Day Five, Part Two: Bittersweet Farewells

Our Friday began with meetings as usual and we then traveled to the Whole Foods South Valley where we enjoyed a great visit with Jason in the Specialty department.  Jason does the chalk art for the store, which is all hand-done.  Rebecca and I have an affection for lettering and the craft of making signs I think, so it was especially nice to look around the store and see all the beautiful scripts, lettering, and images that Jason had created.  I’ve included an example here that was by no means his most complex, but rather a fun one that will still executed on a vertical surface.

IMG_0584

Art and design have been a key element of DOMA for a long time, and were certainly something that drew me to the company.  It impressed me that the company was able to work with a variety of artists and still maintain a consistent and distinct identity.  

But, I digress.  We visited Whole Foods SugarHouse where we enjoyed a quick but helpful visit with Ben, and then traveled on to Liberty Heights Fresh, a former filling station transformed into an oasis of fresh produce, unique cheeses, an intimidating array of bitters and oils, and some unusual chocolates.  Of course, you can find DOMA Coffee here, too, curated by Stacey and her friendly colleagues.  Liberty Heights Fresh does a lot with a little in terms of its physical footprint but stands out for the amazing foods it sells and creates.  They smoke their own turkey, roast their own beef, and bake their own bread.  This added up to one of the best sandwiches I’d had in some time to say the least.  

IMG_0589IMG_0588

My apologies, I’m trying to minimize the food porn in this correspondence but had to include the sandwich Wendy made for me.  

Really, I could have gone down a rabbit hole of raving last night after the meal at Copper Onion but did not want to damage my keyboard with drool when recounting the evening.  That said, Scott and I returned to Copper Onion in the afternoon for a second training session with their stellar staff.  We were impressed with the attention, thoughtful questions, and commitment to quality in every aspect of operations embodied by the crew of this fine establishment.

From here, friends, the paths of our gallant trio diverge.  Rebecca and Scott pilot the Bismarck back to Post Falls tomorrow morning, and Mike caught a flight to Portland for a gathering of extended family at the Oregon Coast.  

I hope that you have enjoyed this modest travelogue.  It has been a pleasure to write to you and I intend to continue these updates when I can from the Post Falls headquarters.  There are many exciting things happening in the world of coffee and within the glorious fabric of the American West.  Thank you for reading and for your support of DOMA Coffee.

-Your humble narrator

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Day Five, Part One: Balance (an interlude)

I find myself thinking about balance a lot in recent years.  Regardless of one’s philosophy, the counteraction of forces in the universe is something that permeates into our daily lives.  We seek it in our cooking; in cocktails, beer, and wine; in our lifestyles; and certainly in our cup of coffee.  In the interest of keeping this travel journal interesting to you, dear reader, I have focused on experiences and images that I hope would be informative or moving.  It may seem that my colleagues and I have been having a glamorous week, out on the open road, adventuring.  I would be painting an incomplete picture if I did not mention a few other dimensions of our epic journey.  The days have been long and very busy.  There have been moments of isolation, frustration, and loss, both personally and in business.  There have been strained conversations, difficult decisions, and challenging situations.  Thankfully, this has been countered by the support of strong comrades, amazing customers, some incomparable meals, and majestic scenery.

It is also very important to note that during this past week while Rebecca, Scott and I have been traveling, back in Post Falls great coffee is still being roasted, packaged, shipped, and delivered; bills are being paid; orders are being taken; equipment is being installed and serviced; and espresso is being served.  DOMA’s staff is small but efficient and I am certain that the absence of 30% of the crew has added some strain to our colleagues back home.  We can all be grateful to Terry, Jim, Mindy, Noah, Matt, Young, Joan, and Al for keeping things together back at our busy production facility.

I’ll close this segment with an image of a sculpture adjacent to The Copper Onion which may fit with the chosen theme.

IMG_0553

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Day Four: 21st Century SLC

Some of you may have preconceived notions about Salt Lake City.  While I’m sure that some of your stereotypes and expectations may hold true, I will tell you that your humble narrator was surprised by how this city has blossomed in recent years.  The city seems more diverse, there is a light rail and many cyclists, beautiful murals adorn numerous walls, historic buildings are being redeveloped instead of razed, and there is certainly a budding food and coffee scene here.  Going a little out of sequence, I will skip to a point in the mid afternoon, where Rebecca shared stories of her days with Terry in the SLC of yore, cycling around an empty downtown and having fun, but wishing for the aforementioned things.  We stood before the Bismarck on the 6th floor of some parking structure (there was no indication at the entry that the lower fiver floors were reserved), surveying the modern city.  The air quality was unusually clear from recent rains and as we looked out to admire the Wasatch Mountains and the canyons cutting away from the city, we acknowledged why people have been appreciating this place for centuries.

