Fueled By Death Cast Ep. 59 - BRAD THIBODEAU
FACILITIES MANAGER - BRAD THIBODEAU
DEATH WISH COFFEE COMPANY EMPLOYEE SERIES #13
"The thing that keeps me happy and keeps me motivated is the sense of community." - Brad Thibodeau, Facilities Manager, Death Wish Coffee Company
This week the world's largest underwater cave is discovered on Science. Two different caves have been found to interconnect in the Yucatan Peninsula and they might have links to the ancient Mayan culture. The sense of community and the people that surround you is What Fuels You. Then, the hosts review the BRIPE, a copper brew pipe that makes a shot of coffee on the go. Finally, Nintendo is on The Roast, as Jeff wonders if the new Labo is the death of video games. All this and exciting Death Wish Coffee news including a new barrel blend.
ABOUT BRAD THIBODEAU:
Brad Thibodeau is the Facilities Manager at Death Wish Coffee Company. Brad is also one of Dustin's oldest and dearest friends. Joining the show this week, Brad talks about meeting Dustin and Jeff for the first time, and some of the bands they have been in together. Plus he talks about his duties at Death Wish and how his role has changed since he started. Brad is also an avid Magic the Gathering player and has brought the love of the game to the workplace. He also solves a Rubik's cube in under a minute!
Jeff: Let's start this off timidly and we'll work up to a fever pitch. How's that?
Dustin: Could we start to where I first met Brad?
Jeff: Yeah, what I want to kind of get out of the open is that we love doing these episodes where we get to highlight the employees at Death Wish because we always get a new perspective from everybody who works here, and we're going to get into that. But one of the interesting things about you, Brad, is that both myself and Dustin have known you outside of work and before working here. In fact, the man you've known Brad the longest.
Dustin: Yeah, probably. Is it 16 years?
Brad T.: 16 or 17.
Dustin: Somewhere around there.
Brad T.: Yeah. 16, 17.
Jeff: Wow. So let's start there. Let's start where you guys became friends.
Dustin: Okay. First, band and it was like three high school kids. All right. I play guitar already. So Dustin, you pick up the bass and, Kevin, you pick up the drums and we just start playing music. It's awful. I'm sure. I'm sure it was terrible.
Jeff: Give me the band name.
Dustin: Oh man. So it started out as ...
Brad T.: Eye Of The World. Was that the first?
Dustin: Yeah, Eye Of The World. So anyways ...
Brad T.: Not a Grateful Dead reference, by the way.
Dustin: We start learning covers songs and we quickly find out that Justin is a very inadequate at guitar and cannot play guitar solos at the moment. We get to the point where it's like, "Oh, we need a lead guitarist." We find out that Brad here plays lead guitar so we have him come in, and we play Enter Sandman and he rips in with the enters Sandman solo perfectly. Note to note like perfectly. On top of that, I think at that point you knew the whole first System Of A Down album.
Brad T.: Yeah, I knew enough of it. I knew enough of it.
Dustin: Which was insane. It was like a ...
Brad T.: And a bunch of the second.
Brad T.: I knew way too much System Of A Down. It was a mess.
Dustin: Who is this kid? Who is he? He came in like magic and has shredded in my life.
Jeff: Give me an age. What age was this?
Dustin: I was 16. Brad was 14.
Brad T.: I think I was 14.
Jeff: Wow. So babies.
Brad T.: Yeah. We were children.
Dustin: Little laddies.
Jeff: Little, little child.
Brad T.: It was awesome.
Jeff: So you're a 14 year old kid who knows basically front and back the first System Of A Down record.
Brad T.: Yeah, I knew a bunch of System.
Jeff: Okay. Dive into that. Why did you pick up the guitar? You're 14 years old. When did you pick up the guitar?
Brad T.: I was 11 when I started playing guitar.
Brad T.: It was super weird like I had recently moved to the area and I fell in with a kid named Larry Ball, a friend of mine.
Brad T.: He found out that I was just listening to like pop music on the radio.
Jeff: What mo11-year-olds know.
Brad T.: Exactly. No idea. I mean, my dad was into the Beatles and Zappa and stuff, but my mom wouldn't let him show us that because that's inappropriate for kids
Jeff: That was pretty inappropriate for children.
Brad T.: Totally. My mom was not down that. But basically Larry found out what I was listening to, and he was like, "Oh, you know what you should be listening to is Metallica." That was his thing. He was like, "I'm got to put you through Metallica rehab." When we were 11, he just bombarded me with the first five Metallica albums for like months until I knew all the words of all the songs. Then when we got super pumped about it, he was like, "We should start a band. You should play bass."
Jeff: After you've been playing on guitar?
Brad T.: No. No. I hadn't done anything. We're just talking and he was like, "You should play bass." I went home and I realized that my father had three guitars he didn't know how to play, and we had no basses. My dad was like, "Well, I've always wanted to learn how to play. So why don't we learn together?" He had like a full size acoustic and he had a classical and he had like a tiny little acoustic. Since I was still a tiny little guy because I was 11. I learned how to play on that little one. Then as I got bigger, I just played bigger ones. We learned a bunch of songs together. Then as soon as I could I started using the internet to find Metallica guitar tabs and just learn as many Metallica songs as humanly possible
Dustin: Meticulously, by the way. Like every note perfectly. I mean, that's the way ... That's why I've always loved Brad. He's meticulous and thorough. When we first played together, he impressed me. Then when we had skeletons in the piano and I learned Brad was coming home it was like, "No doubt we need to leave guitarist. We need Brad. He needs to shred in my life again."
