pen giveaway in may

we thought it would be fun to give away pens in may, so all internet orders of $20 or more get a free pen included with your order. it’s a great pen and has 20 different logos of mr. mug dressed up in various ways.


orders that we receive by noon eastern time ship same day. otherwise, it ships the following business day. we have shipped over 3000 packages this year and haven’t missed a deadline yet. the only reason your order would be held up is if there was a possible problem with your address or another issue, and we try to reach you for confirmation before shipping and don’t hear back in time. but that’s highly unusual. we’ve got everything down to a science right now and can’t wait to make your mug happy. we’re closed on weekends. weekend orders roast and ship on monday.


everyone knew ethiopia halo bariti was going to win this weekend, and indeed, it won by double digits over every other candidate; but the race for second place proved to be close. pollsters were predicting outdoorsy sumatra (who was the establishment favorite), but in the end, kenya chomo earned the win, with ethiopia konga just a pound behind. kenya had done some advertising going into the weekend, and that paid off big. its policies of being sweet with strong winey, juicy flavor is making people pay attention. the ethiopia konga, which placed third, seems to be picking up supporters based on the popularity of halo bariti, but provides an option for people who want something a little less sweet and sugar coated.
frustrated that none of the candidates can seem to put a dent into the popularity of ethiopia halo bariti, ecuador has announced that is entering the race this week. it aims to give voters a non-mainstream, south american option that will blow them away with complexity, flavor, sweetness, aroma, body, and acidity — a strong candidate, with the whole package to offer, but will people notice? adventurous new guinea, which had previously suspended its campaign after seeing its popularity slowly decline earlier this year, has announced it will jump back into the fray, seeing an opening for a light roast indonesian candidate on the ballot.

coffee seasons

the coffees that really pop, the coffees you want to be drinking on any given morning, are the coffees that are in season right then. even though we carry guatemala all year round, this is not its finest hour. ethiopians do not have that spark they had 6 months ago. on the other hand, today is a great day for a mug of papua new guinea, colombia, or bali blue moon.

here is an overly simplified list of when coffees arrive in the usa. a honduras or guatemala from central america will have arrived somewhere between april and july, and will be at its peak of flavor for up to another 6 months after arrival (hence, for any central american coffee, between january and april is the worst time to drink it).

central americans — arrive from april to july
most africans (uganda, burundi, tanzania, rwanda) — arrive from december to march. kenya has two crops a year.
ethiopia — arrive from may to august
indonesians — arrivals from october to february for the main crop, but sumatra has an extended season
arabians (india, yemen) — usually arrive between november to february
south america — arrive from november to february for the main crop
decaf — not predictable

roast dates

probably the most common question i get, is how long ago the customer’s coffee was roasted.
i have long insisted that scrawling a date on a label proves nothing. it tells you the packaging date at best, not the roast date. we go through coffee so quickly, that most origins are roasted at least once a day, so why waste time dating everything — it’s all fresh!!!
but we are now dating packages anyway. a sticker with that day’s date hardly takes any time and has enough benefits to make it worth doing:
1 — it will help wholesale accounts rotate their stock.
2 — it will help retail customers hit their sweet spot for extraction (some customers won’t touch the beans until they are three days old. some won’t touch the beans after they are 2 weeks old. either way, it’s one less thing they have to keep track of.)
3 — some evenings we get a head start on roasting for the next day’s orders, and roasting date stickers keeps us organized and honest.

rainy day and phone rings.

caller says they are on an epic road trip and
want directions to come find us. they walk
in and i have french presses lined up.
“austin was fun,” she says.
“i love austin,” i agree.
“who wouldn’t love it! and we went hiking in flagstaff, and the grand canyon, spent a week in san francisco.”
“that sounds amazing,” i agree.
“we stopped in nashville for a smoothie and ran into a famous singer.”
“what a trip!” i say.
“but about half way through we cringed every time we ordered coffee — started skipping coffee — because it was all so disappointing. we went to hipster coffee shops, we went to the third wave roasters, we went to nationally known specialty roasters, we bought the best coffee money could buy, and none of it was as special as what we order from you.”
i’m smiling as i pour them mugs of rwanda gishamwana island, sumatra mandheling, bali blue moon, new guinea waghi valley, and colombia san antonio.
they just get quiet and smile as they sip their coffee. “yeah, this is what we were missing,” he finally says. they buy 8 pounds of beans and head back out in the rain to continue their journey.

word off the street is that we’re selling some pretty good coffee.


part of the culture at happy mug is the desire to bring the geekiest, rarest, most amazing coffees of the world to the average coffee drinker without intimidating them with fancy language and high prices. but as we celebrate our 5th year in business, we regrettably have to raise prices for the first time ever. in january, every package we mail out is going to cost us 70 cents more in postage. our insurance rates are going up 20% — we’ve never had an incident, but the industry as a whole has had a lot of them. happy mug has a great team right now with a lot of passion and talent, but our talent needs a raise before someone snatches it away. we needed more space, and so our rent went up 40%. we need a new website, and that’s not cheap either.
there’s just no way around it — if happy mug is going to survive another 5 years, we have to raise our prices. the standard mug line is going up $1 a pound, and the special mug line is going up $2 a pound. but even after the price hike, we are really cheap.

the new rwanda gishamwana island — the cheapest price i could find online is $17/lb and we are at $13
the new ecuador hakuna matata — the cheapest price i could find is $19/lb, and we ask $13
the new india veer attikan — i found it for $18….we are asking $11
our popular ethiopia yirgacheffe halo bariti — i found it for $18.50…we only are asking $13

the reason we are cheap is because we operate in rural western PA where cost of living is far below average compared to the rest of the country. on top of that, i fight and bargain for every nickel from vendors and freight carriers. i don’t spend money on things we don’t need; we minimize mistakes and reward efficiency. we fight bills that aren’t fair, shop around for bids on services, and we buy in bulk and stock up when supplies go on sale. i barter coffee for oil changes and haircuts. turn lights off when we leave the shop. re-use shipping boxes and packaging materials. i’ve been dragging my feet on this price hike for a long time, and i hope customers understand.

thank you for your support. we will continue to bring you the best coffee in the world, from the fairest farms grown by farmers with incredible passion for what they do, and get it to you quickly at prices far below what you would have to pay from other roasters.

drink coffee. be happy. stick with us. 2016 will be a great year.

moving day

The new 1200 pound roaster arrived on an oversized pallet, without a pallet jack or liftgate or anything on the truck.  I rounded up 5 big guys and we pushed it to the end of the truck, and then stood on the edge of the pallet to counterbalance the weight.DSC_0334DSC_0338It’s 2.5 times bigger than our first roaster.  Once we put it in place, it made our old roaster look like a toy.

DSC_0354We can now churn out 120 pounds an hour when we have both running at full capacity.

coffee deprivation

i walk into the new space this morning and my helper hands me a cup of coffee.  he has found the box with the electric water kettle, unpacked a french press, plugged in a grinder, found some leftover sumatran beans.  i take a sip of coffee for the first time since thursday.  i can’t stop smiling.  this is going to be a good day.

progress report.  things are in high gear.  new roaster arrived, pallet racking is up, packaging stations are built, everything has moved into place, electric is hooked up, internet and computers and printers are running.  plumbing got behind schedule, and we hit a snag with hooking up gas and letting out the exhaust.  hopefully those projects will be completed monday and we will be back in business.