LTP: Coffee Too Bitter? Grab Some Ethiopia

Over the years, I’ve had people wanting a coffee that’s not too bitter. This request was usually related to acid reflux problems rather than a preference in taste.  Often the solution was to give them a darker roast coffee. I had one particular individual who was so convinced that this was the solution that he ordered a single cup pour-over of our Espresso blend every day. Another solution was to suggest to the customer a lighter roast, such as Starbucks’ Veranda or Willow Blends.

The problem with the dark roast coffees, especially the espresso roast, is that there’s still acidity; albeit, more balanced than that of a Central American coffee. That is what often makes dark roast coffees more desirable for espresso – they are full bodied and have the strength to be diffused within a latte or cappuccino. It’s not often you’ll see medium to light roast coffees used in such capacity other than enjoying them as purely espresso.

When it comes to a light or blonde roast, they are roasted for a shorter amount of time often so that they don’t taste burnt. These coffees prior to being hulled have been, more often that not, subjected to a washed process which involves fermentation of the coffee cherry, and therefore a bitter flavor. What you want is a coffee that’s been through a natural processing.

Coffees from Yemen, Brazil, and Ethiopia, in short, don’t go through a washed or semi-washed process. Rather, they go through a natural processing which does not involve any fermentation, which is often where your bitter flavor comes from. The beans are sun-dried before they are hulled, leaving the much of the fruity & floral flavors still intact without any of the bitterness.

Next time you’re at you’re local coffeehouse, ask for some Ethiopia as a french press, pour-over, or as whole bean to take home! You’ll be pleased with the new experience!

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6 Ways I Use My Day Job to Pursue My Dream Job

Monday morning is upon us again. The majority of us will get up and go to a job we tolerate in order to pay our bills, have insurance, and maybe – if we’re lucky, bring us a tiny fraction closer to our dream job.

DSCG4839The following was advice from my producer shortly after I started working with him on the first of our now two albums. He has played metal all across Canada and Europe and knew of individuals who were using their day jobs to advance their careers as musicians.

  • For example, one individual worked for an airline; therefore, was able to get excellent prices on tickets for him and his mates for touring.
  • Another example; a bandmate worked for a moving truck company (Uhaul, Ryder, etc) and was able to cheaply haul instruments and merch while supplying transportation for his band members.
  • And to finally beat this into the ground, I understood that another musician worked for a tshirt company – so  yes; his merchandise overhead was significantly lower than most musicians.

Sometimes you will have to think outside the box for your circumstance. You may have to dig deep to discover just what advantage your job brings you. I had to do just that. I don’t often like to talk about my day job, but for the sake of this article, I will do so.

IMG_2338-0I work at Starbucks, and as a partner I have used several benefits to propel my career as a composer and performing musician.

  • Free pound of coffee per week: I have used this not only to stay up later working on music & articles (such as this), but also as currency as I do have a great relationship with my producer. The coffee I bring him eliminates his need to purchase coffee; therefore, a dollar amount we agreed on deducts from my final studio bill for every pound I bring in.
  • Paid Vacation: I’ve been with the company several years now and I tend to rack up vacation hours more quickly than most. With this, I have used paid vacation days to work on music, do shows, and work with my producer whilst getting paid to do so.
  • Stock Options: Yes, I sold several hundreds of dollars worth of stock I had racked up in order to hire my musicians for WaveTransform Fest 2014
  • Face Time: We’re encouraged to develop lasting relationships with our customers, and it is also said that word of mouth is this best marketing tool. A great many of my regular customers are aware that I am a musician & composer, who regularly composes and performs, and has albums available to buy and stream at Johnny-Newman.com, iTunes, and Spotify.
  • Spotify: Speaking of streaming, an especially new benefit to all Starbucks partners is the availability of free premium Spotify. So, if I were to have the desire to have album reviews as a regular part of my blog (by the way, blogging also fuels my music career), it wouldn’t cost me a dime to do so – just a little time out of my day.
  • Entry Level Perks: Since I have been with the company, I’ve actually turned down promotions. This allows me to make my availability almost as flexible as I wish. Additionally, our insurance begins at 20 hours a week. This means when work picks up on the music end and I have to cut my hours at my day job, my insurance and benefits never suffer!

Take time to brainstorm over your day job. Find ways you can use it to your advantage in pursuing your dreams! If you can’t find any way it can help you, ask yourself is it really worth staying? Especially if the paycheck isn’t that hefty, you may want to consider other options closer to your dreams!