Dustin: Then when we came here at Death Wish and started a logistics team, it was like, "We need somebody to shred here."
Dustin: It was time to bring in Brad again. He's like in Quentin Tarantino movie ...
Jeff: Okay. Which one?
Dustin: Pulp Fiction.
Dustin: The Wolf.
Jeff: Oh. Oh wow.
Brad T.: Damn.
Jeff: That's really good ...
Brad T.: What a compliment.
Jeff: Yeah. Wow. I think you could clock out for the day on that one, right?
Brad T.: I'm going home. It's not getting any better after that.
Dustin: It was just when you need shit done and you need it done meticulously and you need somebody to intelligently breaks something down, Brad's the dude to call.
Jeff: Yeah. It's funny, a book and this when I met you, Brad, like you mentioned, Dustin, we were in a band called Skeletons And The Piano, and I'll actually sink a little of that in there because we have the wonderful opportunity of owning the rights to that music. So I can actually put it in this episode. But we were a just a normal band. Well, outside of having me the electrify violinists but drums, bass, guitar, and singing. But we were growing and we decided that we wanted to have the ability to have two guitars so one person could take a lead. Immediately in practice, Dustin, you go, "Well, I know the perfect guy but he lives in freaking Massachusetts," because you were Massachusetts at that time. Serendipity and life happened, and you ended up moving back to the are.
Dustin: I called you immediately.
Brad T.: Yeah. It was awesome. I remember telling our friend Barney the day I decided, I talked to him and I was like, "Yeah, I think I'm going to move back to New York." Literally the next morning Dustin called me at like 8:00 a.m. or something. He was like, "Hey, man. How's it going? Heard you coming back." I was like, "Uh yeah. Yeah. I'm thinking about moving in a couple weeks." He was like, "Cool. You want to try out for a band?"
Brad T.: I was like, "Oh. Uh. Sure."
Dustin: Then you got sucked up into the storm that was Skeleton's And The Piano.
Jeff: Yeah, which was crazy.
Brad T.: That was a hell of a time.
Jeff: It's funny, for fans of this show that listen to Dustin and I talk to a lot of the different musicians, we bring up being musicians a lot. A large part of our life was this band. It was probably for both of us maybe not but the last big time that we were in a band where we really were going for it. We were close. I mean, I think we brought out some good records and they were definitely better when you joined up, which was great. But you also said you're looking for the wolf and we brought the wolf to Death Wish Coffee. But one of the best things about this show and talking to employees is always learning that it's not always the job you think you're going to get or the job that you were prepared for when you were hired. So before you started working here, you're just coming up on your year in the spring. You're going to be here for a full year.
Brad T.: Yeah, April, I think.
Jeff: Before you started working here, what were you doing for a job to put food on the table?
Brad T.: I've done a lot of weird odd jobs. But the thing I did right before this was I worked for a lumber and building material company. I drove a truck and delivered lumber, doors, windows, all sorts of good stuff.
Jeff: Yeah. I mean, so that that gives you some driving experience. You obviously were working in a warehouse with a forklift so you had a little bit of experience on that. But when you were brought on, you were brought on to help our new warehouse become a better well oiled machine. Because even when I started, which was just before when you started, our inventory was still this haphazard type of thing that unfortunately was just shoved onto a Dustin's lap a lot.
Brad T.: Yeah.
Brad T.: I felt so bad for you, dude. You had so much on your plate and you were trying to keep track of our inventory on a spreadsheet from like handwritten reports of the day.
Dustin: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Well I mean it got to the point where it's like I knew what to do to get things in line. We needed to integrate that new system.
Brad T.: Right.
Dustin: Which barcoded everything and automated everything within our warehouse systems. But I only had so much time because at the same time I'm purchasing everything for the company, I'm working with all the vendors, I'm controlling all of our inventories across all of our warehouses everywhere in the states, in Europe, in Canada. It was too much. I did not have the time to be able to integrate the system. I don't trust many people to integrate a system like this. It's pretty complicated. I mean, in fact, I think it may have been way too much for me to bite off at that time. I would have had to dedicate myself full time into this program. So it made easy sense when bringing Brad in to have him tackle this project.
Jeff: Because not only did you have some warehouse experience, but correct me if I'm wrong, you have computer experience as well.
Brad T.: I have some, yeah.
Jeff: So at least you knew your way around something like that.
Brad T.: Yeah. I'm not I'm not a stranger to computers. I'm no expert but I know how to use Excel I know how to use ...
Brad T.: I can do some rudimentary programming and stuff.
Dustin: I feel like whenever ... There's a certain amount of skill sets that no matter what you do you're going to be useful.
Jeff: Right. I agree with that.
Dustin: Some of those skill sets are things that we all have here sitting at this table. It's attention to detail, it's thoroughness, it's meticulousness, and it's the fact that failure's not an option. Right? It's I may not know how to do this but I'm not an idiot and I can figure it out. I will sit here until I do. Those are the things ... Those are the qualities I look for in working with somebody and knowing that it's going to be an easy job because that even if they don't know how to do the job, if they're meticulous and careful enough, it'll get done one way or the other.
Jeff: I agree with that. So Brad, talk a little bit about what it was like when you first started at the company, like what your job role was then and like what it is actually turned into now and what you do for Death Wish Coffee.
