In this episode of Around the Block in Annapolis we meet John Patnode, owner of Genjo Coffee, a unique Seattle style drive-thru experience in Annapolis. John has poured his heart and soul into his business, and GENJO Coffee is a nod to his hometown of Seattle, Washington.
How did you end up in Annapolis?
The story of how I came to Annapolis. Way back in the day, 1995, my wife and I met. Dated for about three years, she’s from Chicago, I’m from Seattle, we went our separate ways as young couples do. 20 years later I was single, I looked her up to see how she was doing, and she happened to be single too. So I flew out to Annapolis and she met me at BWY, and it was like no time had passed at all. So, we got back together, I moved out here with two suitcases, and now at 47 years old I have a two-year old and a four-year old. And a house, and a crazy trailer in an old parking lot.
Where did the name Genjo Coffee Come from?
Genjo is short for General’s Joe. I’m on General’s highway and Joe is coffee. That’s pretty much it, there’s no, nothing fancy about it, a lot of people that live here have never seen a drive-thru like this. It’s completely foreign, you know.
What makes your coffee special?
My coffee is fair-trade organic, from Chesapeake Bay Roasting Company, it’s local in Crofton, it’s high end coffee. So I use the best beans, from the best roaster in Annapolis. I cold brew it, which means, I don’t run it through a hot brew machine. I do small batch and let it steep for a few days, and it comes out very smooth. It doesn’t have the bitterness to it. And if you want a hot cup of coffee, all I have to do is shoot it under the steam wand to make it hot, hot coffee. It’s very smooth, it takes time, it’s not something that you rush.
How does your coffee compare to other cold brew coffees?
In comparison to some of the other cold brews, it’s still even less bitter because of the quality of bean that I use. No hiding the flavor, you just taste the coffee bean, the way it’s supposed to be.
Life, it’s so fast, one moment you think that everything, your whole life is surrounded by this one problem, and in a flash it’s gone. I’d like to say that, treat everyday like these are gonna be the good old days. Because I’ll be out in this parking lot for maybe a year, and then I’ll hire some people, I’ll maybe make another trailer, I’ll do this and that. And then I won’t be out here anymore and I’ll look back on these days where I was out here by myself and like puttin’ up the signs, you know? It’s a little emotional, yeah. I’ve put a lot of heart and soul into this, and if you do that with your business, you’re going to succeed. You’ve already succeeded.