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Espresso: Questions and Answers
Newbie here, maybe same questions that have been asked before but...
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aneaccount
Senior Member


Joined: 10 Mar 2013
Posts: 4
Location: Washington State
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sun Mar 10, 2013, 7:35pm
Subject: Newbie here, maybe same questions that have been asked before but...
 

Hi Everyone,
New to coffeegeek and also to the espresso business.
Background: I have a piece of property with a building on it and am working on it to cute it up and put a espresso business on it- drive thru to start and sit down after a bit. Property is on a state highway with app. 25k car count daily.
So.. from reading posts for the last few days I have a pretty good idea of what equipment I will need to get, just seems like there is so much out there as far as makes/models and price.

So I am gathering info on stuff I will need knowing that I will upgrade as business generates cash flow.
Please let me know your thoughts on what I can 'go minimum' with and expand later, as well as what I should splurge on.
As an example: do I really need a two door 4' wide under counter refridge when a one door smaller one under the espresso machine will work just fine as long as I have a larger full size refridge/freezer to restock?

As far as grinders, there are some for sale on this site that would appear to work, so why would I buy a $2k one?

Also, I will be the owner and the garbage boy/cleaner more than a barista! There are people out there that are more personable than I and would make better baristas.
Thanks a lot for your input!
Steve
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frcn
Senior Member
frcn
Joined: 23 Dec 2001
Posts: 3,453
Location: Northern California
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Vibiemme Domobar Double
Grinder: Mazzer Kony, Baratza...
Vac Pot: Hario, 2 Cory pots, 1 Cory...
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Bunn A10 mod...
Roaster: computer controlled Hottop,...
Posted Sun Mar 10, 2013, 8:31pm
Subject: Re: Newbie here, with probably the same questions that have been asked before ..
 

Very much not the same questions that have been asked here (much) and certainly the stuff from which financial disasters are made. I highkly suggest you hire a professional business planner who is familiar with the coffee business. Additionally, look into local equipment suppliers and maintenance companies (preferably one in the same) as well as commercial roasteries.

 
Visit My Website
www.EspressoMyEspresso.com
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,305
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 Mon Mar 11, 2013, 12:48pm
Subject: Re: Newbie here, with probably some questions that have been asked before but...
 

aneaccount Said:

Hi Everyone,

New to coffeegeek

Posted March 10, 2013 link

Hi, and welcome to CG!

aneaccount Said:

...and also to the espresso business.
Background: I have a piece of property with a building on it and am working on it to cute it up and put a espresso business on it-

Posted March 10, 2013 link

Don't mean to sound like an ass, but this reads to me...I have no idea how to make espresso, nor how to run a cafe, but want to learn how.  I assume, you're expecting this to make a lot of money.  I wouldn't count on it.  As Randy said, you should seriously consider hiring a business consultant.  Not that we're averse to trying to help you, but we're (for the most part) a bunch of amateurs here.  My main motivation to help you, is that I would much rather see good espresso houses pop up around the country, than a slew of places on par with the green mermaid or worse. You should probably consider working in a coffee house for a while, to see how they are run.  At the very least, I would highly suggest you go take a one day barista training class, just to see what is involved in making excellent espresso based drinks consistently.  If you plan to get into the drink preparation side of the busuness as well, you should take a longer class...3 days - one week.  

aneaccount Said:

... as well as what I should splurge on.

Posted March 10, 2013 link

a few well-trained experienced baristas for sure (sounds like you're already planning that...good news!)

Used gear will save you money, if it's been well-maintained.  Don't expect your baristi to tear down equipment and fix it.  Though they should be able to perform general maintenance, you'll want a local service to be available to come out to your shop and make repairs, maybe even rent or loan you a backup machine, if necessary.  Find out who that will be, and make sure they can service any equipment you might end up with in your cafe.  In fact, you should ask them for purchasing advice.

Oh, and your thread title is too long.  Please try to cut down enough so that when the forum adds "Re:" to replies, it doesn't give us error messages...thanks!

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 8,042
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 Tue Mar 12, 2013, 5:16am
Subject: Re: Newbie here, with probably some questions that have been asked before but...
 

First, welcome to CG.
Next and most importantly, go work at a coffee shop for at least a year, learn the business, find out if you REALLY want to do this.
If the answer is yes then as said above, get a business adviser, hire a GOOD one, they will not be cheep but they will know how to keep you out of trouble as much as possible.

Buy equipment from local equipment suppliers who can service it. When your machine or grinder breaks down, you need help YESTERDAY not in a week from Tuesday, local service is much more important than who made the equipment.

Invest in GREAT grinders, the grinder is the heart and soul of coffee, without GREAT grinders, you are fighting a uphill battle.
Hire quality baristas, people who know how to make great coffee. A 18 year old who worked 6 months at Starbucks is not going to cut it, for that matter, someone who has 4 years at Starbucks is not much more help than the person with 6 months, they are button pushers, not Baristas.

Have enough cash to fully support the business AND your living expenses for at least a year. Most business that fail, failed to plan and were under funded, do not shoot yourself in the foot before you open the doors to your shop.

 
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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Intrepid510
Senior Member


Joined: 30 Dec 2010
Posts: 355
Location: California
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Mar 12, 2013, 10:44am
Subject: barf sauce
 

You could think about opening a Starbucks licensed store, as it seems that your main motivation is money not loving coffee yourself. Nothing wrong with it just saying.

 
Less water, more grounds.
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aneaccount
Senior Member


Joined: 10 Mar 2013
Posts: 4
Location: Washington State
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Tue Mar 12, 2013, 1:29pm
Subject: Re: Newbie here, with probably the same questions that have been asked before ..
 