Brad T.: Let's see. I was basically hired for part of the reason that Dustin had said and also at the time we had another shipping and receiving guy named Jason who as we were growing and starting to send out more product to more areas it started to become like a little too much of a job for one guy. So I was brought into one, learn how to do shipping and receiving from him and help him with that work, and two, work on this inventory system, which Dustin just didn't have the time for. So for the first couple months I was working really hard on trying to take everything in our warehouse count it, make sure that I know in a computer exactly where it is while also trying to learn because we ship to a lot of different places and we use you know UPS, FedEx. We use multiple different logistics companies for full and partial truckload.
Brad T.: We go to Amazon. It's a lot.
Jeff: Yeah. All the retail deals and everything.
Brad T.: Just so much. I had to take a lot of notes and kind of make myself ... Because Eric had a cheat sheet for one way to ship things, like the Amazon Fresh, he had a cheat sheet and it was so good. I use it every time. So I just ended up making myself a ton of cheat sheets so that I wouldn't have to ask too many questions over and over. Jason ended up leaving and I had to kind of deal with all this on my own as we were ramping up, which led to a lot of hours.
Brad T.: But we recently got the other Brad, Brad Gaboriau to come in and help with that. He's been a huge help. Since then, I don't know, I've been doing that.
Jeff: Do you feel the company has grown since you've started?
Brad T.: Yeah.
Brad T.: Yeah.
Jeff: I've even just from a sense of like truck shipments in and out kind of thing.
Brad T.: Yeah, absolutely. Because when I got here, the entire concept of a full truck of coffee was kind and new. Up until that point it was like a few pallets on a truck, partial truck loads.
Dustin: Literally when I was shipping, it was three pallets, four pallets once a week and the rest was UPS.
Brad T.: Sometimes UPSing stuff.
Dustin: What are we shipping?
Brad T.: One or two full trucks to Pennsylvania a week usually.
Dustin: Yeah, and a truckload is 24 pallets?
Brad T.: 24 pallets.
Dustin: So we went from three pallets a week to almost 48 pallets a week.
Jeff: Wow, that's a huge growth
Brad T.: 918,000 pounds [inaudible 00:13:02].
Dustin: That's a gian growth.
Jeff: So and that definitely has become ... I'm not going to necessarily say easier but better to deal with because of the systems that you now run and have in place.
Brad T.: Yeah, it's easier to keep track of our inventory for various reasons but it's just easier to know what we have on hand. Prior to this, we were just getting a bunch of green coffee. We'd get in a bunch of bags and Dustin would try and keep track of how many of each thing we have. Then suddenly we have coffee and there was no ... The paper trail was kind of thin. So I was able to use this software that I believe you probably are the one who originally found.
Brad T.: The top shelf software, but I was able to use that to find kind of ... Now we have a full paper trail of green coffee comes in. We bring it to Dave and Anthony. They roast it. It turns into roasted coffee. It gets bagged in these places. It gets shipped out. All that. That's been really helpful in trying to organize it.
Dustin: On top of that, I felt like one thing that we ran into a lot it's like where's the blah blah blah. It's like it's here. I have no idea where it is because everybody's moving things around in the warehouse. I'm not in the warehouse myself.
Dustin: But this program can do enough where it's okay, let me punch in the thing that we're looking for, and it lets you know exactly where it is within the warehouse, which is ...
Brad T.: Yeah, with 99% accuracy. Unless someone just grabbed it and took it, which doesn't happen often.
Dustin: It's hard to keep control of the warehouse when you don't have somebody in there watching over it, taking care of everything, taking care of the systems, making sure everybody's not haphazardly moving things around and whatnot.
Jeff: Yeah. Stupid technical difficulties. Don't worry about the man behind the curtain back there people. I'll try to get that graphic back up, but it's just our own graphic. I almost got it, there it is.
So do you think ... Where do you see us in this year and beyond? As we grow, as we are now looking towards much more of a retail kind of scenario with much more of a push on that end, growing out of just being an eCommerce company, do you see what you're dealing with becoming more, becoming harder, becoming ... How do you how do you feel? What does the future hold for Brad?
Brad T.: The future holds some great stuff for the Brads because as I have mentioned I now have a partner in crime who actually shares my name.
Jeff: That's true.
Dustin: There's been no nicknames really.
Brad T.: No. We totally, totally sidestepped it. There was discussion, "Oh, we're going to have a new Brad. When are you going to have a name?" We're just like, "Nope."
Dustin: Nope. Its just the Brad's now.
Brad T.: We're both Brad. Deal with it.
Jeff: Or multiple Brad.
Brad T.: Yeah. It's been working out for months. He been here for probably five months now, and it's been it's been going well. But it's kind of nice because as you move more into purchasing and move away from the inventory and since we've gotten Brad, some of your jobs have gone onto my plate. Some of Eric's retail jobs have gone on my plate. Some of the ordering jobs. It's kind of nice because as we grow as a company our logistics team is also growing and Brad's becoming more competent all the time and I'm learning new things. So I don't really ... I mean, obviously I see my job changing. I'm seeing change. Every couple weeks there's a new thing that people kind of want me or me and Brad to handle and we're figuring out how to divvy that up. But honestly I think right now I see a lot of growth and I think that we are fully capable of handling it and growing into it.
Jeff: That's awesome to hear.
Brad T.: We're fully capable.
Dustin: To back that up a little bit, I think 2018 will see a lot more growth starting.
Dustin: I think in 2019 we'll have a full blown logistics team to handle such a thing.
Jeff: Hopefully in 2019, if you haven't heard us talk on previous podcasts, we will be hopefully moving into a brand new facility as well. That will help logistics because we just moved into this warehouse that we're in from a smaller warehouse and we're already at the point we're almost outgrowing it. It's a warehouse that's not necessarily tailored to our needs. I know as someone who deals with trucks day in and day out, something that you probably never even think about because I don't either. I don't work in this is like ...
