Aram Harijan

Much ado about nothing

Month: September, 2011

Domain Control

Apparently, Michael Eugene Porter stated that with twenty hours of library research, he could know as much about the business as a CEO did (of a client company to whom he was a consultant).

This is even more true in the Information Age. Having spent few hundred hours researching coffee, I really appreciate the idea that in most businesses, the owners do not perform the due diligence in learning about the market and trends.

Funny, this was also the same sentiment from a prominent oculoplastic surgeon in Korea who, when asked how he came to the position he was in, replied “you know, it’s not that I read more. It’s that most surgeons do not read as much once they are done training.” Though this surgeon worked in a private setting, I observed him constantly reading and working on his own manuscripts during my short visit.

It’s easy to be good when the opportunities are so vast.


Stupid Buttons – An Argument Against the Machine

For many uses in our daily activity, buttons are travesties of the idea “form follows function.” In fact, I’m noticing that many buttons make “function follow form.” Buttons, of course, represent a technology whose function is unclear and abstract. For instance, there is no explicit information about the way a button behaves (depress and bounce back) that tells us whether it will bring an elevator to your floor or launch a nuclear weapon.

The only exception to this is when buttons were attached to top of small bells to make a noise. You press it and it actuated a little hammer, which then made a noise.

Today, a button will do a million things, of which only fifty of them is probably your desired behavior. High-tech is overrated for too many things in our lives.

What about making a cup of coffee requires some kind of computational power? Here are the things you need.

hot water.
coffee ground. (more on this later)
a brewing chamber with a filtration method.
a cup.
a person (or two persons if the person making the cup isn’t drinking the coffee)


Stupid buttons. I’m boycotting them from now til I have to get in the car to start the engine.

Kup Fu Breakdown

Step 1: Greet coffee head, Load cup onto platform with both hands. Dump sugar and milk into cup, if asked
Step 2: Grab grinder with left hand; scoop and load beans into grinder with right hand
Step 3 (optional): Grab filter with left hand. Open filter and load with right hand (can be skipped if done before coffee head arrives)
Intermission: Go do something else while customer grinds beans
Step 4: Take grinder with left hand. Unscrew top with right hand.
Step 5: Dump ground into filter with left hand. Tap grinder bottom with right hand.
Step 6: Put grinder back together and put it back to its spot
Step 7: Grab kettle with right hand and support with left.
Intermission: let coffee drip. Multitask
Step 8:(If sugar/milk, stir with spoon (right hand) while holding cup with left hand.)Look customer in the eye and nod. Push the cup platform forward.
Step 9: After customer takes cup from platform, reset platform position with both hands.
Step 10: Repeat steps 1-9 until end of day.

The Battle of Beans



One thing you can’t cheat is the quality of the green beans.

The beans in the pictures are from either Schuil or a Bay area roaster. Each tray represents the same volume. In this same volume, there are only 72 beans in Schuil vs California brand’s 78. Beans that Schuil starts with green beans that are uniformly ripe and fat – full of life.

You want to drink coffee like those roasted by Schuil.

I can make you some. 🙂

Appreciating coffee

The palate cannot taste what the mind doesn’t know.

Q: what am I trying to taste in a cup of coffee?

A: the sun, earth, water, the peasant hands, the roaster’s inspiration, and your own mind.

Amtrak station. Grand Rapids, MI. (GRR)


Ran like a madman with a cup of coffee, some of which I shared with Monroe street.

Madcap. Grand Rapids, Michigan


Quick stop on my way to the Amtrak.

One Cup – Coffee Head


My coffee is starting to taste really sweet. With each sip of the liquid cold, my palate is learning the intimate secrets of the coffee beans.

I realize that One Cup is not selling bunch of coffee as much as revealing this essence of the coffee, which requires an environment that promotes a deliberate and dedicated mind to a single goal – the appreciation of coffee.

Just you wait.

The Ultimatum


The Ultimatum

On quiet afternoons like this, I close my eyes and remember the time when I nearly died on a Saturday afternoon in April of 2011 with a broken spinal bone – lonely, hypothermic, and covered in cold, wet sand.

As I lay contemplating life and death, thought and emotions – family, friends, fear, love, regrets – emerged to the rhythm of waves crashing nearby to interrupt and distract the intense and cold pain of the unwholesome body.

It was, besides my grave condition, a beautiful moment in an afternoon cove soothing to the soul. The sky was as blue as the sky can ever be. The setting sun threatening to light the Pacific Ocean on fire. Occasional clouds floated by, witnessing what could possibly be the last chapter in a brief chance at life and wondering whether it really was the end.

Each visit to that moment, a powerful calm realization – namely, peace – arises from a deeper place within. The uncertainty of moments to come evolves to a profound acceptance of my mortal condition. And now, free from the constant self-judgment and confusion of the fleeting everyday thoughts, I am finally alive.

At times, I imagine an alternate but then-plausible sequence of events in which my internal organs bleed, my heart stops beating, my mind fades to the darkness of life, and my body ultimately expiring to the temperature of the sand on which I lay.

I wonder what happens that lasts beyond the final moment, but that experience, if such thing exists, is not privileged to the breathing who have yet to pay the debt to life. It’s the alchemist’s forbidden transformation – a glimpse of the afterlife.

As if dying in a dream, the film stops there, and my senses come back to the present moment, which is warm, forgiving, and without pain. A deep breath brings a grateful smile to my lips, and I open my eyes to the same glow of that afternoon sun.

I realize, again and again, each waking moment is a gift from Life. I was truly fortunate to be given the second chance that many do not receive – the trial by cold fire.

I still get upset about the small things and surrender to the feeble mind, which then dictates the course of my days. And this is why I like quiet, warm afternoons like as it is here today. To bring me back to that time and place when I was unquestionably, absolutely alive. To remember the Ultimatum and to live each moment without regrets.

On a beautiful afternoon in Rosa Parks Circle in Grand Rapids, MI 9.15.2011
Aram Harijan

Holy Coffee

Holy Coffee

Coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee!
Green beans sweat and sweeten under the eternal fusion!
Roast, Grind, Brew, and Drink this mad solar power!
Every drop a promise of life pure!
Blazing a billion minds with each rise of the Sun!
Bless the Earth, Water, and the calloused peasant hands!

Coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee!
To this day and each morning to come,
I drink to thee, Sun incarnate!