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I'm LOST!
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > I'm LOST!  
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MannaCafe
Senior Member


Joined: 7 Dec 2012
Posts: 3
Location: South Ga
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Dec 7, 2012, 7:57pm
Subject: I'm LOST!
 

Hey everyone! I'm a serious coffee lover and currently in the process of opening a restaurant. I'm building a coffee bar and want it be a focal point of what we do. Well, I have no experience other than my french press at home. Can anyone recommend equipment?

Thanks!
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 8,034
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Fri Dec 7, 2012, 8:24pm
Subject: Re: I'm LOST!
 

Hi and welcome to the board

Please don't take this the wrong way but as you know, you are seriously in the weeds!

More than equipment, in business,you need a partner with your equipment, you will need solid advice from a local business that knows the water and has the connections to get and maintain coffee gear, you will need fresh coffee, not something from the wholsaler down the block.

Get out the yellow pages and seriously search for a coffee equipment supplier near you. You need the support when, and it is WHEN the equipment breaks down, you can not afford to not have someone at your fingertips who knows how to work on your equipment and has a supply of parts.

There is no one special brand, oh sure, we can give you our favorite equipment and there are several I can think of but they might not be available near you. You are going to need water filtration equipment, regulators, grinders, knockboxes, tampers, bar towels, glasses, cups etc. The most important part of the gear is the
GRINDER and you are going to need several, at least two for your espresso setup and at least one if not two or three for drip, FP, bulk sales of coffee etc.

Like I said, we could give you names and models and you likely will get such advice from some members who have a good heart but no history of a business setup and what is need there. The best BEST advice is to link up with a professional supplier where you are.

Not only gear but you and your staff will need professional training, this is not something you can pick up overnight. There are classes out there and the ones aimed at business run from 3 days to a week costing $$$ per person. There are 4 pieces to the puzzle of great espresso, The bean, The grind, The machine and most important.... the HAND, or the skill of your operator(s)

To start your search of training a place to start is with  the Barista Guild of America. http://baristaguildofamerica.net/

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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NobbyR
Senior Member
NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 2,061
Location: Germany
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Poccino Opus One, Ariete
Grinder: Eureka Mignon Istantaneo
Vac Pot: N/A
Drip: Melitta Linea Unica de Luxe
Roaster: N/A
Posted Fri Dec 7, 2012, 8:28pm
Subject: Re: I'm LOST!
 

Welcome to CoffeeGeek!

This is like saying, "I love to cruise around. I have no driver's license yet. Can anyone recommend a vehicle?".

There are a lot questions to be answered:
  • What kind of coffee drinks to you want to offer, e.g. drip, espresso, espresso based milk drinks, decaf?
  • How many cups per day are you estimating to sell?
  • Who's going to operate the equipment? Are you planning to do it yourself or o you want to hire a barista?
  • Are patrons supposed to be able to enjoy a cup of coffee after meals or will they come to the coffee bar specifically to have coffee drinks?
  • Is there any local firm that offers coffee equipment and services it?
  • Where will you get your beans? For example, is there a micro roaster in town or anywhere nearby?
  • What's your budget for coffee equipment?
  • Are there any other coffee bars around? What do they offer? How are you planning to distinguish yourself from them?

Just for espresso you'll need all the stuff Wayne mentioned. But there are a plethora of different machines and grinders, for example, that serve different needs.

 
***
"This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee, when he was urged to ban the beverage)
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Stratocaster
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Apr 2011
Posts: 12
Location: Port Elizabrth South Africa
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Breville 900d
Grinder: San Marco
Vac Pot: No
Drip: No
Roaster: No
Posted Sat Dec 8, 2012, 1:27am
Subject: Re: I'm LOST!
 

Welcome aboard!

Looks like NobbyR and Callblacksmith have got it covered, as for what machine to use, In terms of excellence it's like a horse race, there are many manufacturers out there employing highly skilled and knowledegable design engineers and, sometimes, one manufacturer is ahead of the pack then another  but, whatever you do, don't get stuck with the only machine of one type in town, local support is important and you don't want downtime while waiting for parts. Cruise around town, take note of what make of new machines other guys are using. Just a few miscellaneous tips - 1/ buy a machine size suited to the scale of your operation, you don't want a 4 group power guzzler if you've only got half a dozen tables. 2/ If buying second hand find an experienced tech to give it a once over. As a rough guide to the vintage of a machine, later machines have a temperature control system called PID, earlier machines use a pressurestat. 3/ When getting installed make sure the installer includes a suitable filtration system for your quality of water considering the sediment size, chlorine content and TDS, this last one is important ! Calcium Carbonate is the arch enemy of espresso machines and can cost you Molto Dinero.

Good luck!

