Fueled By Death Cast Ep. 151 - ADAM BALLARD

Adam Ballard in a red velvet cloak




"You like, not become part of the machine, but you get really in tuned with how that thing runs and what goes wrong with it and troubleshooting." Adam Ballard, roasting at Death Wish Coffee Company






Meet Adam Ballard, who started working at Death Wish Coffee almost two years ago as part of the production team. Adam talks about how his job has grown and he actively sought out training in coffee roasting. Plus, Adam talks about his journey to Death Wish Coffee, his love of fantasy and Star Wars, and his undefeatable spirit when it comes to the company ping pong league.


Jeff: Adam let's start with your day to day right now. You work on the production floor for Death Wish Coffee. A lot of people see that on a business card or whatever like, "I work production." That can mean a myriad of different things. What is your day like?

Adam: Mostly roasting.

Jeff: Mostly roasting?

Adam: Yeah.

Jeff: Are you learning that now? You didn't come in knowing how to roast, right?

Adam: Nah.

Jeff: Are you learning that on the floor?

Adam: Not at all. Yeah. I've been here for two and a half years almost-

Jeff: Two and a half years.

Adam: But I've only been roasting since February.

Jeff: Wow.

Adam: It's just like, "I want to learn how to do it, let's go."

Jeff: Okay, let me ask this question then. I kind of know the answer but for our listeners and viewers out there, is it really open like that on the floor? If you want to learn a new skill, can you just do that?

Adam: Yeah. As long as everything ... I mean for the most part they're really cool about if you're really interested in something, for the most part, everyone will do everything to help you along to get-

Jeff: That's so awesome.

Adam: To where you want to be. Yeah.

Jeff: That's why I love this company. What drew you to roasting? Why were you interested in it in the first place?

Adam: I like a lot of it. I like being involved with ... I wanted to like be part of making it, you know?

Jeff: Okay.

Adam: That's a big thing is being able to actually create it, the product.

Jeff: Right.

Adam: Roasting is cool too because like it's a huge ... You've seen it, you know.

Jeff: Yeah.

Adam: It's that huge awesome machine and it's just fun to be able to be down there and it's you and the machine. I like working alone like that.

Jeff: That's cool. That's cool. I mean to give a little bit of history of this company, when it started when it was just Mike and John Swedish, John was predominantly the one running the tiniest roaster ever before we ever had quality stuff like we have now. Then it turned into Dave, who is now a Master Roaster. He's went through that whole training, and he trained Anthony, and now it's basically Dave and Anthony and you. That's pretty much it, right?

Adam: No, actually. Well it's, yeah, it's Dave, Tony, John Wilson. He's been doing it-

Jeff: [crosstalk 00:02:18].

Adam: Longer than me. Actually, Wilson helps me out a lot.

Jeff: That's awesome.

Adam: I still always am asking for help all the time with different things.

Jeff: Okay.

Adam: Then I started and now Joe has actually been doing it a lot too.

Jeff: Really?

Adam: Yeah.

Jeff: Wow, that's awesome.

Adam: We got a little roasting squad now, it's awesome.

Jeff: It's really cool, especially with a company like this to have that many people who are not only interested in it, but want to learn that kind of skill because it is exactly what you said, "Creating the product." You're taking that green coffee bean and turning it into what eventually is Death Wish Coffee, 100%. What would you say is the hardest obstacle to either learn or get used to with roasting coffee, especially on this level, on such a large scale?

Adam: I would say the hardest part ... For me the hardest part of getting used to everything was getting used to the machine itself and how quirky they can be sometimes and how you really have to stay on top of it. You like, not become part of the machine, but you get really in tuned with how that thing runs and what goes wrong with it and troubleshooting.

Jeff: Yeah. That's cool. I didn't know this until I started working in the coffee industry, one of the things that boggles my mind so much is that obviously coffee has a different profile depending on the bean that you use and depending on the region of the world that you're getting that bean from, the soil that it's grown in and that kind of thing, but when you're talking about roasting, the smallest hundredth of a degree sometimes can actually change that profile, right?

