Having the best cup of coffee is a morning ritual. It’s the first thing somebody does before they get their day started so that they can start their day in a way that allows them to experience joy in every other part of their life. Raj Jana is the founder and chief brewer of JavaPresse Coffee Company, a brand that creates products to transform your favorite coffee ritual into an extraordinary daily experience. He is also the host of Stay Grounded, a weekly podcast that shares lessons from inspiring guests to help listeners achieve more fulfillment, success, and happiness in daily life. Raj shares how he got into the coffee business, how to launch products online, and where his company is right now.
We have Raj Jana. He is the Founder and Chief Brewer of JavaPresse Coffee Company. Every day I wake up and start my day with a strong cup of coffee. I wanted to find out every detail on what it takes to make the best cup of coffee possible and Raj tells us exactly how to do that. Raj explains his journey on how he got into the coffee industry, where the best beans are grown, the roasting process, the grinding process, the shelf life of an actual organic coffee bean and all of the household equipment you need to make the best cup of coffee right in your own home. This is how to make the world’s best cup of coffee. Please welcome, Raj Jana.
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World’s Best Cup Of Coffee with Raj Jana
On the Expect Miracles podcast, we have Raj Jana. Raj is the Founder and Chief Brewer of JavaPresse Coffee Company, a brand that creates products to transform your favorite coffee ritual into an extraordinary daily experience. His company has done deals with Daymond John on Shark Tank and it has been featured in Inc. Magazine, USA Today and several other media outlets. Raj is also the host of Stay Grounded, a weekly podcast that shares lessons from inspiring guests to help listeners achieve more fulfillment, success and happiness in daily life. Please welcome, Raj Jana. Raj, how are you doing?
That’s a great intro. I’ll take that.
It’s a pleasure to have you on. I’m a huge coffee fan. I have it every single day. I’m curious to learn more about it. I know you have a great life story and I’m excited to get into that too. Where are you from originally?
I was born in Boston. My parents are from India. They moved here before I was born and then I was born in Boston. Then I moved to Texas when I was eleven. I’ve been in Texas my whole life. I went to school in Texas, lived in New Orleans for a while. I have been in the south for my entire adult career.
Raj, what were you into growing up?
I played a lot of tennis. I was a pretty competitive athlete that a lot of it defined my childhood years. Everything from competing and traveling and missing out on parties in high school to go train.
A lot of what I have now is built on the foundations that were built from being a competitive athlete growing up with lots of sports. I have a supportive family. I had it good. I have nothing to complain about growing up.
Did you have to go to one of those academies? I know tennis is a little crazy about competing and everything. Kids go away to school.
I didn’t ever go to an academy to go to school and train. I grew up in Houston. In Houston, there are lots of great academies close by that I can go to and learn. I enjoyed playing tennis a lot. I didn’t play in college because I was burning out a little bit. I’d been playing since I could walk. I wanted something a little different. When I looked at the workout schedules, waking up at 5:00 AM to do weights and then train three times a day, at some point, you make a decision. If I wasn’t going to put my heart and soul into it, I’d rather put my heart and soul into something else. That’s how my childhood was shaped but tennis is still a huge part of my upbringing and a large part of my own personal story and my own personal journey and the character traits I have now. Everything is based on the hard work I put in that sport.
What was college life like? After graduation, what was going on then?
I went to school for petroleum engineering. That’s what I did. I was in Texas so I went to school at the University of Texas at Austin. They had one of the best petroleum engineering programs. I wanted to do engineering because I was always told engineering was the safest bet. Being from an Indian background that was always drilled in to be a doctor or lawyer or engineer. Engineering was what I chose and eventually, I wanted to do engineering and go get an MBA and get into business. It’s what my ten-year path in my mind was. I was an engineering major. I was heavily involved in the school and social organizations. I started my own fraternity when I was in college. I was a charter for that and that was almost like a test drive for entrepreneurship. It taught me how to rush kids and host parties and talk to hotels, a lot of different relationship managing skills I had when I was in high school but not properly developed. I got my chops just being more of a marketing and sales minded person in college. I graduated in 2013 and I got a job right out of school working in New Orleans. I lived in New Orleans and I worked as a petroleum engineer.
I went to school for that and got a job for that. It was a rare case in today’s society. Most people are graduating and not getting jobs for what they went to school for. I’m very grateful that I got to practice what I learned because I did pay for myself through school. My dad helped a little bit as much as he could and then we took loans and paid. I’m glad I was able to take that and get the money back and started working. Sooner or later, I got that it wasn’t for me and I didn’t feel the thrill. When I was in high school, I had four years to play tennis and it was always like a light at the end of the tunnel. In college, I had four years to do something big and there was that light at the end of the tunnel. For the first time in my life, I had started working full-time and the light at the end of the tunnel was 60 years.
How long did that path that you are like, “This isn’t it?” How long did that take?
I graduated in June of 2013. I started feeling that something was missing around the summer of 2014. About a year in, I realized it just wasn’t for me. It’s for a lot of people. A lot of people have different experiences. For me, it just felt like any job I wanted even though I was a high performer I was put on a waiting block and told to wait my turn. It was just like I was being told things and then other things were happening. Much of it was out of my control I just felt powerless. At the time I was working. My dad had just gotten laid off from his corporate job. He’s in there for several years. I was doing long distance with my girlfriend at the time, so all of these factors hit me at once. I remember the first thing that I ever did in entrepreneurship was picking up a book called The 4-Hour Workweek by a guy named Tim Ferris. It was the first time I had learned anything around the business. It was such a radically different book than anything I’d ever been exposed to in my life because I feel like I grew up in a little bit of a bubble. My parents taught me to do one thing. My friend’s parents told me to do the same thing. Every mentor or father figure or mother figure I had in my life was telling me to do what they knew what to do. This is what they had seen work for years and this was it. For the first time in my life, I was reading this book and this guy was telling me the exact opposite of doing what I was told to do. That started a very amazing journey. I got very curious about what else I didn’t know.
How did you get your hands on that book? Did somebody recommend it to you?
I was walking in the airport and I was feeling all these feelings. I was like, “This sucks.” I remember walking in the airport and it was right up front and it’s a catchy title, “4-Hour Workweek, skip the 9 to 5,” and it just drew me in. I bought it right then and I started reading it. Later on, I saw a friend of mine have it on his desk and I found that he was investing in online courses and he was learning how to do marketing online and start side hustles. I got intrigued at that point and that’s what started the journey of almost teaching myself business and learning on the side. That started the journey. That was it for me.
The big question for you, why coffee? Did you just straight up quit your corporate job before you had anything lined up or you just put your dominoes in order?
I was a domino guy for sure. I was buying courses. It starts with the courses. My first course had nothing to do with coffee physical products or anything. It was how to start a software company from scratch. I tried that out. I did it for several months. It got a lot of traction but then ended up failing because of some business decisions that weren’t rooted in any sound logic. I started to buy more courses. I didn’t give up. I found a course that taught people how to sell physical products online. From my previous software stuff, I had chosen a niche or an industry that was based on my passions and I love beer. Right out of college I was like, “People are making beer. I want to be on beer.” I love it all. I chose that path but I realized later on that breweries don’t make any money, at least not until they’re big. The people that are big are already being serviced by multiple people.
When I started the physical products and I wanted to learn how to sell physical products, I went the opposite way and I went towards looking for industries and niches that needed to be serviced as opposed to trying to find something that I was super passionate about in the beginning. When I first started, coffee wasn’t my true and God-given passion. It was a market in an industry that I believe had potential over time. If I worked hard and if I found an angle to serve customers at the highest capacity, I would win and be able to experience the freedom that I ultimately wanted when I got into the business.
What did you see about coffee where you saw that window when you’re like, “Maybe we have something here?” People could tell you, “There’s Starbucks, there’s Dunkin Donuts. We don’t need more coffee. Forget about it.” What did you see that you’re like, “There’s a window here and I’m going to go for it?”
I started off selling physical products. It wasn’t coffee. Coffee is a physical product, but it wasn’t the first product we launched. The first product launched was a manual coffee grinder. We found designs that looked cool and then we went on Google and forums and found people looking for these types of products, looking at Kickstarter. I took that product, branded it under the JavaPresse umbrella and then took it to market. The first place we took it to market was Amazon, September 2015. That was the first way I got started. I also stopped listening to people telling me I couldn’t do something. I started listening to people that were telling me how to do something. This is what I realize at least, everything that got me to where I was not going to get me to where I wanted to go. I had to change because that book changed everything. If I was going to be like that, if I wanted that lifestyle, I had to learn from people that were living that lifestyle or that were on the path to living that lifestyle. I had to change my environment. I started listening to people that were finding success selling products online and those became my mentors. Slowly but surely, I started selling the grinders online. That’s when I had a horrible experience at work and that’s the JavaPresse brand was born.
You were launching products online and you still had the corporate job. You put in some massive hours then.
I was waking up at 5:00 AM, working until 7:00 AM, going to work and then working out during lunch and then work until 5:00 PM. I commute back home and then work in for a couple more hours and then call the girlfriend and then go to sleep. That was my day-to-day for a while. It’s not that I was passionate. I wasn’t passionate about coffee, I was passionate about freedom. I knew what I wanted and I knew what I want so that’s how that started. In the beginning, I wasn’t even that crazy. The first couple of months I launched it, I was just tweaking and testing things on the side and seeing if it worked. I wasn’t taking it seriously. That’s when I had a mentor who worked 40 something years at the same company have a heart attack three months before retirement. It was three months after I launched JavaPresse and that was a slap in the face.
Everything I’d been reading, everything I’d been learning about and living life now all hit me at once. For the first time, I’ve seen this hamster wheel that we were all creating for ourselves and I got myself off of it for a split second just to see what the world looked like and I didn’t like what I saw. That’s when I doubled down. I started waking up at 5:00 AM, working late and hustling because I just wanted to make this work. Seven months later, we were doing over six figures a month. We had a great business selling the coffee equipment. Leading up to that I was realizing how big of an impact Jerry’s death had on me. We changed the mission of the company and we wanted to help people live life now and using coffee as a vehicle to do that became the mission and the vision for what we were doing at JavaPresse. After we did that is when we realized we had to get into actual coffee, find the best coffee and sell coffee in a way because ultimately if we were just selling equipment and we had no control over the quality, the kind of beans, the freshness and things that other people were getting, we have no control over the ability to influence somebody having a great start to their morning.
We launched the coffees with the vision and the mission to be able to service somebody’s morning ritual the first thing they do before they get their day started so that they can start their day in a way that allows them to experience joy in every other part of their life. JavaPresse has evolved over time but it started off as a side hustle. It started off as a way for me to try something new on the side, to change, to grow. Just shooting for something almost in the future that didn’t feel tangible at the time. Over time it happened. I didn’t leave my job until 2017.
When did you know you had something going? Did you hit a couple of roadblocks where you’re like, “I don’t know if this is working?”
I ran into quality issues with our products. We sourced our first products from China and that had a whole range of quality supplier issues and product quality. I remember the first time we had placed a big order and 60% of the orders were broken. I didn’t know they were going to break because they were using some type of material that looked good on the outside, but the second people use it three or four times, it broke. We were getting all these people returns and I was just like, “This is awful.” The downside turned into the biggest opportunity I had. That was an opportunity for me to make things right. I remember when that happened, a customer would reach out to us. I’d have my app on my phone and my email and immediately within two minutes of getting an email, I’d respond saying, “I’m so sorry. I know I made a mistake. Let me make this right. I’ll refund you and then whenever we fix the part, I’ll send you a new part.”
