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by Jessica Tanski

NAMA Emerging Leaders">NAMA Emerging Leaders

Categories: 2014, FebruaryTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

There is a cer­tain pos­i­tive spark that can be gen­er­ated when you bring new tech­nol­ogy and old wis­dom together in the same place at the same time. A spark that can rev­o­lu­tion­ize some­thing that is already good and makes it bril­liant. A spark that can take some­thing that may be so small but flour­ishes it into some­thing worth brag­ging about.

It is a pow­er­ful con­nec­tion that needs to be made across the board in all pro­fes­sions and in all indus­tries. However, The National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA) has already taken that first step into the right direc­tion toward cre­at­ing this spark.

CoffeeTalk is intro­duc­ing a new series of arti­cles for the 2014 year! They will fea­ture the NAMA Emerging Leaders Network  (ELN) that was launched in July of 2013. This group of indi­vid­u­als in the vend­ing and refresh­ment ser­vices indus­try is a great exam­ple of the spark of change that needs to be instilled. They have the tools nec­es­sary to allow the vend­ing and refresh­ment ser­vices indus­try to con­tinue to grow for many years to come.

Bridge the Generation Gap
NAMA rec­og­nized that there is a gen­er­a­tion gap in their indus­try. It is inevitable that when indus­try vet­er­ans retire, in any indus­try, that some­one else is going to have to step up and take over. However, how will this be pos­si­ble for the con­tin­u­ing suc­cess of that indus­try if the emerg­ing indus­try lead­ers are not edu­cated on the same level as the ones who are retir­ing or mov­ing on?

Education is key for this solu­tion. A group, like the NAMA ELN, allows for a col­lab­o­ra­tion that is essen­tial for the suc­cess­ful oper­a­tions of the indus­try. New ideas from the next gen­er­a­tion of indus­try lead­ers allows for a spark of trans­for­ma­tion to be instilled to the ever chang­ing econ­omy and con­stant flow of dif­fer­ent and inno­v­a­tive trends that are evolv­ing every day. How can one progress and move for­ward when they are stuck in old rou­tines and not simul­ta­ne­ously mov­ing for­ward with the econ­omy and world around it?

It’s a Give and Take Relationship
The emerg­ing lead­ers and the indus­try vet­er­ans each have some­thing that the other wants. The emerg­ing lead­ers grew up in a time period jam-packed with var­i­ous kinds of tech­nolo­gies every­where they turn. Technologies today that are becom­ing more and more preva­lent in sales and mar­ket­ing, like social media for exam­ple. The indus­try vet­er­ans have the many years of expe­ri­ence and knowl­edge needed to fur­ther the life of an industry.

You see, while the two gen­er­a­tions stand­ing alone may oper­ate suit­ably for now, when you put them together and allow them to work together, it bet­ters not only both of the gen­er­a­tions, but the indus­try as a whole as well. An indus­try can­not thrive on one of these areas alone. Technology and indus­try tra­di­tions must be pieced together to advance. The tools that these two groups pos­sess will gen­er­ate greater prof­its when used together, than when used separately.

About the Emerging Leaders Network
The ELN holds meet­ings at the var­i­ous indus­try con­fer­ences around the United States. They are able to col­lab­o­rate together at these meet­ings even though they may live many states apart. They uti­lize their LinkedIn page that gives updates about the group in a mat­ter of min­utes. LinkedIn is used to fun­nel issues and keep up with changes and con­cerns that come up on a daily basis. The more you get involved the more valu­able you become to the group.

Membership in NAMA’s Emerging Leaders Network pro­vides younger vend­ing and refresh­ment ser­vices exec­u­tives an oppor­tu­nity to net­work with other NAMA mem­bers and influ­en­tial indus­try lead­ers,” said Paul Tullio of Gourmet Coffee Service in Anaheim, CA, and chair of the group. “It gives the next gen­er­a­tion of indus­try lead­ers a plat­form to express their ideas and vision for the future of the industry.”

There are cur­rently about 100 active mem­bers, and the num­bers are grow­ing. To be a mem­ber, you must be an already-existing mem­ber of NAMA and of the age of 40 or younger. These mem­ber­ships are avail­able at no cost. You can con­tact Roni Moore at NAMA or Paul Tullio for more infor­ma­tion on how to become a member.

Be the Spark in your Industry
We under­stand that many of our read­ers are in the cof­fee and tea indus­try; how­ever, it is impor­tant to high­light this NAMA ELN group and learn from them. Roasters, retail­ers, grow­ers, and even ser­vice providers can learn from the ELN. If an indus­try wants to con­tinue on, it must take the nec­es­sary steps to build up and bet­ter itself. Now, I’m not say­ing that it is going to be easy, and if I did, I would be lying; how­ever, doesn’t the say­ing go: “noth­ing worth hav­ing in life comes easy”?