Adam: Yeah. It doesn't take much to change it. When I was first starting out something went on the roaster where I had a fault and it stayed in for an extra 30, 40 seconds longer than it was supposed to at the end, and just that was enough where it was like, "Ah, all right, the batch is ruined."

Jeff: Wow.

Adam: "It's not Death Wish anymore, it's something else."

Jeff: Wow.

Adam: You got to really be on top of it as best you can.

Jeff: Of course. Of course because I mean, we obviously pride ourselves on the world's strongest coffee and we want that consistent product, but then you're also roasting Valhalla Java for Father Zakk and making sure that is the same profile all the time. We have now in the last few years put into normal yearly rotation, our barrel brands, our pumpkin coffee. That's all different probably roasting techniques with those too right?

Adam: Yeah. Yeah, there's just extra steps with those flavored ones.

Jeff: Yeah.

Adam: A lot of work that goes into to that. That's a fun process though.

Jeff: I mean you've been roasting now for six months, so that means that means that as this episode is airing, we're gearing up to release a fan favorite, the Chocolate Rum Ball. That means you had a hand in roasting some of that too, right?

Adam: I didn't get to roast the rum ball.

Jeff: Ah [crosstalk 00:05:18].

Adam: I think that [crosstalk 00:05:18].

Jeff: Himself.

Adam: I don't know if I wasn't there that day or if that was when I was on vacation. I don't know. But I did get to do the pumpkin and that was really fun.

Jeff: That's awesome.

Adam: Yeah, that was my first different one to make.

Jeff: Oh, that's really cool. Let's walk it all the way back. First day on the job-

Adam: Oh yeah.

Jeff: Two and a half years ago, you started on the production floor.

Adam: Yeah.

Jeff: What was some of the first things you started to do for this company?

Adam: The very first thing I ever did was pack K-cups with Justin.

Jeff: Wow.

Adam: Yeah.

Jeff: Back when we used to do that.

Adam: It was literally just me and Justin packed some K-Cups for a day and talked about video games.

Jeff: Love it. Love it.

Adam: I was like, "This is great."

Jeff: Even in the same realm of that, did you know about the company before applying for the job here?

Adam: Yeah.

Jeff: You had heard about it because you're local?

Adam: Yeah.

Jeff: Do you remember what you thought about the company or how you heard about the company before applying for a job?

Adam: I think I probably like most people heard about it from the commercial.

Jeff: Yeah, the Superbowl Commercial?

Adam: Yeah. Yeah, I saw that live and I was like, "Oh, that's awesome," and then I found out that they were from Saratoga.

Jeff: Yeah. What made you want to come work for a coffee company because correct me if I wrong, before working here you were working with animals, correct?

Adam: Yeah, I did. I worked at a dog daycare for two years.

Jeff: So basically you're just keeping dogs safe and alive, as their owners are-

Adam: Yeah.

Jeff: Doing things?

Adam: Hang out with them. It was great.

Jeff: That's awesome.

Adam: Yeah, I love dogs so much.

Jeff: What made you change careers from working with animals to working with coffee beans?

Adam: I just wanted to do something drastically different.

Jeff: Yeah.

Adam: Because I was having fun but it wasn't really ... I didn't see ... I didn't think I was going to be like, "Oh I'm going to be a vet or something."

Jeff: Right.

Adam: That's pretty much like-

Jeff: The next step?

Adam: Yeah and I wasn't really ... I wasn't interested in that path. I figured I would just do something drastically different, like something I've never done.

Jeff: That's a great mentality. That's actually not only a great mentality to have. That is something that's very rare in a lot of people. A lot of people that I've talked to on this show even, it's very scary to look at your life and go, "I want to try something I've never done. I've never experienced this and I'm just going to jump into it."

