Loam Coffee is now two years old. A mere toddler. We've seen nothing but continued and sustained growth from the beginning and for that we're grateful for you. We're learning lots along the way. At the same time we're not in any rush. Even a quick glance over the media from this weekend's Sea Otter Classic revealed bike brands and other companies who we all love and support who've been around 20 ... 30 ... 40 years. We don't want to be a quick flash in the pan, but to continue the methodical planning and relentless (and mundane) work to build something that will last long after us.
Last week I ran into one of our loyal customers. He periodically orders 1-2 bags at a time and has done so over the past year. In the course of our conversation he paused and said, "My favorite cup of Loam Coffee ever was the Boondocker I had last May." Last May? I thought. What was different about the Boondocker back then versus the Boondocker now? Everything.
Everything around us in life reflects value systems. As I mentioned in a previous article I also moonlight as a professor. The common theme of what I teach revolves around cities whether gentrification, bikeability, community development, urban history, and so on. That might be odd admission particularly in the mountain biking world, but I love cities. I love BIG cities. But I also love the wilderness.
Drinking coffee is odd at times. No, not the actual process of drinking coffee itself but the stigmas attached to it. On one end of the spectrum you have blue collar miners packing a thermos full of (probably bad grocery store) black coffee in their lunch pails for the day. Gritty, hard-working, tough as nails and their coffee smells (and tastes) as bad their clothes at the end of their shift (or worse). At the other end of the spectrum you have bearded skinny jeans-wearing city-dwelling hipsters who're faux-gritty also drinking black coffee. The difference though is not about who's drinking coffee but the actual quality of coffee itself.
Equity and sustainability are two topics that come up in my world on a regular basis. A big part of the reason why is that I live in Portland. We're a city passionate about equity despite our checkered past of inequity. Much of the tenor of protests are for better and more inclusive rights among other things. We're also a city known for and marked by sustainability. Even our slogan is "The City That Works." To many we're a model city when it comes to transportation infrastructure, green infrastructure, and engaged citizens.
I like pizza. I also like (and love) sushi, peanut butter, pears, asparagus, and breakfast burritos. That's the easy part. The difficult question to answer is why? Why do I love what I do? I'm afraid that would would take years on the couch of a psychologist to plumb the depths of that question. Or maybe it really isn't that complicated after all. Maybe the answer is simply, "I just do."