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The Journey of Compass Coffee: Celebrating Nine Years and Our Special Autumn Blend

Compass Coffee Autumn Blend packaging surrounded by brown and red fall leaves.

We opened our 7th Street cafe and roastery on September 21, 2014. The construction process was fraught with setbacks, running six months behind schedule. We encountered every obstacle imaginable: from firing the general contractor to having zoning permits denied by the DC government due to complex regulations, and even discovering that the roaster wouldn't fit inside the building. Despite these challenges, we remained steadfast in our commitment to serving customers Real Good Coffee.

Exterior view of Compass Coffee in Washington DC, showcasing its vintage brick design, prominent brand signage, and outdoor seating area. The bustling urban location is evident with bikes and scooters parked outside, inviting locals and visitors for a cup of Real Good Coffee.

Throughout the cafe's turbulent birth, Maura Judkis, a reporter from the Washington Post, shadowed us. She participated in every venture, from milking cows at Trickling Springs Creamery to pulling all-nighters welding furniture at Tech Shop. Each week, Maura would publish an update, always asking, "When is opening day?" In June, I optimistically predicted, "This summer." The months slipped away until, true to our word, we opened on September 21st—the last day of summer.

Opening day was a whirlwind. We hurriedly trained our new team of baristas to distinguish a latte from a cappuccino and scrambled to explain to customers that, "No, we don't have croissants, but you're going to love our paleo biscuits." Earth, Wind & Fire's "September" set the mood in the background:

Do you remember The 21st night of September? Love was changin' the minds of pretenders While chasin' the clouds away Our hearts were ringin' In the key that our souls were singin' As we danced in the night, remember How the stars stole the night away, oh, yeah

Though inexperienced in coffee-making and customer service, we compensated with unbridled enthusiasm and determination. We were certain Compass Coffee would flourish. That first fall, we focused on celebrating our opening.

Compass Coffee Autumn Blend packaging surrounded by golden fall leaves

To mark our first anniversary, we wanted to create something special for our customers. I directed my efforts towards developing a unique autumn seasonal blend. The original blend featured coffees from Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Guatemala, capturing the sweet, cinnamon spiciness that Thanksgiving and family gatherings evoke for me.

We roasted the first production batch on September 22, 2015, with the following description:

As the brightness of summer fades into tones of brown, orange, and yellow, we think of crisp mornings, savory flavors, and memorable gatherings of seasons past. Our Autumn Blend is a rich assortment of Central American coffees, full-bodied and sweet, with a hint of roasted almond to warm you up as you begin your day.

Nine years later, I'm immensely proud of the challenges we've overcome and the exceptional autumn blend we are serving this year. Contrary to the notion that growth compromises quality, Compass Coffee has only improved. Our roasting team's dedication, meticulous attention to detail, and partnerships with renowned farmers globally have elevated every aspect of our operation.

This year's autumn blend features coffees from Colombia, Kenya, and Brazil. It retains the full-bodied richness while introducing new hints of vanilla, clove, and walnut.

As the brightness of summer fades into tones of brown, orange, and yellow, we think of crisp mornings, savory flavors, and gatherings of seasons past. Our Autumn Blend is a rich assortment of coffees from all three growing continents, full-bodied and sweet, with a hint of vanilla, clove, and walnut to warm you up as you begin your day.

Always Forward,
Michael

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