The Emerging Leaders Network has started the spark to change their indus­try, but what about you? How are you going to bridge the gap in your indus­try? Have you thought about who is going to take over after you retire? Did you con­sider what pieces of knowl­edge that you want to pass down? Be inspired, be proac­tive, and be that spark to change your industry.

Stay tuned for future arti­cles about the NAMA ELN. Learn from them how to be a part of the change that you want to see in your pas­sion and profession.

Retailer/Roaster Profile

Categories: 2013, OctoberTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

Hi reader! Hope you are well. Today we will sit down with Dripp Coffee Company from Chino, California. Rabih Sater is the boss, and we have him with us:

V. Hi Rabih! How did you become a part of cof­fee indus­try?
S. Hi Maxim! I used to be a petrol engi­neer and had my own com­pany. Due to eco­nomic reces­sion, we expe­ri­enced a severe down­turn. We couldn’t keep up with the loss of fund­ing to projects that we were part of, and I had to make a quick career change As a hobby, I am a big ‘foodie’, and I love good food, good cof­fee, and good wines and good beer. I love food so much; I thought the best thing to do would be open­ing my own cof­fee bou­tique. I didn’t have much expe­ri­ence in hos­pi­tal­ity indus­try, but I had a lot of pas­sion for it, so I thought I would do it step-by-step. I started to do my own research, closed my engi­neer­ing com­pany, and opened Dripp. My idea was to only serve spe­cialty cof­fee from spe­cialty roast­ers. I didn’t think so far ahead as roast­ing my own cof­fee. Dripp opened up about three years ago, and only after about a year we have started roast­ing our own cof­fee. Our sis­ter roast­ing com­pany called Espresso Republic, which I also own. Right now we have a total of four loca­tions. We are small com­pany that is grow­ing super quick, and things are going really fast for us.

V. Amazing! How did you man­age to grow so fast?
S. I have had a lot of oper­at­ing expe­ri­ence with my pre­vi­ous job. Even though it was a dif­fer­ent indus­try, I man­aged and oper­ated busi­nesses and employ­ees. The pro­duc­tion of cof­fee is like fab­ri­ca­tion and devel­op­ment in my engi­neer­ing work. I just took the expe­ri­ence and the tal­ent that I had in engi­neer­ing and just changed the prod­uct. It has been great. We have got a really strong brand, great prod­uct, and we are offer­ing more than most other spe­cialty cof­fee bars offer in spe­cialty cof­fee indus­try. We also have a corky fun feel­ing to our stores, unlike an intim­i­dat­ing feel­ing that you get in most spe­cialty cof­fee bars. This allows the con­sumer to tran­si­tion to spe­cialty cof­fee much more com­fort­ably and eas­ier. We always keep in mind that we are in a cus­tomer ser­vice indus­try; we are not just serv­ing cof­fee, we are also serv­ing cus­tomer service.

V. From what I can see, your brand seems to have already been com­pletely defined. How did you achieve that?
S. We put in a lot, a lot of time. When I had my engi­neer­ing com­pany, I was very suc­cess­ful and happy doing what I was doing. I always like to get things done right the first time. I learned that tech­nique of work­ing and mak­ing things right the first time in my pre­vi­ous indus­try because you can’t leave room for error. So I took that abil­ity and tran­si­tioned it to this indus­try. We spent night and day from day one devel­op­ing and trans­form­ing our image. And if you look at our brand and our image, we don’t look “mom and pop” like many spe­cialty cof­fee stores out there. We look like we are a national brand, and that is what we want. We want that and we want to become that. Some say you can’t become national in spe­cialty cof­fee indus­try. You can have a few here and there, and that is about it. I dis­agree with all of that because I believe you can, if it is setup right, if it has a cor­rect image and if it has been devel­oped from the ground up. At this point our busi­ness model is set up to allow us to be ready for a full-on expan­sion in the near­est feature.

V. Did you apply any­thing from your Middle Eastern back­ground to your busi­ness here in the U.S.?
S. Sure, for exam­ple, we have our own brand of Turkish cof­fee, and we do sell a lot of that. Because my fam­ily has a Middle Eastern back­ground, I used the infor­ma­tion that I grew up with, and used it to develop our own Turkish cof­fee drinks served at our stores. I don’t think any­one else is mak­ing bet­ter Turkish cof­fee than us. I actu­ally trav­eled to Tukey last year to buy sev­eral spe­cial grinders designed for grind­ing just Turkish cof­fee. We take things seri­ously around here.

