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Brett H

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My Midlife Crisis Coffee Career
« on: 18/04/2015, 11:30 AM »
I like coffee.  I am good at coffee.  Other people say I'm great at coffee.  I need to earn $X000/month after tax to service the bills associated with a mortgage and a young family.  I'm in a bit of a rut. 

Here's where the story differs from the usual....

I love my day job. I'm good at my day job and I make a difference. 

My coffee journey is at a stand-still.  Like our forum.  That's not to say the there aren't new coffees to discover and roast and brew.... But I'm technically as accomplished as I care to be in the process of home/amateur roasting and brewing.  I and those who frequent my home like my coffee more than any other they have in travels.  Could I replicate this at a comercial level?  Certainly not!  I don't have the training or the inclination.

So what's next?  Do I retire to the shed to cut rocks and continue my self-satisfied smug brews of great coffee complete in the knowledge that my journey is slowing.   Will this like most hobbies become just something I do as opposed to something I aspire too? 

I'm drinking a wonderful Mocha Java that is 8 days post blended and roasted and brewed here and have just out the finishing touches on a heart cabochon for an online competition.  In regards to lapidary my journey is continuing....

Help.....




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Kevohere

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« Reply #1 on: 18/04/2015, 01:06 PM »
Sounds all pretty good to me Brett!
They say if you love your work then it's not "work"..... ;D

"My coffee journey is at a stand-still."
Interesting statement; Are we all heading down that road :question:
The forum has become quiet, it needs more questions and problems posted so that you can share your knowledge and experience. :thumb:
Maybe you could write a book :question: :exclaim:  :stir

I read this post 3 times and I think the answer to your situation is in your post; You love what you are doing and you obviously do it very well,

"So what next?"
Lapidary journey is continuing, the coffee journey is not disappointing you, perhaps just becoming boring?
I'm sure there's a lot out there that would love to be in your position.  ;)

This could develop into an interesting thread if others can throw in their 'two bob' contribution.  ::)

Kevo
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Cuir Beluga

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« Reply #2 on: 18/04/2015, 05:31 PM »
I know how you are feeling except for me it is with my perfume hobby.

I am at a point where I feel I can go no further, I am done with going to the ends of the earth to secure that limited release bottle, I am done with getting up in the early hours of the morning to bid on that 40 year old parfum. I am, almost, done with chatting to other like minded parfumistas. I'm not sure if it is because I am "over it" or not. Most likely I think I am just happy with my lot and want to concentrate on what I have rather than wasting time coveting what I don't.

Interest/passion/enthusiasm tends to wax and wane with most things, and most people, at some stage I suspect, so I would say roll with it and see where it takes you. You may just end up with a renewed enthusiasm when the time is right.

Reading back over this it looks a bit like piffle and I am now not sure whether this was what you meant  :doh:.
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Brett H

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« Reply #3 on: 18/04/2015, 05:54 PM »
Thanks for the excellent replies.  I've been home roasting and pursuing great coffee since 1996 so perhaps for my 20th anniversary next year I need a new toy.... But coffee is not about the toys!!!  ZI tried the Cascara thing but it wasn't for me. 
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cosmic_couple22

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« Reply #4 on: 18/04/2015, 09:21 PM »
Hi Brett, read through this post and pondered your thoughts and reflected upon my own journey (of which I have been doing a lot of lately) and the journey that life is and how we walk it and leave our footprints.  We all need more money, the costs of just existing have blown out in this country but so has our expectation of what we require in life and this further influenced by societal pressures. Pheeww I’m exhausted already. You already have the greatest thing in your life (besides family), the knowing that you make a difference, so many people walk this planet without leaving a mark, from birth to death an existence wiped away with a breath of wind and a small numerical time as if they had never been. You are so blessed to have the understanding and knowing that what you do and have done is going to continue to make it’s mark on people and this little planet.
 
Worth way more than any monetary value however I do understand self worth doesn’t pay the bills.
 
 As we all know with all things “we only get out what we put in” but when we are feeling a little lost along the journey it makes it very difficult to see the opportunities or direction we must steer.  What ever you choose to do you already know the recipe. You have to love doing it, you need to be good at it or have the inclination to gain the skills to be good at it and it needs to bring you self worth.  Based on this premise, the coffee industry doesn’t sound like it fits your requirements. Being good at what you are doing in your own environment and enjoying it is a far different world than that of the Café owner/roaster. From my own journey I have invested a great deal of money and time for very little return thus far, however I am passionate about the experience and am committed to investing a huge amount of time and continuing the learning to steer myself onto that pathway that drives me. What’s driving you Brett? What brings you an excitement and a desire to pursue, to gain mastery of?  It’s these things when we discover them that bring us back from just existing in the day to day and inspire us to do and be more than what we are or to concede to where we are at.

