Geek Market Coffee

SnowWhite

Hello Coffee Lovers,

We will be debuting our newest coffee flavour at the end of the month at Geek Market.

Introducing our newest coffee flavour:

Snow White’s Wake Up Potion

A Green Apple medium roast that’s recommended by Six out of Seven Dwarfs.

SnowWhite

Now available for order at http://coffee.jeneric-designs.ca/

What coffee would you like at Geek Market

Select all the coffee you want to buy at Geek Market in the following poll and we’ll make sure the most popular ones will be available at the end of March.

What coffee should be available at Geek Market

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Thank you and good coffee drinking,

Éric

Coffee Testers Club

Coffee-colour

Coffee-colour

Hello Coffee Lovers,

Last week I sent out emails and made a few facebook posts for our new Coffee Tester’s Club. It’s been way more successful than I expected and that’s great.

We need your help in deciding what our new flavour will be. Our team of professional testers has narrowed it down to 4 options. We need you to help us narrow it down further.

For the low price of $5 you’ll get four 25g bags of coffee. You’ll drink them and then fill out a survey. The flavour that is everyone’s favourite will then be added to our regular rotation.

It’s not too late to help us decide on our next flavour. Sign up for the Coffee Testers Club!

The deadline for signup will be February 19th at noon.

Yay Coffee!

Éric

I’m not busy, I’m temporally deficient

Darthdad

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

When I told someone I was going to take paternity leave, they jokingly said, “Wow! A nine month vacation. Lucky you.” At least I think they were joking. This isn’t a vacation.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the time I’m getting with Dragon. She makes me smile and ache with love every day, but she’s a lot of work. I have no idea how one parent handles a baby on their own.

It might be easier if Jen and I weren’t both freelancers. Working from home takes twice as long with a baby. All of which to say we’ve been really busy both with work and enjoying the little Dragon.

That means there are a few things that I haven’t told you, so it’s update time! WOO!

Darthdad
Darthdad from Vaders Little Princess by Jeffrey Brown. Click the image to go to the link.

Coffee

I’ve been working hard on research and development for new flavours to join JenEric Coffee’s roster. I’ve settled on one flavour that will be debuted at Geek Market at the end of March.

I have another 4 flavours that I’m asking people to test. If you’re interested, check out our Coffee Testers Page.

Writing

I have unfortunately not been writing as much as I should have. Other then the blog, I’ve written half a story and a few thousand words in Copper Tarnish. It’s going to be shorter than my average book, but I’m still only a third of the way through.

I’ve talked to my publisher and they’re considering covers for Parasomnia. I’m really excited to get the next round of edits on this one.

A Study in Aether is eligible for both the Nebulas and the Auroras. Both are fan voted awards. If you feel like nominated it, I’d be very happy.

The Ed Greenwood Group

If you don’t know about TEGG, let me tell you. It’s a new publishing company for games, role playing games, genre novels, and general awesome.

If you’ve played the Forgotten Realms Dungeons & Dragons setting, you’re familiar with the breadth of creativity that Mr. Greenwood has shown over the past thirty years.

What he’s done is bring together many amazing creative types to create new games, settings, and stories.

I have the honour of working with them on the book formatting side of things. I’ve been given the title of Print Production Manager, fancy term for layout artist. It’s a freelance thing and I’m really excited to be working with such amazing people.

And Jen, whom I’ve often referred to as “the weditor”, has been given the title of Lead Editor for the Hellmaw line of novels. She is just as honoured and excited to be working with this awesome group.

Secrets

I have two other pieces of news, but I don’t have permission to divulge one, and the other will be a surprise. You should know both next week.

 

Later Days

Éric

Coffee at Disney World and Universal Studios

coffee002

Hello Coffee Lovers,

It’s no secret that I love coffee. So when I go on vacation I look for good coffee. It’s a weird obsession that my wife, thankfully, tolerates.

When I first went to Disney World and Universal at 28, I expected that they would either have their own coffee company or have Starbucks everywhere. I was half right. The coffee at the parks and resorts can be split into three categories: Terrible, Starbucks, and Gourmet.

Coffee at the Parks and Resorts

Terrible

I’m pretty tolerant of bad coffee, but the stuff they sell in Disney World and Universal Studios is terrible. It varies from booth to restaurant from being weak to sludge and everything in between.

If you’re at any Disney Park, except Magic Kingdom, skip the coffee at the restaurant and get some Joffrey’s.