V. Could you please explain what Turkish cof­fee is in basic terms?
S. Well, we believe that Turkish cof­fee is the first kind of cof­fee. It is the way cof­fee was orig­i­nally drank before the Italians began to brew it under pres­sure to make espresso. That is why I thought it was a very impor­tant piece of our menu. Turkish cof­fee is cof­fee that is grounded super, super fine, almost like a paste-like grind, that is much finer than espresso. When it is brewed, it is brewed with the cof­fee grounds, so it is unfil­tered – there is no fil­ter sep­a­rat­ing the grinds and the cof­fee. We have got sev­eral dif­fer­ent vari­a­tions of our Turkish cof­fee, and all of them are delicious.

V. In your opin­ion, is Turkish cof­fee some­thing that should be offered in more places? Why isn’t it?
S. Actually, I def­i­nitely think that it is some­thing that should be done in the spe­cialty cof­fee indus­try as a stan­dard, and it is some­thing that they are miss­ing. Just like you have a latte on a menu in every sin­gle cof­fee shop, you should have Turkish cof­fee there as well. It is the ori­gin of cof­fee, it should be there. Why many spe­cialty cof­fee bars don’t have it? I don’t know, maybe because it is Middle Eastern and that seems like an issue for some of them. They don’t want to carry some­thing that is Middle Eastern. I think they for­get that the pas­sion should be for the prod­uct, not for the cul­ture. Turkish cof­fee is easy to make, it just needs some rules. I think it should always be there, and we have it on our menu, and peo­ple love it.

Thanks Rabih. Can’t wait to see what you will achieve in the next two years. And for all cof­fee shops out there – get started with Turkish cof­fee ASAP!

Dripp Coffee Company

4300 Edison Ave.
Chino, CA 91710
(909) 465‑4101
Rabih Sater
www.dripp.com
rabih@dripp.com

Retailer / Roaster Profile: A Taste of Italy in San Diego

Categories: 2013, FebruaryTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

Cafè Barbera Logo Vector_RedI have never been to Italy, so it was excit­ing to pre­pare this arti­cle on the very first US store by the Italian cof­fee com­pany Caffe Barbera and its American part­ner Caffe Barbera USA. Started by Domenico Barbera in 1870 in Messina, Italy, Caffe Barbera is now spread­ing across 5 con­ti­nents and about 30 coun­tries. Phillip Arcidiacono is here with us today  – co-owner of  American café. Let’s see what he says:

V. How did the café here in the U.S. come to exist?
A. Hi Max! Well, we opened this one in June, mostly as a con­cept store to deter­mine what’s going to work,  and what’s not going to work because the style of our store is very Italian – nice table­tops,  com­fort­able chairs, ele­gant but also casual at the same time. Hill Crest, San Diego is an area that I would say is more neigh­bor­hood friendly than it is com­mer­cial friendly. We are around many great restau­rants and great lit­tle local busi­nesses, which means that there are tons of cus­tomers who are ecsta­tic about the qual­ity and the fla­vor of the cof­fee. I think what really does it for us and is help­ing us with our busi­ness is the fact that we are roast­ers. We know cof­fee, we have been roast­ing it for over 140 years, so we are 5 gen­er­a­tions of cof­fee roast­ers, and it is still held by the same fam­ily and man­aged in a very close way. The cof­fee is just fabulous.

V.  I can feel a classy and tra­di­tional atmos­phere in this store. How did the American mar­ket react to your con­cept?
A. All of our cafes around the world are usu­ally really beau­ti­ful. With this café here in the U.S., ini­tially it was very hard to see inside and it felt closed in, so we broke the front of the build­ing down and put in all glass. It seemed like the ele­gant look was a lit­tle bit much at the begin­ning, but once peo­ple got in and saw how com­fort­able and relaxed the set­ting was with Italian music in the back­ground, they became really com­fort­able and made us their lit­tle des­ti­na­tion. They like to come in and sit down, use Wi-Fi and enjoy cof­fee. What makes us very dif­fer­ent is that we serve in porce­lain – we want the cus­tomer to enjoy a true expe­ri­ence. This is how we do it in Italy. There are a lot of Italians in San Diego, and many of them drive for 20–30 miles from around the city just to have an espresso from us.

