Interview with Cat & Cloud’s Jared Truby and Chris Baca
We sent a bunch of questions to Cat & Cloud and all we got back was this freakin’ hilarious interview.
Testing, Testing 1, 2, 3…
Jared: This is a recording … This is a recording of an audio file. Maybe that’s just who life is, Chris. It’s a crooked vision.
A lot of neutrons telling each other a story, that’s who we are. Neurons. Neurons. Neurons, morons.
The Human Torch was denied a bank loan.
The cat jumped out of the hat to have a cat-nap.
Chris: All right, hello everybody welcome to the Cat and Cloud Coffee Podcast. We’re kicking things off with a little bit of a special edition. We have eight, right?
Jared: Eight questions.
Chris: Questions from the Unpacking Coffee crew.
Chris: Ocho. That’s a different language for all you Americans out there.
Jared: I just got done with a run. I just got done with a run.
Chris: Check out the sock, dude.
Jared: These are Adidas, from my dad. So …
Chris: Tim said, “Tim Junior, I want you take these Adidas…”
Jared: He’s all, “These are hand-me-downs, they never fit me.”
Jared: I’m five, three …
Chris: Are those size thirteen’s?
Jared: Dude, no!
Chris: They are so big!
Jared: They’ve got some huge holes in them.
Chris: They’re super-huge!
Jared: To help my stretching right now, this is about all I got, right here, from the run. These are my white mahones. You’re welcome!
Chris: Let’s get into these questions!
Jared: All right! For the Unpacking Coffee crew … That’s you, out there in America, and from our crew in Podcast Land, hello! My name is Jared Truby, and I am a co-owner, along with my friend, Chris Baca, and Charles Jack, who’s not with us, at Cat and Cloud Coffee. Chris…
How did you get in coffee, and why?
Chris: Oh man, I drank coffee forever. My first coffee job was a local coffee shop down the street from the house where I grew up in. I had hurt my back really bad I had back surgery when I was 21.
I was working at a skate shop at the time and I didn’t want to go back to work at the skate shop when I could work again because it was super depressing for me.
My friend Matt was like: “Hey, why don’t you come down to the coffee shop? You hang out there all the time anyway, you drink a lot of coffee, let’s get you a job.”
So I did and then it was over. Done.
Chris: Boom! Got right into that espresso porto filter and I extracted it.
Jared: Full of filters.
Chris: 58% extraction. Is that even possible?
Jared: My dad loved coffee and my grandparents used to drink it and I liked the smell and then I got back from college and I decided to stop going to private college on scholarship and move back to Chico, California.
Chris: Scholarship, baby! Make that money.
Jared: I never finished. So, I came home and I had nothing to do so I worked at a coffee shop that my dad opened. He was trained by Dillanos, I believe, back in the day.
Chris: The big D.
Jared: Yeah! I didn’t know is that was a coffee at the time. He told me far later and I was “Oh yeah, I heard of them.” So, I started making coffee with my dad and then, the rest is history. Just really love the beans. Kenya-Double-A.
Jared: Because my friend Jared Linzimmer worked there for a little while, and Layla Jimbaries …
Chris: I visited their restaurant one time; it’s huge! It was huge!
Jared: A couple one-baggers, a couple two-baggers …
Chris: Dude, two-baggers.
Jared: So I started making coffee with my dad, and then … The rest is history. I just really loved the beans. Kenya Double-A.
Chris: End game. A A. Someone asked us that yesterday” What grade is the Kenyan?
Jared: “The right grade” is always the answer.
Chris: Fucking A+, dude.
How did Cat and Cloud get its start?
Chris: How did Cat and Cloud get its start? Well, there’s frigging … We really like coffee, and nobody else fuckin’ makes good coffee, so we’re like, “We’re going to be the only good coffee company out there!”
Jared: Cat and Cloud. How did it start? It’s always been alive, man!
Chris: It’s always been there, bro! Right in front of you!
Jared: Cat and Cloud …
Chris: Cat and Cloud …
Jared: It’s us and Chuck! We’re three human beings! Ever since 1980, ’79, Cat and Cloud has been alive.
Chris: I think Cat and Cloud has actually been around since 2010 … 2010 was when Jared and I started writing a blog together. We started working together around that time, and we always had really interesting ideas about how things should be done, and really passionate about the way we wanted things to be, and how they could be … That was the friggin’ … That was the beginning.