SLC

Going back to our morning, however, I will advise the first-time SLC visitor that city blocks in this town are of a different scale than you may be accustomed to.  Rebecca and I had arranged a meeting or two nearby and elected to walk there.  Needless to say, the sun seemed high in the sky and the blocks seemed especially long.  I try not to arrive at meetings sweating and out of breath, but this morning dictated otherwise.  On the way back to our hotel, we were able to hail a Salt City cycle cab.  Everyone was relieved to have Kayla doing the pedaling and relaxed in the breeze, quietly arriving at our destination.

IMG_0554

After another meeting, we visited our friends at Whole Foods Trolley Square and Cottonwood.  We are elated to be on the shelves in these great stores and really appreciate the fantastic support we get from Ry, AJ, and the other specialty folks.  Both stores offer an excellent array of our coffees, with helpful display information for those less familiar with DOMA’s coffees and roast profiles.

Our afternoon found us conducting a coffee education session at the Copper Onion.  Before I came to Salt Lake City, a number of people had suggested this place as an excellent spot for dinner.  I was happy to tell them that we already had plans to be there.  There are many great parallels between Copper Onion’s approach and DOMA’s:  cultivating relationships and sustainable, locally-oriented practices; treating people generously and respectfully; and obsessing over both quality and creativity.  We are honored to be working with such an excellent restaurant and appreciate the attentiveness and interest among the Copper Onion staff.  After the training, there was a short fifteen minute break, where Rebecca and Scott visited Copper Common, the Onion’s sister property for some coffee-oriented activities.  Mike quietly stole away to the Rare Book Store a couple blocks away but unfortunately, could not bring himself to invest in the Ralph Steadman books that immediately captured his eye.  

After the short break, our team reconvened at the Copper Onion (http://thecopperonion.com), but this time, for dinner.  We were blown away by everything we ate.  My gazpacho was amazing, the cheese and charcuterie were unique and delicious, and every side and entree was stellar.  The beverages were also very well executed, from solid cocktails to our coffee course.  Jenny, our server brought us each an excellent espresso beverage, and somehow read exactly what each of us would have wanted in the circumstances:  Rebecca got a cappuccino, Mike a caffe latte, and Scott a double espresso.  

IMG_0574

Dessert was just crazy, with a slice of citrus cake with homemade marmalade, and a chocolate sea salt pudding that was unlike any other.  Though we were all incredibly full, we somehow managed to consume a fair amount of these exceptional desserts.  It is also surprising that none of us crept off to a corner to consume the pudding without competition or distraction.  Thank you to the Copper Onion for their generosity and hospitality.

Our evening concluded with some music at nearby Pioneer Park, where the Head and the Heart performed.  Thanks to my good friend Phil for sharing his tickets.  We were all able to enjoy a fun show outside on a beautiful evening.  

But right now, it’s tomorrow already, and time for your humble narrator to sign off until the next installment.  

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Day Three, Part Two : On The Shores of the Great Salt Lake

Wednesday evening after checking in to the correct hotel, we had a brief but enjoyable meeting with Heidi, who helps with our demos in Utah grocery stores.  Heidi was extremely patient with our slightly later arrival (see yesterday’s blog regarding scenic routes) and some minor confusion regarding the location of the hotel. She was good enough to meet us in Scott’s hotel room for a quick session to pass on the latest brewing techniques.  It sounds rather clandestine, with a briefcase of coffee and code words, but I will leave such extrapolation to the reader.  Heidi is a great, energetic woman, and we are grateful to be working with her.  Though they look quite serious in the photo, the meeting was fun for all of us.IMG_0543

 

Our Wednesday evening concluded with a great connection with John and Casee of Amour Spreads.  While I hope that you do, you are unlikely to meet a couple as warm, kind, and welcoming (http://amourspreads.com).  They also happen to make some really excellent jams, which they generously shared with us.  Getting to choose last didn’t matter at all, as everything spread before me sounded fantastic and I can’t wait to share my Apricot Ginger jam.  Scott couldn’t wait and already broke into his Tangelo Marmalade, having nothing but rave reviews for it.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Day Three, Part One: Farewell, Old Wyomingo