Franko
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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,475
Location: Berkeley, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -...
Grinder: Mahlkönig K30 Vario -...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: CCD, Chemex
Roaster: No, no, not another...
Posted Sat Dec 8, 2012, 10:24am
Subject: Re: I'm LOST!
 

First of all, welcome to CG . . .

Secondly, while you've been given some rock-solid information to date, let me throw in my 2˘ anyway.

MannaCafe Said:

I'm a serious coffee lover and currently in the process of opening a restaurant.

Posted December 7, 2012 link

Do you have any restaurant experience?  Do you have a business plan?  Does it go out five years?  How's your financing?  Are you prepared to lose money for the first year?  What are you looking at in terms of your food costs? (etc., etc., etc.)

MannaCafe Said:

I'm building a coffee bar and want it be a focal point of what we do. Well, I have no experience other than my french press at home. Can anyone recommend equipment?

Posted December 7, 2012 link

Do you have experience making other methods of coffee (besides press) outside of your home?  What sort of experience DO you have with making coffee outside your home?  

Are you opening up a café? an espresso bar? or are you opening up a restaurant that also serves coffee/espresso?  There is a BIG difference!

In terms of equipment, find out who in your area fixes/repairs equipment when it breaks down.  Talk with that company.  Find out what BRANDS of equipment they repair.  Find out what sort of service contract they offer.  Find out if they also sell or lease equipment.  

You can come here are ask what we (collectively) think of Brand X versus Brand Y . . . but whatever you get, you want -- first and foremost -- to make sure you can get it serviced!

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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NobbyR
Senior Member
NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 2,061
Location: Germany
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Poccino Opus One, Ariete
Grinder: Eureka Mignon Istantaneo
Vac Pot: N/A
Drip: Melitta Linea Unica de Luxe
Roaster: N/A
Posted Sun Dec 9, 2012, 9:31am
Subject: Re: I'm LOST!
 

JasonBrandtLewis Said:

... Do you have a business plan?  Does it go out five years?  How's your financing?  Are you prepared to lose money for the first year? ...

Posted December 8, 2012 link

This is very important. I think Jason has hit a sore spot with many business start-ups here!

 
***
"This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee, when he was urged to ban the beverage)
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MannaCafe
Senior Member


Joined: 7 Dec 2012
Posts: 3
Location: South Ga
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sun Dec 9, 2012, 1:55pm
Subject: Re: I'm LOST!
 

Ok, so my first post made me sound incompetent. I appreciate all the advice. I guess I need to clear a few things up. I am opening a restaurant with a coffee bar. I live in a small town where the best cup of coffee you can get is from McDonald's. I do have a business plan, and I do have financing. The renovation on my spot is actually almost complete and I am beginning to purchase all of my kitchen equipment, as well as stocking the coffee bar and getting that equipment. That's how I ended up here, searching for equipment and researching. I figured "what better of a place to ask for advice than a forum full of coffee experts. I know what I am looking for.. for the most part. I just have no clue as to who makes a great machine.

To answer a few of the questions mentioned:
- There is nobody locally that can service the equipment. Not at least for 50 miles. I understand that it will break down, but I am looking for something that is gonna hold up well.
- I have a few barista friends from out of town that have been trying to give me tips.
- I have coffee. There is a local shop a few hours away that roasts and distributes their own blends, and we have already spoken about me carrying their coffee.
- As far as what I want to offer: a few blends on drip, espresso, and espresso based milk drinks.
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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,475
Location: Berkeley, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -...
Grinder: Mahlkönig K30 Vario -...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: CCD, Chemex
Roaster: No, no, not another...
Posted Sun Dec 9, 2012, 2:34pm
Subject: Re: I'm LOST!
 

Matt, please don't take offense, but you still have left several issues unaddressed . . .

MannaCafe Said:

I know what I am looking for.. for the most part. I just have no clue as to who makes a great machine.

Posted December 9, 2012 link

It doesn't necessarily seem so.  If you've done any sort of research at all, you'd probably already realize the same manufacturer's names* come up again and again . . . this is why the specific BRAND isn't as important as what brand(s) you can get SERVICED.

MannaCafe Said:

- There is nobody locally that can service the equipment. Not at least for 50 miles. I understand that it will break down, but I am looking for something that is gonna hold up well.

Posted December 9, 2012 link

They will ALL "hold up well," and the fact that Mr. Repairman is 50 miles away is irrelevant -- what machines can he service? what machines does he recommend?

MannaCafe Said:

- As far as what I want to offer: a few blends on drip, espresso, and espresso based milk drinks.

