What is it, what it shall be, what it was

So, what do you do?  Most guys get that question a lot.  It’s an interesting question for me. At the moment, I am primarily a stay at home Dad and occasionally I get out to stretch my legs and do some coffee consulting or barista training on the side to keep myself sharp within the coffee industry. The problem that I quickly run into is that nearly a year after putting this site up with a page marker, I still have not settled on exactly what Coffee With A. Duck is going to be.  Coffee consulting and barista training to be sure, but to what extent?  Who will my target market be?  What product will be offered?  What makes me think the world needs another coffee consultant?  Aren’t most coffee shops taking a beating right now with the economy in the shape that it’s in?

I settled the issue in my head awhile ago that I would not maintain a personal and professional blog both as I cannot separate one person from the other.  That said, I freely admit that this blog will be more personal than professional but will allow the potential customer to know more fully who they are hiring should they bother to read. It is en vogue today for politicians and elected officials to state that their personal beliefs will not alter their governance which is a statement that I find laughable and totally untrue, but I make no such claim.  My faith in Jesus will absolutely alter and enhance the way I conduct my business, not detract from it.

As 2008 nears its end, I still do not have a concrete idea of what this company will be but I do know what it will be about at its heart.  That issue was formed for me after some pensive musings following a meeting with a lady who visited my previous cafe, Espresso dell’Anatra here in Kansas City.  My Senior Pastor Jeff Adams brought in Deidre Pujols, the wife of St. Louis Cardinals first baseman, Albert PujolsThe word on the street is that this woman is a coffee hound.  Welcome sister!  Albert and Deidre happen to to be members of my church, Kansas City Baptist Temple, although they reside in St. Louis and are members of a church there as well.  They have an outstanding rags-to-riches testimony that I may talk about on another post.  At any rate, Deidre came in as the Cardinals were in town to show the Royals how major league baseball is played and Jeff brought Deidre in for a superior Americano at his then favorite coffee joint. We chatted casually for several minutes about the awesome work that God is doing through the Pujols Family Foundation in the Dominican Republic with underprivileged kids and Down Syndrome . The great (God given) success and renown of Espresso dell’Anatra and our reputation for quality came up an I shared with her some of the blessings that we had experienced through the United States Barista Competition circuit and recognitions like that of Barista Magazine. In keeping with the spirit of the previous portion of the conversation, Deidre turned to me and nonchalantly asked what we were doing with our business to honor the Lord. I was caught totally off guard and was forced to admit that we really did nothing other than serve as a meeting place for a couple of random Bible studies that we had had no role in initiating. Very gracefully, she said “Oh.” and politely changed the subject.

I won’t say that the meeting changed my life, but what I will say is that those two little letters spoke volumes and brought me under deep conviction and made me re-think several things about my real priorities and I will say that the experience marked me. I vowed shortly thereafter that if I ever had another business that I would use it to serve God with and I intend to keep that vow through Coffee With A. Duck. For many years, I said that coffee was the medium that I used to communicate with people. That statement is still perfectly valid, but I have since enhanced it. Coffee will be a medium that I use to communicate the truth of God’s Word to people. This is not to say that you will get a free sermon or Bible tract with every purchase if you act now and make 4 easy payments of $19.95, only that coffee consulting and barista training will be a means to an end. I would love to teach you and your staff how to make better coffee, but what I would love even more is to teach you and your staff how to know and walk with Jesus Christ.

It is very fitting that this first post goes up today, the day after Thanksgiving. Not by the calendar, but by the day after the holiday that is Espresso dell’Anatra’s 5 year anniversary (Actual date is 11.23). Where will you be in 5 years? I can tell you that 5 years ago I never imagined that I would enjoyed the successes that we did only to later sell my beloved coffee shop and to become the Vice President of a local coffee chain, only to be promoted to being a stay at home Dad and full time ministry student.

Never in a thousand years.

So what do I do again? At the end of the day, I invest in and teach people. I teach people things about stuff. I love to teach, it’s how I was wired and blessed. At the moment, I still know far more about coffee than I do about the Bible, but it’s a situation I am rectifying and we’ll see where the coffee fits in later. Shoot, even the Apostle Paul knew a trade that he could do to support himself while he did ministry. Coffee is mine and I will be looking to teach one so that I can get to the other as often as the opportunity presents itself.

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