Dustin: Loading docks.
Jeff: A loading dock is so important.
Brad T.: I would love a loading dock.
Jeff: And we don't have that.
Dustin: The biggest reason why, just to explain to people who are wondering why, is because when you take things out of a truck, you take it out with a forklift.
Dustin: The loading dock makes it so you can drive the forklift onto the truck.
Jeff: Right on the truck.
Dustin: And just take it right out of the truck and drop it in your warehouse. Now what we have to do is put a pallet jack onto the truck, drag each pallet to the end of the truck.
Dustin: Pick it up with the forklift and then drop it on the warehouse.
Jeff: Which, I mean, when you have the manpower to do it, obviously it gets done. But all those minutes add up to time that we'll be able to get back when you have a loading dock.
Dustin: Logistics is weird, right? Because you're dealing with a company now that has millions of orders a year.
Dustin: So with logistics you ... Let's say you have a box that you're putting your main product in and that box takes 15 seconds to assemble. Doesn't seem like much but if you're doing it 600,000 times
Jeff: Or a million times.
Dustin: Or a million times, it gets to be a giant thing. It doesn't take much to take that 15 second step and turn it into a one second step. Just by a little bit a logistical thought. It's really cool, my mind has always worked this way and I think that it goes the same with Brad where it's like you want to look at the small stuff and know it adds up to big stuff and figure out solutions to the issues.
Dustin: Or it's more like I'm not saying it's issues, it's puzzles. There are no problems, there are puzzles in life.
Jeff: It's crazy to me, and I've talked about this before, not ever working in a job like this and then seeing not only what goes into the logistic side of running a company but also the coffee itself. Like I've said this multiple times where before I started working here, all I knew about coffee was is I pour it into my machine and I hit that button that says brew. Then I magically have this delicious cup of coffee.
Jeff: I had no idea that all of everything that happens outside these doors actually happens. You specifically, Brad, did you ... Were you a coffee fan before you started working at Death Wish?
Brad T.: I drink a lot of coffee. I've been drinking a lot of coffee since like high school. Tons of it.
Jeff: Normally I would ask this question but I'm pretty sure I know the answer because we are such good friends. But when and how did you hear about Death Wish initially?
Brad T.: The when and how I heard about Death Wish was 2000 ...
Brad T.: 12. Probably late 2012, I think because the band we were Skeletons And The Piano also featured Eric Donovan.
Brad T.: The drummer.
Brad T.: He was packing parachutes before that, I think.
Jeff: He was packing parachutes.
Brad T.: Scarily enough, parachutes, which sounds like a very high stress job.
Brad T.: Yeah. He started working for Mike, I'm sure some people know this story, but he started ...
Jeff: Go back to Episode 2 of the show
Brad T.: In the basement of the warehouse or the coffee shop. I remember he kind of mentioned to like everybody in the band that they needed help. If anyone knew anyone looking for a job, they might need it. They could use the help because I think it was right before Good Morning America.
Jeff: Yeah. It was literally like Mike and John and Eric in that basement.
Brad T.: Yeah. A couple of other people who ...
Brad T.: With us anymore.
Brad T.: Yeah, I remember when he offered it up to us, we all like had full time jobs.
Brad T.: Kane didn't. Kane moved in but then I remember one day I actually went and worked in that basement with them.
Jeff: Which is incredible. You have ...
Brad T.: I didn't know that.
Jeff: You have this window into this company that very, very few people have.
Brad T.: Yeah, it was super weird because Eric had kind of said, "Oh, if you guys want some extra work ..." There was one week when I didn't have a whole lot to do, and I was like, "Hey man, if you need any help ..." He's like, "Why don't you come in right after work this day?" So I showed up at like 4:30. I think I worked until midnight. I went down to the basement. At that point, there were 20 pound sacks of coffee roasted. Just tons of them and my whole job for those seven hours was just to weigh out 1.04 pounds. Put a bag on a scale 1.04. Then if I was told to grind it, I just poured it into a grinder and King hit the grind button and sealed it. If I was told not to grind it, I seal it. It was like a hand. It was almost like a paper cutter. Just like a chunk, chunk like sealer and we were just doing that.
Dustin: Oh yeah. I remember that thing. I had to use that for a while.
Brad T.: It was awesome for one night.
Jeff: Is it crazy, even though you did it for one night, you saw the operation of Death Wish Coffee in that instance, the birth of this company. Is it crazy to think about, "I'm pouring this in a bag and sealing it," and then now seeing where that company is?
Brad T.: Yeah, it's pretty amazing because, I mean, we all ... I'm newer and Jeff's a bit newer to the company, but we all kind of like to watch it grow from the outside the whole time too.
Brad T.: I remember from being in a basement with Kane bagging the coffee. I remember there was a long time because we all played music with Kane too. There was a long time when I would go over to his house to record music, and he would literally just have like a trash bag full of K cups that they had just made. He would have like a roll of stickers and he would just sit there and put sticker on, put a sticker on. Put it all in a box to package the next day. He would just like hit record and play some music. Just hours of just taking the K cups home to put the stickers on the top of.
Jeff: So it's safe to say that some of the first orders of K cups from Death Wish Coffee also were packed with the little rock-n-roll.
Brad T.: A lot of rock-n-roll.
Dustin: Actually it's kind of weird. We're talking about it a lot but when you really think about it it's kind of weird how much this company is built on rock-n-roll.