V. For those of us who have never had an authen­tic Italian cof­fee expe­ri­ence could you tell me more about the dif­fer­ence between an aver­age American shop and yours?
A. The biggest dif­fer­ence for us is that we always want the cus­tomer to sit down and enjoy the cof­fee served in porce­lain, the cus­tomers like that. We also ask the cus­tomer to watch us make the cof­fee. If they come to the counter, they can see the cof­fee being made, and our baris­tas do a very nice job in explain­ing what is hap­pen­ing – start­ing from the extrac­tion process all the way to the pre­sen­ta­tion. They like to watch us. It is very much a show to some degree, but it is also an exam­ple of the way it is done in Italy and that bonds the cus­tomers to us. Also, another impor­tant aspect is that when some­one orders some­thing other than espresso, for exam­ple a cap­puc­cino, we take care to make sure that when you taste the cap­puc­cino you taste the cof­fee in your drink first with­out the need to dig through all the cream and end­ing up with a mous­tache before you get to actual cof­fee. It is all about the right way of prepar­ing it.

V. What kind of cus­tomers do you get?
A. We get the full spec­trum from teenagers up to the elderly. A lot of busi­ness peo­ple that work in the area are com­ing in now, not only for their cof­fee in the morn­ing, but also for their mid­day cof­fees, sand­wiches and salads.

V. What kind of food do you serve?
A. Everything is pre­pared fresh and all done in the store except pas­tries. We try to pre­pare our food in the tra­di­tional Italian style. So, ham and cheese for exam­ple, it is not just a reg­u­lar ham – it’s Italian ham and good pro­volone cheese. All of our crois­sants come from the best bak­ery in San Diego.

V. As the qual­ity of cof­fee and skills of roast­ers and baris­tas increase, it seems as if the American mar­ket is also warm­ing up to the idea of drink­ing more and more of straight espresso with­out the need for milky addi­tives, are you also try­ing to pro­mote straight espresso?
A. Yup, some peo­ple cringe remem­ber­ing their expe­ri­ences with espresso because they are used to tast­ing some­thing that is bit­ter with a strong smell. However, we blend dif­fer­ent beans: each type of beans are roasted sep­a­rately then we put our blend together. So the blend is more tra­di­tion­ally Italian – caramel-like in color and very smooth taste – no bit­ter­ness what­so­ever. When you taste our cof­fee it goes around the tongue and then it reaches the tongue’s back side where the fla­vor really gets absorbed and it is very pleas­ant. You love the aftertaste.

V. What is the next step for Caffe Barbera’s US con­quest?
A. We are cur­rently putting all our fran­chise doc­u­men­ta­tion in place, and we plan on open­ing hun­dreds of places in the US in the next cou­ple of years. Right now, we are just very excited to have opened the first store and have started shar­ing the cof­fee with our cus­tomers. We are also start­ing a large dis­tri­b­u­tion busi­ness, and we already got quite a few cafes around San Diego that are using our cof­fee and just lov­ing it.

Café Barbera

Hillcrest, 3614 5th Avenue,
San Diego, CA
619.683.CAFFE (2233)
www.caffebarberausa.com
Phillip Arcidiacono
phila@caffebarberausa.com

Wired for the Future: The Influence of Technology on Commercial Coffee Service

Categories: 2012, DecemberTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

12_12 25-AWhen restau­rant din­ers, spe­cialty cof­fee cafés, or c-store cus­tomers take that first unfor­get­table sip of cof­fee, high tech­nol­ogy is most likely the last thing on their minds. But once you fully under­stand the com­plex sys­tems and mul­ti­tude of peo­ple behind that expe­ri­ence, you see that tech­nol­ogy indeed plays a very promi­nent role in today’s com­mer­cial cof­fee service.

The machine’s the thing
Since most peo­ple asso­ciate tech­nol­ogy with equip­ment, let’s start there. The intro­duc­tion of all dig­i­tal con­trols on cof­fee brew­ers back in the nineties was laid the foun­da­tion for some of the advance­ments you see today. By elim­i­nat­ing knobs, levers and unre­li­able mechan­i­cal or ana­log adjust­ments, dig­i­ti­za­tion pro­vided a quan­tum improve­ment that has car­ried through to today’s third and even fourth-generation systems.

One-touch, pre-set recipes based on cof­fee type, grind, and weight help ensure the per­fect cup of cof­fee. But the lat­est tech­nol­ogy goes many steps fur­ther, offer­ing all the fea­tures all on an intu­itive touch-screen screen. Furthermore, many mod­ern sys­tems pro­vide self-diagnostics to iden­tify issues such as water flow and lime scale con­di­tions, so oper­a­tors can ensure that brew­ers are always ready to serve deli­cious cof­fee. RFID (radio fre­quency) tech­nol­ogy is another inter­est­ing devel­op­ment. It employs com­mu­ni­ca­tions and flash­ing indi­ca­tors affixed to decanters to track fresh­ness right from the point of brew­ing, alert­ing when a new brew is needed.