IMG_0512

After breakfast, our intrepid trio headed to Aspen’s Market (aspensmarketjh.com), which offers an impressive array of DOMA Coffees for sale, including their beautiful private label cans.  (You can also enjoy DOMA Coffee on drip.)  Literally set amongst the trees that are its namesake, Aspen’s is a beautiful store filled with beautiful things and high quality food.  After a quick visit with the Aspen’s staff, Rebecca became distracted by the many design-oriented housewares and gifts while Mike became rather hypnotized by an especially large cowboy-cut rib steak in the market’s formidable looking butcher shop.  Adjacent to the market, is Westside Wine and Spirits which was distracting for everyone…

IMG_0520

 

We returned to Jackson Whole Grocer (which I might add also has an impressive array of wine and spirits) for another coffee education session with staff, meetings, and to celebrate DOMA Coffee being on sale this week in their store.  Jackson area residents, take note!  After saying our good-byes, we hit the road, headed for Utah.  There are a number of ways to reach Salt Lake City from Jackson, but I am pretty certain we took one of the more scenic, though perhaps not the most direct.  Thankfully, while Rebecca knows the relationship between velocity and travel time when behind the wheel, she also knows when to take a break.  A quick baptism in the refreshing waters of the Snake River and we were on our way again.

IMG_0527

We emerged from the Snake River Canyon into the lovely Star Valley.  While the valley is a scenic, angler’s paradise, it is also home to the world’s largest antler arch in the town of Afton.  My photo through a dirty windshield hardly does it justice, but we had miles to cover.

IMG_0537

Nourished on blackberry hibiscus gummy pandas, nuggets of Handle Bars, and tart blueberries, we cruised through one stunning canyon after another, through three different national forests, past electric green aspen groves and soaring fins of rock, and into the arms of Salt Lake City.  

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Belated Day Two Update: Victor, Idaho and Jackson Hole, Wyoming

My apologies for the delay in updates, dear readers.  An intensive schedule and large spans of time driving across areas without mobile coverage can constrict the opportunities to share our story.  We left off in Victor, Idaho at Fitzgerald’s www.fitzgeraldsbicycles.com.  Not far down the road from this excellent bike shop is Kate’s Real Foods (www.katesrealfoods.com).  Kate, the owner, is a wonderful, engaging woman who was good enough to give us a quick tour of her facility.  Her story is a really beautiful one, but it’s better to hear it from her than me.  Suffice it to say that she and her staff are creating delicious energy bars using largely organic ingredients.  Without going overboard on endorsements, I admit that I have been a fan since first trying a Stash Bar some months ago, and that bag of Handle Bar nuggets Kate sent along with us was a lifesaver during today’s driving.

Kates

After our visit with Kate, we headed back over Teton Pass toward Jackson Hole.  The morning clouds had dispersed and we felt obliged to stop for a moment to savor the views and fields of wildflowers for a moment. We enjoyed a pleasant chat with a group of motorcyclists from the Southeast U.S. (Rebecca’s eye was caught by the skateboards packed onto the bikes).  Rebecca shared that she had ridden a skateboard down this very pass some years ago.  I’ll edit out the word “bad-ass” from this blog if company policy dictates, but it’s what we all were thinking.  

PassSignPassViewScottPass 

After a short walk among the Indian Paintbrush, savoring the fresh air, we climbed back into the Bismarck and descended into Jackson Hole, where we had another great session with our friends at Jackson Whole Grocer (jacksonwholegrocer.com).  

JWholeSign

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Day Two: Fitzgerald’s

The average person would find it believable that there is an amazing bike shop in Victor, Idaho, just over the pass from Jackson.  Fitzgerald’s is that amazing bike shop.  What you would not necessarily expect, is that within this amazing bike shop is an equally amazing little coffee bar!  Jannine and the Fitzgerald’s team not only are adept at fixing and fitting high quality bikes, they can also make you a delicious Americano or pour-over coffee.  Want to make the joy last longer?  You can take home a bag of Angry Leprechaun coffee to savor at home.  FitzBldgAngryBags FitzOrientJannine

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment