Coffee and Startups

Mar 2, 2016 by The . Topics include , ,

This article was originally published at The

I know that with each generation and region beverage preferences change and flow in a synchronous relationship with the culture they are served to.  With our weekly Wednesday happy hours (Beer & Bytes), it could be easy to assume that good craft beer is the drink of choice at, and trust me we are fans…

What many may not know is that prior to moving to Augusta, one of the companies I founded was an Organic Coffee Roastery in the San Francisco area. It was a grand time spending my afternoons at coffee tastings and coming home each day bathed in the smell of roasted coffee. I recently traveled back to San Francisco to exhibit our middle school robotics program, Sumo Robot League, at the National Association of Independent Schools Conference. Aside from the validation of many Heads of School and Teachers, a true highlight of my trip was revisiting several great coffee shops.

I had a siphon brewed single origin coffee from Honduras at Blue Bottle Coffee at Mint Plaza.

Siphon Brewed Coffee at Blue Bottle Mint

Siphon Brewed Coffee at Blue Bottle Mint

The experience can best be described as watching a science experiment where heat and pressure are used to move water and coffee between chambers resulting in a delicate brew that truly brought out the essence of the bean in each sip.

I went to SightGlass in SOMA on 7th St and sat in the balcony next to the learning kitchen where they teach customers different brewing techniques such as pour over, press, espresso, turkish, etc… and how to pair those techniques with different types of beans and roasts.

Balcony view of brewing learning kitchen at SightGlass Coffee

Balcony view of brewing learning kitchen at SightGlass Coffee

When I returned to this week and put my cup under our Keurig machine I realized that with each sip I was crushing my soul. For all of its convenience, the K-cup was delivering a mediocre cup of coffee and eliminating not just the social aspect of coffee, but the true appreciation of it as well. IT turned our coffee into something not much different that a 5 hour energy boost. So, it is with great pleasure that I denounce the Keurig and announce that moving forward:

  • Coffee beans will be precisely weighed and ground immediately prior to brewing.
  • Coffee beans will be allowed to degas prior to steeping.
  • Only filtered or spring water will be used for brewing coffee
  • Water will be at 200 degrees Fahrenheit when brewing coffee
  • Coffee will be social
  • Coffee will be appreciated.

The ultimate lesson in coffee snobbery may in fact be that despite coffee’s reputation for giving us a kind of go go go never ending energy. The real delight in the cup is in finding the ability to be present in the moment of brewing and drinking it. That lesson really defines for me what it is to build a startup company. It is frantic, you have to work what seems like 24/7 to find your customer, find your product, figure out how to deliver it, and figure out how to profit so you can keep your team together and be sustainable. It’s easy to get lost in that, but if you can remember to pause, appreciate the moments, and can afford to spend your day with friends, then you’ve succeeded.

Enjoy your coffee!

Eric R. Parker, AIA

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Located in a historic 1802 Schoolhouse, our space is divided into two wings. One for learning and prototyping, and one for coworking and business incubation. Our membership comes from a wide variety of backgrounds that all consider themselves some measure of hacker, maker, and doer. I am an architect. We have entrepreneurs, business people, teachers, engineers, designers, artists, and Jacks and Jill’s of all trades, and of course many software and hardware developers.

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