Chris: Then, roll in Chuck in 2013; we all met and all kind of dispersed into the wind, but always had an idea to do something together, and then, a couple years ago, we were like, “Dude, we’re going to lock this thing down!”
Jared: Yeah, we had watched a lot of companies do a good job, but we always felt like we wanted to improve upon the things we’d seen, and do things differently, and we had to do it ourselves. It was finally time!
Chris: Yeah, so we just Googled on YouTube “how to start a coffee roaster” and there was a tutorial for it …
Jared: Uh-huh (affirmative).
Chris: We just started a company!
Jared: Yeah. It seems like a lot of people are doing that these days.
Chris: Yeah, “How-to’s” are where it’s at, I’ll tell you.
What is the Cat and Cloud taste?
Chris: Dude, to know tastes, first you’ve got to understand “crumpet.”
Jared: If you want to understand “crumpet,” you’ve got to know “cricket.”
Jared: Talk to Casey Jones and the original Ninja Turtles in Manhattan. Raphael was the first to know.
Chris: Pizza Dude’s got thirty seconds.
Jared: Our tastes for us … Here’s the thing about coffee: Everybody’s got their palates, and they never line up unless you’ve worked together for a number of years. What Chris and I would probably say is, we love coffee that’s very sweet, which is true …
Jared: We love coffee that has a great finish, which is also true …
Jared: And we like complexity, and our coffees tend to actually be a little bit fruity and juicy; however, you could go and taste these alongside somebody else from another company, and who knows if they would one hundred percent agree with us, so…
We’re like, taste is subjective, and we keep lining up with ourselves and a select few people, so we should probably start our own company, so we can always agree on stuff, instead of trying to pretend we agree with other people, when we don’t.
Chris: That sounds great! Kick buns!
Jared: Kick it!
Tell us about the new café!
Chris: Dude, the café has got six doors, lots of windows, a roaster …
Jared: Thirteen employees …
Chris: Thirteen employees … Our café is sick! It’s …
Jared: C’mon down!
Chris: It’s a tiny little space; we’re about a block from the beach, a couple blocks from the beach …
Jared: Very light!
Chris: It’s a really open place; there’s a lot of sunlight, and it’s a very friendly place. It’s a place where anybody can go and feel welcome.
Our goal in the café, we say, “If someone leaves happier than when they came in, we’ve done our job!” That extends to people who are getting coffee; maybe you’re getting tea; maybe you just come in off the street, and want a glass of water; maybe if you’re lost in Santa Cruz, and you’re like, “Dude! How do I find the water?” “Well, dude, just go that way over there …”
Jared: It’s right over there …
Chris: “Man, you guys are real nice! That’s cool!”
Jared: Yeah. It’s just down the street. Pop on out to the old Pleasure Point and grab yourself a nice wave!
Chris: Yeah, we do coffee drinks; we do our coffee by the cup through an espresso machine, which is a little bit interesting … Espresso is really banging …
Jared: Yeah, we’ve only been open for four months …
Chris: We do toast …
Jared: Yeah, we do a little bit of toast. We have a prosciutto-pesto toast that people seem to like. We do ricotta jam toast, with some really nice jams, olive oils, and cracked papellae, that’s pepper … We do an avocado toast like everybody else in the world, but guess what? It’s delicious!
Jared: Honestly, the whole point of our company is to make sure that we can make operating the business as easy as possible for our staff, while maintaining really high standards, and making things taste and feel really good. Geeking out on coffee is not what you might find at our café; even though you might think of us as coffee geeks, we’re not. Actually, we’re very passionate about it, but that’s not our experience.
Chris: Then, every third Thursday of the month, we slap the base!
Jared: Yes, and every fourth Thursday of the month, we do a nice barbecue popup.
Chris: A taco.
Jared: Yeah, which is very fun, it’s a community night.
Chris: That’s no B.S.
Jared: Uh-huh, Bubba brings down the old popup, and we just crush ourselves out a seventy-hour-brine.
Chris: I keep looking over there because my cat is freaking out … We’ll have to check it out later. Anyway …
Jared: His cat might jump in a box …
Chris: Get in there, Max!