Adam: Yeah.

Jeff: Did you feel like you were always like that?

Adam: Definitely not always because there's times where I want to stay comfortable and not go outside of my thing.

Jeff: Truth. Truth.

Adam: But I know when ... It was getting to that point where it's like, "All right, I've been at this job for two years, I've got to-"

Jeff: You need a change.

Adam: "I got to move on." But each job I've done has been like, before the dog daycare I was a security guard and before that I was doing just other stuff.

Jeff: What were you securely guarding?

Adam: Not much. Nothing important honestly.

Jeff: Did you have a gun?

Adam: No.

Jeff: Ah.

Adam: No, I didn't.

Jeff: Did you have a billy club or-

Adam: I didn't need one. Look at this. Come on.

Jeff: Okay. Okay. I did buy tickets to the gun show later. So walking in here, you get the job, you come in on your first day. What did you expect it to be to what it was? Was Death Wish Coffee what you expected or was it completely different coming on that floor?

Adam: I honestly had no idea what to expect. I mean I had a good idea that I was just going to be packaging stuff.

Jeff: Yeah.

Adam: I knew that, but I didn't expect to be like, "Oh, everything's made here-"

Jeff: Yeah.

Adam: At first that was cool to see, it was the one room. I mean it's still like that with the Viking and the roasters and everything.

Jeff: Yeah.

Adam: I was like, "Sweet. I get to ... I'm right here where all of it is being done."

Jeff: It's pretty impressive, you know?

Adam: Yeah.

Jeff: To the point of even when we go out in the world and we do events and stuff like that and people meet us and say, "Oh wow, Death Wish Coffee, you must be one of hundreds," and we're like, "No, it's all under one roof and we're-"

Adam: Yeah [crosstalk 00:09:36].

Jeff: "There's 30 to 37 of us."

Adam: Maybe 15 of us over there, I don't know.

Jeff: Yeah, there's 15 of you guys over there, it's nuts. It's mind blowing for people who haven't actually experienced that, and that's pretty cool. Can we talk a little bit about since the two years you've been here, how the company has grown? You've been on the production floor. You've seen us grow in those last two years, going into retail, doing a lot more products like this cold brew and that kind of thing and really ramping up production where your hands are a part of that. Can you look back on that in the last two and a half years and feel that change or is it gradual and you don't notice it?

Adam: No, I notice it.

Jeff: Yeah.

Adam: Even just in the time that I've been here and I'm not even an OG like you guys. [Crosstalk 00:10:29].

Jeff: I don't know. We've got two and a half years buddy, you and me.

Adam: Really?

Jeff: Yeah.

Adam: Really?

Jeff: Yeah. Yeah, it only seems like I've been here forever.

Adam: Yeah.

Jeff: Yeah.

Adam: Oh yeah well, I could just tell you just in the time I've been here as far as production goes, yeah, it's just grown 10 times over it feels like. It's just insane.

Jeff: Do you think, and I've asked some of the production guys this, and for real and honest answer, do you think we're growing too quickly?

Adam: Nah. No. [crosstalk 00:10:59].

Jeff: It's not scary on the production floor?

Adam: No.

Jeff: Good. That's good to hear.

Adam: No, it's all very doable.

Jeff: Which is crazy to think about because the last employee episode that we had, I just had Dave Ratzer on from our sales department and we were talking about when he started, we didn't even have a sales department and we were only in maybe a couple hundred stores on the shelf, and now we're almost looking at 10,000.

Adam: Wow.

Jeff: That's a lot to do with what you guys do over there.

Adam: Yeah.

Jeff: I mean it's inspiring to me that you're saying that you're not scared of that, because it almost scares me a little bit.

Adam: Yeah, it could be. But if you were to tell me what we're doing today, our output and everything we're making and all that back when I first started or not long after I would have been like, "There's no way in hell." But now it's like, "Oh yeah, we totally can do a ton."

