Coffee. The common thread.

We’ve been talking a lot lately about the uses of our social platforms and how we intend to steer them in a moment that is desperately screaming for connection. As I sit here watching the light crack through windows and the birds sing their melodies to indicate spring sprung, I can’t help but look at this photo as a constant reminder of why I got into hospitality and why I’ll continue to adapt with it to ensure that these photos- whether mental or physical, are awaiting in the future landscape. That landscape may never look the same as a crammed Saturday in your favourite cafe or brunchery and to be honest I think we’re all still trying to wrap our heads around the future. We all dove so quickly into the hustle as an industry and I think it’s a very telling reality both positively and negatively. On one end it shows how essential we all truly are and how fiercely adaptable and pivot prepared we are. It has been shocking to see the creativity that has been sparked by such a devastating blow to our livelihoods. It has also on the flip side shown very clearly what a fragile balance it is trying to keep people fed and hydrated and served. Even the all frozen, highest possible margin establishments are running on margins that would make most other industry raise red flags, but this is just ‘the way it is’ and that’s as far as the discussion has gone outside of the industry. There’s a need for change and a need to come back more cohesive, intentional and transparent with what we do as a whole. There’s an overwhelming need for guidance; for an expert who has been here and can instil the knowledge necessary for how to not only weather this storm, but for how to use this unfortunate opportunity to dig our cleats into the pitch and say, “No. We will not waiver in our mission, in our ethics, in our dedication or in our ideals of hospitality. Things have changed and we’ve shown very clearly our worth. We’re will not forget and fall back into a toxic cycle. We’ve gone above and beyond to respect even the most disrespectful in the name of dated ideals of customer service. We are not servants, we are lovers of hospitality and will always give the same amount of respect shown, and no more.” The problem is that this is a situation without a guru. There is no expert to consult. There is only a delicate tightrope walk that changes directions what feels like daily and we’re all just doing our best to support our communities. The amount of ingenuity, of selfless pivoting, of beautiful, passionate creatives that refused to let this hinder their ability to serve their community is astonishing. Ottawa is proving once more that when it’s not Ottawa vs. Ottawa, it’s Ottawa service Ottawa. I am honestly all of y’alls biggest fan forever, Ottawa. You beautiful, crazy little plot of Unceded land. 
At this point in your attempt to ask a simple question about a lid, I HAVE realized that you haven’t asked for this tangent, nor is it in any way related to the intention of my stream of thoughts. Let me quickly apologize for taking up your time with my manic preachings via my rollercoaster love affair with ADHD, and allow you to stop entertaining my passionate ramblings and enjoy your day. [*I’d definitely call this an “If you know, you know” moment that felt necessary as I reached critical mass with the reality that what I’ve done 487548975389 times in human interactions, I’ve spilled over into type in lack of having my favourite coffee nerds around to geek with; which actually brings me full circle back to the point. Sometimes we get there and it’s a beautiful thing.*]
Moments. Memories. Meaningful connections. This is Ryan. Ryan is a human that has baffled me since our first interaction. If you’ve spent any amount of time at Arlington 5 in the 3-4 months prior to our temporary closure, you’ve probably seen Ryan hanging out right where he is in this picture, sipping on something or breaking down flavour notes, or explaining programming code that I’m both bewildered by and completely too daft in the way of technology to wrap my head around. Ryan is an incredibly special kid with a brilliant mind and even more brilliant palate. Ryan is a testament to the fact that passion fosters passion. Ryan is a testament to the reigning truth that coffee brings people together. Ryan started popping up around Arlington 5 shortly after Rabbit Hole joined our family and began filling our hoppers and always stuck out with his short espressos and clear interest and knowledge about what he was tasting. Slowly but surely, Ryan became an essential part of our workday, in a sense. Ryan is, was and will continue to be one of the most honest, thoughtful palates I could ever ask to play guinea pig to my alchemic academics. Ryan is the reason for the signature drink y’all haven’t even had your mind twisted by yet, but he’s also the reason that the moment there’s a space for it- The Armchair will be proudly touted as the most bizarrely thoughtful name for a beverage and it’s all thanks to Ryan and a fully realized backstory that had me completely captured in the moment he was feeling. Ryan has made me a better brewer, pushed my creativity and pushed my passion towards coffee and the connections surrounding it. It’s a funny thing in this business; we meet so many amazing humans who impact our lives every day and had for so long taken for granted that we’d see them tomorrow. I look forward to reconnecting with Ryan when the space for connection opens itself, again. Until then, I’m sending nothing but well wishes, high hopes, good coffee, knowledge and big fucking love to Ryan, and to every one of you who’s order I haven’t and won’t forget. I’m better because of the connections we’ve had.