If you’re at Universal Studios or Magic Kingdom, get Starbucks.

Universal offers coffee in their rooms and it’s passable, but you’re better off waiting for Starbucks.

Starbucks

coffee002

Both Disney World and Universal have Starbucks in their parks. Disney World has a location in Epcot and a location in Magic Kingdom. Universal has a Starbucks in each of their resorts.

Both have them in their shopping districts (Universal Citywalk and Disney Springs.)

Gourmet

Starbucks is, unfortunately, the best you’ll get at Universal.

coffee003

Disney World has an arrangement with Joffrey’s coffee. They are a gourmet roaster from Tampa Bay. They supply coffee to Disneyland, Disney World, and Disney’s Hawaiian resort Aulani. The coffee is good. It’s not revolutionary but it’s definitely worth looking for around the parks.

Joffrey’s also supplies the resorts and the rooms with coffee. Staying at a resort that has good coffee is always a treat. They have kiosks in Animal Kingdom, Epcot, Disney Springs, and Hollywood Studios that sell good coffee.

They are also the coffee used for the better sit down restaurants, including Belle’s Castle. Some of the sit down restaurants have pour over or French press that is to die for and certain resorts have unique blends.

A notable mention for coffee is the Moroccan Pavilion at Epcot that sell a Moroccan coffee that is both yummy and packs a punch.

Bringing Home Coffee

If you enjoyed Joffrey’s coffee, they have a store in Disney Springs that sells both Tea and Coffee. The selection is limited here though. If you try a coffee from a kiosk or your resort and love it you can normally buy a bag from them. (I regret not buying some Kenyan coffee from Animal Kingdom.) They also have an impressive selection on their website with decent shipping costs to Canada.

Coffee004

Disney itself sells Mickey’s Really Swell Diner Coffee. The regular roast comes in large cans and the flavoured ones come in packs of eight small cans. You can also get a small can with a Disney Coffee Press. The coffee itself is exactly as it says. It’s good diner coffee (I’m drinking some now). Some of the flavours are better than others, but overall the flavoured coffee is good.

You can also bring Starbucks beans home with you, but they’re what you’d buy almost anywhere, with the exception of the light roast beans that vary from country to country.

 

Overall the coffee at the parks is worth drinking and definitely worth experimenting with.

Enjoy your Coffee,

Éric

Results: JenEric Holiday Contest – Win $25

Hello Everyone,

Last month we ran a contest where you needed to match the picture with either Jen, Eric, or Keladry.

The winner was Roseanne B, who was chosen at random from the 6 people that guessed correctly.

They can use the $25 for anything from:

Answer

Picture 1 Picture 2 Picture 3

  1. Éric
  2. Keladry (Baby Dragon)
  3. Jen

We expected everyone to get it right but we had a success rate of 40%.

Stay tuned, we will have more contests.

Éric

What’s Éric Been Up To?

CON-CreativeOttawaNerds

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

It’s been a crazy few months. (Yeah I’ve said it before but it’s always true.) Since September, I’ve been posting a lot of pre-written posts, stories, and rants. Mostly what I haven’t been writing as much are updates. So here’s an update.

Baby Dragon

She’s been a joy. Face meltingly cute. I’m sure all parents say that, but I genuinely mean it. She’s also, so far, very mellow and loves to sleep. Recently she’s been babbling a lot, which is cute.

I’m off of my government job and being off work gives me the chance to hang out with her and watch her grow. It’ll be really hard to go back to work.

Coffee

Speaking of being off work. I might be off for my day job but JenEric Coffee is still going strong. (Check out the new store and get yourself a little present.)

We’ll be at two different events in two weeks.

The always amazing

November 26 – Creative Ottawa Nerds Craft Fair

CON-CreativeOttawaNerds

and

November 26-27 – Ottawa Comic Con Holiday Edition

occ-holiday_edition-_2016v3

We’ll have the following flavours at both events:

Yes, those are both on the same weekend.

Books

Reminder that A Study In Aether is available from both Amazon and directly from the Publisher. There will be copies for sale at the two above events also.

I’ve been extremely busy editing during September and October; both Parasomnia and Elizabeth Investigates: The Sign of Faust have been sent to the publisher and we’ll start work on them in the new year.

In January, I’ll get started editing Everdome in order to send it to my beta-readers along with working on the edits on Elizabeth Investigates: A Case of Synchronicity.