Don’t retire to your shed Brett, go back there with a purpose and a passion for your lapidary, let that reflect in your work, let people feel that passion when they hold one of your designs because you’ve invested yourself into that piece.  Get a market stall. Sell on ebay, visit a local well being/spiritual shop ask them to take your pieces on consignment. The selling will be the easy part once you decide to invest yourself into the process. Never be smug and I am sure that’s not part of who you are anyway, so don’t even put it out there, always represent yourself and do what you do with the best intention.  Your coffee journey is slowing, or have you just found a comfort in what you are doing or is it necessary so you can put time into those other things that have come into your world. There is always a greater reason than what first appears.

Help? Seems more like you just need to recognise all that you already have and what you offer to those that walk alongside you. Just ask for what you need in life and then continue along that path, being the best you can be and thankful for the opportunity.

Your on track Brett, hang in there.

Chester
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Kevohere

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« Reply #5 on: 18/04/2015, 09:48 PM »
I had suggested in my post that Brett should write a book, but it seems you have stepped up Chester!
I did think this thread would attract increased dialogue to the forum......... Wasn't expecting it all in one post though! LOL
Well said mate, some insightful stuff we all can ponder.

Kevo
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« Reply #6 on: 18/04/2015, 11:10 PM »
For what it's worth Brett...........If I had the choice again, I would not be in coffee.

Too many hours. Far too many $$$ invested and a hard to please end user market.

With the levelled playing field, coffee no longer reflects that distinctly individual element where you can apply your personal stamp.



Brett H

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« Reply #7 on: 19/04/2015, 10:00 AM »
Hey Jeff... I bet you have folk asking your advice every day about how to start up a successful coffee business!  Folk forget that every successful person in their field works longer and smarter than most.  Irrespective of that field. 

I also think the coffee thing is a bit like the gold rush. 

A big part enhancing my coffee journey was always the like-minded folk with whom I could share the discoveries and fun.  There seems to be less of those on all coffee forums, not just ours.  Is this a signal that people wee actually focussed on equipment and not actually coffee?? 
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Koffee Kosmo

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« Reply #8 on: 19/04/2015, 11:26 AM »
You are also fortunate that you don't have many money sucking interests

I have High End HiFi and photography as well a coffee

So advice is
Keep your day job and if you need a break to renew ones batteries then take a sabbatical
Enjoy your coffee journey as it stands - now you are the top of your game in your family and friends circle
Test the boundaries in your rock sculpture and polishing
What you need to do with lapidary is invent or design something to please the eye that is unique in its application so you can make some extra dollars to relieve the financial strain

KK
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« Reply #9 on: 19/04/2015, 02:47 PM »
Perhaps go make another 9.6/10 or better .. and whilst drinking it .. ponder how lucky we all are that the one little tadpole among millions, which was us battling to get the Gig .. was the eventual winner.. with the grand prize of a life. Commiserations to all those millions that missed out. :coffee2:

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Brett H

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« Reply #10 on: 19/04/2015, 09:50 PM »
Oh KK.... Did I not mention my photography affliction.  I shoot Nikon and have a pretty reasonable lens and body collection... full frame DSLR stuff!  For example I shot this this evening but the loss in clarity on photo bucket is distressing.  The original 7360x4912 file is zoomable to a frighteningly clear degree.

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« Reply #11 on: 22/04/2015, 12:18 PM »

I have High End HiFi and photography as well a coffee

So advice is
Keep your day job and if you need a break to renew ones batteries then take a sabbatical

KK

Ha ! way to go KK. One of my first hobbies was hi fi and I ended up with a wonderful set up that has stood the test of almost 40 years. Where do I go from there? No where...I just enjoy my old hi fi and the music and have NEVER allowed myself to get sucked into the "grass is always greener" insecurity spawned of upgradeitis....the same has gone for my coffee making equipment at home.

And Brett...I am firmly ensconced in the canon full frame department (but I also have a crop body) with a small number of interchangeable hi-qual lenses..As per above, I have to a degree been able to control the insecurity of wanting to upgrade stuff needlessly and am happy where I am.

Nice photo by the way.

