The Emotional Journey

Isn’t this the God’s honest truth? And unfortunately, it doesn’t happen just once in the life of a business. If you’re growing, you’re probably always somewhere on this curve.

Read more from the original blog post by John Saddington.

 

Enough

It’s so tempting in a competitive culture to always measure your success by how big, how far, how many and how much. But roasting coffee was never about getting somewhere; it was about the love of process. The feeling of waking up with the birds on a beautiful summer Saturday morning and being the first taste you encountered at the market. The smell of the coffee as it transforms from green to yellow to brown. The feeling of pride as we stamp our bags and send them off to your table. We roast coffee because we love to roast coffee.That is all. That is enough.

 

Video: Why Your Life is Not a Journey (We didn’t create it, we just really like it.)

Thank You!

Wow! Thank you so much for supporting our Kiva loan! In just two weeks, we reached our goal of a $10,000 loan, and it is thanks to your amazing generosity. As of this morning we are now fully funded!! This is an incredible opportunity for us and we couldn’t have done it without you. Can’t wait to kick this little business into high gear!

 

Help Us Grow

 

 

Would you like to help Cafe Los Suenos grow? Then consider contributing to our loan for a new roaster via Kiva!

Demand for our coffee is growing by the day, and that’s FANTASTIC, but soon we won’t be able to keep up with the orders! Currently, we spend 30+ hours a week roasting. With the new roaster, we can do the same amount in THREE HOURS! That’ll leave more time to grow the business, get out and about to meet new friends and neighbors, and roast EVEN MORE coffee to keep making all your coffee dreams come true.

Kiva is offering us a grant to double every dollar pledged. If you choose to loan to us, you will be repaid, in full, within 3 years. Here is the link if you’d like to learn more.

https://www.kiva.org/lend/1154930

Planting Our Roots in Baltimore

It’s not easy to find a home. But as anyone who feels rooted in a place may tell you, having a home creates a mental shift from which you can draw the strength to grow. Since moving our family to Baltimore we’ve been looking for the perfect space for the business, without much luck. But perhaps the Universe was closing doors so that we would find the window to our future.

Today, a former wig shop. Tomorrow, a takeout coffee bar and roastery!

That window opened this week when we found a three-story storefront for sale on the historic Old Town Mall, a pedestrian-only shopping district in the heart of the redevelopment of East Baltimore. The former wig shop came with a decade of neglect, six bags of insulation, an air compressor, a tree growing through the roof and a vintage Triumph motorcycle. When the renovations are completed, however, it will be the home to our first specialty retail shop, and the heart of a new community.

Have we told you lately how much we love Baltimore?

Embrace Embarrassment

Recently, we came across this blog post: 7 Strange Questions to Finding Your Life’s Purpose

Here’s one of our favorite sections:

“Great things are, by their very nature, unique and unconventional. Therefore, to achieve them, we must go against the herd mentality. And to do that is scary.

Embrace embarrassment. Feeling foolish is part of the path to achieving something important, something meaningful. The more a major life decision scares you, chances are the more you need to be doing it.”

Well, we’ve certainly embarrassed ourselves plenty along this journey so far but thanks to Carlos, the coffee has helped make that feeling easier to swallow.

Posted by Cafe Los Suenos Roasting Co. on Sunday, March 2, 2014

 

From the Mountains of Honduras to Baltimore

We are thrilled to introduce the coffee from Coffee Del Cerro, in Los Planes Honduras! Enoc and Gigi Flores are an inspiring couple, who have been sending boxes of clothes and toys to the children in the community for the past several years.  To improve their impact, they then imported the coffee from his farm directly to Baltimore. We are proud to bring it to you.

This coffee recently placed fourth in the regional Cup of Excellence, and is sure to improve in the years to cmoe. If you’d like to support this effort, order a bag today!

The Guest House

A little morning wisdom from the 13th century Sufi poet Rumi…  For those of you on a path to something new, take care of your “visitors” and have faith that they are all messengers for you.

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

Café Los Suenos at Dovecote Café

There must be something magical about 2501 Madison Avenue because it was this very charming spot that made us first fall in love with Baltimore. A year ago, we came up to consider this as a future home for Café Los Sueños. We loved the paned windows, the marble tiled entrance, the wooden bar, the patina on the walls and the romance of the big oak tree outside the door. The neighbors were awesome, but we just didn’t think it would work as a full-time roastery and café. Still, there was *something* about Baltimore that stirred our blood. So we bought a house and put down roots.

Fast forward to this past fall, we were driving by one day when we saw some people out front. “Let’s stop for a second to say hello to the new owners!” we decided.  It just so happens that they had been calling around that very day looking for a local roaster and voila! There was Carlos.

A Brooklyn-bred gal, Aisha Pew and her partner Cole came out to Baltimore to visit family and stumbled upon the café for rent. In a matter of months, they picked up their life, bought a house up the street and opened Dovecote Café. Soon, it became the new heart of the Reservoir Hill neighborhood. Read more about Dovecote in this Bmore Art article, and note Aisha’s sweet words about Café Los Sueños. 