Currently I’m writing a new novel for NaNoWriMo. It’s moving well but the writing is slow between the baby, freelance work, and coffee roasting. I’m hoping to be done by mid-December but who knows.

Next year is the year of sequels. I’m going to finally, after over three years, return to writing Elizabeth Investigates with the next novel in the series Elizabeth Investigates: The Hounds of Bakerville. If I get through that fast enough I might start work on Paracosm which would be an indirect sequel to both Everdome and Parasomnia.

Serial Story

Wargrave Island is coming to an end, which means we’ll be voting on a new Serial Story in January. Expect a few options to pop up in the next month and a half.

 

Well that’s all the excitement on my end.

Later Days,

Éric

DIY or FML?

I know why this happens and how to fix it.

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

I have noticed something strange among people I know (or follow online). It transcends age groups, social groups, and economic groups.

There seems to be a collective “looking down the nose” towards people who don’t do it themselves.

Snobbism?

How did this come about? I’m not sure. I assume it’s the backlash to big businesses selling and doing everything (and doing it as cheap quality as possible); the same backlash that has seen a resurgence of crafts people and small businesses.

But when did, “Oh, that’s hand-made? Where’d you get it?”, turn into disdain because we didn’t make it ourselves?

Maybe it’s the hundreds of DIY shows that make it look like people who know nothing suddenly can do amazing things. Reality (show) check; they’re coached and taught by professionals.

Ego?

Because there is so much information on the internet about everything and a lot of websites that trick you into thinking you’re doing it yourself for cheaper, people assume that they can do anything.

And that might be fine for a drywall patch or a regular dessert or even setting up your television system. However, no one is perfect or good at everything. When I make a cake it tastes good and looks like something a toddler put together. I know so little about drywall that if I tried alone I’d probably just screw it up.

It’s ok to admit that you don’t know everything and can’t do everything.

Small Business and Freelance Professionals

I know why this happens and how to fix it.
I know why this happens and how to fix it.

There are certain things you might be good at and that’s wonderful, work on those and improve yourself. Maybe you have the persistence to turn it into a career.

As a Freelance Layout Artist, I have worked on my profession for years. I did my first professional book layout 17 years ago and I’ve been doing it for private and government for 10 years. I have tools, tricks, and resources that most people don’t. The same goes for your friends and family who are professionals in their trade.

Do you know the downfall of most freelancers and small businesses? It’s not that they suck at what they do or that they aren’t skilled in their craft. It’s the business part that’s hard. It forces us to stop working on our passions to become salespeople.

You’re not Bothering Us!

My wife is a travel consultant. Read her travel articles, and contact her for all your travel needs.

She and I get plenty of emails that start with or include, “Sorry for bothering you” or “I know it’s a hassle”. It’s NOT, it’s our job and we love it.

If I could lay out fiction books for the rest of my life, I probably would never retire. It’s my passion and something I enjoy greatly.

My wife relishes finding the best price for someone. My photographer friends love taking pictures. My baker friends love baking. My clothes making friends love making clothes. My graphic artist friends love art-ing. Etc. Etc. Etc.

No one starts a small business, or goes freelance, unless they love what they do.

MONEY!

It all comes down to money. Some people DIY because they can’t afford anything else… or can they?

I understand that not everyone can afford to buy coffee from JenEric Coffee. It’s a luxury item and I don’t get annoyed seeing people drink Starbucks.

I do cringe when I see friends and family booking cruises or vacations “on their own.” No one books travel “on their own”. They use online sites with catchy names. These sites charge you for the privilege of searching for your own travel. Good travel agents make their money by taking the commission from the vendor not the traveller. That means the cruise ship pays commission not you. (Airfare is different and requires a small fee but is usually cheaper than doing it yourself.) So you don’t pay for a travel agent and they can get you better deals than doing it yourself.

Every profession is different but most don’t, or shouldn’t, charge a fee for discussing what you want. And if they do charge a service fee, they are obligated to tell you so at the beginning of the conversation. We love our jobs and are more than willing to discuss things with you. I’ll talk margins, kerning, and fonts all day (and I have).

My Point

Before you waste long amounts of time, get a quote or extra information from your friends who do it for a living. You might be surprised at the amount of frustration and money you’ll save in the end.

And if you truly want to do it yourself, ask us to teach you. I’ll gladly teach you how to roast your own coffee, or work with InDesign.

