4/7/2016 Well, with our first month behind us, we are extremely excited! When we first started this adventure, we were definitely nervous about what type of reception we'd get, but all of the orders and positive feedback has really vindicated this jump! Based off our initial experiences and customer feedback, we are going to be implementing some changes going forward: Coffee Lineup: So the first major shakeup will be our offering of coffees. While everyone enjoyed all the flavors we offered, there were two flavors that stuck out as the clear favorites, and were the flavors customers ended up re-ordering the most; the 100% Kona and the 100% Mokka K-Cups. After a lot of analysis, we decided that by cutting the two less popular flavors, we could reduce costs which would allow us to lower the price on the coffees going forward! As far as the coffees go, the Kona will continue to be a medium roast so that it maintains its smooth and mild qualities, while the Mokka we will be roasting a little darker. The reasoning for this is we have been doing a lot of testing with different roasts, and the Mokka K-Cups give off a very unique and satisfying taste when roasted darker, and will allow us to diversify our current lineup (instead of offering two medium, mild coffees). We will of course monitor customers feedback and adjust accordingly. These coffee changes should be happening within a months time. Sales: We've also gotten some valuable feedback on our packaging. While we've gotten terrific feedback on our sturdy well designed boxes, we haven't had the best reviews regarding the lids of the K-Cups. We've heard that the similar brown colors made it hard to differentiate which flavor they were brewing, so we have designed some really cool new lids! Because of this big transition, as well as the discontinuance of our Yellow Caturra and DaKine flavors (the new Mokka will be similar characteristically to the DaKine now), we are going to be having a huge sale to move out our existing stock of Hawaiian K-Cup Coffees. All boxes of 30 are $25, and the Kona has already sold out. We expect more Kona K-Cups to be in within a few weeks. Website: Last but not least, our websites going to get a mini-makeover! While we've only had compliments on our sites simple design, we feel there is always room for improvement. The front page will offer more information on sales and important information, while the coffee page will be broken up into two seperate pages for the two coffees. The about us page will also be changed up to make it look more asthetically pleasing. Finally, your account pages will soon be even more user friendly and will become responsive so you can properly view them on your phones. I again want to say mahalo for an amazing first month, and I look forward to working with all of my customers for the continued future! Thanks for making our company a reality :)
The best web hosting options in 2016
2/22/2016 One of the biggest questions I’ve been asked as I began piecing together the website for my company is, “where do you host your website?” In an age where every second counts, and people being turned off by even small amounts of delay time in loading webpages, hosting has become a big concern for businesses! So, I decided to put up the findings of my search for the best company to host my website. I did a ton of research before I began hunting for a host provider. Some of the criteria that factored into my decision were the cost, support availability, server locations, downtime and perceived page loading times. While it’s definitely important to find an affordable service to protect the bottom line, it’s also important to understand that any downtime or slow load times could adversely affect sales. Another important factor was that I needed a VPS (or possibly a dedicated server) because I wanted to be able to control all aspects of my site, and was worried that shared hosting could put my site at risk of being attacked or having another user on the server use up all the resources, leaving my site sluggish and unresponsive. With these factors in mind, I put together a list of the top 3 web hosting companies based off my needs, and reviews I had found on them. Those companies were HostGator, RamNode, and Dream Host. I ordered a VPS from each company and installed my website on each to see how they’d perform under load and while being barraged through various tests I had created. Here is what I found:
1st Place: HostGator
HostGator was the eventual winner! Not only were their prices in-line with what I wanted to pay, but their support was responsive and helpful with everything I threw at them! Their servers were located in Houston, Texas, which I felt was a great location based on the fact that I planned on serving the whole United States. I purchased the “Snappy 1000” option for $49.95 a month, which is fully managed (meaning if you contact them, they will do anything you need done to your server, and maintain its security and updates). Some of the options included are 1 CPU core, 1GB of memory, 60GB of disk space, 1TB of bandwidth and 2 IP addresses (which are important if you plan on doing sales on your site and need an SSL certificate). The site under load performed beautifully, and I never experienced any slowdowns. What ultimately got my business was their support, and their ability to keep my site live at all times. It gave me more time to focus on sales and marketing, instead of fiddling with updates and keeping the site secure. I definitely recommend them. You can check out all they have to offer by visting https://www.hostgator.com.
Second Place: RamNode
This was a close second, and I almost chose them! Specs wise, they offered way more for the money, and had multiple locations around the country which was appealing. What steered me away from them was the fact that their VPS’s were unmanaged, which means that if something goes wrong, a virus gets installed, or updates come up, I have to deal with them! What a headache. However, the VPS I paid for was an OpenVZ SSD VPS with a 2 core CPU, 3GB of ram, 100GB of storage, 3.5GB of bandwidth and 1 IP address (with the option to buy more). All of this cost me $21 a month! At first, I said to myself, this is a no brainer! I’m getting way more bang for the buck. However, when I factored in the amount of time I might potentially need to spend keeping the server up to date, the more expensive HostGator VPS sounded more reasonable. However, in the future if I start getting way more traffic and sales, I may revisit this decision, because you definitely get way more resources for small amounts of money. The site again was flawless, and I ran into no sluggishness under load or during normal use. The only “hiccup” I ran into was installing the operating system via a console. With HostGator, I didn’t have to worry about getting things installed, but with RamNode, I did. Still, I got it up and running and was completely satisfied! If you know how to navigate a server and keep it up to date and whatnot, I definitely recommend them! You can check them out at http://www.ramnode.com.