Dustin: I mean you, me, Brad.
Jeff: Eric, Kane.
Dustin: Even Tia.
Dustin: We knew from, I mean, especially from Skeletons And The Piano. She was at every show. It's so crazy. The foundation of Death Wish coffee is built upon rock-n-roll.
Jeff: You know coffee and rock-n-roll go hand in hand for sure.
Dustin: Now they do.
Jeff: But we've talked about that with so many different musicians ...
Dustin: You don't really see Folgers and guitar solos.
Jeff: No you don't. But, I mean, we definitely champion that because of our image and that kind of stuff. But, I mean just the ability of having this magic potion to help you after a long night of rocking. If you've been up all night living that rock star life, you guys all know what I'm talking about, or ...
Dustin: Wait. Are you talking about cocaine?
Jeff: Yes. Or the other side of that is we talk to a lot of rock stars now who are older in age and have been there, done that. Zach Wilde included, who does not drink anymore at all and as soon as gave up the drinking, was like, "You know what, I'm going to replace that with coffee." A lot of people do that because it still gives you that that upper, which is great.
Brad T.: Yeah.
Jeff: So I think they definitely go hand in hand but it doesn't hurt to have some black and white and red and skull and crossbones in the mix too.
Dustin: Yeah the skull and crossbones definitely helps that. It's really cool to think we have that rock-n-roll attitude, but it's not gimmicky.
Dustin: It's not just the thing. "Hey, we use skull and crossbones so we got to be rock-n-roll." It's like, "No, it just kind of happens that we use a skull and crossbones and that we're all about rock-n-roll music." It's just kind of a kind of cool thing.
Jeff: So speaking on music, and we've touched on this a little bit, Brad, I want to know what kind of music are you into now? Because you are a guitarist. You told us you got in because your buddy showed you Metallica and you're like, "I'm going to pick up the guitar. I'm going to start doing that kind of stuff."
Brad T.: Phish.
Jeff: Well, what kind of music are you into now?
Brad T.: So much of it.
Jeff: You've got me personally into a lot of music I never liked before.
Brad T.: Dude, yeah. That's a hard question because it's just ... I don't know. My last job I had I basically was a truck driver and I had 40 hours plus a week of just driving around completely unsupervised in a truck with a CD player. I spent five years just burning anything you could imagine. Just like people kept telling me, "Hip hop's great," and I was never into it when I was a kid. So I'd be like, "All right. Well, I'm going to get some Wu Tang or like Lauren Hill or something." Then it's like, "Oh, that's great." Then I had been, as Dustin mentioned it and I still have trouble coping with this, I've been super down on Phish since high school. I would just make fun of people for that jammy crap and then I decided to give them a chance and now I love Phish like a lot.
Jeff: I'm not going to judge you for it. Some of our fans might.
Dustin: I'm going to judge him.
Jeff: D-man's gonna.
Brad T.: Earlier I was listening to Zappa. I was so subjecting Brad to a whole bunch of Zappa.
Jeff: You are a big Frank Zappa ...
Brad T.: This morning. Yeah, I do love me some Zappa but I don't know, man. I still listen to ... I can't listen to anything like too much. I can listen to some death metal. I couldn't do a whole day of death metal. I can do an hour of death metal in the middle of a day of jam music and hip hop. I don't know. Just whatever I feel like. I try to listen to everything.
Jeff: You have a very eclectic taste and actually I want to bring up that one of your favorite bands is a band called Murder by Death.
Brad T.: Yeah.
Jeff: You are the exact reason why we had the singer of that band on this very show. So thank you very much for that.
Brad T.: No worries, man. It was a pleasure to go down, give him some coffee, and actually watch it follow through to him being on here. Pleasure to watch that episode.
Dustin: It doesn't always happen, right?
Dustin: We stick a lot of antennas out there and we don't get a lot of reception all the time. That was one of the cool ones.
Brad T.: He's a super busy guy.
Brad T.: So I was a little ... I was wondering if it was going to happen. It did.
Jeff: It did.
Dustin: I think if super busy people need anything, it's the strongest coffee.
Jeff: It's true.
Jeff: It's true.
Dustin: So I'm sure he was like, "Yeah, I'll take a half an hour of my time, but I'll probably get an extra week of work in this week because I drank crazy coffee."
Jeff: So we touched upon your childhood, going into music, and then some of the jobs you've had and coming to Death Wish and how your job from day one until now has changed, grown, and you've learned all these different things you never knew before, obviously. The question that we always ask, Brad, what fuels you to continue to put your time in at a job like this.
Brad T.: This has been kind of a weird thing for me to think about for the last few years of my life. But I think the thing that keeps me happy and keeps me motivated more than anything else I've found to be like a sense of community. More than any other thing because I've had periods in my life with a ton of community. When I was in college, I had friends everywhere. We lived in a small village of just a lot of people I loved. Then in the Skeletons days we were all really close to each other, having multiple practices a week.
Jeff: And we're brothers.
Brad T.: Yeah, I've found that basically whenever my sense of being a part of community starts to dwindle, whenever the people I love and enjoy being with become harder to interact with I start to lose motivation and I start to get depressed. It's harder to wake up in the morning and continue to want to do the best I can.
Brad T.: Since coming here, it's just been great because literally pretty much all of my best friends are here all the time. I get to work ... Eric Donovan, one of the coolest guys I've ever met in my life, is my boss.
Dustin: It's pretty rad.
