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Powered By: The NinjaGoat “Stack”

A partial list of the products and services we use to run our business. In time, we’ll offer some specific how-to’s for each of these. For now, this is my “bus list.”

Online Store Management

  • WordPress and WooCommerce hosted by WPEngine
  • DNS and SSL provided by CloudFlare
  • Affiliate Management by Referral Candy and WPAffiliates
  • Stand-alone and embedded Facebook store by Shopify

Inventory Management

Financial Management

  • Online credit card processing by Stripe and PayPal
  • Offline credit card processing by Square
  • Bookkeeping by Bench.co (creators of one of the best on-boarding experiences I’ve ever seen. Seriously, try them.)
  • Payroll by Gusto

Professional Services

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Oh, Canada!

At least twice a week, someone writes in to ask, “how can I get fatCoffee in Canada! We love butter coffee!”

And the short answer is: you can order some here, and pay a rather exorbitant shipping cost. Also, Canadian customs might demand a fairly heavy tariff when your box is imported. But there are some other options:

You can order a whole case, and split it with friends/keep it for yourself/sell it to other butter coffee aficionados. If that’s interesting to you, inquire here about getting a wholesale account.

There are also some options for international shipping that we have outlined here.

Why Can’t We Just Distribute fatCoffee in Canada?

The answer is somewhat complex, but can be simplified as: because we use real ingredients, and not artificial crap, to make fatCoffee.

Specifically, 100% grass-fed butter. And because of that, fatCoffee is categorized as a “butter product”, which means it’s subject to an import quota in Canada (hey, who knew?) And this year (2016), at least, that quota has been filled. Which means that if we tried to export fatCoffee from the U.S. into Canada, we’d have to pay a 300% import tariff. And we’d have to pass the savings on to you :).

So What Are We Going to Do About It?

Other than the alternatives we’ve listed above, there’s not a lot we can do about it. We can apply for an exemption from Canadian Customs, which we’re doing, but which will take a few months to work through. And we can try next year, when the quota “resets.”

So, What Aren’t We Going to Do About It?

First and foremost, we’re not going to change what we put into fatCoffee. Other butter-coffee-product manufacturers use all sorts of funky ingredients, so that you’d have to take their use of term “butter” rather lightly. Sort of like “collector’s edition comics” or “natural flavors.”

Also, regardless of the dire state of our political life here in America, we don’t currently have plans to move to Canada. Yet.

What Can YOU Do About It?

If you know of a local coffee shop, food co-op, grocery store or wholesale distributor in Canada who would like to purchase and resell fatCoffee, put them in touch with us! And in the meantime, gather up some friends and order some fatCoffee for everyone!

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What’s Old is New Again

Previously, I’ve talked about some of the ways we were investing in Ninja Goat, to try and improve our working environment, make fatCoffee even better, and keep up with soaring demand.

While we have some good things in the works – a better kitchen in the city, where most of our team lives, new packing machinery steaming its way towards a nearby port – we also made some fantastic mistakes.

I was personally really proud of how these packets came out. The look of them was far more in keeping with what I thought made for a better first impression.

Unfortunately, as is often the case with first impressions, these new packets failed to live up to the hype. They were difficult to open when we tried to open them, which slowed down our production. They’re actually slightly smaller on the inside, and only hold about 90% of what our previous packets did. The material is thicker, so they tended to squeeze shut during sealing, resulting in poor seals and spills.

Oh, and they’re a pain to open when you need to actually get the fatCoffee out.

So, yeah: a big disappointment.

But as I often say: there is no failure, only data!

And luckily, we’ve been able to quickly switch back to our old packets. But I was never happy with the look of those – we have been hand-stamping each packet with a rubber stamp and quick drying ink. When we were making 500 or 1000 servings at a time this wasn’t too big a deal. But sit down to stamp 10,000 packets, and you quickly start looking for a better way.

And, luckily, we found it:

Stickering each pouch is still time consuming, and only a stop-gap until we get our packing machine and outfit it with pre-printed packing material, but I’m pretty happy with how these look:

And I have it on good authority that using sticker-dispensing machine to peel off stickers one at a time can be incredibly satisfying, even meditative.

And Another Thing

You may have noticed: IT’S FALLLLLL!!!!!

(At least, here in the northern hemisphere, it’s Fall. And it Pennsylvania, it’s “Fall”. I’m told that others refer to this season as “Autumn”.)

But regardless of what you call it, I think we can all agree: it’s my favorite season of the year. (See what I did there? You literally can’t disagree, because it’s my opinion.)

