The coffee growing process

Coffee Cherries

Did you know it can take five years from the time a coffee seed is planted to actually being able to harvest a coffee cherry?  Think about that for a minute.  A farmer has planted and weeded and watered and nurtured that tree for five years before he can pick a single coffee cherry to sell.

After those five years the harvesting can’t be done all at once because the cherries don’t ripen at the same time.  They have to be picked individually as they become ripe.  Some of the larger farms have huge machines that pick everything at once including green, half ripe or over ripe cherries, it’s costly and you end up with lower quality beans.

Then comes the cleaning, the drying, the sorting and the hauling to the warehouse (sometimes miles on a bike or walking with the bag on their head).  After the green beans have been...

The Importance of Teamwork Even in a Coffee House

Anyone who knows the Hatzell family knows what sports enthusiasts we all are.  Put it this way;  Rachel’s first word was not mommy or daddy, it was “Ball”.  I actually don’t even know how I was allowed into the Hatzell Clan – not being athletic at all!  Over the years of sitting in the bleachers and driving all over Northern California for various teams, listening to conversations of the teammates and coaches I’ve learned a thing or two about teamwork.

The Hatzell Team

As I’ve watched countless games of various forms of “ball”, I’ve seen what happens when the teamwork falls apart; when nobody is there to backup the 2nd baseman who misses a throw, or when no one is there to tip a missed shot into the basket.  When someone makes an error and teammates yell at them things start to unravel quickly.  I’ve also seen what happens when...

Sustainability Dedication Award

Of all the awards the Alley Cat Cafe has won, being acknowledged for our dedication to sustainability is the one I am most proud of.

When the idea of opening the cafe first popped into my brain, I am embarrassed to say I didn’t have a clue what “Fair Trade” was.  Of course as soon as I was educated on the subject, there was never any doubt that we would only serve coffee that was “traded fairly”.

Since opening, I have learned about chocolate, tea and sugar.  Some of those facts were uncomfortable to learn about.  I’m not sure what the statistics are now, but I was appalled to learn a few years ago that a huge percentage of the chocolate that is consumed in the United States is grown by slaves………SLAVES!  The next day I found a source of Fair Trade chocolate and have served it ever since.

We also serve only Fair Trade sugar and tea....

How to dispose of a coffee maker

It has served you well in the past but your faithful coffee maker may be now be at the end-of-life stage and needs replacing.

Perhaps the hot-plate doesn’t keep the coffee as hot as it used to, or maybe it takes longer to heat the water for your brew. Whatever the reason, recycling a small appliance is the right thing to do once it has reached the end of its’ life.

Replacing a coffee maker offers the chance to upgrade the coffee experience; for example the function to use ground coffee for espresso machine isn’t a feature found on some budget coffee makers; while some regular ground coffee doesn’t lend itself well to the espresso flavor as it isn’t refined as much as espresso grounds....


I just finished this months Book Club book:  “The Gifts of Imperfection” by Brene Brown, PhD.  One of the many things that struck me was the significance she put on the need for connection.  She defines connection as “the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.”  Yep, that’s it.  Furthermore, she says that we are “hard wired” for connection.  It’s in our biology.

She goes on to say, “Our innate need for connection makes the consequences of disconnection that much more real and dangerous.  Sometimes we only think we are connected. ”  In today’s age of social media, we think we are connecting, and on some level I think we are…. but nothing can replace the true connectedness we feel when we...

Theatre and Coffee in Quincy, Ca.

West End Theater & Alley Cat Cafe, Quincy, CA.

When Earl Thompson, owner of the West End Theatre in Quincy, approached me about possibly opening the Alley Cat Cafe in his lobby I was hesitant to say the least.  The West End Theatre has been in various phases of construction for ten years.  When we had our first conversation about it all, the building was framed and had a few electrical wires installed, other than that it was a shell.

The Shell... we've come far!

Eleven months later, after many meetings, many points of compromise (mostly on Earl’s side) and many tears (mostly on my side) the Alley Cat Cafe opened it’s doors in the lobby of the, still under construction, West End Theatre.

Alley Cat Cafe in the lobby of West End Theatre Quincy, Ca.

Now, I am not what you would call a theatre buff, so when Earl put...

Daring Greatly

It’s that time of year again….. when we take stock and make resolutions or intentions for the next year.  I’ve been giving it a lot of thought, like many of us.  Looking over the last year it seems like I’ve been getting my ass kicked on a regular basis.  What I know about my life is that when I’m getting my ass kicked, there’s work to do.

My favorite part of my job is the “over the counter” conversations I get to have with all kinds of people.  Over the last six months I’ve had a lot of these.  I’m hearing a common thread: people are struggling and most of us are doing it alone.  Why?  Is it shame? Is it fear?  Is it the unfortunate misconception that reaching out and being vulnerable is weakness? A lot of people are looking towards unhealthy ways to cope; drinking more, shopping more, zoning out more.  None of which really helps, it...

Genna & Jesse

Genna and Jesse are duo alchemy at its finest. Sweet and savory, raspy and smooth, together they create a unique vocal sound, and then they complement that blend with Jesse’s prowess at the piano and guitar. Whether they sing their own songs, or the well-chosen songs of their peers, audiences are along for the ride in an intimate and inclusive show.

Their live performances are gentle and inviting – yet powerful – due in part to
solid stagecraft and a comfort level with their music and with each other. Another big factor in their shows is Genna’s subtle phrasing and exceptional interpretation. She delivers songs as gifts to an audience. The stunning harmonies that Genna and Jesse weave are the final secret ingredient in their performance magic.

They are not content to perform only their own songs, however. With so much talent flying...