The winds have shifted from south to north and the temperature has gone from unbearably hot to unpredictably mild. The leaves on my October Glory maple got stuck in that half-red, half-green phase that is so brief, streaked with the colors of Christmas I remember from my childhood, remarkable in its natural vividness. In Spanish-speaking coffee lands, this is called “pintón,” when the coffee cherries are ripening on the thin, resilient limbs of their mother tree, reddening from the woody attachment but still green at the tip; coffee that tastes less sweet than the fully ripe, “maduro” coffee we’ve grown to love, the coffee that has completed its chrysalis.
Life is always in flux, and fragile. Our best laid plans shift slowly, and suddenly. Ideas become stubborn and then break like a green stick, or they evolve as our cells rearrange and turn our hair an elderly grey. I think back about the big changes in my life, and none of them happened like I thought they would. The idea that my dad would die and my cat would die seemed as unrealistic as the idea that I could die. I think about my temptation to change the name of the DoubleShot, when the pervasive lawyers for Starbucks threatened, compromised with the demand that I put a space between Double(and)Shot, and I resisted. I refused. And in that case it’s the space that doesn’t exist that indicates that the DoubleShot name inherently stands for justice and right and standing up for what we believe in. But we change. It has always been our mission to source and serve the best coffee that we know how, to as many people as we can. And that means amending our methods, altering the product, shifting our mindset about what excellent coffee means (but not deviating from our purpose). After all, it’s change that takes coffee from a seed planted in the tropical mountain soil, transformed through the flames of my roaster, and extracted by the worlds wealthiest solvent.
The biggest change for the DoubleShot that happened over the course of the last few years culminated with the completion of The Rookery. We moved overnight in March from our strip on Boston, leaving the cold cinder block walls that were only warmed by the people within. The intimacy and life felt over our evolutionary first fifteen years was not contained in that concrete space, the big glass windows that crashed so quickly one day, the black stenciled animal heads spray painted on white, nor the old brick of the original strip where so many memories were made and lost. Our home changed dramatically one day, this Hite barn rebuilt between city towers, redesigned with clean lines and warm wood that reflects our commitment to structure, strictness, and hospitality. Any move is risky, and this project is no exception. With the calculation ingrained in my accounting-filled brain, we risked moving a couple blocks west from Boston to Boulder, from 18th to 17th, from strip mall to this iconic stand-alone structure designed practically and purposefully to enhance your coffee and community.
I had whisky with my friend, a priest in the Catholic Church, and we talked about the transubstantiation that he believes occurs in the wine and the wafer upon being blessed in the cathedral. In my skepticism we debated what that substantive transformation really is, and he explained to me that they believe the spirit of God becomes entwined within the molecular structure of the blessed sacrament, in essence making the communion a consumption of the Holy Ghost. And I believe the same has occurred at The Rookery; the spirit of so many souls have blessed this structure, transforming it from the barn that once held dairy cows and lofts of hay into The DoubleShot, a loving, loved, foundational home for our community. I know this because the night before we opened, on March 4, after a couple years of construction, of cranes and welds, of hammering and sawing, painting, and installation, I stood in this building and looked around, all alone, and my heart sank. My heart sank because all I saw was an empty building as cold as the one we’d just left. A church without a congregation. A wafer without the Spirit. And it wasn’t until the morning of March 5, on the DoubleShot’s fifteenth birthday, when people filled The Rookery and the structure was baptized with the ethos that sprouted from a coffee seed and grew into the tribe of outstanding individuals who really are the DNA of the DoubleShot. And my soul was renewed.
So at this time of Thanksgiving, I want to send this special sentiment of gratitude to you. Thank you for embracing the change. Thank you for trusting us to make healthy, quality decisions that we believe will improve our product, your experience, and the lives of so many people. The changes of the past several months have been huge, but we continue to find new ways to do better, and we will always steer in that direction. Thank you for supporting us as we all take this amazing journey through life together.
Have a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving.