Thursday, November 6, 2008

Woods Wednesday and Welcome…

…to Socialist Democracy. I couldn’t help myself, it’s a significant event in history. Gotta say, the Obama party looked like fun, kind of makes me wish I could have voted for him.

Anybody can sympathise with the sufferings of a friend, but it requires a very fine nature to sympathise with a friend's success.
Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900), The Soul of Man under Socialism (1881)

Use what talents you possess: the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.
Henry Van Dyke

I wouldn’t be a legitimate Whatcom County coffee-drinker if I didn’t discuss The Woods Coffee, the award winner for 3 years running for the West Coast Small Business “Hottest Brand of the Year.” Wes Herman started Woods coffee in my li’l ol’ hometown of 12,000 mostly-Dutch people. To my mind, getting the Dutch population to start handing out $3 per cup for “fancy” coffee to the tune of 7 county locations (at the moment) is an achievement that deserves recognition. However, it’s the marketing that is the real genius behind this operation, and not the coffee. This may sound sort of negative, but it’s really not. It proves that even with little capital, hard work, an incomparable marketing strategy, employee care and team-building, an emphasis on excellence, a few slightly risky investments, and good customer rapport, you can build a great business…although half your hard-earned profits will now go to taxes and socialized medical care, Wes. Sorry about that!

Enough of bitterness…now on to the coffee. Yes, the comparison was intentional. Woods is not the place to order an Americano. They have their own brand of roast, which is deeply loved by some and just as deeply abhorred by the opposition, of which I am a member. Woods is the coffee shop for those who want all of the coffeehouse atmosphere, but want to forget they’re actually drinking coffee. I’ve tried and tried, because I really would love to like the local, small-business chain coffee, but it’s just not feasible. If you don’t like enormous, sugary drinks, the Woods is just not for you. Also, tantrum points for not serving 8. oz cups. Ever heard of controlled serving sizes?

So now I’ll go on to what I do like:

The tea. The Woods serves
Spice Hut teas, now exclusively. What is the Spice Hut? A local small business selling looseleaf and specialty teas and whole spices. My favorite drink is the London Fog, Earl Grey looseleaf tea steeped in ½ cup hot water with a shot of vanilla and filled the rest of the way with steamed milk. Another fave is the looseleaf white blueberry tea.

The atmosphere. The Woods has a consistently customized environment: Stained cement floors, custom lamps (shaped tin to look like trees silhouetted in front of Mount Baker), custom countertops (shaped and finished stainless steel to look like tree grain), pine-log walls, stone fireplaces, comfy leather couches, and Ansel Adams prints feature in every Woods location. And the free wireless is the perfect temptation to walk away from $-bucks.
There you are, folks, now you know about The Woods Coffee. And how I voted. Comments away!

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