the coffee and the extras and you have no out of pocket expense which would be your compensation for your time as the administrator.  You not only get the benefit of drinking Tap Dancers Specialty Coffee for free, you provide a perfect solution for having great coffee at work while saving your co-workers an average of $1,000.00 a year on per cup coffee purchased at coffee shops.

Ethiopian Kenebata

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Wet process and dry process are two basic choice types of processing that freshly picked coffee cherries undergo.  Most coffees go through a wet process which washes the shell of the cherry off of the bean.

The dry process on the other hand, is where the coffee cherries are thrown on to sunning beds and dried in the sun.  Once it is dry, the coffee bean is then separated from the hull.  The dry process is not used very much because it takes much longer to process and if it rains while the beans are on the sunning beds, the crop is ruined. Besides taking longer and being difficult to process, a sun dried coffee is also harder to roast.

So why go through all of the trouble of dry processing in the first place?  Because the end result is something unusually spectacular.  When you grind this coffee your nose will get a whiff of exotic spices like cinnamon and fruity notes of blueberries. Brewing seems to take much longer than usual because of the anticipation of drinking this wonderful and unique coffee.  Once the anticipation is over and you begin to drink it, you will find that although the aroma is intense and the flavors are overpowering, in fact, this coffee is surprisingly very light, crisp, naturally sweet and refreshing.

This coffee is definitely not for everyone because it is so exotic and different from what many people are used to experiencing. You simply cannot “THINK coffee”.  I have found those who appreciate fine foods and wines enjoy this coffee the most.

Here is my video blog of me sharing more about this truly wonderful and unique coffee.

Ethiopia Kenebata

Healthy Coffee

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Coffee may taste good and get you going in the morning, but what will it do for your health?

You know the old expression. If you like something it will probably be fattening, illegal, or will kill you. There are several studies posted in medical journals that show that drinking coffee has definite health benefits. Finally, there is something you can indulge in and not feel guilty about.

Below are a few examples that I found.

Coffee drinkers live longer

A May 2012 study by the New England Journal of Medicine found that, during the course of their study, coffee drinkers “who drank at least two or three cups a day were about 10 percent or 15 percent less likely to die for any reason during the 13 years of the study”.  The researchers who conducted the study said that this doesn’t necessarily provide a cause-and-effect relationship, but will help point other researchers in the right direction.

Reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia

Several studies comparing moderate coffee drinkers (defined as 3–5 cups per day) with light coffee drinkers (defined as 0–2 cups per day) found that those who drank more coffee were significantly less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease later in life. A longitudinal study in 2009 found that moderate coffee drinkers had reduced risk of developing dementia in addition to Alzheimer’s disease.

This article is found on WebMD Feature

A growing body of research shows that coffee drinkers, compared to non-drinkers, are:

-less likely to have type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and dementia

-have fewer cases of certain cancers, heart rhythm problems, and strokes

“There is certainly much more good news than bad news, in terms of coffee and health,” says Frank Hu, MD, MPH, PhD, nutrition and epidemiology professor at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Let me conclude with this. There are several reasons specialty grade coffee is better for you than the lower grades. The main reason is that only the ripe cherries are handed picked.

In a typical situation with NON-specialty grade coffee, the harvester will simply strip the entire branch of the coffee cherries. Un-ripened and over ripened coffee beans are all processed together which causes upset stomachs and coffee jitters. Also, foreign matter is allowed to be processed with the beans.

I am just thankful to know that there are enjoyable and delicious things in life that are actually good for our health and legal!

To Discount or Not to Discount?

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When I sat down to write the business plan, there were certain criteria that had to be met. The first one was to never compromise quality. If Tap Dancers Specialty Coffee was a publicly traded company, it would have a board of directors, a CEO, a CFO and shareholders. They would pressure me to cut corners on quality to reduce the bottom line to be able to increase the top line. This is the strategy they would use to ensure more money in their pockets.