Brad T.: It's pretty amazing. I get to work in a department with Dustin. I get to work through that wall from this guy. I don't know. The production crews great, the office crew is great. Just like everybody. I just feel like I'm on this team with everybody and they're not just my co-workers but a lot of them are my friends too. It's really easy to want to achieve things when you just get to see people you love all the time. Even when I'm having a hard day, I remember early when we were trying to integrate the system, you were trying to set up this whole thing at the same time. I remember being through the wall trying to set up a printer forever, and you were trying to set up part of this forever. Every time I would get super frustrated I just walk in here and you'd be like, "Yeah. Me too, man." We can just bond and then when my stuff started working Jeff was like, "Hooray!"
Dustin: We literally figured it out to the same time.
Brad T.: Yeah, pretty much.
Dustin: We ran out the door and high fived each other.
Brad T.: It was amazing. We were like, "We did it. We did it. It's been like a week of madness, but we figured out.
Dustin: Yeah. That's awesome.
Jeff: Right. It is a sense of community in Death Wish and we get that ... I've heard that a lot from the people who work here, and I feel the same way.
Jeff: Actually speaking out of community, I kind of wanted to talk about ... We talked about your love of music. We've talked about obviously what you do for a living because you work here, but everybody has stuff that they do when they're not working. One of the things I want to talk about is some of the stuff that you love to do and you've brought a sense of community actually to this work space without even thinking about it. You really have.
Brad T.: We both got it at the same time. It's funny.
Jeff: Because something you like to do is play games and one of those is Magic, right?
Brad T.: Love Magic The Gathering.
Dustin: It's crazy how much of a thing it is here now.
Jeff: It really is a thing.
Dustin: Where you literally you've actually carved out a corner of this warehouse and it is the designated magic area, which, I mean, a lot of the crew participates in it, which is really cool.
Jeff: How many people now participate in playing Magic now?
Brad T.: There are six of us. I believe there were seven before Joe left, but there were six of us. Because Brad, the other Brad, has been playing Magic for years and I have been playing Magic for years. Literally all it took was him getting hired and coming in on his third day and being like, "So when are we going to play Magic?" I was like ...
Jeff: Right now.
Brad T.: "I guess tomorrow on lunch bring some cards." We have a lot of video gamers in production, a lot of people who are into fantasy and games in general who were just immediately interested. Were like, "Oh, I've heard about this game but I don't really know much about it. Can you teach us?" I was like, "I'll figure that out." So I bought a bunch of cards and made a bunch of beginner decks to try and teach people and yeah, now we've got a crew.
Jeff: Not only do you have a crew, talk a little bit about this, you guys are going to start competing, correct?
Brad T.: Yeah.
Jeff: That's nuts.
Brad T.: Yeah. Brad used to compete a lot back in like 2012 I think he said but I've never been a competitive player.
Dustin: I was competing back in 2001.
Brad T.: Oh geez. Yeah. Back in the old days.
Dustin: We used to have to go to ...
Brad T.: Pre-meriden.
Dustin: Yeah. We used to have to go to Canada for tournaments.
Brad T.: Oh my God. That's amazing.
Brad T.: Yeah. I mean, I started playing when I was a kid and then stopped. Then I started playing some friends in college and then stopped and then started again. So it's always been like a casual kitchen table event for me. But Brad's pretty serious.
Brad T.: That was really all I needed to start building competitive decks, and now we go to a local tournaments, like local game nights at game stores, which are like small 20 person tournaments. But they have bigger regional tournaments and there's one in March in Worcester, Massachusetts that Brad and I are totally going to go attend
Jeff: That's excellent. We've got to figure out the exact way to do the logistics of it. Logistics.
Brad T.: Yay.
Jeff: But I want to get some footage of you guys playing on the road to this to actually a big time competition. If you guys don't know, we're going to start really going hard again on the video game aspect with Death Wish Coffee on Twitch, which is that whole community of people who do that. But they also do a lot with board games and Magic cards and that kind of stuff. So we're going to stream some live games you guys prepping for this and then maybe even follow you to some competition. I think it's great because like you said it with community and like yeah, this workspace has a real sense of community. Not only just the people who work here, but the people who enjoy Death Wish Coffee. The Death Wish Coffee community, at large, you feel like you're part of this bigger thing, but to see you kind of come on and then, like you said, the other Brad come in too, and we went from zero Magic card players to six with dreams of professional competition. I think that's pretty rad. It's a magical place to work.
Dustin: Who's the best Magic player here?
Brad T.: Brad.
Brad T.: Yeah.
Dustin: Are you talking about yourself in third person?
Brad T.: No. No. Brad's better than I am.
Brad T.: Brad's really good. Yeah.
Dustin: No shit?
Brad T.: Well, I mean we have very different skill sets when it comes to Magic because there are different styles and different preferred styles of play and of deck building, but I would say yeah, I think Brad's definitely a better player than I am.
Jeff: The other thing I want to ...
Dustin: I feel better about kicking his ass the other trip.
Brad T.: He's a really tight player.
Dustin: That's funny.
Jeff: The other thing I wanted to bring up that I know you enjoy because ... I like I said, we're all friends. Known each other for a while. You love to play Magic. You like video games. You love to read books. You're very well read. But it's been sitting on this table the whole time because it's your coffee cup. You love Rubik's cubes as well.
Dustin: Wait. Do you have one out on the table out there?
Brad T.: Yeah.
Dustin: Okay. I'll be right back.
Brad T.: You want to do it now?
Dustin: Yeah. It's going to happen.
Jeff: I mean, we can. I'm always fascinated by people who are drawn to that kind of thing. Famously Will Smith loves playing with those. There are people who ... We have a local guy who's like a Rubik's cube magician.