Plugging in major con­ve­nience
The abil­ity to pro­duce an excel­lent cup of cof­fee across mul­ti­ple brew­ers, stores or out­lets is extremely impor­tant for many restau­ra­teurs, QSRs and c-store own­ers. And tech­nol­ogy has come to the res­cue here, too. Accordingly, many mod­ern units now come with a USB port that allows oper­a­tors to update firmware, install cus­tom recipes, change dis­play mes­sag­ing and more. All they need to do is load the data onto a thumb drive, plug it into each machine, upload, and they’re done in minutes.

Perfecting back at the fac­tory
If you look at brew­ing machines as the “engines” of great cof­fee ser­vice, one can say that build­ing a bet­ter engine will help pro­duce a bet­ter cup. That’s where tech­no­log­i­cal advance­ments in design and engi­neer­ing come in. Many man­u­fac­tur­ers take a lean design approach which helps them build prod­ucts that are sim­pler, offer less to break or fail, and can be tai­lored to appeal to a wider range of con­sumer tastes. Computerized CAD design helps bring new inno­va­tions to mar­ket faster. Plus, high-tech laser inspec­tion sys­tems make sure qual­ity is top notch.

Online train­ing brings big time ben­e­fits
The Internet has also been a great tech­no­log­i­cal force mul­ti­plier when it comes to crit­i­cal things like train­ing. Think of the point of cof­fee ser­vice as the tip of a pyra­mid of per­son­nel, includ­ing sales reps, tech­ni­cians, restau­rant own­ers, plus all the peo­ple they employ. Distributing train­ing mate­ri­als to these individuals—often across the coun­try and the world—was once a mon­u­men­tal task. But the Web has elim­i­nated that prob­lem, and made it rel­a­tively sim­ple to give every­one the infor­ma­tion they need to keep equip­ment at peak performance.

Going social
Social media, the Internet’s golden child, has also had a sig­nif­i­cant impact on the cof­fee busi­ness, help­ing cus­tomers con­nect to brands, keep up with the lat­est trends, and form a kind of coffee-serving “com­mu­nity.” Many man­u­fac­tur­ers now use out­lets such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Vimeo with great suc­cess to push out com­pany updates and main­tain crit­i­cal con­ver­sa­tions with our customers.

Technology and nature com­bine
Technology con­tin­ues to drive our busi­ness unlike any other fac­tor. And when it unites with bril­liant nat­ural forces that cre­ate a great cof­fee bean, it only mag­ni­fies the aes­thetic expe­ri­ence. Add to that the legion of cof­fee devo­tees who staunchly ded­i­cate them­selves to mak­ing one great brew after another, and we have a rich future ahead in this excit­ing business.

12_12 25-CKevin Curtis, Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing

Part of the third gen­er­a­tion of the Curtis fam­ily, Kevin over­sees all of the sales and mar­ket­ing oper­a­tions for Wilbur Curtis. After attend­ing California State University, Northridge in 1978, Kevin quickly learned the Curtis ded­i­ca­tion to crafts­man­ship and qual­ity from the ground up, work­ing in plant oper­a­tions in their Los Angeles facil­ity. An active mem­ber of the Specialty Coffee Association of America, Kevin has been an instru­men­tal part of the suc­cess and global pres­ence Wilbur Curtis enjoys today.

Kevin lives in Manhattan Beach, CA with his wife Jan and enjoys surf­ing, sail­ing, golf, the desert and inter­na­tional travel.

CA">Retailer Profile: A Little Jewel in Redlands, CA

Categories: 2012, SeptemberTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

This month, I decided to pick a charm­ing neigh­bor­hood shop with char­ac­ter, and the one that caught my atten­tion is located in a lit­tle town called Redlands in California. It is called Augie’s and today we are going to have a talk with its owner and mas­ter roaster Austin Amento.

V. Hi Austin! Great to have you here with us today! Please tell us, how did Redland’s best cof­fee house – Augie’s – get started, and who is Augie?
A. About four years ago, my dad Andy Amento wanted to diver­sify his fam­ily busi­ness of elec­tri­cal con­tract­ing. We looked around at dif­fer­ent busi­nesses – liquor stores, min­i­marts, any­thing that was kind of a “cash” busi­ness and we found this cof­fee shop. It was about two years old, and it was for sale by the landlord’s kid. At the time, it was a very small mom and pops shop with very lim­ited seat­ing and mediocre cof­fee.
It is named Augie’s after the pre­vi­ous owner’s grand­fa­ther. We decided to keep the name, work with it, and rebrand it.