Jeff: That's awesome.

Adam: Yeah.

Jeff: That's awesome. That's exciting to hear. The other side of all this, we talked about the job, we talked about the day to day, you're one of my favorite people here because you're a nerd like me and I love it, so-

Adam: I try.

Jeff: You try very hard and you do very well at it.

Adam: Thank you.

Jeff: Let's talk a little bit about that. You said the first day that you walked in here, you worked with Justin and you said that you guys talked about video games. Have you been a video game fan your whole life?

Adam: Most of my life, yeah.

Jeff: Yeah. First video game system?

Adam: A Windows 95 computer.

Jeff: Computer games.

Adam: Yeah. [crosstalk 00:12:29].

Jeff: [crosstalk 00:12:29]. What were you playing?

Adam: What my brothers would play, so I was playing Need For Speed Hot Pursuit and-

Jeff: I remember that game.

Adam: Star Wars Jedi Knight 2.

Jeff: Oh, Jedi Knight, what a good game.

Adam: Great game, yeah.

Jeff: They should should look at ... I wonder about video games sometimes because you go back, especially as a gamer, you go back and look at some of the games from that era, sure the graphics weren't the greatest and sure the interface wasn't the greatest, the game engine was lagging because we didn't have the technology, but the story and the way that those games were ... especially like, I'm using Jedi Knight as an example, those games were really exciting. Really, you could invest into those games.

Jeff: A lot of times when they make a new Star Wars game or a new game in that vein, they go to the drawing board and try to reinvent the wheel. I feel like they should go back to that era and really look into it and be like, "Let's just update a little bit." Do you feel that way or do you feel like it's good the way video games are always pushing that envelope?

Adam: Yeah, there's a lot of games where it's like, "Oh, they had it right the first time around," and now it's like, "What are you doing?"

Jeff: Totally.

Adam: I don't know. I don't really ... I don't know. I don't play a lot of new games when they come out.

Jeff: Really?

Adam: No. I don't want to keep spending $60 all the time.

Jeff: Understandable. Understandable. Favorite video game of all time? That desert island question. You're on a desert island, you have any system at your disposal but you only have one game to play. It's tough.

Adam: Probably Skyrim.

Jeff: Skyrim.

Adam: Yeah.

Jeff: God, I love Skyrim.

Adam: I do too. I keep replaying it.

Jeff: Right, it came out in 2011. My wife and I were just talking about this. It came out in 2011 and we still dream about characters we've made on it, we still think about ... Every now and then we'll pick it back up and either play a character that we had or just make a character again and just start from scratch.

Jeff: For those of you who don't know, Skyrim is part of The Elder Scrolls series. It's a giant, giant, massive world RPG. Is RPG your main go-to game, because I know you're a fantasy fan too?

Adam: Yeah, I like all that stuff. The Fallout games, The Elder Scroll games. I like good story games though like Alan Wake. You remember that one?

Jeff: Alan Wake was a lot of fun.

Adam: Yeah. That's one I can keep playing over and over again.

Jeff: Yeah.

Adam: Every time you do it it's like, "Oh I didn't catch that one the first time."

Jeff: Exactly. With Alan Wake what was really cool about that is again, they reinvented the wheel but did it in a very old school game mentality where you had chapters, you had to go through the game kind of linear, but it didn't hold your hand at all.

Adam: No.

Jeff: In any game where it does hold your hand it's basically like, "This might be hard but here's some health potions," or, "Here's a gun." That wasn't Alan Wake, you basically had a flashlight for all of it and that was it. It was challenging but a lot of fun.

Adam: Yeah, I liked that one a lot.

Jeff: I like a game like you said, "It sucks to have to shell out $60 for a game all the freaking time." I like a game like Skyrim because I shelled out $60 for that game-

Adam: Yeah, but you're-

Jeff: Nine years later I'm still playing it.