People weren’t mad after that. They turned into these nice people and they were like, “I didn’t expect people to get back to me so quickly. You don’t have to do that. I was just upset that this happened. You can just send me the part whenever.” They then became our raving fans. Whenever we had our coffees ready and our coffee line launched, they were the ones that were buying $600, $700, $800 worth of coffee to gift, to buy and to be a part of. It changed everything. Those obstacles that I had along the way, I don’t necessarily call them obstacles. I just call them opportunities for me to develop the skill sets I needed to thrive in the face of uncertainty. That’s what those obstacles turned into for me. They just turned into opportunities. Every time something hit the fan, it was either swim or sink and I sure was going to be swimming.
Where are you guys at now? What’s going on now?
We launched. We changed the mission of the company. The company has grown a lot. We’ve been growing at an exponential pace since we started. It’s been a joy. We launched The Stay Grounded podcasting community and lifestyle just to take the message that we were already sharing with our customers to bigger audiences about living life intentionally being full and passionate and purposeful with everything you’re doing. That has been on a crazy trajectory which has been amazing just to see how much is happening. We launched our lines of coffees in December 2017 and that has been an amazing trajectory. We partnered with Make-A-Wish, we do a lot of charity work. We have a vibrant team now and it’s just amazing to see the growth. I never expected this little side hustle what it has now.
Did you go on Shark Tank or you just did a deal?
We did. I got mentored by Daymond. I got a personal mentoring session with him. At the time he was releasing his book, Rise and Grind. It was such a brand alignment that we worked out a partnership deal with him where we would promote his books and he would promote us. It was cool. It was great learning from him. He loves working with his team and being around somebody who’s sold $8 billion worth of products over time is somebody that I wanted to learn from and it was amazing.
What’s one of the biggest things you’ve picked up from him or just people like him in general?
It’s funny that we’re on a health podcast but it’s taking care of your health. He had some thyroid cancer or some sort of cancer. He was ignoring the signs. He didn’t know. He was just working and not taking time to take care of his body and eat right. He was overworking himself. Thankfully he had the money to go and get it fixed quickly. It was cool because I asked him. I was like, “What’s one thing you would leave me?” He was like, “Your health is all you have. If you can be as rich as you want in the world but if you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything.” It was cool for me to hear that type of the lesson from him this early on in my life and especially from somebody I looked up to. He gave a lot of great marketing advice in business but the one thing I took away the most was just your body is the vehicle you’re going to use to make money. If you don’t take care of your body, if you’re not working with energy if you’re not excited to do what you’re doing, the money won’t matter. That was cool.
Do you know the ins and outs of the coffee industry as well? I know you make the grinders and everything. Do you work with the actual beans and all that stuff?
We partner with roasters and we work with farmers. We do a lot of work in the industry around that model.
Where do the best beans come from?
The best beans come from what we like to call micro-lot farmers. There are lots of farms out there. There are thousands and thousands of farms all over Central South America, Ethiopia, eastern parts of Africa, Sumatra and Papua New Guinea. California now has farms. You need elevation to grow coffee. The best coffee grows around 1500 to 1800 feet above sea level so they’re on these hills. Generally speaking, mountainous areas, especially in Central and South America, have great coffee growing climates and regions to support that. As far as buying coffee and the best farmers, there are so many farmers out there. The Specialty Coffee Association is the governing organization that grades coffee on its quality on its defect rates on each step that’s followed to ensure the highest quality. You’d get an actual specialty grad. They also have rainforests alliances. Organic coffee is not necessarily the best marker for healthy coffee if you would. If you buy organic coffee, it’s going to be guaranteed to not have any of the pesticides used. That is a marker you can use but you’re also limiting yourself to the experience of coffee. Coffee in general, we personally buy organically-grown coffee.