Buying the finest beans and masterfully roasting in small batches are definitely not the most cost efficient way to sell coffee. Not to mention the bags with the clear back, one way degassing valves and zip lock seal. But, these items were the perfect formula for providing the finest specialty coffee to my customers and I dare say, worth every penny. It brings me great pleasure to be able to give access to this “luxury” to everyone.

Another component of the plan was pricing. I decided that we would price the coffee with a fair mark up. The Bible says a wise man will have several advisors which I have made sure to do. Some of them have said that I am not charging enough for my coffee. On the west coast similar coffees sell for $20.00- $25.00 per bag. Others have suggested that I raise the prices so that I can then offer sales and discounts, because “that is what works for the Omaha market.” After debating these ideas the decision was to go with a simple pricing plan and stay away from all the gimmicks.

You might ask yourself, “Do you ever give your coffee away or offer discounts?” Don’t get me wrong. I understand that the whole purpose of marketing and advertising is to get people to try your product and hopefully, fall in love with it. That is why we are out at different events around town giving away free samples. We currently give free coffee away as part of our radio promotion on KGBI and we also will sell our coffee for a one time discount to new customers with Daily Deals (similar to Groupon and Living Social). We even have a special promotion from now till the end of November 2012 that offers a free Clever Dripper if you sign up to receive your coffee on a weekly or bi-weekly basis as our way of saying thank you.

Bottom line is that we will always provide the best at the fairest price possible without using gimmicks. I personally want you to experience what my wife and I experience every morning…..the world finest cup of coffee.


The Perfect Bean

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Here is a blog from a fellow passionate specialty coffee dude

There is only one step in creating “The World’s Finest Fresh Roasted Coffee” that is just as important as the roasting process itself. That is to say, you can do a so-so job with grinding and brewing and, with a bit of luck still have a great cup of coffee.

Selecting the most heavenly green coffee beans possible IS that all important step. The actual creation of the perfect bean, we of course leave to God. However, discovering that bean is something else altogether!

Apparently, God has quite a sense of humor since it’s clear that most things extraordinary seem, shall we say…less than easy to possess?!

Thus, locating that perfect bean is a quest taken no more lightly than that of a Knight on crusade for the Holy Grail. If you think I’m just exaggerating, you should visit some of the major specialty coffee importers. Talk about serious business!

Plus, I have noticed that this search is not always about the money. In fact, it seems that coffees mystical qualities inspire a passion for the bean that is truly an uncommon “labor of love”.

As a professional roaster, I’ve had my own experience with the spiritual side of fresh roasted coffee. I certainly care more about it than anything I’ve done, professionally speaking, thus far in my life.

Assuming it’s moral, loving what you do always returns big dividends for everyone involved, especially yourself, and those who partake of your final creation.

Everyone should try to do something they love and if you aren’t or can’t, then at least make an effort to love whatever you do. I think good fortune is in the wind for those who at least give it their best. From my experience, all it takes is a firm decision. Actually, that’s the hardest part.

O.K. O.K. Enough coffee philosophizing!

So I got a little carried away.

The whole point of this is to say that without excellent green coffee, all of the care taken by a Roast Master will be like pearls cast to swine. Thus, “The Perfect Cup” becomes sadly unattainable.

Therefore, we rely on another group of professionals who clearly love what they do. That would be our green coffee importer who has wonderful and fortunate people who travel the great far and wide in search of those farms that produce the most exquisite coffee beans in the world.


Coffee Blends

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Why do coffee roasters blend their coffee?  Well, the altruistic answer is: the true purpose of blending the beans enables the roaster to highlight each attribute of the coffees in the blend thus creating a coffee experience like no other.   Realistically and more times than not, they are actually creating a blend so they can add/hide a much less expensive coffee bean in the blend to increase their profit margin.