Be MINDFULL (look up "mindfullness" if you wish) and enjoy the things you are doing, without allowing insecurities to creep in concerning where you are at. Life is what it is, and the grass isnt really greener at all over the other side of the fence (....if I could just get that new lens, all my problems will be solved....nah, not really!). And of course, as life goes on circumstances change and other priorities creep in. That's normal, and your hobbies cant help but chop and change accordingly.

That's life, enjoy the ride. Just remember you ride it, it shouldnt be riding you   ;)

Of course, you could always get into classic motorcycles.....that's nice too.

Oh and echoing Jeff's sage words.....please, dont go into coffee. You are too late, everyone else has already jumped in, the market has been fragmented, filled with bull sheet, and all people are doing is playing musical clients and musical market share taking clients off eachother cyclically. They are seeing who can out BS the BS'ers.... It isnt really a happy place to be now, aggressive, emotional, and with the current state of the retail sector...very very competitive and becoming more unprofitable by the week. not a good place for new starters.
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« Reply #12 on: 22/04/2015, 01:39 PM »
and giving you something to think on....one very interesting point in regard to high end camera gear...

The full frame gear stuff actually makes you appreciate just how good the "entry level" amateur DSLR stuff is these days including the el cheapo lenses they include in their starter kits. While there is a significantly better overall "end user experience" in using the good gear, the entry level stuff makes a very very fine account of itself in terms of the picture quality that is easily achieved.

Just thought I would throw in that little thought.

Here's a real life "problem"  for you all to solve:

Shortly going out of country and have the usual problem of deciding what stuff to take along.

Full frame body and 1 good all purpose lens = large and heavy to lug around, conspicuous, could possibly target you for theft of said equipment, and if damaged, expensive to repair, heartbreaking...

Entry level crop body and 2 el cheapo all purpose lenses= significantly smaller and lighter, and if stolen, or if damaged its not so much of a problem (except for memory card with your photos on). Much Cheaper and easier to replace (you wouldnt bother getting the entry level lenses fixed just replace.

One school of thought: why have the good gear if not to use?

Problem: Which gear to take, when both will give excellent memories.....?????
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« Reply #13 on: 22/04/2015, 07:39 PM »
Nice problem FC, having travelled extensively with the camera (mostly 3rd world  countries) and owning both the full size and compact system I find the lighter far more convenient and less conspicuous when in the city areas but when we get out into the mountains (i'm a climber) I always whish I had brought the big camera from a user point of view, however from my already 25 kilo plus pack I am glad of the weight of the smaller system. Scenery is so amazing the pictures don't really suffer  ;D.

Always travel with insurance so replacement never worries me apart from being like loosing an old friend.

Take the compact system.

Chester
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Brett H

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« Reply #14 on: 22/04/2015, 10:04 PM »
Excellent post FC!  Certainly worth the second and third read! 

Mindfulness has come back into vogue as well as growth mindset in Education!  Funny how if you stand still for long enough the cycle turns and repeats around you.  That's why I've always tried to keep moving, learning, practising.  Probe, is the more proficient I become at something the more I take it for granted.  Is this normal?  Do we become the things we do and if so, what happens when one retires??  Do they cease to be?

Of couse not!

Take the big camera and the L Series glass because you bought it to use it.  Sure the other gear gives excellent memories but what about the ease, joy and unencumbered process of creating those memories? 
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« Reply #15 on: 22/04/2015, 11:32 PM »
We look after you Brett  :thumb:

Re camera - That's easy for me
Take both D SLR for me and Compact camera for the wife

Here is one photo from recent holiday

 KK
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« Reply #16 on: 23/04/2015, 08:59 AM »
Lovely photo KK...even on my low res small laptop screen.....

On my upcoming trip there is potential for some great stuff to photograph. Aside from more coffee plantation/estate/grower/processing stuff (of which I already have many...many...shots...but when is "enough" ever enough), there is much much more...

I believe with all your excellent suggestions, I have decided to take the big rig this time but restrict it to just one good (L) all purpose lens. You only live once !   
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« Reply #17 on: 26/04/2015, 10:59 AM »
personally Im saving for one of these to take my home roasting to the next level:

http://aillio.com/?page_id=9
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« Reply #18 on: 26/04/2015, 11:05 AM »
I too have progressed about as far as i can go in the professional coffee field - which is why im delving into my own product which is only now starting to grow some legs

but i still find the subject of coffee endlessly fascinating and its pretty much endless in terms of exploring new coffees, new profiles, and new preparation methods

market is pretty saturated however and its a high risk business with no guaranteed returns, which is why im staying away from going it alone again - at least in the short to medium term

personally im looking at chasing a few extra dollars and making coffee my professional hobby - then i feel like all my basses are covered

P
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