Hello and thanks for the input. I am working with a local coffee consultant. He has his own brand but it is Dillanos coffee. Currently I am building out the inside and outside of my building and gathering info and knowledge along the way.
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aneaccount
Senior Member


Joined: 10 Mar 2013
Posts: 4
Location: Washington State
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Tue Mar 12, 2013, 1:59pm
Subject: Re: Newbie here, with probably some questions that have been asked before but...
 

Thanks  calblacksmith for your comments. You didn't sound like an ass. (Hopefully I wont as well in my reply!) You were pretty close on your assessment- except the lots of money part- that happens if you own 10 of them. All I need to do is make the building payment and taxes- the baristas can have the rest for all I care.

The situation is I have the great location as well as traffic count and ambiance factor and demand as the only place to go in this city to sit down and have a coffee is the two *$$'s. There are no other sit down coffee cafe's, and in the Northwest that is rather odd.

In order to have another place besides *$$'a to chill there needs to be people like me- those with the property and money to get things going- all I really need is the right manager who loves coffee and the idea of running a place. In the mean time, business experience I have, I just need knowledge in this area to make sure things stay on track.
Most of the time the people with the knowledge and desire to do a task have NO understanding of the building/business/regulation side of things and end up failing.

What I already have picked up:
1) Barista Barista Barista..the person making the drinks have to be spot on.
2) Have been consulted to get the espresso machine new. Don't skimp on the machine. (the one I will be getting is 7k, shipped from Italy, warrantied and services locally. I will also pick up a used one that works as an emergency backup.
3) Now on this post I have been advised on getting a good grinder. All I need to do is define that more clearly. This makes sense as besides water, coffee grounds come next.
4) Good filtered water. I have heard none RO water.

A couple more things- don't care much about the "loving coffee thing" I know a lot of people who love coffee but would never have them behind the counter representing my business. Nor do I care much about making money. We all need money to get through life, but personally I love watching others make money working hard much more than making it myself. If someone would come up to me and say "Hey Steve, I love coffee and would love to run your cafe on a profit sharing plan and want to buy you out after I build up the clientele. But I have no money just experience, drive, and desire can you help me out?" As long as they were sincere I would sign them up immediately. I would outfit the place and fund the project for them and they can go to town. But that doesn't happen and if I put that ad out on Craigslist everyone would think I was a scammer and/or snack oil salesman.
Another thing, people have no vision or building experience. I will post pictures of the place soon to let you all know what people couldn't see, and fill you in on what people have told me about my place in the past. People see an old building that needs a little face lift and don't realize that a couple thousand dresses the place right up!

Anyway, have been very windy today so need to get back to working on this place!
Thanks all for your input, I do appreciate it and do utilize it.
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IMAWriter
Senior Member
IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
Posts: 5,965
Location: Brentwood, TN
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega
Grinder: Forte, OE Pharos,...
Vac Pot: Adcraft SS, Yama 8 cup
Drip: Brazen, Kalita, Chemex,...
Roaster: Behmor 1600+, CO/UFO combo
Posted Tue Mar 12, 2013, 2:12pm
Subject: Re: Newbie here, with probably some questions that have been asked before but...
 

Steve, I'd get a workhorse grinder like a Mazzer Robur. (not the electronic model).

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
My Music Production web site:
www.robertjason.com
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,305
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 Tue Mar 12, 2013, 3:25pm
Subject: Re: Newbie here, with probably some questions that have been asked before but...
 

Steve,  

It sounds like you're on the right track.  I wish you success.  I still would recommend you take a one day barista course.  Here's why... It'll show you what goes into preparing a good shot...how a barista assesses shots, how much beans are "wasted" in the process of getting the grind dialed in each day, why some shots simply need to go down the sink (instead of into someone's drink), the difference between latte and cappuccino frothing, and myriad other things.  That way, when the barista says I need x, you'll have an idea that he/she is making a reasonable request.  I can assure you, even if you decide to trust them implicitly, some of their requests are gonna make you shake your head wondering what planet they're from.  A class will help you spend that money more confidently.  Also, if you get some training, you'll have at least some idea when your baristi are not doing their job correctly.  If you want to understand a little about cleaning/maintaining machines and grinders, you'll have to take a longer course, but I think it would still be worthwhile.

RO water is ok, as long as you add in some minerals after the process, but by itself will not work for you.  There's a great article on water in the thread on bookmarked posts (Jim Schulman's Insanely Long Water FAQ).

Which machine are you getting?

Most good cafes use Mazzer grinders.  As Rob said, the Robur is their flagship and considered by most to be the pinnacle of excellence.  Mazzer grinders are built like tanks and will last longer than you or I (though they need new burrs every 400-500 pounds of beans - like all grinders).

I also agree with Wayne, don't hire button pushers (not just out of *$$, but anywhere where all they did was run a superautomatic machine).  You need real baristi, since you intend to serve drinks superior to *$$.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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aneaccount
Senior Member


Joined: 10 Mar 2013
Posts: 4
Location: Washington State
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Tue Mar 12, 2013, 4:16pm
Subject: Re: Newbie here, with probably some questions that have been asked before but...
 

Thank you both IMAWriter and emradguy- I will look into the grinder. This is the main pieces of equipment that my consultant priced for me:

Espresso Machine: Nuova Simonelli “Appia” Vol. 2 Group Espresso Machine,3300W, 220V, 10ltr. Boiler System**
Grinders:Full Size Coffee Grinders “Zenith” 1 Kg. Hopper, 110V, 60Hz.1 Auto Doser, 1 Manual

I have thought about tagging along for the training- now will plan on it! It would be good to know more details about the process as well as being able to assist if needed.

My biggest fear in this whole endeavor is not failing on to little sales, it is failing because there is TO much business and not being able to provide the service. Consultant says thats a good problem to have- I am not so sure...
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