If you are of a mind to enjoy the “official” flavors of the season, let me humbly suggest our Pumpkin Spice and Mocha Orange fatCoffee flavors. Unlike other folks’ seasonal flavors, our’s get their aroma and taste from actual spices and oils (never extracts, “natural flavorings” or other weird stuff.) In the case of Pumpkin Spice, we use ground organic cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and all spice. Our Mocha Orange uses cold-pressed organic orange oil.

 

 

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What is Highly Branched Cyclic Dextrin and Why the Heck Would You Put it In Your Coffee?

A yellow plastic tub of butter substitute labeled You'd Think it Was Butter.

When I was first formulating the original mixture of fatCoffee, I ran headlong into a pretty thorny problem: how could I make sure you get the experience out fatCoffee that I really want to provide? It’s no small challange; what works on a small scale in your kitchen at home changes completely when you start to make hundreds or thousands of servings, and it wasn’t long before I started to get an appreciation for the complexity involved.

In a nutshell, here’s the biggest challenge with making fatCoffee a portable, easy-to-use way to make butter coffee: things separate.

And it’s all coconut oil’s fault.

Right around room temperature (70-80 degrees Faranheit), coconut oil is solid. Just above, it turns into a clear liquid (particularly the very high-quality, cold-pressed coconut oil I use). In the colder months, this isn’t really a problem – from the kitchen where I make fatCoffee all the way to the UPS truck that brings it to your house, temperatures are cold enough that the coconut oil remains fairly solid.

But summer is a different story.

Mind you, sealed in their airtight, impact-proof, nearly-indestructible packets, fatCoffee’s ingredients are shelf-stable and will stay delicious and fresh for up to a year.

But the powdered goats’ milk, vanilla bean and cocoa powder (the dry ingredients), don’t dissolve until they’re mixed into your coffee or tea. Inside the packets, there’s no water – that’s why everything stays fresh and stable – but it also means that the dry ingredients can settle out to the bottom of the packet whenever that coconut oil gets soft.

And there’s a simple solution to this problem: mash it up, folks! Just squeeze and mash that packet around before you open it. Don’t worry: it won’t break open (you’d need to stomp on it hard before that seal will break. Trust me, I’ve tried.)

And, as you might expect in these modern times, there’s another “solution”: Highly Branched Cyclic Dextrin.

Highly Branched Cyclic Dextrin is, among other things, a powder. It’s particularly good at encapsulating oils, and so it’s used to make such magnificent things such as powdered butter.

Powdered. Butter.

If that isn’t a tragedy in the making, I don’t know what is.

If you have something oily, and you want to make it powdery, you’d add this ingredient. If I were to add it to fatCoffee, instead of a liquid or a paste, fatCoffee would be a sort of crumbly, squishy, clumpy powder. Kind of like what you want butter and flour to be like when you’re making a pie crust. (Not a Paleo pie crust, of course.)

But what IS IT, exactly? Well, let’s hit the Wikipedia and see:

Highly branched cyclic dextrin is a dextrin produced from enzymatic breaking of the amylopectin in clusters and using branching enzyme to form large cyclic chains. (Emphasis added.)

That’s pretty clear, right?

Dig a little deeper, and the keyword there is amylopectin. Along with amylose, this is one of the two components of  starch.

Food starch. Which is made of up of glucose, a type of sugar. Highly Branched Cyclic Dextrin is a form of modified food starch.

Now generally speaking, I don’t have anything against chemistry. And I don’t particularly have an issue with people trying to find the best, healthiest, most flexible uses for all kinds of food. But if you’re going to use modified food starch in your butter coffee, why wouldn’t you just call it “modified food starch?”

Because “Highly Branched Cyclic Dextrin” sounds cooler? More modern? More…. sciencey?

Or maybe because “modified food starch” shares the same genesis as Maltodextrin, a:

…white hygroscopic spray-dried powder… that is easily digestible, being absorbed as rapidly as glucose… commonly used for the production of soft drinks and candy. It can also be found as an ingredient in a variety of other processed foods. (Emphasis added).

High Branched Cylic Dextrin is commonly sold as a weight gain supplement for body builders, with names like “Super Carb” and “Sports Fuel”, and is touted as a “next generation simple carbohydrate.”

So, sugar. In your butter coffee. In the form of an ingredient which is “absorbed as rapidly as glucose.”

If you’re Keto, Paleo, HFLC or otherwise trying to just eliminate processed sugars from your diet, this is taking you in absolutely the wrong direction. And because fatCoffee is supposed to be functional and supportive (and not just delicious and convenient), it’s an ingredient that we will never, ever use.

So… What’s in your butter coffee?

Ready to try fatCoffee?

Just a Taste $10
4 packs
Vanilla
Mocha
Pumpkin Spice
Milk-Free
Just $2.50 S&H
 
 
Full Release $20
8 packs
Vanilla
Mocha
Pumpkin Spice
Milk-Free
Just $2.50 S&H