Yes, the world has changed and our lives, our company, and most recently our home life has changed as well.
While rummaging in the refrigerator this morning searching for my mason jar filled with a healthy tonic of sliced ginger, fresh squeezed Meyer lemon juice, Valencia orange juice and honey, I found four boxes of blueberry pop-tarts. One box was opened and there were some pop-tarts missing, and since our son is at University that left only one person capable of bringing blueberry pop-tarts into the house and placing them in the refrigerator, my husband. I don't know if I was shocked at finding pop-tarts in the refrigerator or finding out that he actually purchased them and then ate two pop-tarts. When I held up the box and asked him he said, "when I saw them on the shelf I could not resist, they reminded me of being a kid".
Photo of Blueberry Pop-tarts on our deck
We have been married a long time, and anyone that has been married a long time will tell you, staying married involves compromise. My initial instinct was to walk to the sliding glass door, open it and throw the four boxes of blueberry pop-tarts off the balcony, into the woods below for the raccoons to consume. There was also the less dramatic option of just tossing them in the garbage. I started to turn toward the garbage and then stopped. I thought about what he said and at that moment realized for some reason he needed those pop-tarts and that they made him happy. The pop-tarts reminded him of a time when he was young and life was carefree. They reminded him of hanging with his brothers, with their sun-kissed Southern California faces and bright white smiles. Chowing down on a blueberry pop-tart as they rode their beach cruisers home after a long surf day at the beach. The pop-tarts were a little bit like Girl Scout Cookies for me. Lord knows four decades ago I must have sold at least a full container of Girl Scout cookies while of working my way to becoming a Girl Scout Cadette. While I don't eat Girl Scout Cookies, when they are available, I'll buy at least ten boxes a week from some wide-eyed young girl in her green Girl Scout Uniform. I'll mention that I too had been a young Girl Scout once and how the lessons I learned and the badges I earned have definitely helped me throughout my life.
Twelve years ago, in October of 2007, my brilliant husband decided to start a coffee company with me, John Weaver and Bryce Inouye. We managed to survive the financial crisis, one poorly chosen investor, whom we removed, and a slew of challenging issues. However, one thing we learned, and one thing I taught the guys, is that we must be able to pivot in a crisis and pivot fast. My other favorite saying is that everything has to be done right now, especially when it comes to a pivot. We are nimble and quick. We have a wonderful crew and amazing products and that is why we are still in business, despite California wildfires, COVID-19 and a car crashing through our San Francisco coffee shop at 2AM on September 11, 2020.
I took over the company in the middle of 2014 to bring fresh eyes to the business. Throughout the early years of the business, we learned everything the hard way, who to trust and who not to trust. The sad reality in the coffee business is you can't trust anyone, especially in a category as challenging as coffee. What I brought to the table is a keen understanding of economics and control, drilling down on the numbers, ROI and how to make money with no working capital. We pivoted the business toward an omnichannel by leveraging advances in technology to drive the company forward. One click of a button and we see our retail coffee shops, wholesale business, E-commerce, green coffee buying, coffee and tea production, fulfillment, shipping and financials, in real time down to the second. This technology was not available when we launched in 2007, and being early adopters to technology has allowed us to gain market share and a fiercely devoted customer base. While the business can be challenging, it also takes a unique skill set and a dynamic combination of people managing many moving parts. We are very blessed to be in this business and to be successful.
Weaver's Coffee & Tea is a highly differentiated brand with a high attachment to a loyal customer base. Our customers shop for our coffee through our own distribution channels and they return over and over again. Grocery store coffee does not stand up to our coffee, and restaurants and offices can be very mercurial in remaining loyal to a brand due to something as simple as a non coffee drinking CFO. We taste our coffees against other coffee companies on our coffee tasting table every day. If you are reading this blog, and you drink our coffee, then you know we roast the black gold and we appreciate you and your support of our company, especially at this time.
I started to think about what brings us comfort in such difficult days. Where we cannot go out, we cannot hang out, and one sneeze at the wrong time and in the wrong place could make us very ill.
So, with a box of blueberry pop-tarts in hand, I paused, and did what I always tell the guys to do, look at the issue at hand, find the correct solution and pivot. I opened the refrigerator door and placed the pop-tarts back on the top shelf in the refrigerator. Yes, hard to believe, especially if you know me and how I feel about food choices. This act in itself is shocking because a few weeks ago, pre-covid, those blueberry pop-tarts would definitely have been sailing off the balcony or dumped into the trash.
What I learned is that putting aside my personal beliefs would help someone else be happy, and today, especially today, we all need to feel happy. So despite the incredible challenges most of us face please do something to make someone happy.
We will continue to roast the best coffee, spread happiness by donating a percentage of sales as social entrepreneurs. We will continue to follow new protocols at the retail level and stay focused on safety. We will do what we always do, we will work as a team and bring you delicious Weaver's Coffee & Tea. Our plan is to unite, hold fast and continue to do our best for our company, our staff, and our customers. Oh yes, and maybe, just maybe tomorrow morning I'll try one of those blueberry pop tarts.
Homemade Blueberry Pop-Tarts
Photo: In Jennie’s Kitchen
Homemade Pop-Tart Dough
Prep time: 5 mins
Serves: Makes 6
1⅓ cups (200 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
¼ cup (32 grams) cornstarch
½ cup (60 grams) Confectioner’s sugar
Pinch of sea salt
⅛ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon (1 gram) baking powder
4 tablespoons (56 grams) cold butter, cut into 8 pieces
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons (266 ml) cream
Combine the flour, cornstarch, Confectioner’s sugar, salt, baking soda, and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to blend.
Add the butter, and pulse 4 to 5 times until it forms a sandy-looking mixture with some pebble-size pieces.
Pour in the cream. Pulse a few times, then process 30 to 60 seconds until it comes together in a rough ball.
Place the dough on a lightly floured counter or cutting board. Gently knead a few times until it comes together into a smooth dough.
At this point, you can wrap the dough, chill it up to 2 days, until ready to use (let it soften enough to roll if you choose to do so)
Homemade Blueberry Pop-Tarts
One Batch Homemade Pop-Tart Dough
All-Purpose flour for rolling out the dough
¼ cup Blueberry Jam
¾ cup Confectioner’s Sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
Freeze-dried blueberries to garnish
Preheat oven to 375 F. Line an 11inch by 17inch baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place the dough on a generously floured cutting board. Sprinkle more flour on the top. Roll the dough out to 1/8 thickness. Trim any rough edges with a knife or pizza cutter. Cut the rectangle into 12 even-sized rectangles.
Place half the pastry pieces on the prepared pan. Spoon 2 teaspoon of jam in the center. Spread the jam out, leaving a ½ inch border. Cover each pastry with the remaining plain pieces of pastry. Use a fork to crimp closed the edges.
Bake until crisp or golden around the edges, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. They will be soft so go easy on the transfer.
Add blueberries into a zip-top bag and crush them.
Add Confectioner’s sugar to a small, deep bowl with almond extract and 4 to 6 teaspoons of cold water. Whisk until smooth. Drizzle over cooled baked pop tarts or spread on with a spatula. Decorate with crushed freeze-dried blueberries. Let them sit for at least 30 minutes before serving.