I was standing guard duty aboard the USS Tarawa in the Seychelles on Christmas Day when I came up with the idea to open a coffee shop and call it Orange Cactus Coffee. Not many knew what the internet was, and I hadn’t bought my first cell phone. But I was motivated, so when I came back stateside, I went to Barnes and Noble and bought every book on coffee I could find. You can order them on Amazon if you want to, that’ll save you some cash. I’ve added more books to my recommended reading library since then. You can take a peek at them to help get you started. But I digress.
Orange Cactus was going to be great. We were going roast our own beans on-site, serve drinks based on Alex Fisenko’s espresso model, and punch Starbucks right in the chin. I planned on the coffee shop split up into two sides. One half was going to be more of a hipster hang-out with live music, comfy couches, and a super laid back atmosphere. The other side was going to be more like typical restaurant set up- but super kid friendly. I never pulled the trigger.
I got close- writing up business plans, scouting locations, planning build-outs, meeting with city planners and landowners to pitch my ideas, talking with the SBA, and experimenting with drink recipes (everybody has a different take on how a mocha should be made). Then I let life happen to me. I got out of the Marines, joined the premier law enforcement agency in Southern California, and allowed my dreams to evaporate away. Twelve years later, the yearning to be an entrepreneur pulled me from my stable (and usually safe) career and brought me to Arizona.
I started working for Mike at a bank, and we went into business together pretty soon after he hired me. We started a Bitcoin mining company. It was working out pretty well, but it’s hard to keep up with energy costs the mining machines require. So we bowed out and took a year off.
Then Mike hits me up and pitches me an idea- specialty coffee. He stumbled onto a company called Blue Bottle, who is changing the coffee landscape. He also knew about my history with Orange Cactus and showed me a way we could get into specialty coffee without dropping a gang of dough on espresso machines right away.
I was in.
We started brewing specialty coffee at home, talking about how awesome the coffee was, and making some videos. Some folks call that podcasting, blogging, and vlogging. We just call it sharing what we’ve learned so far.
Since our first meeting, we’ve sold some of our Bitcoin miners to buy a roaster and whole bunch of at-home coffee gadgets. There’s a plan in there, somewhere, to open up a shop of our own, but there’s no rush to get there. When it does happen, it’s going to be an awesome shop where the customer experience comes first. Until then, we’ll keep putting others first as we explore specialty coffee and document our journey.
Come join us.