This Saturday I had the best time you could ever have in the frozen wasteland that is Central New York in March. My best friend Kelsey, who I’ve mentioned countless times on this blog, in my YouTube videos, and on Twitter and Instagram, has long harbored a dream of one day owning her own coffee shop. And after many, many months of working jobs that caused her pain, working hard to make the best product she could possibly create, and changing the title of that dream from coffee shop to coffee company, she’s finally there. Peaks Coffee Company is real! And I can honestly say that even if I wasn’t best friends with the owner, I would love this company. I mean, just look at what's written on the back of their bags!
"From bean to cup our coffee is roasted fresh with care, cupped for quality, and packaged to order. This life is full of peaks and valleys. So as humble friends we offer our hands to you. This coffee is our guarantee that we will be there to serve you a freshly roasted cup both at your peaks and in your valleys. Stay humble, stay hopeful. -Peaks Coffee Company"
I’m honestly so honored to be a small part of this momentous achievement of hers. A little backstory on Kelsey and I: although we started off mere acquaintances in 7th grade, when it comes down to it, we’ve been there for each other at our greatest peaks and valleys. In our senior year of high school, when she was experiencing her first major valley, I did everything in my power to be there for her. And in the fall of 2013, when I experienced the greatest and most terrifying valley of my life, she was more than there for me. She got me through it. So to be able to be here with her, at this incredible Peak of hers, is truly an honor.
Over the past few months, I’ve watched her work harder at this than anything I’ve ever seen in my life. Countless weekends standing in the freezing cold, roasting coffee beans on her back porch with her honest-to-God-saint-of-a-boyfriend Sam. Days and weeks and months spent calculating, charting, and "cupping" her authentic roasts. Hours and hours spent writing, designing, and researching the “aesthetic" and look of her brand. And this weekend, it all paid off. On Saturday, she and the rest of us Peaks volunteers had our first gig at a local antique store called the Heckled Hen. We started off in the parking lot, attempting to brew coffee in the 16 degree weather. That didn’t last long, however, and we soon found ourselves packed in to the antique store itself, in a very precarious corner of the store filled with fragile glassware and teacups. (How fitting, right?) But with only a little table and a single Chemex to brew with, Kelsey and Sam made coffee magic happen. Sam commanded that tiny corner, and with it a small army of eager listeners, as people young and old came through to check out the Heckled Hen’s open house. We did better than we had anticipated, as we came in with about 25 lbs of coffee and left with a mere 6.
Despite the fact that the event had it’s ups and downs, it’s peaks and valleys if you will, I personally felt that it was the most perfect Saturday from start to finish. Earlier that morning, the Peaks crew got together at Dave’s Diner, a little place just across the street from the Heckled Hen, to do what we do best-- eat breakfast food and talk coffee. And even though we had to meet at 8 am (!!!!) it was delightful. The waffles were great and the conversation was even better, which is really all I could ever ask for.
In the past year and a half, I’ve learned a lot about myself, and about life. I feel like I've changed so much in the past few months even. But, God, am I ever thankful for it. I’ve learned that we’re not all going to be as hugely successful as we think we will be. But we do have lasting effects on the people around us, and that’s not nothing. I’ve learned that it is more than okay to not be happy all the time. I’ve learned that I deserve love, I deserve to be treated like I matter, and I shouldn’t let people in my life who don’t treat me thusly. But more than that, I've learned that I have to believe it for myself first, and demand to be treated the way I deserve.
I’m experiencing some peaks and valleys of my own right now, but it’s okay, because I have good people in my life. Like Kelsey. And Sam. And even though I spent the rest of the weekend feeling exhausted and scared and altogether unwilling to leave my bed, I’m still happy. I’m happy because I got to spend my Saturday morning with friends new and old, drinking hot beverages, eating diner food, and working on making my closest compadre's dreams come true. I'm happy because I can see that we're all starting to become the people we were meant to be, and I feel privileged to bear witness to it. Because it’s really a beautiful thing to witness.