Jared: It’s his cat in a box!
Chris: It’s my cat in the box, baby …
Talk about transparency as a business, and what does it mean?
Chris: Well, one thing we just did, at our most recent staff meeting, is we showed them our entire financials, literally … As far as where we started, how much money we have, how much money we’ve made, exactly where it went, including every single department, and broke it down … That was one thing we do as far as transparency in business.
The other part is, we have a transparent structure, as far as ability to grow, and that ability to grow is shared within the teams, so they know that when they’re hired, this is where we can go, based on them showing up and doing a good job. And, if they don’t, we stay where we’re at.
We have profit-sharing, where we share ten percent of the bottom line profits, so they saw those profits in the PNL that we showed them. They know exactly how much they’re going to be making, because we show them ten percent of that, and then we split that amongst their hours, so they know that’s happening.
We do four weeks’ accrual of paid time off for anybody who works full-time in our cafés. We do medical stipends for people who get their own medical benefits or we jump them on our plan. And, we can help them with that as well as they get medical through our company.
That is the transparency of our company. This is Max Baca; he is our other company mascot. So this is Cat and Cat and Cloud … Honestly, that’s the transparency of our company. The other thing is that Chris and Charles and I are always available, and we are not going to bring people in … We’re blowing smoke up anybody’s corn hole, if you will .
Chris: We’re not going to sit here and blow sunshine up your ass.
Jared: Yeah, it’s just not worth it, so we’re going to be pretty honest with them …
Chris: Because that’s hot buns …
Jared: To the point where we plan on sharing everything, and it’s honestly … We want to get to the point where we’re going to share everything with the entire world of coffee in a few years … If all goes well.
Chris: It’s a whole new world …
Jared: It’s just where we’ll be …
Chris: A new fantastic point of view … No one to tell us no, or where to go …
Jared: That’s when we start to go … Last question! Last question for the unpacking coffee crew, and then we’re going to move on to some questions of our own …
What are we doing at the La Marzocco Residency, and what is unique about our service there?
Jared:Let’s start with our coffee! It’s unique because it’s ours!
Jared: What’s unique, I think, for up there is the by-the cup, especially!
Chris: Yeah, by-the-cup via the espresso machine up there; it’s the Linea PB ABR machine that we’re doing by-the cup; we’ve got the strada for espresso … That is probably the most unique thing about our beverage menu …
Jared: And bullet-proof coffee!
Chris: We’ve got the bullet-proof going on; we’ve got the creamy beige … If you want a frozen coffee milkshake that’s sweet and creamy, you get the beige.
Jared: Get that beige!
Chris: Get the beige! We’ve got our …
Jared: I’m not sure if anybody’s done a milkshake out there yet; I’m sure they have.
Chris: Someone’s done it.
Jared: They have to have, right?
Chris: I made two, I think, when I was there …
Chris: Two. I don’t know, it’s cold, so I don’t know why …
Jared: It’s just on our menu, man!
Chris: You just want to try it out. We did a live podcast from there, you know? That’s what we’re doing … We’re just friggin’ showing up …
Jared: To blow up!
Chris: Show up to blow up! That’s what we’re doing, dropping hammers, all right?
Jared: Dropping hammels …
Chris: Dropping hammels … Really, that’s part of the service, and another unique part of the service is, we just want to engage all the customers when we’re there.
Chris: Yeah, just trying to make a five-thousand-square-foot place feel a little smaller … Just passing around smiles … Smiles are free! Handshakes are free! High-fives … Five cents per … But the first one is free!
Jared: The first one is free. We also send two of our employees, who have only been working in coffee for three-and-a-half months …
Chris: New baristas!
Jared: Each! I think that we are the first company to just send normal employees up; typically, I think every other company has sent the owners, or the trainers …
Chris: Jimmy is superstar to send.
Jared: Yeah, we only have superstars at Cat and Cloud.
Chris: But the cool ones!
Jared: Any of our people would be cool, Chris!
Chris: But the one on the blog …
Jared: Oh, no, no, no, they’re all going to be on the blog … That’s not true. They won’t all be on the blog, they don’t want to, but you know what else? Thanks for having us on the unstoppable, Unpacked Coffea Arabica Podcast.
Chris: They unpack coffee so you don’t have to.