We personally go out there and find farmers that are doing amazing things in the world. We go personally out there and see what the quality steps are. We look at the specialty grade. We put them through three or four different quality control processes from the importer, to us, to the roasters. Everybody is essentially adding a layer of inspection. We personally like to buy from farmers that are more sustainable. Sustainable-minded farmers, eco-friendly farmers, farmers that are giving back to their local communities. With organic certifications, you have to pay thousands of dollars not only to certify the farm. You have to certify the farmer. A lot of these guys are poor. Coffee as an industry has been exploiting farmers for years. That’s why if you go to a nice coffee shop, you’re going to see coffee anywhere from $18 to $25 a bag. It’s not because there is margin involved in that. Let’s think about it this way. If you buy a Maxwell House jar of coffee which is $8, sometimes even less than that and you’ve got farmers, importers, growers, Maxwell House, roasters and all these different layers, who’s getting pinched?
At the end of the day, the guys who can’t fight for their rights are the ones getting pinched. When you think about the coffee industry in general and where you want to buy coffee from and the best coffee, you want to buy from roasters because I don’t think anybody’s going to. You can buy green coffee and roast it yourself if you want to go to that extreme level. I wouldn’t recommend that just because there are so many great roasters out there that can do that for you. If you’re buying coffee, you want to buy coffee from people that are very transparent about who they’re buying from. Transparent from the farmer and where the farm is, sometimes even how much they paid for the coffee. The story behind the farmer and what’s the farmer doing. It’s going to get to that point where coffee is so traceable. We’re getting there. Everybody wants to know more about the farm, the farmer and everything. The first step is just finding a roaster that is super transparent about who they’re buying from.
Is the roasting process different work than getting the actual beans?
Yes, coffee is a cherry. It’s a delicious cherry, like a little berry. It’s a shrub. It’s like these coffee trees and there are seasons that you pick the coffees. Different parts of the world have different seasonal time. In Sumatra, you can only pick coffee once a year. In Brazil, you can pick coffee multiple times a year which is why Brazil is usually the most popular offering that you’ll see in different places. It just depends on the climate but it starts with the cherry. There are people who use the fruit to make tea and that’s called cascara. If you ever see the word cascara, it’s just coffee tea that comes from the berry itself.
Is it still as potent after you roast it or like caffeine?
The caffeine is in the bean in the seed itself. The berry does have elements of caffeine but the bean has almost everything. I don’t know much about cascara so I would defer that off to tea experts. Once you get the bean, then you go through the process of separating the bad tray from the good ones, drying them out, getting the beans out and washing them.
How long does it take to dry it out?
It depends. A lot of times there’s natural processing. There’s washed processing. You’re laying them out on a bed and then just letting the sun naturally do it. It ranges anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks. It depends on where you are. If you’re in Sumatra where it’s super humid, it’s going to take a lot longer than somewhere in eastern parts of Africa where the sun is beaming down. There’s going to be different processes that you’re going to follow to wash and create coffee but ultimately, you go through that. There are all those processes and then that’s when quality control happens. The farm does their own quality control where they go through and they’ll look through and pick out defects and make sure that there’s nothing coming out of it. They do that then from there, another governing body looks at it and grades it and then the importers especially or us or different people who are buying the coffee will go and put it through another round of tests, whether they’re lab tests or different things just to see the different stages that were followed. As long as you’re buying from a reputable roaster and you’re buying from somebody who is very honest. If you’ve got a giant farm, micro-lot coffee is the best of the best of that farm.
There are some plants that grow well. On year if you get pumpkins out the wazoo, that’s the best pumpkins. Those best pumpkins are going to be priced a little higher. It’s the same concept as micro-lot coffee. Micro-lot coffees are in a very small batch and they’re not abundant so once they run out, they’re out. You can’t replicate them. They’re not made for the mass market. Micro-lot coffees are usually the best crop from the crop that was picked. Those are the ones that are usually the highest grade and with the least defects, the ones that taste the best and the ones that end up winning awards and the ones that go out there. We’ve had a couple of them. We can’t even buy enough for our customers. It’s weird. It upsets me because I want to buy as much as I can but once they run out, they run out and it’s a buying frenzy for it.
