Monday, November 21, 2011

Mike Sanders - a Harlan Koch in the Inland Empire

Some time ago, I wrote a post in my Empoprise-BI business blog about people who have a passion for their job (or are, in my words, "insane"), and created a character called "Harlan Koch" as a combination of Kentucky Fried Chicken's Harlan Sanders (yeah, Kentucky Fried Chicken - it certainly wasn't called "KFC" when Colonel Sanders was part of the company) and the Boston Beer Company's Jim Koch (the guy who drinks Samuel Adams beer and touts it at every opportunity).

It turns out that the Inland Empire chapter of the Society for Technical Communication has a Harlan Koch of its own. Here's the story of Mike Sanders and espresso:

After a business trip to Italy in 1993, Mike got hooked on espresso. Not even knowing how to brew a cup of coffee at the time, he worked after hours for several months to develop a college-level coffee and espresso course and even wrote a small book on the subject. His proposed course included coffee history, its spread through the millennia and the world, its trade significance during the early years of our country, and the invention and proliferation of espresso.

Mike proposed his course to four colleges and universities in Southern California. After an on-site demonstration at UCLA Extension, it picked up the program. Mike taught his espresso class for two years through UCLA's Culinary Arts Program. He became a national authority on espresso and, in 1994, addressed the trade's national coffee convention at the Long Beach Conference Center (Specialty Coffee Association of America). He has also appeared on television debunking espresso myths.

I love this story. If Sanders had run into an "expert" in 1993, the expert would probably have told him that he was wasting his time. However, within a year he's speaking on the topic.

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