From the wallpaper murals to the rotating artwork on display and the A-mazing baked goods, this little nook is an inspiring gem. Oh, and we hear the coffee’s pretty good too;)

 

Staying Warm…Inside Showtime on Sundays this Winter

We’re not sure if you noticed, but…it’s getting cold out there and our little tent just isn’t enough for this warm-blooded man from the coffee lands.

Come on inside Showtime Lounge on Sundays and join us for a warm cup this winter. We’ll keep the pourover kettle boiling for you.

Late Season Launch at the Fairlington Farmers Market

When opportunity knocks, we do whatever we can to say yes. So when Lane and Robert from the Fairlington Farmers Market asked us if we could support their new market, we made it work. And are we ever glad we did! We loved meeting the community and learning how this new market has become a sort of town square in a neighborhood that needed one. Although we were late to the party, we hope we’ll be invited back to share our coffee again.

Image from Fairlington Farmers Market Facebook page

Any requests for other breakfast-y items? Let us know and we’ll see if we can offer them.

Introducing Our New Subscription Service

Have you ever wished you could just wake up in the morning and have our freshly roasted coffee waiting for you on your doorstep? Well, now you can.

We are proud (and relieved that we managed to work out all the technology kinks!) to announce our new subscription service for those of you whose palates we have officially seduced. We’re offering free delivery within DC and Baltimore, and you can cancel your subscription at any time. Here’s how it works:

  • Step 1: Choose the kind of coffee you want to receive. To get started, we are offering you three choices for subscriptions. The first is our current featured El Salvador (which will come from different farms but will always be delicately nutty, lightly citrusy and sweet); the second is our current organic option (right now it’s a Colombian); the third is a rotating selection based on what we’re currently roasting.
  • Step 2: Decide how often you want to receive the coffee. Weekly? Bi-weekly? Monthly?
  • Step 3: Enter your payment information. You only have to do this once to set up an account, which you can cancel at any time.
  • Step 4: Put a weather-proof container out on your porch and prepare to start your day with a smile from now on. (That might actually be Carlos’ secret, by the way.)

 

 

 

Sharing the Love in February

Let us bring out your inner glow by helping us spread the love in February! Here’s a run down of what we’ve got planned this month:

  • Get connected: Those who ‘Like’ us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or sign up for our newsletter in February will get one stamp toward a free cup of coffee.
  • Spread the word: Those who post something about Cafe Los Suenos on social media will get two free stamps toward a cup of coffee
  • We Love Friends weekend: If you bring a friend with you  to our pop up shop in Showtime Lounge on Feb. 14-15, we’ll offer you both 50 percent off a cup of coffee. Plus, you’ll earn points toward a free cup.
  • Love Thy Neighbor meet up: Attention Bloomingdale residents! Come meet your neighbors on Sunday, Feb. 28 from 11:00-1:00 at our pop up shop in Showtime Lounge on Rhode Island Avenue. We’ll distribute name tags at the door, and free cookies to put a smile on your face.

Do you have an interesting idea for how we can give back in February? Shoot us an email at info@cafelossuenos.com.

Popping Up at Showtime Lounge

Who knew that DC’s favorite dive bar could be so cozy by day? Stop by our Pop up shop at Showtime Lounge in Bloomingdale to meet your neighbors and cup our latest line up. We’re serving coffee and fresh pastries every weekend from 9:00-1:00 p.m. Here’s the address for your quick reference: 113 Rhode Island Avenue, NW in Bloomingdale.

Thank You, Bloomingdale Neighborhood Blog

We LOVE our neighborhood, Bloomingdale. From the beautiful historic row houses to the ever-evolving collection of new ideas and businesses, we are proud to call Bloomingdale home. We’re joining forces with Showtime Lounge for a weekend pop-up (or pop-in!) coffee shop. Many thanks to our neighborhood blog for helping spread the news. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Read the full story

2014 Year in Review

Thank you for supporting us as we took our first steps forward in 2014! Our progress may have come in fits and starts, but it was a good year, overall. Here are some of the key milestones we achieved with your help:

  • January : Started serving the community through our Sunday Salon series (Altogether we hosted or served at more than 20 events in 2014.)
  • April: Got our business license
  • May: Launched in the Glover Park Farmers Market
  • July: Launched our first website (New website coming soon.)
  • October: Shot our crowdfunding video (Stay tuned for more details!)
  • November: Opened a pop up shop at Mr. Yogato in DuPont Circle and finished our branding (finally!)
  • December: Made our first donation to Cup for Education.

Want to see more highlights? Check out our Facebook page for photo updates from every step along the way.

Introducing Our New Branding

Ok, we heard you. No one will take us seriously if we continue to design our bags by hand. We got it. But finding someone to translate our simple little drawing into a “real” logo was sooooo much harder than we thought it would be.

For starters, we had to run back through the gauntlet of criticism of our design, which *some* think isn’t so cool. We got it. But we’re sticking with it.