V. You have the cutest antique build­ing for your shop! Did it present any ren­o­va­tion chal­lenges?
A. Thank you. It is just about a hun­dred years old: I believe it was built in 1914. However, as far as ren­o­va­tion, yeah, it is the biggest pain in the ass out of any­thing we have done in the cof­fee shop. (Laughs…) We have to fix the plumb­ing all the time, but we now are to the point where we know exactly what this build­ing needs; every­thing works out really well, and it is a beau­ti­ful build­ing that we love.

V. Taking over a turnkey cof­fee shop busi­ness – what kind of chal­lenges did you have to face and how did you deal with them?
A. We took a shop that already had its clien­tele, and every­thing was kind of set­tled on the way they wanted to make all the bev­er­ages. Over the first few months after tak­ing over Augie’s we were hes­i­tant to change any­thing, but we quickly real­ized that we needed to make changes to help this busi­ness to sur­vive and get to where it needs to be in terms of growth. We started really small by redo­ing the bar, and knock­ing down walls to make room for more seat­ing. Then two years in after hav­ing some rough sum­mers, I decided I wanted our cof­fee to be really high qual­ity, so we had to go through and change every­thing. We wanted to pro­vide our cus­tomers with a con­sis­tent menu, so we have lit­er­ally stripped our menu down to around eight bev­er­ages, and we make them really well. This has been the best deci­sion for us because con­sis­tency and qual­ity are more impor­tant to me than offer­ing a bunch of dif­fer­ent smooth­ies or blended vari­a­tions of the same bev­er­age.
Around the same time, two years ago, we put in the last of our money and bought a roaster, so we started roast­ing our­selves. Luckily, things turned out great for us and we are really suc­cess­ful now.

V. What would you do dif­fer­ently to avoid the pit­falls you have just described?
A. If I were to start again, I would really rec­om­mend fig­ur­ing out what you want to do from the very begin­ning because it makes all the dif­fer­ence. Decide who you want to cater to from the very start and go from there. Our hard­est thing was to get rid of that “cater to every­one” type of men­tal­ity. I don’t want to say that in a mean way, but if you want to pro­vide your prod­uct in the best pos­si­ble man­ner, some­times you really have to change the way you do stuff. Pretty much just stick to one atti­tude that is right for you and allow your busi­ness to be suc­cess­ful instead of just try­ing to please every­one. Our atti­tude is to offer the high­est qual­ity cof­fee pos­si­ble in our shop.

V. What is your cus­tomer base?
A. We got a real tight knit com­mu­nity here in Redlands, and our shop is always packed because it is hard to just go in, get a cup of cof­fee and go back to work. You end up hang­ing out for a while. If you hang out in our shop for an hour you can see the mayor, you could see all these dif­fer­ent local busi­ness own­ers, pro­fes­sors, high school kids and grad­u­ate stu­dents – really any­one, and it is a lot of fun.

V. What amazes you about the indus­try?
A. The most amaz­ing thing to me is the whole chain of steps of get­ting the cof­fee from seed to cup. The dif­fer­ent venues, and dif­fer­ent con­nec­tions and rela­tion­ships that are involved in this – It is just mind-blowing to me, and not just mind-blowing, it is life chang­ing. I think it is a very impres­sive process that we all take for granted five or ten times a day. One grinds some beans and brews a cup of cof­fee in three min­utes, and it is so easy not to think about the thou­sands of hands and miles it took to get here. So just help­ing peo­ple to under­stand this is some­thing I really enjoy doing at our shop.

Augie’s Coffee House

113 N. 5th St
Redlands, CA, 92373
www.augiescoffeehouse.com
Austin Amento – Owner/Master Roaster

Retailer Profile: Something is Brewing in California

Categories: 2012, AugustTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

We always try to pro­file busi­ness own­ers that can offer some unique advice and show­case their bold busi­ness moves within the indus­try. Today isn’t an excep­tion, as we head down to Santa Monica, CA to chat with Joy Park, the CEO of Brew Coffee Bar.

V. What made you get into the cof­fee busi­ness at such a young age?
P. I got into cof­fee because I was drink­ing crappy cof­fee my entire life, and liv­ing in Los Angeles I saw a pretty huge void in terms of good cof­fee. That is why I wanted to get into the cof­fee busi­ness. My part­ner Charm and I both went to Cornell for hos­pi­tal­ity, so this is very impor­tant to us, we really care about ser­vice nation­ally. He opened up a cof­fee shop in Boston, which was really suc­cess­ful. I wanted to open some­thing in L.A., so we teamed up and started Brew Café Bar. We opened up our first loca­tion in Santa Monica about 9 months ago, we are open in Yahoo cen­ter, and we have a cof­fee truck as well, which we run daily around downtown.