The phase “proprietary blend” gives a company legal license to not have to release as much information about what is in the coffee. Let me share an example with you. Coffee from Hawaii commands a high price because of the expense of the land, labor and taxes. In fact, the wholesale price of a truly great 100% unroasted Kona coffee is much higher than most store retail prices.  So how can a Hawaiian blend at the grocery store be the same price as the other coffee?  Because the Hawaiian blend will contain as little 10% Hawaii coffee and the remaining 90% comes from somewhere else.  People are attracted to the Hawaiian label and the roaster can also increase their profit margin.

Another common practice is to blend the better tasting mountain grown Arabica bean with a bitter tasting lowland grown Robusta bean. There are different types of bitter. There is the citric acetic bitter of fruit. Then there is the acrid sour bitter that upsets your stomach. The Robusta bean can contain as much as 50% more caffeine and the acrid sour bitter compound.  But by blending the two, the drinker gets a bigger caffeinate rush and the bitterness is eased by the Arabica bean, and yes, the roaster can again increase their profit margin.

An espresso is a blend. By design espresso is bitter/sweet. Many espresso blends sold to coffee shops are as high as 50% Robusta beans. This creates a very bitter/acrid espresso. The owners are not that concerned because they want to sell the lattes, cappuccinos, and mochas which contain lots of milk, sugar, etc. to cover up some of the bitterness. The lower cost for the blend and the higher mark up on the drinks is very profitable for them.


Tap Dancers sell single origin specialty grade coffee.  All the coffee we roast is very complex and will delight your palate with lots of different notes of flavor. So much so that we feel that blending them would do them a disservice instead of enhancing them. That said, we also realized that we were not able to satisfy those individuals who love to drink espresso….until now that is!  We have been working with a top coffee consultant to help us create a truly great espresso blend. We are seeking to find the right combination to blend the boldness of the Sulawesi medium roast with the sweetness of the Ethiopian Kenabata and then combined them with our extra dark chocolaty nutty Ethiopian Wata Dara to create a very specialty espresso blend that you will simply LOVE!


How to make the Ideal Cup of Coffee.

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Ideal cup of coffee

Many people are asking me for tips on how to make a great cup of coffee. Not only have I invested a great amount of time finding wonderful rich coffee to roast, I have also invested into learning how to brew an ideal cup of coffee. I was originally going to use the word “perfect” instead of “ideal” in the title. Alas, too many people pointed out to me that perfection is impossible. Yet, excellence is achievable, so I will be happy to share what is needed to create the finest cup of coffee. If you choose to change even ONE of the elements in the list below during your preparation process, you will find a nice improvement over the traditional way of brewing coffee.

Click the link below to watch my video blog

Ideal cup of coffee

Check List

Fresh whole bean Tap Dancers Specialty coffee (available at )

Clever Dripper (available at

#4 filter

Filtered/bottled water

Coffee Grinder

Something to boil water



Digital scale


Spoon or stirrer


Set your coffee cup/mug on the scale and press tare. That will enable you to measure the weight of the water and not have to subtract the weight of the cup. Fill the cup with filter/bottled water (my favorite mug uses 12 ounces).  Divide the weight of the water by 17. That will tell you how much coffee to use.  In my case, the answer is .70 ounces of coffee.

Then, pour the water into the water boiler. I use a little electric boiler instead of the microwave because it is actually faster, automatically turns off once it reaches the boiling point and I do not have to deal with a hot coffee mug.

While the water is boiling I weigh out my fresh roasted Tap Dancers Specialty Coffee beans and proceed to grind them. Because I am using the Clever Dripper, I use a medium grind.  Place the #4 filter into the Clever Dripper then place the ground coffee into the #4 filter.

The proper temperature for the water should be 200 degrees plus or minus 5 degrees. If the water is too cold you get a sour cup. If the water is too hot you end up with a bitter cup. So, once the water starts to boil, pour the boiling water into your mug first. This action helps cool the water down a bit. Put your thermometer in the water and start the stopwatch. By timing how long it takes for the water to cool to the proper temperature, you will not need the thermometer each time.