You’re always on the hunt for better coffees and good coffees but once they were out, they run out. It’s seasonal. A lot of times, most of our coffees are from Central and South America and there’s a reason why. It’s just more available, there are more options, there are more farms but we got someplace like Papua New Guinea. It’s a remote island that’s untouched. That coffee is going to be exquisite but there’s only so much we can buy. December’s offering is an offering from Papua New Guinea they don’t even have coffee farms, they have coffee gardens because it’s so untouched, which is cool. That’s everything up to farm, to picking, to drying. The finished product is called green coffee. It is like the cherry dried completely, removed from defects and then they’re bagged. From there, buyers go in and buy as much as they can of whatever coffee they want. They do the cupping. Cupping is the testing process to see what it tastes like what it smells like. You go through multiple layers of this from there and you buy the coffee and then the roasting process begins.
How do you find the roaster you want? Is that as crucial as finding a farmer?
I’ve visited over a hundred different roasters until we found the guys that aligned with our vision for the product we wanted. There’s so much that goes into creating a craft product. It’s not just the quality of the beans. The quality of the beans is number one but it’s the care for every part of the process. For example, we roast and ship our coffees within two hours. Freshness is a huge thing for us because we personally believe and this is my own philosophy on holistic living. Living a healthy life is a combination of a healthy mind, body, and spirit. When we create a coffee experience, it’s not just about getting good beans in somebody’s hands, it’s about delivering a sensory experience that awakens the soul. I don’t know if you’ve ever smelled freshly roasted coffee. When you take a smell of freshly roasted coffee when it’s right off the oven, I don’t think there’s anything that smells better.
We try to create these micro-moments of positivity and happiness into the ritual of making coffee itself. That was important to us. We wanted people to understand the importance of freshness. We wanted people to understand the importance of highlighting the unique characteristics of every bean because we’re buying pretty expensive stuff. We’re not buying just any coffee that we can just dark roast and put a label which is what most mass coffee companies do. These coffee companies, I’m not going to name their names but you probably already know who they are. They buy the beans, they roast them to where they’re so oily on the outside. They roast away all the healthy antioxidants, all the healthy chlorogenic acids that lead to anti-inflammatory properties. You would roast everything away to leave just a product that stale quickly because it’s sitting on a shelf for months.
I love how people say coffee is not healthy. The coffee bean you’re buying and all the crap you’re putting into the coffee like the Sweet’n Low and all that stuff. Organic coffee is good for you.
When we found our roasters, we wanted to find people that respected the beans we were buying. We’re not just buying these beans that need to be dark-roasted to mask up a bunch of crappy flavors. These are coffees that have an incredible flavor or are incredibly robust. All of our coffees are designed to be anywhere from a light-medium to a medium roast. We don’t tailor for taste. We tailor to make that bean, whatever that bean is, taste the best.
Is it true that the whiter the roast, the more caffeine is savored that the bean?
It’s true to a certain extent. If you don’t roast the coffee itself, it’s in its truest form. You don’t want to have green coffee either because that doesn’t activate. The heat is a good thing for coffee. That’s why when you roast the coffee, you are evoking a lot of the nutrients that come out by putting it through a heated process. Heat is okay. Over roasting is bad in my opinion. It’s not necessarily the caffeine that I personally care about, it’s the antioxidant and the chlorogenic acid. Chlorogenic acid is this amazing compound in coffee that leads to very anti-inflammatory benefits. Those are only present in light to medium roast coffees. The darker your coffee gets, the less efficient the intake of antioxidants and these chlorogenic properties are.
