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Surf's Up

by Amy Schmidt on

Q: What goes well with great coffee? 

A: Scones!

Yes.  That is certainly true.  And lucky for you, we often have scones available for the perfect brew and baked good pairing.

But, the answer we were looking for is Art.  Art goes really well with coffee.  At least we think so. 

Right now, if you stop in for a hot beverage, we think you’ll find that the coffee you hold in your hand is only enhanced by the photographs we’ve got hanging on our walls.  Depicting Lake Superior surfers, these seven photographs can be summed up in one word: Adventure.

Taken by a quartet of talented photographers, these pictures showcase the daredevil antics of the gnarly folks who surf the chilling waves of this lake we all love. 

Surfing this lake is no small feat.  Believe us, we’ve tried it before and all we’ve got to show for it was a bloody cheek and a bruised ego.  Because it’s really, really hard to surf Lake Superior. 

Not only do you have to brave the cold (and we mean really cold) water, but the waves, at least on the northern portion of the lake, are only big enough to surf during stormy weather.  Think snow storms, thunderstorms and gail force winds.  

“Hey, it’s storming out. What do you say we put on a wet suit and take a dip in the lake?”

Yeah.  Okay.

But these guys do it.  And they’re really, really good at it.  And we think that's super rad. 

The photos, taken by the equally adventurous Christian Dalbec, Paul Vincent, Ryan Taylor and Cory Genovese, capture the essence of adventure perfectly.

Which is partly why we like them so much.  Here at Fika Coffee, we love adventure.  We love it so much we made it part of our tagline: Coffee.Community.Adventure

Those three words are our nutshell.  Coffee, of course, is an obvious descriptor.  We roast coffee.  We serve coffee.  We drink coffee.  And we pretty much think that coffee is the catalyst for good things.  

As far as community goes, we’ve blogged quite a bit about it already so we won't bore you.  But, you know, we love people.  And communities are comprised of people.  Therefore, we are committed to community.  

But adventure.  What exactly do we mean by that?  Let's take another quiz, shall we?  

Q: What does adventure have to do with Fika Coffee?

A: Fika Coffee was pretty much founded on the elements of adventure.  As far as we’re concerned, adventure is comprised of three elements: Risk-taking, the Unknown and Vulnerability.  

If it's not risky, if the outcome was entirely predictable, and if you didn't feel even a little bit exposed, than whatever it is probably isn't very adventurous.  

Since it's very inception, Fika Coffee could be classified as an adventure.  So that we don't bore you with every, behind-the-scenes detail of business, we'll just keep to the basics.

When we invested in our roaster, that magnificent machine that turns green beans into beautiful, caramel colored gems, the sense of adventure could not have been more acute.  It was a huge risk to purchase it, if for no other reason than the price tag attached to it.  We won't tell you how much it cost but we will tell you that we could have bought A LOT of cups of coffee for the money.  

But then, we'd just be coffee drinkers.  And we wanted to be coffee roasters.  So we took the risk and bought it, the unknowns looming like a Lake Superior thunder head on the horizon.  Would it be worth it?  Could we roast stellar coffee?  Could we actually pull of this dream of ours?  Frightening unknowns, all of them.  

Meanwhile, we felt about as vulnerable as a naked bungee jumper.  Yes, we felt that vulnerable.  

Was it worth it?  YES!  We're roasting coffee on the North Shore of Lake Superior.  And we're doing it from our own cafe.  And now we've got pictures of super gnarly surfers on our walls.  We've arrived.

But the adventure isn't over.  Every time a pallet of green beans arrives at our door, that sense of adventure creeps in and we get all nervous and giddy at the same time.  It's totally addicting.  We love adventure. 

And so do the surfers rockin' the waves on our wall.  If there were ever a textbook definition of adventure, Lake Superior surfing would be it.  Risk, unknowns, vulnerability: it has it all in abundance.  

But let us not forget the adventurous spirit of the photographers themselves.  Many of them are surfers too but, whether they've braved a wave themselves or not, capturing these photos required a level of bravery we don't know if we've got.  Remember that superior surfing only happens when Superior is super tempestuous.  These guys, armed with expensive equipment, perch precariously from icy rocks in gale force winds.  Freezing rain pelts them from every direction.  Their fingers go numb with cold.  

But adventure is like that sometimes.  And we have a hunch they wouldn't change it for anything.

And we wouldn't change it for anything either.  The adventure of Fika Coffee or the cool photos on our wall.  If you're in town, we'd love to have you stop in.  Snag yourself a coffee and take a minute to marvel at all the adventure happening here.  And, if you've got time, regale us with a tale of your most recent adventure, whether it's as "big" as a Lake Superior wave or as "small" as your drive down the shore with four over-tired and hungry kids in the back seats.  

Because life is an adventure best done with coffee.  


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