Posted December 9, 2012 link

Still not enough information.  Let's start with espresso . . .
--->  What is your expected volume for espresso/espresso-based milk drinks?  (This will help to determine if you need a one-group, a two-, three- or perhaps even two 2-group machines!)
--->  Do you want a semi-automatic or volumetrically dosed machine?
--->  Do you want an HX machine, or a DB?
--->  In addition to "regular" and decaf, do you want to serve a "special" espresso (for example, a single-origin)?  You'll need a separate grinder for each espresso bean/blend, so that's three grinders.  (You can save space by getting a grinder like this, for example.)

There is more, but I'm limiting the focus to the major topics.

Let's move onto drip coffee . . .
--->  You wrote, "a few blends on drip."  Are you brewing by-the-cup to order?  If so, you'll need a steady source of the right temperature water, like (e.g.) this Bunn.
--->  Are you brewing by the pot?  You'll probably want to use air pots, rather than keeping the coffee on the burner.
--->  Depending upon the method of brewing you choose, you might want to look at a Mahlkönig Guatemala or even a couple of Mahlkönig Guatemala Lab grinders.

What about the coffee itself?  Do you want to get yourself locked into a contract with a specific roasting company, or do you want to rotate the roasters you use?

What about tea?

MannaCafe Said:

I have no experience other than my french press at home.

Posted December 7, 2012 link

And so . . . who is going to train you, let alone your staff, in how to make drinks?

There is LOTS to think about, and you haven't provided much information.  I hope this helps,at least a little.

Cheers,
Jason

* La Marzocco, Cynesso, Slayer, Elektra, Cimbali, Nuova Simonelli, La Spaziale, Faema, and on and on and on . . .

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,303
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4, Pharos,...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Sun Dec 9, 2012, 7:34pm
Subject: Re: I'm LOST!
 

maybe I'm naive, but it seems to me you've put the cart before the horse.  I mean, who even thinks of building a restaurant and then figuring out what equipment to put in it?  Let alone the fact that you want to serve something you haven't a clue how to make.  It's like saying, I'm going to open a (insert food style here) restaurant, then building it, and then go look to see how to cook it.  WTF?  I just don't get it.  What surprises me most, is the amount of help you've received.  There are a lot of great guys here...kudos to them!

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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NobbyR
Senior Member
NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 2,061
Location: Germany
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Poccino Opus One, Ariete
Grinder: Eureka Mignon Istantaneo
Vac Pot: N/A
Drip: Melitta Linea Unica de Luxe
Roaster: N/A
Posted Sun Dec 9, 2012, 9:20pm
Subject: Re: I'm LOST!
 

MannaCafe Said:

I am opening a restaurant with a coffee bar. I live in a small town where the best cup of coffee you can get is from McDonald's.

Posted December 9, 2012 link

So you're actually opening two places under one roof? A restaurant where people come to eat and maybe have a cup of coffee after meals, and a café where people come exclusively to drink coffee and maybe have a snack to go along? Are you planning to offer coffee to go?

MannaCafe Said:

There is nobody locally that can service the equipment. Not at least for 50 miles. I understand that it will break down, but I am looking for something that is gonna hold up well.

Posted December 9, 2012 link

With a high volume output something will eventually break up. In that case you'll need someone who's going to do the repair fast and on location, if possible, and who can provide a (temporary or permanent) replacement instantly, if needed. Otherwise your business will be at least partially stalled. You should contact any firm within 75 miles and see what brands they offer and service. Maybe you can even lease some of the equipment.

MannaCafe Said:

I have a few barista friends from out of town that have been trying to give me tips.

Posted December 9, 2012 link

Sorry, but where do those friends work? At St'*%buck's? Because any professional barista would probably have given you all the information you've received here so far. However, a few tips won't be enough to serve espresso drinks that are better than the the ones you can get at McDonald's. It takes quite some theoretical background as well as practical experience to brew good espresso. You should seriously consider taking a barista course and get some professional hands-on training, if you want to operate the espresso machine yourself. You also need to know how to maintain your equipment like backflushing your espresso machine twice a day.

MannaCafe Said:

I have coffee. There is a local shop a few hours away that roasts and distributes their own blends, and we have already spoken about me carrying their coffee.

Posted December 9, 2012 link

Have you tried their coffee beans? Do you and your friends (and maybe even some casual bystanders) like their blends? If you do and are serious about getting their coffee for your restaurant, you should try to make a contract with them for sponsorship, because using their beans and advertising that is like a sales promotion for this roaster. You could try to get them to supply (some of) your equipment. With industrial roasters like Illy this is quite common.

MannaCafe Said:

As far as what I want to offer: a few blends on drip, espresso, and espresso based milk drinks.

Posted December 9, 2012 link

First of all, you'll need a different grinder for each blend and also a different one each for espresso and drip. Depending on how many cups of espresso and espresso based drinks your estimating to sell, you'll need a different espresso machine.

 
***
"This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee, when he was urged to ban the beverage)
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