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Story of El Cantante

About Me

My coffee journey technically started in the late 90's when I had my first Frappuccino. I was 15, I believe, and never drank a large coffee before. I left a movie and got a Venti Frappuccino as I waited for my mom to pick me up (Starbucks was giving them away with movie tickets to get people aware of them in our market). That night I was up with shakes and heart palpitations, walking circles around my parent’s kitchen at 12:30am wondering if I was going to die. That was some serious caffeine.

I applied to Starbucks in early 2000’s because it just seemed like a good place to work. I got the job and my coffee journey formally began. I was tasting coffees and pairing foods. I could explain to customers what they were experiencing and how to maximize their experience. I had a couple of really good managers that taught me and helped me grow. What I found by the end was that I was more of an operations and customer experience guy. I knew my coffee, but I knew my people and process better.

Over the years I had progressed from Frappuccinos to Caramel Macchiatos to lattes to drip coffee to espresso shots. Once I left the Bucks, I continued to drink coffee. There was a problem though. I had unconsciously established a new baseline of coffee quality that was required for me to drink it. I was officially a coffee snob (which basically meant I didn't want to drink Folgers anymore).

I am learning a lot about coffee and have a lot more to learn. This is the main goal for this blog. I believe I could manage the operations of my own shop, but the Coffee world has changed. People expect a certain level of quality. The Public has a new baseline for what they will drink. I want to learn from coffee makers, roasters and drinkers; so when I do open my own shop, it will be the best it could possibly be. This blog will be a documentary of my journey.

Why I blog under El Cantante

You have to read it as if Danny Trejo is saying it. "El Cantante."

My degree is in Religious Studies from ASU. I didn’t have a minor; but if I were to claim that I specialized in anything, it would be in storytelling. I studied how religion and stories have worked together to bind people and communities together for millennia. I am taking what I learned and applying it to my future coffee shop. My goal is to build a solid Mythos that brings community together, adds value to the coffee experience and establishes a unique experience.

Mythos is something I believe many businesses are lacking these days, especially coffee shops. (Please stop naming your shop with a coffee pun!) I believe that at the root of every person is a single question: Why? Businesses have to explain to customers and employees alike why their coffee and shop are the best. My favorite philosophy that Starbucks held was called “the third place.” It was the belief that people had three places they spent their time: home, work and a third place where they find community. Often times it’s a church, a barber shop, a softball league…a coffee shop. We were there to give people that “third place” experience. I believe the Bucks killed that as soon as they installed a drive through (personal opinion). Regardless, it answered the big "why" for me, which gave purpose to flinging coffee.

I have had wonderful experiences spending time with the Hispanic community here in Arizona. Each culture has its own idea of community, each of them unique. The Hispanic community here (primarily Mexican) has a strong sense of where they come from and that is what binds them together. By creating a strong mythos, I hope to achieve something similar. I want to create a unique experience that people can share, that adds value to their day and they share with others. Most importantly, I want to answer the questions: Why Muertos Coffee?

El Cantante is the corner stone of my mythos. I will be developing his story and discussing ideas on how to build that into coffee experience, shop ideas and marketing.

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