Adam: Yeah. What's the next one, Elsewhere?

Jeff: That's what they say it's Elsewhere.

Adam: I'll gladly pre-order that one.

Jeff: Of course. Of course because it's going to be the next gen, they're just going to build upon what Skyrim was. Skyrim was ... It won all the awards the year it came out. It was the best game of the year and all that kind of stuff so, they're not going to try and reinvent the wheel. They're just going to be like, "Let's just make a better version of this," which is going to be so amazing. I can't wait. I can't wait. What brought you to fantasy? I'm a big fantasy fan myself. As a kid probably, you probably got into fantasy. What was it?

Adam: It was-

Jeff: [crosstalk 00:16:17] books, what brought you there?

Adam: Yeah. For books it was the Redwall books. I don't know if you know those.

Jeff: I don't.

Adam: Oh, those are good.

Jeff: Who's the author?

Adam: Brian Jacques.

Jeff: Bryan Jacques.

Adam: I think that's how you say it., But they're just fun little ... They had fantasy stories of these animals in a medieval setting.

Jeff: Love it.

Adam: You know?

Jeff: Definitely have to look them up.

Adam: It's a fun one. I don't know if it's fun to go through if you're ... now but-

Jeff: I mean if I've never read it though I mean-

Adam: True. Okay.

Jeff: There is something to say about young adult literature and I'm guessing that's what you're talking about.

Adam: Yeah.

Jeff: It's something that's a little bit more geared towards the younger adult. There is something to say about that even reading it from an adult perspective because you can put yourself back, at least for us fantasy fans, you can imagine yourself back as a child reading that kind of thing.

Adam: Yeah. It was like that. I read The Hobbit when I was young-

Jeff: Yeah.

Adam: Watched all the Lord of the Rings stuff.

Jeff: Yeah.

Adam: That was the perfect age when all that was coming out. Star Wars-

Jeff: [crosstalk 00:17:15].

Adam: I was huge into that, [crosstalk 00:17:16].

Jeff: Excellent. Are you excited about the new movie?

Adam: Yeah.

Jeff: Yeah. Okay, actual thoughts on the last one, on The Last Jedi there, or on, yeah. Yeah.

Adam: It could have been miles better than it was but-

Jeff: Yeah.

Adam: It's too late, we can't really-

Jeff: It's too late.

Adam: Can't do anything about it.

Jeff: I keep saying to people-

Adam: There was a lot I liked about it.

Jeff: Me too.

Adam: I'm not going to lie but-

Jeff: Love or love it or hate it, it is a part of a trilogy just like the others. There's all of this introspective look now because we live in this 24 hour news cycle and second to second social media and everybody analyzes everything. If you go back to look at the original trilogy of Star Wars, when Empire came out and it ended with, "No, I'm your father," "No," and he falls and then Han's in carbonite and that's it, people were outraged.

Adam: Really?

Jeff: They were like ... Yeah. They were like, "Screw this." The fun movie that was a new hope, now [crosstalk 00:18:10].

Adam: That's the one everyone says is the best.

Jeff: In retrospect because-

Adam: I don't think in retrospect people are going to stay Last Jedi was the best [crosstalk 00:18:16].

Jeff: No, but it might if Star Wars does a good job telling this final chapter, it might allow that weak middle chapter to exist a little bit better. You might not ever-

Adam: [crosstalk 00:18:30].

Jeff: Say that at the best, but you might at least feel a little bit better about it [crosstalk 00:18:34].

Adam: If they wrap it up the right way.

Jeff: If they wrap you to up right and they-

Adam: Yeah.

Jeff: I'm excited for it. I think it's going to be-

Adam: I am too. I think it's definitely going to be better than the other ones.

Jeff: Yeah.

Adam: But I actually liked Solo. Out of all the Disney ones that have come out, Solo is my favorite one. I think [crosstalk 00:18:50].

Jeff: [crosstalk 00:18:50] one of the few.