Making the leap from Sharpie to Photoshop was not a seamless process, though. When we scanned the design it looked like it had actually been done by hand. That is, by the hand of a child, or someone with a very wobbly script. Not what we were going for at all.

On the other hand, we didn’t want to sacrifice the movement and the lettering that we think makes our logo feel authentic.

Enter Ryan King.

Just when we thought we had to give up on our font, this guy swoops in and give us this:

 

Thank you, Ryan, for always listening to us and giving our ideas a chance. So with no further ado, we now have a stamp for our bags, a proper loyalty card (hold onto those Vista Print specials, everyone—they’ll be a collector’s item someday!) and even some letterhead.

 

Thank You, Washington Post Express

We are thrilled to be mentioned along Coexist Coffee in this Washington Post Express piece on “Joe companies with feel-good missions.” Roasting coffee and giving back are certainly two things that make us feel good!

Read the story

https://www.washingtonpost.com/express/wp/2014/11/05/coexist-coffee-and-cafe-los-suenos-are-joe-companies-with-feel-good-missions/?tid=a_inl&utm_term=.96aae97f1f0b

Pop-Up at the ReCreative Spaces Launch Party

What if there was a place where you could go to just hang out with cool people, talk to others about your art or spend an afternoon working on your latest creative project?

That’s exactly what ReCreative Spaces founders John Kagia and Emily Arden have in mind with their awesome new pop up art space in Northeast DC. Since getting the keys to this unused commercial space just a few weeks ago, they have transformed it into a welcoming lounge for art exhibits, yoga classes and all things inspired.

We co-hosted a Sunday Salon with this dynamic duo back in February, and were thrilled when they asked us to help out at their launch party last week. From the Japanese-inspired  artwork and the spoken word performance to the the dance party and the warm welcome we had from the guests, it was a really unique way to spend a Friday night.

If you’re interested in experiencing this cool space while it lasts, check out the ReCreative Spaces website for a calendar of events. We’ll be serving there on Sundays starting in September!

Launch at the Glover Park Farmer’s Market

On May 10, 2014 we officially launched our business at the Glover Park Farmer’s Market in Northwest Washington, DC. It’s been so much fun to get to meet the community and to share our coffee with some new customers. If you’re in the area on Saturdays from 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m., stop by and say hello.

Presenting at the Academy of Hope

Today I joined the students and staff at the Academy of Hope for their “lunch bunch” conversation. As a graduate of the school’s “Pathways to College” program, I wanted to share how the school helped me make the transition to college. I couldn’t have done it without them.

How to Brew a Great Cup at Home

If you can brew a cup of tea, you can brew a great cup of coffee at home! Here are some quick steps to help you impress your friends with your superior barista skills:

Step 1: Grind 2-3 tablespoons of coffee for every measuring cup of water.

Step 2: Fill tea kettle with filtered water. Add a little more than you need for the cup of coffee so that you have enough to wash the filter and to scald your cup.

Step 3: Boil the water. (The ideal temperature for brewing coffee is between 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature will drop as soon as you take it off the stove, so if you use it right away don’t worry too much about getting it to the right temperature.)

Step 4: Add the filter to the cone. Next, wash the filter with some of the boiling water to get rid of the smell and the taste of the paper. Wet the entire filter.

Step 5: Pour 2-3 tablespoons of ground coffee into the cone.

Step 6: Slowly pour the hot water over the grounds, pouring from the center outwards. Wet the grounds thoroughly but don’t pour water on the bare cone. Let it sit for 45 seconds to a minute.

Step 7: Pour the rest of the hot water over the grounds and let it filter until the grounds are dry.

Step 8: Enjoy!

Our First Sunday Salon

Thank you to Ryan King and Rodrigo Yano for hosting our first Sunday Salon!  It was so inspiring to hear about all of the creative projects everyone is working on and to get your ideas for Cafe Los Suenos. Here are a few photos from the day…

Bringing Home our First Bags of Coffee

For our fledgling roastery, bringing home the first bags of coffee felt like a big step. It was also a good reminder of how the coffee gets from the fields to the trucks…on people’s backs. Carlos used to do this while walking uphill, but he felt just as challenged today during the 20-foot walk to our doorstep.

Roasting Training with Patrick O’Malley

It’s not every day that you get the chance to train with a Master Coffee Roaster, so having Patrick O’Malley to ourselves for three days was quite a treat. When he’s not traveling the world training coffee roasters for Specialty Coffee Association of America and the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe, Patrick is running his own roastery in Tempe, Ariz.  In addition to certifying Carlos as a professional roaster, Patrick helped us think through our business plan and endorsed our vision for the future.

2013 SCAA Show in Boston

We were a small fish in a big pond at the 2013 Specialty Coffee Association of America show in Boston, but we made some amazing connections.

Coffee bags with a Calling

One of the wonderful new friends we made at Coffee Fest was the team from Know Hope, an Ohio-based social business that raises money for orphans in Mexico. Check out the cool graphics of these classic grain bags. We love them all.

Off to New York for Coffee Fest 2013

Our journey to the next step started with our trip to New York City for Coffee Fest. Here are a few photos from our trip.