Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Floating Coffee Bar: The Experience

Last year when I was here in Kona I made a point to swim out to the floating coffee bar every morning. I just thought it was so cool! Floating in that clear blue water with a bunch of other athletes drinking hot coffee...  I had no idea that this year I would actually be working for the company and ON that canoe serving up a smile to athletes from around the world... But that is exactly what I got to do this morning!

(I'm updating via my phone here so you'll have to excuse the lack of pictures... They are up on Facebook. And there are a ton more on the Coffees of Hawaii FB page now too. Become a fan and you can see them all!)

So I'm staying up the hill a bit in a house with the 3 other 'Coffees of Hawaii Girls'... They all live on Molokai and are the ones who keep the coffee plants on the plantation healthy and harvested... The beans fresh and roasted... And they are the ones who make sure your order gets mailed out correctly, asap. They are awesome!  This morning they got up at 4AM to start brewing coffee for the boat. They had to fill 3 big cambros full of the black gold that we would be serving to about 500 people in the 2 hours the Floating Coffee Bar is open... It was nice of them to let me sleep in. I didn't get up until 5:15, which gave me just enough time to put my suit on and eat breakfast before we headed down to the pier will all our stuff.

It was a beautiful morning... Blue sky (read: hot!) The sun was just coming up as we paddled this massive canoe out from the beach near the King Kam. We anchored down maybe 500M into the swim course. As much as Kerrie would like to believe that we actually moved the boat out near the turn around buoy, well, it just wasn't the case. ;)

Swimmers were anticipating our arrival and actually waiting for us as we threw the anchor. We immediately started pouring cups of hot coffee... Milk or sugar? We got it! We made lots of people happy this morning!

You can just imagine, this couple who told me that they flew out from Germany... "It is winter where we come from..." they said as they treaded the warm clear water and sipped their 100% Hawaiian coffee. Being a part of their happiness was incredible for me.

Lots of people knew we were going to be there and were eagerly anticipating this fun morning activity. I heard stuff like, "This was the only reason I am swimming this morning!" and "I swam all the way out here with my camera tucked in my suit. Will you take my picture?" and "THIS was the experience I wanted in Kona. Even more than finishing the race!" (Personally I think that was going a bit far, but whatever!)

I got to see a bunch of my friends out there this morning too! That part was awesome too. If I saw someone I knew I took their picture and posted it on FB for them. Chit chatting with blog friends I haven't seen in a while totally made my day. :)

The Blue Seventy reps were out there with us on the boat... They are crazy and super fun! Hamming it up and challenging people to go pick up a handful of sand from the bottom of the ocean in exchange for a free pair of goggles... It was 30ish feet deep... Though quite deceptive bc the water was so clear. Time after time athletes came back up empty handed and said "That's deeper than it looks!" But 7 or 8 people (including a woman!) actually did it and there were big cheers all around when someone came up with a handful of sand. It was a great atmosphere!

We also had boxes and boxes of GU on the boat, including their new Island Nectar flavor. I haven't tasted that yet, but I did snag a couple of 'em before they disappeared into the hands of all those eager swimmers looking for free stuff.

Tomorrow they'll be handing out Erin Bakers Breakfast Cookies and Infinit drink as well. It's been interesting for me to get a bit of an inside look into how a lot of these smaller companies work together to support each others marketing efforts in Kona. Every company that sees triathletes as their market are trying to get a piece of the action here... Whether they are walking around at the pier handing out free stuff or finding a bit of retail space on Alii Dr, they are here and doing whatever they can to get their name and product in front of the athletes. Some are allowed into the expo, many are not. But they are all here and it is quite interesting to watch the marketing efforts.

Anyway, our Coffees of Hawaii bathing suits have been hot sellers. I wore my bikini on the boat this AM and lots of women were asking where to get one. Those German women weren't kidding around and went and bought them all up in the first few hours they were for sale. Clearly we underestimated what the demand would be for these suits! I am super proud of that though since these suits were my little pet project. Turns out they're a great memoir of the floating espresso bar that can be taken home and enjoyed all winter. :) We'll be placing a third order next week to accommodate all those who want one but missed out today.

So that's the update from Kona tonight! Next up? USAT Coaching Clinic tomorrow. It's a big week!


Lizzie said...

I love that you're loving this! It sounds like so much fun! Sadly, not a coffee drinker, but I would try for the free goggles. Are you teaching at the clinic?

paulette said...

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Aimee (I Tri To Be Me) said...

That just sounds like so much fun! I'm glad you had a good day today!

Beth said...

Love it!! Hope the clinic is going well. I saw a man with a Coffees of Hawaii suit on today and thought of you! :)

Katie A. said...

Very, very cool! Glad you're enjoying being on the other side!

Running and living said...

Fun, fun! Wish I were there:)

Laura Wheatley said...

It is definitely a goal to make it to the floating coffee bar one day!! Glad you had a great time ON the boat this year! :)

Debra-Dawn said...

swimming up to a floating hot coffee bar??????

that is the strangest thing i have heard in a while...


but i'd do it...

-Deb (blogbouncer from Heather's blog and wannabetriathlete...)