We came in for the pur­pose of spread­ing good cof­fee as quickly as pos­si­ble. All these great lit­tle cof­fee shops in L.A. and even in the greater parts of America, are all in these small neigh­bor­hoods that are hard to get to, and some of them are a lit­tle pre­ten­tious. I real­ized some­times it’s dif­fi­cult to actu­ally have access to some great cof­fee, so our inten­tion was to bring cof­fee to the peo­ple. That’s how we approached this mar­ket, which is why we are in Yahoo cen­ter right now. We under­stand that not every­one knows about great cof­fee, not every­one is will­ing to drive and walk through that alley and get to the cof­fee shop on the corner.

V. How did you get your train­ing?
P. I needed to be able to do the craft. I am not one of those own­ers that are hands-off; I am really hands-on. So, I actu­ally got train­ing in Portland by Stumptown cof­fee roast­ers. We got our offi­cial train­ing there for a week, and then got con­stantly trained for the next 10 months. We had them send two train­ers for at least a month and half.

What is great about us is that we brought in expe­ri­enced skilled baris­tas. Then we added on the Stumptown train­ing, and so we have amaz­ing baris­tas. For me, there is a dif­fer­ence between some­one who cares about cof­fee, who does it as a career ver­sus some­one who just con­sid­ers it as his/her side job. I went through over 400 apps and inter­views to find a great team of less than 10 peo­ple, and I am happy about that. Some even moved from out-of-state to come join our team.

I want to build and main­tain a work place where our team mem­bers are com­fort­able. You have to put the best peo­ple together, but you have to make sure that they get along. I think that is what is a lit­tle dif­fer­ent from our com­pany in terms of how we hire, how we keep our employ­ees, and how we have a lower turnover even in this industry.

V. Coffee Truck! What is the idea behind it?
P. We really wanted to do a mobile café, and doing so has been a great expe­ri­ence. We real­ized we could build a cof­fee shop any­where. You give us 100 square feet of space, we will make it work and run effi­ciently. It has been 3 months now, and we are the very first cof­fee truck in Los Angeles. L.A. is the hard­est place to get a per­mit from. What we did dif­fer­ent is that we didn’t get your coach-roach aver­age 1980s truck, instead we took a Mercedes Sprinter van and uplifted it with La Marzocco machines and grinders.

It has been great so far. We are doing events with it, so the truck has been very busy. That truck is great in terms of doing some­thing unique on the side and attract­ing a dif­fer­ent mar­ket. We did the Easter Sunday Church event and the Porsche Boxster launch among oth­ers. I am very for­tu­nate that we got it passed because it was a very dif­fi­cult process to go through.

V. Anything you want to share with the cof­fee com­mu­nity?
P. What I find unique about this busi­ness is how people’s view and their rela­tion­ship with cof­fee are almost tra­di­tional. People are used to what they know and cof­fee is a daily habit. When Starbucks came to the mar­ket, peo­ple believed that they were a supe­rior prod­uct. That is why I respect Starbucks, because they did change the per­cep­tion of cof­fee; but the thing is, they just stopped right there. That did bug me and moti­vated me to start a cof­fee com­pany of my own. There is actu­ally really good cof­fee out there from roast­ers that go on direct trade with the farm­ers. The farm­ers grow bet­ter beans. The qual­ity con­trol starts from the cherry and Stumptown roasts beau­ti­fully. We take it a step fur­ther and we have a great team of baris­tas that can actu­ally craft what­ever you order to its honor. It has been a great jour­ney for me edu­cat­ing and open­ing people’s eyes to what really great cof­fee is. That is why I am really excited. If I can change someone’s view about cof­fee, then I believe the knowl­edge should be shared. For me there are no bound­aries, no per­fect cup of cof­fee, no per­fect latte art and no per­fect baris­tas. There’s always room for more.

Brew Coffee Bar

2425 Colorado Ave
Santa Monica, CA 90404
www.brewcoffeebar.com
joy@brewcoffeebar.com

Retailer Profile: Walk Your “Green” Talk

Categories: 2011, NovemberTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

Dimitri Thompson is a man on the mis­sion. He is the first try­ing to break a pop­u­lar stigma among cof­fee shop own­ers that going all-in for 100% “green” is expen­sive and not prof­itable. His Noble Café is gen­er­at­ing lots of buzz, and we are glad to have him here for this interview.