Adam: I think they nailed it.

Jeff: Really?

Adam: Yeah. I don't get why [crosstalk 00:18:53].

Jeff: I don't dislike Solo-

Adam: Right.

Jeff: But My favorite out of all of the new ones, even the trilogy that's coming out and all the little ones, my favorite is Rogue One.

Adam: Yeah [crosstalk 00:19:03].

Jeff: I think that is a near perfect, not only near perfect Star Wars movie, I think it's a near perfect Sci-fi fantasy, space epic movie, I really do. But that's just my opinion.

Adam: [crosstalk 00:00:19:14].

Jeff: But Solo, I'm not a hater. There are haters of solo out there-

Adam: Really?

Jeff: Saying it was slow and it was terrible, and I don't think so. There's a lot of really good in it but [crosstalk 00:19:23].

Adam: It was a roller coaster ride.

Jeff: Yeah, it's awesome. Do you think they're going to make more? They left it open ended.

Adam: I don't know if they would. I know they said they wanted to do a trilogy and I would love that. I mean I'd be so down for that but-

Jeff: No spoilers if you haven't seen it, but there is some spoilery stuff at the end that definitely leaves it open ended for more story.

Adam: They should.

Jeff: They should.

Adam: They could do so much with that. You can bring Boba Fett in.

Jeff: Yeah.

Adam: It could get great. But at least The Mandalorian is coming out. [crosstalk 00:19:50].

Jeff: Speaking of the Mandalorian.

Adam: Yeah.

Jeff: Are you going to get Disney Plus?

Adam: Yes.

Jeff: Yes, me too. I mean it's-

Adam: You got to.

Jeff: You can't not get it. But yeah The Mandalorian, a multimillion dollar Star Wars episodic television show, sign me up. I'm-

Adam: They wanted to do that for years, they announced wanting to do something like that.

Jeff: Yeah, that was long ago.

Adam: Yep. It was pretty much right after Revenge of the Sith, they were talking about doing it.

Jeff: Yeah. I'm glad they didn't because it would have been Disney having to do it with what they had, which would have been ABC or some sort of property that ABC Network owned because they would've had to do it somewhere on on a television like that. But now doing it in the streaming world but also on their own damn service, I think sky's the limit with that kind of thing, I really do.

Adam: Yeah, I'm glad it's happening now also because, I think George Lucas would have had more of a hand in it back then and that might've not have been the greatest thing to happen.

Jeff: It's the truth.

Adam: I hate to say it.

Jeff: It's the truth.

Adam: I love George.

Jeff: I do too, you know, but George told the story he wanted to tell. As much as he'll make the argument that, "Oh, I always had the prequels," and, "I always had all this idea," maybe you did up here, but you never had it realized. You know what I mean?

Adam: Yeah.

Jeff: That's 100% evident with the Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones. It's 100% evident that you are doing your best. It's not, "I've got a fully realized vision," like New Hope or Empire or Return. Those were fully realized thoughts. As much as-

Adam: Yeah, he wrote those prequels because he had to.

Jeff: He had to. [crosstalk 00:21:23].

Adam: He was like, "Ah, I don't know."

Jeff: Exactly. Exactly. I'm not ... I don't know. I don't know. But that's again, why I love talking to you because I'm a huge fantasy fan. I'm a huge video game fan. Another thing that actually just started here at Death Wish and I wanted to talk a little bit about, and we're actually starting to push this out live as well, is the Death Wish Coffee Ping Pong League-

Adam: That's right.

Jeff: Of 2019.

Adam: That's right.

Jeff: I heard, as this airs, as we're recording this, I heard that you are-

Adam: The greatest ping pong player in the company. Yes, you are absolutely right.

Jeff: Wow.

Adam: I said it. Mark that down.

Jeff: Greatest ping pong player in the company. So as we're recording this-

Adam: Well-

Jeff: As we're recording this, you are undefeated?