Éric

Coffee is a Comfort Food

winter morning coffee

The earliest memory I have of coffee is my mother saying, “Don’t bother me until I’ve had my coffee and cigarette.” The dark brown sludge of instant coffee mixed with powdered milk was bitter, thick, and beyond disgusting.

We all have memories associated with our favourite food. I read an emotional article The Case for Bad Coffee; it’s a good and emotional read. I can’t criticize anything in it; it’s an emotional piece about the writer’s relationship with coffee. I would object to associating Starbucks with good coffee, or all diners with bad coffee. The two aren’t that far apart.

My Coffee Story

Something happened when I was eight: my mom got a job. She started working full time at a women’s shelter. A lot changed because of that job. We moved into a house, she became more confident, we started buying bagged milk, she bought a drip coffee machine, she quit smoking, and she started buying flavoured coffee.

That’s when I started taking notice. The smells of Amaretto, French Vanilla, Caramel, Irish Cream, and Chocolate floated in the house instead of the burnt rubber smell of her old instant coffee.

I can’t tell you when I started drinking coffee. I know it was sometime in high school but the exact date or year is lost to my terrible memory. I do know that the flavoured coffee was mostly for holidays and special occasions and she bought Timmies for everyday drinking.

The smell of flavoured coffee transports me back to our little house and Christmas in Northern Ontario, sipping Irish Cream coffee with the smell of holiday cooking and the howls of winter outside. There was a figurative, as well as a literal, warmth to discussing everything and anything at the breakfast table over a cinnamon coffee. I still have the cheesy Santa head mugs we drank from. I haven’t had the heart to unpack them since she died.

winter morning coffee

When I moved out on my own the first thing I bought was a coffee maker. It was tiny and made one large cup. I used it for ramen almost as often as I did for coffee. I used that machine until my third year university when I needed to pull all-nighters. I fondly remember making a large pot of coffee and working from 10pm to 8am on a 2000 word essay.

Caffeine fueled my university. My video editing job was Caramelo from Second Cup, my convenient store job was Vanilla Hazelnut Van Houtte’s, tour guiding was German Chocolate cake from Timothies, and late night classes were an extra-large triple-triple from Timmies.

They were never as good as the weekends when I went to visit my Mom and we had her coffee and watched a movie, chatted, or just argued.

When I graduated, I tried to get into Starbucks or exotic coffees. They were always bitter and over-roasted (I didn’t know that at the time, I just knew it wasn’t right). I tried to be “grown-up” and drink espresso or cappuccinos but my heart always yearned for the warmth of flavoured coffee.

Heart VS Stomach

My heart yearned for the warmth of flavoured coffee, but my stomach took that way too literally. Acid reflux was the result.

Most (some exceptions like Second Cup) flavoured coffees are made from low quality beans. Low quality beans are exceptionally bitter and acidic compared to other beans. The flavour masks the taste of both of these properties.

Unfortunately due to my stomach problems, I can no longer drink flavoured coffee without multiple uncomfortable issues. (I’ll spare you the details.)

Heart Wins!

I couldn’t find any place that made flavoured coffee with high, or even medium, quality beans. I was reduced to drinking unflavoured coffee.

Although my stomach was happy I missed the days of yummy flavours.

That’s when I got the crazy idea of making my own coffee. With the help of the internet, I started roasting in a hot air popper and loving the coffee.

I looked online for coffee flavouring. I found a lot of syrups (mostly made with corn syrup and tasting of red dye #5) and a few coffee flavourings that cost over $100 a bottle.

I wondered whether coffee flavouring and candy flavouring might be interchangeable. I found a random message board comment saying something like, “I don’t see why not?” and proceeded to run several days’ worth of experiments. (There’s a secret to when you need to flavour the beans.)

That’s when I decided to sell gourmet flavoured coffee.

JenEric Coffee

I now have delicious coffee I can drink and that reminds me of my mom. I think she’d have particularly liked the Mint Chocolate Chip and the Butter Rum.

Coffee is a food that is associated with a lot of social activities and a lot of interpersonal interchanges. It’s natural that a person would associate the coffee they drink with the people who are around or the events. It’s one of the things that makes coffee special and it’s one of the reasons I love it.

 

Enjoy what you love!

Éric

No I shan’t I’m on Vacation

Image borrowed from Sean Celaya.

