Much of the content surrounding coffee, in my opinion, is akin to a dainty little orchid that may or may not die if you touch it too aggressively, if you even touch it at all. Though there is a high aesthetic appeal to the coffee bean and all it's end forms-- such as latte art, coffee shops, and espresso machines themselves, I desired to explore coffee as a medium to life, not as the end game in itself. Most people go into business for 2 reasons: the ability to call their own shots or the potential for large financial upside. Mostly both.
Most of what we see online consists of carefully planned photos that are of unbelievably high quality yet ghastly downplayed by plain vanilla captions. This can be all fine and good on occasion, we may do it too from time to time as well-- I mean shit, look at our site; we think it's pretty sexy and hope you do too. But a great many things had to happen for you to get that last satisfying cup of joe. There are countless stories and anecdotes that involve coffee or espresso that are MUCH more intriguing than a simple plant drawn out of steamed milk. What kind of plant is that anyway? A fern? I don't know, maybe I'm just looking at it wrong. Either way....
(Pictured - Who put a dick on the top of my espresso?)
I had just turned 30 and I'm not gonna lie - I was in a bad spot. A lot of choices I had made in my younger years, both personal and financial, were finally catching up to me and reaching a head. I had some success as a commodity broker and trader at the Chicago Board of Trade in my early-mid 20's...but trust me, any semblance of success from that was far removed from me at this point. In the later part of my 20's, working for Fortune 500 and Silicon Valley tech giants didn't work out either as I never once felt I belonged in a corporate environment. I was never one to drink the kool-aide and I was never going to be. Period.
So there I was, $10,000 in debt with the IRS. Other miscellaneous debt racked up to another $20,000. I had absolutely no clue what I was going to do with my life. My total lack of direction led to a pretty serious bout of depression and anxiety. It seemed like everyday I was in panic mode. A lot of my friends were successful, married, had kids, etc. etc. Me on the other hand? I was in debt, single, and emotionally and spiritually beat down in a way that seemed like a hangover that just wouldn't go away.
It wasn't like my parents were ashamed of me being their kid but trust me, they weren't bragging to their friends about what their son Ryan was up to or what kind of impact he was having on the world. 99 out of 100 people would have said these were NOT the ideal conditions for starting a business. At the time, they probably would have been right. Looking back now? The timing couldn't have been better. Thank God I didn't ask those 99 people for their opinion.
That's the crazy thing about life. Paraphrasing Gary Vaynerchuk, he says it best: You have a 400 trillion to 1 chance of becoming a human being. That's the science behind your existence. If you're complaining about your life and not doing anything about it, then your shits broken.
If you're complaining about your life and not doing anything about it, then your shits broken.
Now, I'm not a full blown coffee expert. I've never won a barista challenge or even been a barista in the first place. I could not break down for you all the mechanical workings of every square centimeter of any given espresso machine on the market. I've never had long drawn out deliberations about the nuances and tiny notes found in a certain bean or roast. Most of the time when I walk into a coffee shop I order a black coffee, no cream or sugar-- or a doppio. I save the macchiatos and lattes for special occasions - whatever that may be.
What makes me think that I can start a business selling prosumer and commercial espresso machines and other high end coffee products? Outside of finding purpose in my life again? Nothing.
But nevertheless, that's how Clandestine Coffee Co. came to be. I was on a mission. Coffee and espresso was that one thing that I always enjoyed having. I enjoyed having it with friends at my place, their place, a coffee shop, or just walking down the street. I enjoyed what came from those connections and relationships.
Mind you, Clandestine came to be with quite a bit of serendipity as well. God's no punk. Right when I was looking for someone to help me create a hero video for the company's' home page, along came Dave. Good ole Dave. We grew up together and at least to a degree we had small roles in each other's formative years. We were friends in high school but as life would often have it-- people drift apart. But when I asked my friends on Facebook if there was any talent out there for creating and editing high quality videos, Dave replied verbatim: "I'm decent." It turns out that Dave is also a psychopath when it comes to coffee, brews 6 different methods from home, is an ex-barista, part-time photographer and also has a knack for creating and editing content. Boom. Now WE'RE on a mission.
A Clandestine mission, minus all the espionage and the assassination of unruly government officials. Clandestine Coffee Co. came into existence as a new way to engage with the world. A way to bring happiness to people. A way to bring about the absolute best possible experience when it comes to the coffee and espresso products they are looking for and what we can offer them. A way to bring new content to such a wildly popular little bean. A way to exhibit candor and honesty. A way to blend the lines between coffee and espresso and their role in our lives.
Do you have any idea how many marriages came about because of a cup of coffee? How many businesses started because two people met over a shot of espresso (a-hem)? How many life changing moments have included a latte? Beating tea, orange juice and beer; coffee is the world's most consumed beverage and the second most heavily traded commodity, right behind crude oil. Think about that. That means something. It's a part of us. It's a part of our lives - the way we LIVE our lives.
I don't know about you, but coffee has changed mine.