Adam: Yes absolutely, four and zero.

Jeff: Four and zero. This will come out in a couple of weeks so I'm hoping that you're still undefeated by that point.

Adam: I will be. you don't have to hope.

Jeff: All right, I don't have to hope. I know the origin a little bit, but it's so crazy that everybody on the production side at the warehouse is so invested in ping pong to the point where now [crosstalk 00:22:35].

Adam: Most of us.

Jeff: Most of us, yeah. [crosstalk 00:22:37].

Adam: [crosstalk 00:22:38] We he to have 14 people playing. Yeah.

Jeff: That's insanity. Do you ever play ping pong before working here? No. That is the normal answer.

Adam: No, I had to think about it.

Jeff: That's totally fine, that is the normal answer. It's not like we've got killers or professionals who came over here, but a lot of you guys play like you're professionals.

Adam: You know, when you're good at something you just ... yeah.

Jeff: Well Olympics are next year, should we shouldn't join?

Adam: Ah.

Jeff: Should we make the Death Wish Olympic Team?

Adam: I mean I'll have to see what my PTO situation is like around them but, I don't know. Nah. I'm not after medals or anything like that.

Jeff: Okay, but say you are after medals, you are the best player in the company so says you-

Adam: Yes, and a lot of other people.

Jeff: Okay. So if it comes down to you verse someone in the final, who's it going to be? Who do you think your nemesis is going to be?

Adam: Probably Dave.

Jeff: [crosstalk 00:23:34].

Adam: Dave and I-

Jeff: Dave is good.

Adam: He is very good.

Jeff: The roasters going at it.

Adam: He's not easy, but him and I are the currently only two undefeated ones in this tournament.

Jeff: That's true. Do you play him at all coming up? Do you know or ...

Adam: I don't know when it will be. I don't even know who my next week's opponent is.

Jeff: That just gets thrown on you guys, right?

Adam: Yeah.

Jeff: Which is good because you don't have to fret about it, you just prepare for it down the day and you do it.

Adam: Actually no, I think Justin might be my next week, and Justin's actually really good.

Jeff: He's really good too.

Adam: [crosstalk 00:24:08].

Jeff: You guys usually do it either on lunchtime or-

Adam: Yeah, or break. Yeah.

Jeff: On off time, because a lot of you guys have early shifts and stuff like that. Is there a match every day?

Adam: Yeah, we're always playing-

Jeff: That's crazy.

Adam: Every lunch break. You know?

Jeff: That's crazy.

Adam: Yeah.

Jeff: That's awesome.

Adam: It's great.

Jeff: It makes it fun. It makes it ... That's what's nice about Death Wish Coffee too is, I think that Mike has done a good job not only creating a good cup of coffee and a good brand that all keeps us employed, but a good environment that makes us want to come back to work, I think.

Adam: Yeah. I mean, and just the people here, everyone's [crosstalk 00:00:24:49].

Jeff: We're a rag tag bunch of-

Adam: We're best friends.

Jeff: Yeah.

Adam: Honestly, I love everyone.

Jeff: That's awesome. That's awesome. So, what we get to on the show all the time is the theme of this show. You said in the beginning and I have a lot of respect for you as someone who you know was doing something that you loved, working with animals, and you realized that, "Obviously I don't want to go farther in this and I want to jump both feet into a new path that I've never tried before," which is a very scary thing to do, and that's very inspiring.

Jeff: You've been now a Death Wish for two and a half years, started out packing K-Cups and now you're actually roasting the product, which is really great, and you are the best ping pong player in the company as you've said multiple times.

Adam: By far.

Jeff: By far. What fuels you to keep doing what you do?

Adam: I don't know. I just want to ... My dad is my huge inspiration for how I do stuff because that guy just worked his ass off his whole life, so I want to be like him. [crosstalk 00:25:55].

Jeff: Yeah. What'd your dad do?