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

I am going on vacation. I’ll be taking a 4 day scenic trip to Tamriel and a few days to work on secret projects.

I have a new story for you while I’m off hunting dragons.

A lot of things are going on right now so I’ll split it into categories:

Writing

My book is now available on Amazon.ca!!!

This is my first novel and I’m so very proud of it. Order a copy from Amazon or wait for it to be available from the Publisher. It’s up to you.

Once you read it, make sure to review on Goodreads and Amazon to have it recommended to friends and so on.

When I get back from vacation I’ll be starting a massive re-write of the next book in the series Memories of Faust.

JenEric Designs

Some Major Changes are coming to the website. There may be an interruption in service next week but hopefully it won’t be long.

Subscribe to the newsletter (Top right sidebar) to get all the juicy details.

Coffee Names and Packaging

Let me tell you a secret… I never expected the coffee to be as popular as it is. Because of that I made a few mistakes when I started. The major one was using copyrighted material in the coffee flavour’s name.

Now that it’s doing well I’d rather not be sued, which means one of the major changes that will take place of this year and the next is an update to the coffee names. It’ll be done slowly since we ordered a lot of labels for some.

The only thing I know for sure is I’ll have to rework some of the artwork for a few of them.

If there are any Copyright Holders or Lawyers reading this feel free to give me some advice or knowledge.

Subscribe to the newsletter (Top right sidebar) to get all the juicy details.

Coffee Sizes and Prices

Changes are coming to the size and price of coffee. With sales up and a regular sales routine I can afford to take a few more risks and buy in bulk. That means things will change a little. Don’t worry it’s all for the best.

We’ll also have some spiffy new stuff to offer.

Subscribe to the newsletter (Top right sidebar) to get all the juicy details.

I’m off

That’s it for now, lots of exciting top secret stuff going on.

Image borrowed from Sean Celaya.
Image borrowed from Sean Celaya.

See you later and enjoy the new story!

Éric

Ownership of Ideas

1024px-Copyright_svg

Congratulations!

You made something, a piece of art, movie, song, book, story, sculpture, etc. Legally you own what you made. It’s called copyright. What that means is that no one else is allowed to make money from your thing unless they pay you for that right (Unless you gave up your rights to a distributor or publisher). There are exceptions and loopholes but our laws say you own it.

1024px-Copyright_svg

Your thing becomes viral and super popular. People start writing fanfiction, drawing fanart, making filk, and dissecting every detail about your thing. That’s great. It gets others into it. Your fan community is now self fueling.

You licence out your thing to game makers, movie, television, music, etc. You’ve made it, yay!

You notice that a piece of fanfiction that you read about your thing has had the names changed and is selling ridiculously well. But still using your ideas…

You notice someone has made a Kickstarter to make a fanfilm and it’s in the millions. Using your thing as a basis…

You notice that someone has taken a small sample of your thing and turned it into an earworm that everyone has heard.

You notice that some dumbass has used part of your thing for Geeky Coffee names or logos and is doing ok business. But it’s still your thing…

There are two ways to react to people using your thing to make money, and the most natural one is anger. You get angry and hire a team of lawyers to make sure you get the money from licensing that you deserve or to get them to stop doing what they’re doing. I mean, in theory everything with your thing affects how your thing is seen. You don’t want to hurt or dilute the brand of your thing. How dare they!!!

Or there’s the super-chill way of dealing with it; that is to ignore what they’ve done and make the next thing. You’ve made lots of money, so who cares, right?

Both approaches are extremes and the answer is somewhere in between, I think. You see, I’m not sure where the line should be drawn between fair use and plagiarism.

As a creator, I’m uncomfortable with the idea that someone else could play or change my stories for their own benefit. I’d hate to find out that my book’s characters have been stolen, twisted into a poor semblance of porn and resold to billions. BUT, I’ll be overjoyed when I look on Fanfiction.net or DeviantArt and find fan creations based off my work.

As a consumer, I want more stories, more books, more fanart! I want buttons, coffee, shirts, posters, and all the things!!! I want to tell everyone about the super awesome cup I got based off my favourite thing.

The ethics are obvious; Don’t steal! But does my use of a drawn picture of a Dalek and the name Davroast really count as stealing? I’m not saying it’s mine, I’m just showing my love.

I know that when I’m ready for mass production, I’ll have to change the names of most of my coffee.

 

I do not have the answers. What do you think?

Éric