Third Place: DreamHost
DreamHost came in last place, though all three companies performed incredibly well! The main reason they were not picked was because I did have 2 periods of downtime while using them. However, things do happen, and it could be that this was an unusual occurrence! The upside to their company is that they cost less than HostGator, offer managed VPSs (so you don’t have to deal with anything), and offer great specs for the money! I ordered the “enhanced” option, which they marked as most popular, which cost $29.99 a month, and offered 2 CPU cores, 60GB of storage, 2GB of RAM, 2TB of bandwidth, and 2 IP addresses. I had two days where my site went completely offline for around 5 minutes, at which point I was on the phone with their support staff getting it back online. Their reasoning was that there was some issues with the DNS of the site, and they got it corrected both times. Still, in a close race such as this, the smallest of hiccups can be the deciding factor. Other than the short downtimes, the site ran extremely well as was super fast! I got the fastest download times from DreamHost, which I was happy with. Despite my downtime, I still recommend them, and was happy with their support team and the way my site functioned on their VPS. You can check out their services at https://www.dreamhost.com/. I have been running on HostGator for 2 months now, and have been completely satisfied with how my site is functioning, and feel safe going into the future knowing they are there if things ever go south! Do you have any suggestions on a host? Comments? List them off below! Thanks for reading.
Love It Black Origin Story
2/10/2016 I love coffee. For most of my life, visits to Starbucks were one of the most important parts of my day. I don’t enjoy fancy drinks, sugar or cream, I like the raw taste of black coffee. Something about the raw taste of a well roasted black coffee fulfills and gives you energy to conquer the day. So, how did I turn this passion for coffee into a career? About a year ago, I embarked on an adventure to the Hawaiian isle as a break from the grind, where I visited Hawaii, Maui and Oahu. For a good part of the month, I soaked up the environment visiting all the amazing attractions, and seeing all the islands had to offer. One of the biggest discoveries I made was while on Maui. I happened upon a place called Mill House Roasting Company inside Maui's Tropical Plantation complex. It was a small roasting operation where they roasted a variety of locally grown beans, the Mokka and Yellow Caturra. A beautiful girl greeted me and encouraged me to smell a batch of coffee she had just got done roasting. I indulged her and was blown away with how incredible it smelled! I sat and had coffee with her and discussed her adventures on the island and her experiences as a full-time coffee roaster. Seeing how excited she got when she talked of her love for roasting and sharing coffee with people really struck a chord with me, and I made it a point for the remainder of my time on the island to go back there to have coffee. I fell in love with their coffee. My next stop was to the big island Hawaii. After my excellent experiences with Maui’s coffee offerings, I immediately set out for Kona to learn about and experience their famous coffee that I always heard about. It didn’t disappoint! I stumbled upon a location called Kuaiwi Farm where an assortment of awesome crops were produced (coffee, macadamia nuts and a few different fruits). It was on that property that I had my first sip of Kona coffee, and I was hooked! There was something about the smooth and balanced taste that just made me smile! And the smell, it was perfect! As I wandered back to into my hotel, I noticed a sign saying they had free complimentary Kona coffee. The hotel attendant handed me a small bag, and I hurried up the elevator to my room so I could brew up some more Kona coffee! When it finished, I poured a cup and began drinking. It was horrible! I thought to myself, “this can’t be the same coffee I had this morning?” I look down at the bag he gave me, and in small print there was a disclaimer stating that only 10% of the coffee inside was Kona. Of course. My trip was incredible, and I came back very happy and well rested. However, it didn’t take long for the “grind” to catch back up to me and for the long rainy days to take their toll. I started to miss Hawaii, and the coffees I had experienced there. I only have a Keurig at home, so I began searching for Mokka or Kona K-Cups. To my astonishment, the only 100% Hawaiian K-Cups I could find were Kona, and even then, they were insanely priced with bad reviews. I thought to myself, why can’t I find these incredible coffees anywhere else? It was at this moment that the memories of the plantation girl’s happiness sprung into my mind, and I decided I would bring the world the coffee it deserved! So, I set out looking for partners in the islands who would be able to supply me with the coffee to produce the K-Cups. After securing agreements, I went on to producing small batches of K-Cups to sell to friends and local markets. It gained traction and popularity, so I decided I needed to expand! I began developing this website, and started looking to ways to produce more K-Cups. Just recently, I have decided to launch a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to purchase higher volume equipment so I can meet the growing demand for our products! I’m very excited for the future, and for the opportunity to share the best coffees in the world with you! I encourage you to at least try our K-Cups, it will definitely be one of the best coffees you’ve ever had, and if you’re like me, you’ll be hooked! I’m looking forward to this journey, and I hope you follow along with us and share with your friends. Cheers!