HomeRoast Digest

Topic: about that message #4 (12 msgs / 289 lines)
1) From: Dan Bollinger
If you can grill well and bake well you'll be just fine.  It is a lot of
work opening a new business.  You'll be inundated with new things to do.
What I suggest is this.  Learn roasting now instead of during the first week
of business.  Get a home-roaster and start learning the beans and roasts and
what you like.  Set yourself up for success, not failure!  Dan
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2) From: Charlie Herlihy
--- susan oppenheim  wrote:
 It's hard enough that by the time you learn how to make
delicious coffee consistantly you might be behind on all the
enormous payments on the roaster, venting, permits, insurance,
rent, brewing equipment, sacks of coffee etc. etc. Somehow a lot
of coffee shops are failing miserably at producing delicious
coffee yet staying in business so that's not the only factor.
Learning how to run a succesfull coffee shop first seems pretty
important. Even then, you might want to get in a lot of practice
roasting first unless you've won big in the lottery and just
want to have fun learning on the job.  Toronto would probably
love a place with delicious fresh roasted coffee.  Buena suerte
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3) From: AlChemist John
Sometime around 07:39 10/6/02, susan oppenheim typed:
Is it possible?  All things considered (ok, not ALL things), I would say it 
would be quite easy to fail miserably.  With good research and knowledge, 
it would also be very easy to make great coffee and have the cafe fail 
miserably (i.e. many business do this).  With good research, knowledge and 
lots of hard work (and a dose of luck) you might be wildly successful.
There that helps, doesn't it :-)
A while a go I visited a small coffee house that roasted their own.  The 
first time I visited was before I roasted my own so I was unimpressed.  The 
last time was about a month ago.  I was even more unimpressed and disappointed.
He had a good selection of coffees (Horse, Mandeling, Brazilian, plus 
others).  He had a Dietrich roaster in the back room with coffee "cooling" 
from the day before in its rack.  Many full oily bins of  roasted 
coffee.  All of the single cup varieties of coffee were preground on the 
counter.  Finally, oddly, the coffee was next to tasteless.  I would 
actually guess that he underroasted most of it.  I tried two of my 
favorites, a Brazilian and the Sumatra Mandeling plus a double cappa.  None 
had any coffee flavor at all.  Very weird and disappointing.
On the business side, I inquired about individual shots (before I tasted 
the offerings).  He said that he used to do it, but had to stop as by the 
end of a week or so, he had a couple of pounds of coffee that he could not 
use, due to over grinding.  If the bottom line is that tight, :-o, I'm 
I guess the reason for the above story (true mind you) is that it is 
possible to have the right tool, and still produce coffee that is not 
Anyone can roast.  Most can roast well.  As per Mike Mc, Master roasting is 
something else all together.  There is also a huge difference in roasting 
100 g well as opposed to roasting 100 lbs well.  Apples and oranges ( or 
maybe Arabica and Robusta)
John Nanci 
AlChemist at large
Roasting and Blending by Gestalt
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4) From: John
A loaded question if ever there was one. You could buy the equipment,
produce a good roast and still fail. Coffee is a very interesting
market. I collected marketing data for 30 years figuring on doing
something when I retired - HA! I'm retired and don't want to work now.  
One of the things that I've found influences the success of a coffee
shop is its location. Gourmet coffee is still trendy and draws best in a
trendy shopping area.  Unless you have a brand that is recognized, you
will have to depend on walk-in traffic, so you need to be in a
pedestrian favorable location.
The most successful shops keep it simple, but offer some finger foods to
go with the coffee, and sell some coffee oriented material. 
There are more skills involved with coffee shops than producing good
coffee in a pleasant atmosphere.
But... go for it!!
On Sun, 2002-10-06 at 09:39, susan oppenheim wrote:
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5) From: James Gundlach
On Sunday, October 6, 2002, at 09:39 AM, susan oppenheim wrote:
I don't know what you are talking about in the above.
    Yes, not even possible, probable.
If it was easy a lot of people would already be doing it.   How hard is 
Learning to make good coffee on the scale that the home roaster does 
often takes a while.  I've been working at it for almost three years 
now and I consider myself successful only about 80% of the time.   
Moving successful roasts to the scale of a cafe is probably not that 
easy.  This is not something that can be done by formula.  First the 
quality of green beans is determined by several factors.  For example, 
the same tree treated by the same grower in the same way will be 
exposed to different weather and as a result produce a somewhat 
different tasting bean from year to year.  You cannot order a green 
bean and reasonably expect it to be the same over the long haul.  You 
either need a reliable supplier who will regularly supply good beans.  
Then you will need to work on how to adjust roasting for each new lot 
of beans.  Add to that grinding and brewing and you have a rather steep 
learning curve.
Jim Gundlach
roasting over pecan wood fires
in La Place, Alabama.
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6) From: Mike McGinness

7) From: sho2go
LOL, my sister can tell you about her trials and tribs. after owning 2
different fresh roasted coffee/bagel places in Portland.  She now manages
someone else's place, thank you.  For sure, I would tell you the technical
details about the roasting/handling of coffee would be the least of your
problems.  IMHO some folks here are anal about it, and thats fine.  As
someone else mentioned, being trendy is what its all about.  I could point
to Starbucks as an example; good coffee isn't necessarily the prime
directive, although to give them credit they keep it fresh.  But  making
money on folks who want to sit around and occupy space to drink one cup and
talk for an hour, that's the difficult part.  Its a cut-throat business.
Better do your homework.
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8) From: EskWIRED
Yes, of course you could fail miserably.
This stuff is not at all difficult.
Any more questions?
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9) From: Irene and Lubos Palounek
"I want to open a cafe that roasts on site; is it possible I could buy the
roasters and the beans and fail miserably at producing delicious coffee?????
How hard is this stuff???"
I know some coffee shop owners who made very good cups of coffee and failed.
Others made so-so coffee and are still in business.  As someone else
suggested to you: the key thing is probably the right location.
"How hard is this stuff???" -- What do you mean by "stuff" -- roasting and
brewing excellent coffee, or running a successful small business?
I would suggest that you try the following five things that might help you
find the answers yourself; you probably should do all those things in
Buy a decent espresso machine and good grinder and learn how to make
excellent espresso and micro-foamed milk.
Buy a coffee roaster, some green beans, and try to roast coffee you like.
Search the Sweet Maria's site for information and for books -- read the
information and buy and read some of the books.
Read "How To Compete With Starbucks" at:http://www.lucidcafe.com/cafeforum/schomertable28.htmlBuy the "Espresso Coffee, Professional Techniques" book By David C. Schomer.
That book contains tips for running a successful coffee shop and tells you
how to make excellent espresso based drinks; the author owns two quite
successful coffee shops.
Good Luck -- Lubos
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10) From: Dan Bollinger
Good list, Lubos,  I'd add:
Subscribe to and buy back issues for Fresh Cup, the trade magazine for
coffee shops.  www.freshcup.com
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11) From: Scott Jensen
If you don't mind paying postage and you would like some back copies, I've
got a bunch from 5 different coffee magazines.

12) From: susan oppenheim
good golly
there was a lot of text on my insertion into your newsletter this
hope everybody scanned through all that nonsense
I do have a question
I want to open a cafe that roasts on site
is it possible I could buy the roasters and the beans and fail miserably
at producing delicious coffee?????
how hard is this stuff???
thanks all
Toronto ---Oppenheim
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