"...I Need A Drink." - Week #5: Coffee "Connoisseur"

I'm disgustingly late with this post! I apologize! I meant to update last night, but I fell asleep instead...at 10pm. Scary. I AM IN DENVER, COLORADO! It is beautiful here. Map time again:

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And to keep that travel count going...

~1979 miles from Boston to Denver by airplane.

~5037 miles traveled overall.

~59 hours spent traveling overall.

The last time I was on an airplane was about a decade ago. My employer was so kind to buy me a plane ticket this week! Though I missed "Going Greyhound" (of course this is a joke), I was ready to try a new traveling method. I never mentioned the fact that my driver's license and health insurance card were stolen last Monday. I've been dealing with the consequences of that for over a week now, and it has been very stressful.  Losing these items is probably the worst thing that could happen to me, considering what I'm doing at the moment (especially during the one week I was flying and not Greyhound-ing!). Good thing that the "worst thing" isn't so bad.

In case you were wondering, Flying Without an ID is more than possible! Despite the fact that my afro was heavily untamed, I was wearing destructed jeans, a bright orange T-shirt, and a bright yellow jacket with a picture of a cat on the hood, all in an effort to be comfortable, the Boston TSA let me through the security checkpoint. Arriving three hours before departure and having other proofs of identity helped too.

Boarding the plane, I sat in the middle...something everyone on the plane seemed to be avoiding. The guy in front of me

sat in a row that already had an occupied window seat. He sat in the aisle seat. I made a motion like I was going to sit in his row and kinda waited...for him to move in so I didn't have to climb over his body. He gave me this horrible look. As if I was about to take his freedom away from him or something evil like that. I shrugged, and stepped over him obnoxiously as payback for his facial expression. Rude.


Well, I don't fly often, so I guess I'm not at the point where I can be picky.

As for the flight: takeoff scared me. My ears popped. I chewed gum.  I drank some water, slept, ate some peanuts, and Nabisco crackers. The landing was smooth, and as a result, didn't scare me.

After my baggage took forever and an hour to emerge from the carousel, Tommy Thwaites, owner of Coda Coffee Company, picked me up and put me straight to work. Can't waste the first day of the work week, I suppose! Some Coda coffee carts were in the wrong spot at the Denver Convention Center, so I helped Tommy move them from one space to another. I hadn't been in Denver for 30 minutes, and I was already exercising. I thought lifting my bags from the baggage carousel was going to be the end of it!

Coda Coffee Company is a wholesale coffee roaster. Founded by two brothers, Tim and Tommy Thwaites, Coda prides itself in being environmentally-friendly with all of its processes. I found Coda Coffee through the site pursuethepassion.jobing.com/, whose mission aligns with that of One-Week Job's. I read about the many companies that are featured on the site, and for some reason the name "Coda" stayed with me. Per my nature, I "went with it", contacted Tommy, and here I am in Denver! You can watch Pursue the Passion's video about Tommy and Coda Coffee here to get to know the business better.

With a team of about 13, tasks such as tasting, blending, roasting, bagging, flavoring, grinding, packing, delivering, selling, advertising, etc. come together every day to provide cafes and businesses with high-quality coffee. This week, I'm getting a taste of as many tasks as I can so I can get the full Coda experience. After Tommy and I finished moving the carts, we went straight to the Coda office. I was introduced to Issac, Adam aka Duncan, Marciano, Bane [Bah-nay], Trestin, Seok, Todd, Jessica, Brian, Courtney, Stevan, and Tim, Tommy's brother and Coda co-owner.

Introductions were quickly followed by some time in the flavoring room with Issac. He then gave me a brief overview about the difference between coffee blends and single-origin coffees while teaching me how to weigh and bag the whole beans. Things slowed down a bit after that, so I started up with my life questions with some of the Crew. Around 4pm, Tommy and his wife, Jessica, took me and my luggage home.

This week, I'm staying with friends of friends, newlyweds Brittany and Dean. They've only been married for a month or so, so I'm constantly worried that I'm not giving them enough alone time. They insist that I have nothing to worry about, and their actions convey that entirely. I'm having trouble being treated so well, but I'm slowly accepting it...mostly because my fatigue leaves me choice. After I settled in, they generously took me out to eat. The night ended with a discussion of "old tv shows" while watching current ones. Not even being in Denver for 8 hours, I had already decided that I really loved my job and accommodation for the week.

Yesterday, I spent a good deal of time learning about roasting with Todd, the Roast Manager. I learned how to grind coffee for espresso with Bane, after which I went on delivery runs with Tim in Boulder! The mountains were a pretty sight, and it was fun to meet some of Coda's customers who were happy to receive new product. It was also nice to get some good discussion in with Tim as we drove around. Traffic hit us on the way home so we ran out of topics...and ended up talking about politics and religion. Heavy. Just like I like it. :D

Tuesday ended at 4pm as well, and I was truly exhausted in a way that I had never been before. I think it was a combination of drinking two substances that I wasn't used to, mate and an ultra-spicy chai, lifting coffee, and being in the hot warehouse. I did manage to cook some chicken on Brittany and Dean's George Foreman grill. THAT THING IS AMAZING. Someone should have told me about it earlier!  I cooked in an empty house, because my hosts were out at a movie. I wanted to wait until they came back so they wouldn't have to be quiet, but I couldn't make it.

I passed out to Kathy Griffin.

Today, I'll be doing my normal bagging, lifting, and product-pulling, but I'll also be coffee-tasting with Tim...maybe even making some drinks! I forgot to mention one more thing...that I know nothing about coffee. And I don't drink it. I always liked the smell, but that was about it. Half the world drinks coffee, and I never understood why. As a result, one of my goals with this Program was to find out. I'm breaking down some of my false assumptions, and am on my way to stomaching my coffee black, MHM!

There is a mountain (get it?) of information when it comes to coffee. I am not yet in a position where I can explain what I've learned so far. Right now, I'm just trying to read, watch, and remember as much as I can, so the next time I go to a coffee shop, I don't have to ask the barista what a "mocha" is. Small goals can bring big victories. Oh, and did you know that Denver has 300 sunny days a year? Neither did I. I haven't been to one cold city during this journey. I definitely thought the opposite would happen. Darn you, Summer! I don't want it to be freezing, but it'd be nice to not sweat for a whole week.

A woman can dream...


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