Once the water “cools” to 200 degrees pour the water into the Clever Dripper, place cover on top and start the stopwatch. This is when the magic starts to happen. The coffee and water are now infusing. The elapsed infusion time is between 2-4 minutes depending on your preference. Halfway through the brewing process uncover the Clever Dripper and give the slurry a quick stir with a spoon or stirrer. When the time is up, place the Clever Dripper on top of your coffee mug and let it filter/drain into your waiting cup.

Sit down, relax and enjoy your ideal cup of coffee.

Coffee is to be Savored not Saved.

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I truly enjoy being out with the public when we are doing different events. It gives me a chance to interact with my customers. One thing that floors me however, is a conversation that goes something like this:

Customer: “We really love your coffee!  We bought some from you 3 months ago.”

Me: “Thank you, why haven’t you bought more from me?”

Customer: “Oh, we still have some in the freezer. We only drink it on special occasions, because it is so good.”

I have spoken with people who brought home some coffee from their Hawaiian vacation. Every once in a while they will break out the Kona coffee from the freezer and brew some. When they sit down and smell the aroma and sip the coffee they are flooded with wonderful memories of their stay in Hawaii. I do not want to take that experience away from them. However, they are actually drinking stale coffee.

Here’s the deal. Fresh roasted coffee is only truly fresh for two weeks. The only way one can keep the freshness in during those two weeks is by storing the coffee in an air tight container. That is why we chose to buy the more expensive air tight sealing packages to place our coffee in. Keeping coffee in the refrigerator or freezer does NOT preserve the freshness. Once coffee is roasted it starts to expel carbon dioxide and absorbing oxygen. It is the absorption of oxygen that makes coffee stale.

This leads us back to the title of this blog. Savor coffee, don’t save it. Here at Tap Dancers Specialty Coffee we go to extremes to make sure our clientele have the finest, freshest coffee available. Each and every time someone drinks a cup of our coffee we want them to experience the unique joy of a wonderful cup of coffee. Since you cannot save, store, or keep fresh roasted coffee, drink it every day.  Do this for yourself. Do this for me. I want the last cup to be as great as the first cup.

What Grinder Do I Buy?

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Ah, the world of coffee grinders. Which one should you choose?   In my pursuit of great coffee I have purchased several different grinders over the years.  Please let me share my knowledge and experience with you.  There are 3 types of grinders available; a blade grinder, an inexpensive burr grinder and a high priced burr grinder.

The first type of grinder is called a blade grinder.  This is the least expensive grinder on the market. It is a great way to start if you are not sure you want to invest into coffee brewing equipment or if the budget does not allow for a big investment at this time.  When looking at a blade grinder do not get roped in by the extras that drive up the price.  This type of grinder is very basic and works best if kept basic.  The blade grinder works very well for a drip brewer like Mr. Coffee.  The costs are in the 10-20 dollar range.   The important thing is to NOT over grind the beans.  If you run the grinder for too long the beans become too fine and they will actually plug up the coffee filter causing what I promise you to be a big mess.

If you want or use a different type of coffee brewer like a French press or a moka pot, then you will need to purchase a burr grinder.  This type of grinder gives you the ability to adjust how coarse or fine you want your coffee to be ground.  The less expensive burr grinders use a high speed motor to turn the burrs.   This does two things.   First, it heats up the bean (which actually destroys some of the flavor in the coffee).   Second, it will create a great deal of static electricity in the ground coffee which means the grounds will scatter all over the place and be quite messy.  These types of grinders usually run in the 30-60 dollar range.

The high priced grinders typically run in the 100-300 dollar range.  For this price however, you get a more powerful motor that runs at a much lower speed thereby creating less heat and less static electricity.  In turn, this creates a better cup of coffee and less mess.   In my own home kitchen, I use a Kitchenaid Pro Line Series Burr grinder.  In my opinion, it is the best “for home use” grinders on the market.   I got mine through Ebay at a good price.