For me, I personally try to find a light to medium roast coffees. I do not go to the dark roast path. It just doesn’t make any sense to me. Honestly, it doesn’t even taste that good. That bitter bite you get when you drink coffee is not supposed to happen. That’s not real. We’ve been fed a lie for years by gas station coffee and office coffee and instant coffee. That bite is not real. It’s supposed to taste rich, chocolatey, caramelly, sometimes even a fruity depending on where you get the coffee from. That’s the process. If you want to drink the best cup of coffee, don’t put sweeteners in it. Don’t put milk in it. If you’re buying good beans, you shouldn’t have to.
How long is the bean good for? You see all those massive coffee products. That bean has been grounded up for months and it’s been on a shelf. What is the shelf life? Is it different from when you grind the bean up?
I’m going to share a fact with you. Coffee is not supposed to be exposed to oxygen. The second it’s exposed to oxygen is when it starts to stale in its roasted form. When it’s a whole bean, it can sit for longer on a shelf because the surface area of the bean hasn’t been exposed to enough oxygen. The process is called oxidation. When you open the bag all of a sudden, it’s being exposed to a lot of oxygen. From that point for a whole bean coffee, usually it takes about two weeks of optimum freshness before you don’t want to buy it. It starts to stale and it’s not like stale in a bread kind of way where you start seeing mold and different things on it. That’s not what it is but it is going to diminish in flavor. It is going to diminish in potency and it is going to diminish in just the overall experience of the coffee and there’s no reason to have that experience. Especially when there are so many great options out there to just have fresh coffee delivered to you or picked up.
To take that a step further, if we take that surface area concept, if you pre-ground coffee, you’re already breaking the seal of the bean and you’re exposing millions of little particles to oxygen all at once. Pre-ground coffee starts to lose its freshness within fifteen minutes. If you’re buying pre-ground coffee, the quickest way I can say to just change the game for you is to buy the whole bean. If you want to change the game one step further, go buy the whole bean coffee that’s been roasted within two weeks. If you want to take it one step further, make sure you know who you’re buying your coffee from. You know the farmers and you try to find coffees that are small-batch, exquisite and roasted for that region’s flavor as opposed to a specific profile. If you follow those steps, you should be able to drink black coffee at its finest.
If you’re just a regular consumer of coffee in America, where do you recommend someone that’s not going to go to Central America or Africa to get the beans? Do you go to your most reputable coffee shops that are roasting their own coffee to get the beans? Is Whole Foods good? What do you recommend in that department?
If you don’t want to do the work, go to JavaPresse.com. We roast and ship it and we find a new farmer from a different part of the world every month. We roast on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis. We launched our coffee line. We got too into it. We started selling the equipment and we’re like, “Coffee is fun.” It’s fun learning from the farmers and it’s fun impacting their lives. We partnered with a farmer out of Brazil. He took the proceeds or the bump we gave him and he dressed up as Santa, bought a bunch of toys and just went out in his village just giving out toys to people. That’s the kind of stuff that I personally love. I love the opportunity to tell their stories. We’re huge on storytelling. I’d highly recommend us if you want to check us out. If not, no worries. There are plenty of options locally too. Find a good local roaster that you can rely on and make sure you check the roast states. That’s the biggest thing. Buy the whole bean, check the roast states.
Are you saying that generally, if it’s more than two or three weeks, you might want to find another roaster?
Yes, you don’t want it right off the roaster because the coffee still needs time to de-gas. That’s why most coffee bags have valves on them but they’re one-way valves. They don’t let oxygen in, but they let carbon dioxide out. It’s de-gasification of the coffee and that usually takes about 48 hours. That’s why I like buying online because you order it, it takes about two days to arrive anyways and it’s just fresh and de-gassed in your doorstep. If you’re going to do it, make sure you don’t buy coffee that’s right off the roaster. If it was roasted yesterday, don’t buy that coffee. It’s going to taste weird or buy it and let it sit for a day. That’s what probably I’d do. If you find some that are super fresh, buy it and let it sit for two days and then you can open it up and your world is going to be changed. Once you try a fresh one, you can’t go back. It’s a spoiled luxury but it’s one that I don’t take for granted.