Brad T.: Yeah. He's awesome.
Jeff: He was on America's Got Talent, I think he was, right?
Brad T.: Yeah.
Jeff: What was his name?
Brad T.: Steve Brundidge.
Jeff: Steve Brundidge. That's great.
Brad T.: He's really ... He's not only awesome at solving a Rubik's cube, he's also awesome at general like slight of hand magic. He has figured out just the coolest way to combine those two. His act is really something.
Jeff: So I, like many people, have picked up a Rubik's cube before and immediately got bored with it because I don't understand it. Why did you do it? Why is it something that you like to do?
Brad T.: I like solving puzzles.
Dustin: I'm not even good at messing one of these up.
Jeff: That what I mean. It's like ...
Brad T.: Yeah, I like solving puzzles and I mess around with a Rubik's cube a little bit in college, but then I don't know, I think there was like a night when we found a Rubik's cube and Kane was over. I was hanging out with Kane and my girlfriend and a couple other people, and I was like, "Oh, I can do a how to almost solve a Rubik's cube class." I'd solve like most of it and I was like, "The ends really hard." Kane was like, "I bet you can't do it in 30 minutes." My girlfriend was like, "$20 says he can." I was like, "Oh God. The pressure is on." I had to sit down and just work through it. I think I got there in 26 minutes or something. I just made it, and I was like, "Holy crap. Why was I under that much pressure?" Then I started messing around with it and I started watching videos online and realizing that there are people who do it in like 5 seconds. I was like, "How do I get from 25 minutes to five seconds?" I just practiced a lot.
Jeff: it is one of those that if you practice ...
Dustin: How quick can you do it now?
Brad T.: I think my record is about 25 seconds.
Brad T.: I usually do around like 40-ish. 45.
Jeff: So is this cube that's in front of you that Dustin just messed up to the best of his ability.
Dustin: Which is not very good.
Jeff: You're saying you could do that. You could solve it in under a minute.
Brad T.: Yeah.
Jeff: Please indulge me.
Brad T.: All right.
Dustin: Make sure to do it over the table.
Brad T.: Don't try this at home.
Jeff: I love playing with them. I've actually looked online at tutorials and stuff like that and it just boggles my mind that it's ... People can be that good at it. Like you said, there are people who can do it in five seconds.
Dustin: There are some really weird ones too. I think Brad has just about all of them.
Jeff: Yeah. Brad's got a couple of crazy ones that are like a lot of squares deep.
Dustin: Yeah. It's pretty ridiculous.
Jeff: This is a pretty normal Rubik's cube.
Brad T.: This is just the standard.
Jeff: It's like a computer. It's crazy. Wow. That's it. It's done. It never ceases to amaze me. I know you can do it. I've seen you do it a million times.
Dustin: If we were to blast you in like 200 years ago into the past ...
Jeff: Oh yeah.
Dustin: And you had the Rubik's cube and solved it in front of ... They burn you at the stake.
Brad T.: Yeah, but, I mean, if we blast me 200 years in the past and I held up a cell phone, they'd probably burn me at the stake too.
Dustin: True, true.
Jeff: That's true.
Dustin: But that's technology. This is just a puzzle solving.
Brad T.: Yeah, yeah. It's smoke and mirrors, people. Smoke and mirrors.
Jeff: Before we get done here ...
Dustin: I've got two.
Jeff: Okay. I'm probably one of the ones I was going to throw out.
Dustin: I'm sure.
Dustin: How much coffee did you drink today?
Brad T.: Oh God. Well I actually I had to come in early today because we have a pretty strict policy on not letting people be in the warehouse alone operating machinery.
Jeff: That's a good policy.
Brad T.: It's great. No one gets hurt.
Dustin: Getting sucked into the machine. Oh no.
Brad T.: Yeah. One of our grinders, Adam, we had to get him in early to grind. So I came in at about quarter after 5:00 this morning to unlock the door and be here while Adam's working the grinder so that if anything goes wrong, there's someone else there. This is probably like my 7th cup.
Jeff: No, yeah. Nice. We have switched over to Valhalla though because he brewed up some for me too.
Dustin: Oh nice.
Brad T.: I wanted to have a little of Valhalla.
Jeff: You get in the point in the day where it's just like, "I've had four cups of Death Wish, I think I should maybe just tone it back a little."
Brad T.: Yeah. I had like six. It just became a concern about just the state of my stomach.
Brad T.: When you just ... Yeah.
Brad T.: Sleep deprivation, a lot of coffee. I don't put cream in my coffee or sugar or anything. It's just black, black, black. So a long day of that I just ...
Dustin: I don't mind black coffee. I like coffee black, especially when it's like I want to taste what the coffee crap tastes like.
Dustin: I don't mind adding some stuff in every now and then though.
Jeff: You do like your Death Proof.
Dustin: Yeah, that's pretty much as fancy as I get, but a little Stevia is always good. Just to like round out some of the better ...
Jeff: Shout out to Stevia.
Dustin: Yeah, right.
Jeff: You love that stuff
Dustin: I do. I'm just waiting for the day that like, "It causes cancer." I'm like, "Shit. Shit. Shit."
Jeff: You're all going to die.
Dustin: You're going to find out because I'm going to get it. That's how they're going to find out.
Brad T.: Yeah. Makes sense.
Dustin: Okay. Second question, which I'm sure was the question that you were going to ask, if you had to pick one, Brad, Death Wish or Valhalla Java?
Brad T.: That's a hard question, Dustin. In terms of just what I prefer to drink.