Adam: He had his own excavating company and construction and all kinds of-

Jeff: [crosstalk 00:26:01].

Adam: All kinds of other stuff. He didn't finish high school so he had to work extra hard from a young age-

Jeff: Yeah.

Adam: And still does and he's in his 60s now.

Jeff: Wow. [crosstalk 00:26:14].

Adam: Yeah, I want to be like him and -

Jeff: That's awesome.

Adam: Just do my thing, you know?

Jeff: Well you're doing a hell of a job buddy. Sure.

Adam: Thank you.

Jeff: I've got to ask then a final couple of questions. From someone who's been here for a couple of years, especially seeing the product from inception to reality and now actually even roasting the product, seeing us grow exponentially on that production floor, where do you think we're going? Where you see this company in a couple of years?

Adam: A couple years.

Jeff: Three, five years, where do you think we're going to be?

Adam: Man.

Jeff: Do you think it's all going to be over? Do you think we're going to hit a plateau?

Adam: No.

Jeff: Do you think we're going to keep going and reach the freaking stars? Where do you think we're going to go?

Adam: I don't know. I just think it'll be just everywhere. You know?

Jeff: Yeah, caffeinate the world.

Adam: We're already getting to that point where we're starting to get our foot into a lot of doors and-

Jeff: Yeah, it's exciting.

Adam: I think it's just going to ... I don't think it's going to stop at those. I think we'll just keep pushing through because it's good stuff.

Jeff: Yeah, it is. It is. Were you a a big coffee drinker before working here or did working here get you into drinking coffee?

Adam: I actually was a bigger coffee drinker before I started working here.

Jeff: Really? How come you think it's less?

Adam: I tried to wean myself off just because I try not to rely on it every day but, I still can't help it. I need it when I need it but-

Jeff: Yeah.

Adam: I like drinking it now more for the taste of it. You know?

Jeff: Totally agree. Totally agree. Personal story, worked in food service for very, very long time before working here, so coffee was a must and it was all day. I think I've actually even told this story before, years and years and years ago. One of our logistics guys, Brad Gabriel and I were roommates and we worked at the same restaurant and we obviously lived together.

Jeff: When we would go to the restaurant we would drink coffee the whole time we were there, but we would work the night shift so we would close the restaurant down like 12:00 or 1:00 in the morning or whatever. We'd go home and we would brew a pot of coffee and we would drink an entire pot of coffee before we'd fall asleep, 3:00, 4:00, 5:00 in the morning and then rinse and repeat.

Jeff: That was our life for a very long time and I got to the point, whatever, the same way. It was like, "I have to wean myself off of this. This is not good to drink that much coffee." Although if you want to drink that much coffee, go right ahead.

Adam: Oh yeah, by all means.

Jeff: But yeah, it started to have a toll on my psyche, but that's awesome.

Adam: Yeah.

Jeff: Then final question.

Adam: All right. Yeah.

Jeff: You have to be honest. Death Wish or Valhalla?

Adam: Death Wish.

Jeff: Yeah?

Adam: Yeah.

Jeff: Just not even thinking about it, Death Wish?

Adam: Yeah, I'm just ... That's the taste I like.

Jeff: Yeah. That's awesome. And, you got a hand in roasting it too.

Adam: I do.

Jeff: Which is pretty awesome to think about. I mean everywhere that we're going with it, everywhere that it's showing up in everything, one of those bags, those could be the beans that you actually, you babied into existence.

Adam: Yeah, definitely. It's cool too to see friends or family and give them a bag and be like, "I made this."

Jeff: That's so rad.

Adam: "I created this, drink it."

Jeff: That's really cool. That's again, the pride of being here. Adam, I can't thank you enough for taking time and talking with me, it was really a pleasure and I love nerding out with you.

Adam: Hey man, I'm sure it was a joy to talk to the future Death Wish ping pong champion.

Jeff: Excellent. Excellent. Awesome.