What’s your favorite way to make the coffee? French press, percolate, all that stuff.
I hand-grind my coffee every day. One, I’d recommend getting a good grinder. Let’s talk about equipment. This is a big part of coffee. If you’re going to buy and enjoy good coffee, make sure you get a good grinder. We have a manual grinder. I personally like the art of manual grinding just because it’s like a forced break for me. It’s my morning ritual. It takes me about seven to ten minutes to grab my coffee, heat up the water, pour it in and experience it and it’s my thing. That’s a process but if you want to get an electric grinder, there’s plenty of great burr grinder. You want to get a burr grinder which is a type of grinder. Blade grinders are going to screw your coffee up in many different ways. One of the biggest things that lead to coffee tasting amazing is the consistency of the grind.
If you use a blade, it’s just going to hack away at the coffee so sometimes you get bigger chunks than others. It’s going to lead to an uneven extraction profile because what you’re doing with coffee is you’re letting water drip through it and if there are bigger parts than others, water is going to drip through faster on the parts that are bigger holes. It’s like Swiss cheese. It’s just going to go through whatever the most porous part of the coffee is. You want a burr grinder. A burr grinder is a dual grinding system that will almost guarantee the consistency of the grind. You’ll get all the same grind and depending on what kind of coffee maker you’re using, you can use either a fine grind or coarse grind. Burr grinders are my preferred option. I’m a huge fan of AeroPress. It’s not even a product we sell. I honestly don’t even want to create one because I love it so much. It’s $30 on Amazon.
Is it a grinder as well?
It’s a non-electric coffeemaker. I’m a big fan of non-electric coffeemakers. I like coffee that’s brewed by hand. You work for it, you drink it. It’s your cup of coffee so there’s something very gratifying about that. The AeroPress is the mix between an espresso machine and a French press. It’s enough for one cup of coffee. You can’t make more than one. You put the coffee in, you put the water in and then you push it down and you brew it on top of a cup. You push it in and it’s so awesome. It’s a strong cup of coffee and for using good coffee. You can travel with it. It’s so small. It’s about the size of a water glass and/or even smaller than that. Our grinder fits right in it. I don’t drink hotel coffee. I travel with my own coffee. It just fits in my backpack. I don’t even have to put it in a checking bag or anything and usually, it gets some funny looks from security. Overall, it’s a good experience. I’d recommend the AeroPress.
If there is one piece of advice that you have taken with you over the years that you would like to give the audience, what would it be? It could be absolutely anything.
Just live life. Since I’ve been on my entrepreneurial journey, I have felt the roller coasters. I felt the ups, I felt the downs. I’m so grateful to experience every spectrum of life. If there’s anything I can just leave with the audience is don’t be afraid to experience the lows. Don’t be afraid to experience the highs. Let yourself be extremely happy and let yourself be extremely sad. It’s all a part of living a full and intentional life. Unless you experience the emotional range is that what you’re capable of, you’re not truly living.
Where can people find you? Social media, websites and all that stuff.
You can go to JavaPresse.com, that’s my coffee company. RajJana.com is my personal website. You can check out my podcast, Stay Grounded. We’re on iTunes and all the other mediums. I’m on social media too. You can find me on Instagram, @Raj_Jana. It’s usually where I’m most active. Get in touch and if I can help in any way, feel free to just get in touch with me. If anything, just go drink good coffee and be happy. That’s the two things that I could probably just leave on a good note.
First order of business, I need to get a coffee grinder from JavaPresse and some beans and then we’ll be ready to go. What was that thing on Amazon?
AeroPress. Just look it up. It’s $30. It makes the best Christmas present so if you’ve got any coffee lovers in your life, I highly recommend the AeroPress and it’s in its full glory. It’s a lifer present.
Thank you so much for coming on. I enjoyed this episode and I look forward to talking to you again soon.
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