Brad T.: Valhalla Java.
Dustin: Oh, no shit.
Brad T.: Yeah. I like it a lot. I drink more Death Wish because we roast a lot more, and it's like it's impossible to walk through the warehouse without practically tripping over a bunch of Death Wish. So it's really easy to just grind up and make Death Wish and the caffeine's there and the flavors there. I love the stuff, but I have ... When I'm at home, like on the weekend or I have a day off and I just want to just drink coffee, I almost always make Valhalla.
Dustin: Oh. No shit.
Brad T.: Yeah.
Jeff: Do you like any other flavored coffees that we do or are you not a fan of flavored coffees?
Brad T.: I've never been a fan of flavored coffee.
Brad T.: So in general it's not ... It's just not my thing.
Dustin: Yeah. Yeah. It used to not be my thing because I know how they usually flavor things, which is awfully. But we do it right here so I don't mind it every now and then. I like the pumpkin spice but flavored coffees kind of get old me really quick where it's like you're not actually tasting pumpkin.
Brad T.: Yeah, I'm a weird guy I don't like flavored beers.
Dustin: Yeah. Flavored beers horrible.
Brad T.: I drink my whiskey straight.
Jeff: Yeah. I'm the same way. I mean, I think I've said this story before that, when I was younger and I started drinking coffee, it was cappuccinos because that's what my mom liked so I would drink ... Like literally go to the corner store and get it out of the bag that comes out of it that drips out of the machine like the most disgusting sugary, crap ever.
Brad T.: The gas station stuff?
Brad T.: It's not even cappuccino.
Dustin: It's stuff would make ...
Brad T.: It's powdered sugar.
Dustin: ... your mouth so sticky. Your lips would get sticky and your hands would get sticky.
Brad T.: Yep.
Jeff: But since I've I have grown up from that and now I drink ... I like black coffee. I'm the same way. I don't mind our flavored coffees or when they come out, I enjoyed ... Like when we get the new batch, I love like grinding up that first batch of beans and trying it out. But it's not the thing I'm going to grab for.
Jeff: But it's interesting that you say Valhalla. You're one of the very few if not the only one who said that on the on this show. I really can't think of another employee that ...
Jeff: That immediately went to Valhalla.
Brad T.: I just love the flavor. I love the flavor so much.
Dustin: It does have quite a depth of flavor.
Brad T.: Yeah. It's really delicious.
Dustin: It's a more of a variates blend.
Dustin: I like it's a little bit more bitter.
Brad T.: I never actually had it before I started working here either because it was just so easy to get Death Wish. I had stopped at Coffee Traders, get a cup a Death Wish, buy bags of Death Wish once in a while. Then when I came here ...
Dustin: What's your favorite way to brew it?
Brad T.: I don't really know. I found that I get the best Death Wish flavor at home. I have a hand grinder that Jeff gave me a while ago and I found just the right fine grind for an arrow press. I had been trying different things and I watched the video that you guys made about when the arrow pressed champion taught you how to do it.
Brad T.: With like the inverted method, use the suction to just keep it. I started doing that and I think my favorite cups of Death Wish specifically are when I make them that way. But really the Chemex is really growing on me.
Dustin: Yeah. Plus it's fun to do it.
Brad T.: Yeah, dude. The Brads' have recently acquired a Chemex that was left in the sink too long. So we washed it and decided it's ours. So we've been Chemexing and coffee for the last week or two non-stop. It's just delicious. It's really hard to make a bad cup of Chemex coffee.
Jeff: It is true. It is true.
Dustin: But you know what I like about brewing coffee is that it's so fickle. One type of coffee might be magical in a Chemex. But it also you might get a variety of coffee that might actually taste better and like drip, which is weird.
Jeff: It's true.
Dustin: For example, our Rumbaugh coffee, I almost put everything through Chemex because I feel like that is the best way to taste anything to see if there's any weird notes or whatnot. When we first made Rumbaugh in 2017 was the first time I got to try it. I Chemexed it and I wasn't impressed. I actually didn't like it at all. So when I went to my sisters and I brought the bag with me like, "Oh, you can have this." We threw it through her drip machine and it was like, "Holy shit. It's really good." It changed everything.
Dustin: Coffee is so fickle.
Dustin: Like down to that's why we even made that video of the arrow press because it was so weird to have two people both champion arrow presser's make coffee in front of me. Same coffee, same amount of grammage, and it just tasted like two different coffees. One of them was far superior. It's really strange and kind of magical. It's chemistry. Coffee is chemistry. I think that's my favorite thing about coffee, for sure.
Jeff: It's pretty rad.
Dustin: But my favorite thing about Brad is that you work with me.
Jeff: Yeah. Aw.
Dustin: All the time. All the time, man. I don't mean just here. I mean in the bands that we've played and the bands that we will play and the other companies that we either take over or destroy or whatever.
Jeff: All of them. All of them. Final question, when are we going to see Brad scientist back?
Brad T.: Well, that depends on a great many factors. When would you like to see the Brad scientist back?
Jeff: As soon as possible.
Brad T.: Perhaps the Brad scientist can explain the Rubik's cube a little better. Perhaps you have some ideas.
Jeff: I love it.
Brad T.: Pretty much whenever you want to call on the Brad scientist, he will be ready.
Jeff: Excellent. Well, it'll be more Brad scientists in the future. Brad, thank you so much for taking time to talk with us on the show.
Brad T.: Yeah. Thanks guys. This has been a really good.
Dustin: Yeah. Cheers, brother.