V. Hi Dimitri! We can’t wait for the café to open up, when is the launch date?
T. We are still wait­ing on a cou­ple of per­mits and inspec­tions, but I think we will be open in the next two to four weeks.

V. I’ve heard that the con­do­minium builders are really excited to have you in their build­ing, how did you approach them?
T. Yup, it is a two year old build­ing, but the bot­tom floor has been empty all this time. Nobody wanted to go in there, because although being a great place, it is a huge invest­ment. I approached them with my con­cept, and they loved it. I told them that it would be the first build­ing depart­ment that will have a room ser­vice deliv­ery done by tex­ting. This is how it works: you fill up your mem­ber­ship account with $150 to $200 dol­lars, and your cell phone and apart­ment num­bers get linked to it. So, for exam­ple, if you text “two cof­fees Maxim 207”, you get a text back with your order con­fir­ma­tion, and who­ever brings you the order will give you a receipt that says how much money is left in your account. Like I said, the con­do­minium devel­op­ers loved it, and even gave me six months free rent.

V. What are you try­ing to prove with your busi­ness?
T. You know, I guess I am just sick of peo­ple say­ing that we are a green café or a green restau­rant, and all they do is put in a recy­clable counter and a few garbage bins. There is no real com­mit­ment with money or any­thing else. I know that the cof­fee shop indus­try is not made up of culi­nary pro­fes­sion­als – how many of them are food and bev­er­age pro­fes­sion­als or have a degree in resort man­age­ment? The major­ity start a busi­ness because it is not hard to do, which means that they usu­ally get bad leases and bad con­tracts, and as a result they are pass­ing their ridicu­lous over­heads on to cus­tomers. I ran some of the best hotels and restau­rants around the world after get­ting my degree, and I am here to prove the point that doing things the “green way” is bet­ter and afford­able both for the busi­ness owner and his customers.

V. Could you tell our read­ers a bit about the extent of your “green” con­cept?
T. The level of my com­mit­ment has not yet been seen in the cof­fee shop indus­try. Whatever my elec­tric­ity bill is every month, I will go to the Parks Department of Oakland and give them the same amount to keep our air clean. I will have a com­postable machine on site, and my cups will cost me an aston­ish­ing 15 cents because they are 100% recy­clable within 90 days. I will be using the most expen­sive organic milk, and 90% of our main ingre­di­ents will come from within a 200 miles radius. Each and every one of my inte­rior sup­pli­ers gives me a cer­tifi­cate that their prod­ucts are 100% sus­tain­able. For exam­ple, my high-end reclaimable wood tables cost $700 each, although I could have paid $150 for a reg­u­lar cof­fee table. The same with the lights for the café; I could have bought all for $5,000, but I have spent about $17,000 because of their electricity-saving char­ac­ter­is­tics. Still I am not here to be a non-profit: this is busi­ness, and I am plan­ning on tripling my ini­tial invest­ment in 6 years.

V. What is your rela­tion­ship with cof­fee, and how is it going to be reflected in the Noble café?
T. I am an avid cof­fee drinker, and cof­fee for me is four things: machine, grind, tamp­ing, and beans. Take tamp­ing for exam­ple, nobody in the U.S. is seri­ous about it. If you are 250 pounds, and I’m 150, our tamp­ing pres­sures are going to be dif­fer­ent, and so are our cof­fee drinks. In Noble Café, we will use Macap (www.macap.it/) lever oper­ated espresso tam­pers to keep our drinks con­sis­tent. As far as our cof­fee sup­ply, it will come from the Blue Bottle Coffee Company that only roasts organic, pesticide-free, shade-grown beans.

V. What espresso machine will you be using?
T. I will be using a Plus 4 You man­u­fac­tured by Astoria. So far, I am the only owner in the U.S. of the newest model in a gor­geous red color, which you can dif­fer­en­ti­ate from the older ones, which have the car­bon fiber fin­ish. Plus 4 You groups have sep­a­rate boil­ers, and you can switch them on/off and set them to dif­fer­ent tem­per­a­tures. It is the only machine in the world that is cer­ti­fied to save elec­tric­ity by 47%. Also Astoria has the biggest repair net­work in the U.S., so if some­thing breaks, some­body can come in the same day – really quick ser­vice is impor­tant in our busi­ness as you know.

CofeeTalk wishes all the luck to Dimitri Thompson and his “truly green” Noble Café. Don’t just talk, walk your “Green” talk.

Noble Café

Dimitri Thompson
100 Grand Avenue, Suite 111,
Oakland, CA, 94612
www.noblecafeoakland.com
info@noblecafeoakland.com