When I launched A Table in the Corner of the Cafe nearly seven years ago—back in May of 2011—I had no idea it would become what it eventually became.
I started up the Table because I was leaving a job at a coffee shop to pursue a career in educational publishing, but I wanted to keep one foot in the specialty coffee world that I had come to love. At first, it was just a travelogue in a notebook; I visited shops wherever I went, grabbed business cards, taped them inside my journal, and wrote down my thoughts of the place. Then I started cutting the labels off of coffee bags and pasting those in the journal and writing down my thoughts of the coffee. That journal became a real mess, so I migrated everything to a WordPress blog—I was embracing the digital era.
Then I got laid off from my job; and I was suddenly spending every single day in my small apartment in Chicago with little to do. Instead of moping about, I started blogging in earnest.
I established my website as an online brand (getting a logo, an Instagram, and a Twitter specifically for the site); I started researching SEO, CSS, and HTML; I began forming professional relationships with folks within the coffee industry all over the world; and, before I knew it, I had established enough of a reputation and a following that companies started putting stock in my opinion and sent me their products to review—thousands of coffees from hundreds of roasters in about a dozen countries, in fact. I’ve even branched out into writing about beer, liquor, and cocktails. I even became something of a very minor niche market Internet celebrity, getting tapped to judge barista competitions, cup with roasters, help launch New Gotham Coffee Community, attend industry events, lead a roundtable at CoffeeCon, and write freelance for publications like Barista Magazine, Roast Magazine, and mental_floss.
And now, after seven years of owning and operating A Table in the Corner of the Cafe, I’m retiring.
I wish I could say that this was a really difficult decision to make, but it wasn’t. The past couple of years—last year, in particular—have been considerably taxing. When I was unemployed, I had nothing but free time to spend dialing in coffee, cupping it, staging the bags for photography, researching the coffee, writing the review, and promoting on social. When I got hired into a full-time role with the company I’m still working for, it became more of a struggle to find the time to do all of that properly and the quality suffered. Now I’m a father to a toddler, and am spending 2-3 hours per day in my car commuting to and from work, and 8-10 hours a day at my job… I really don’t have much free time to devote to running the Table anymore. And, considering how expensive it is to keep this site going, I just can’t justify keeping it in operation anymore. So when my current hosting plan expires on March 31, this site will be shut down. In the meantime, I am looking into exporting all of my content to a free blog, and might continue creating content there.
Even though this wasn’t a difficult decision to make, it’s still bittersweet to say goodbye. Thank you to all who’ve been followers of the blog, who’ve encouraged me, who’ve sent me your products, who’ve put enough stock in my opinion to seek it out, who’ve supported the blog financially, who’ve taught me, who’ve mentored me, who’ve given me a voice in this industry…
I’ll look forward to connecting with you all again further on down the road. Until then, feel free to push in your chair before we leave.
Andrew is a husband, father, dog lover, craft beverage enthusiast, content creator, and niche market Internet celebrity. Formerly of A Table in the Corner of the Cafe and The Pulitzer Project and contributor to Barista Magazine and Mental Floss, he’s been writing on the Internet for years.