We are looking to start a bakery in our small community but feel that coffe products are essential to being successful. We know nothing about coffee and need a quick course. Got any ideas? We are located near Reno, Nevada

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I am a sales manager in a retail bakery in Georgia. When I began working for this 30 year old company, no coffee was served. They had a two door cooler with soda, juice, and milk. I couldn't bear the idea of donuts and no coffee, so I proposed adding coffee to our lineup. I knew very little about the coffee industry, and I was fortunate enough to find a roaster and begin brewing decent coffee, instead of using preground packets of coffee. Our coffee sales have increased, and now I am brewing and serving up to 6 or 7 gallons to our customers and our staff. We upgraded our equipment to Fetco recently.

We did not go the barista route, as we didn't have the space or personnel for an espresso bar. Since then, I have developed more and more of a fascination, (no, it's more of an obsession) with great coffee, and have come to the point that I want to open my own coffee shop. I like the coffee business better than the bakery business, I guess.

If you go the barista route, do it right. Training, attention to quality and detail, good equipment. Don't do it halfway. If that seems too big a commitment, maybe start by offering quality, fresh roasted, fresh ground coffee brewed in a quality brewer, served in dispensers that can maintain at least a modicum of freshness. If your customers respond well, you may consider upgrading to a full espresso bar.
Check ABC courses. Or give Matt our host here a call. He has offered doing something special for me in the past. He may do the same for you if you or your staff can get to PDX where the school is located..
Joe
Paul is making some great points here. Do it right from the get go. Get qualified training. It is way worth the money.
Thanks for the advice. We will have our hands full just getting the bakery part going which we have some experience in- but the coffee side we have none. I assume I can search on Fetco to find out about it.

Paul Yates said:
I am a sales manager in a retail bakery in Georgia. When I began working for this 30 year old company, no coffee was served. They had a two door cooler with soda, juice, and milk. I couldn't bear the idea of donuts and no coffee, so I proposed adding coffee to our lineup. I knew very little about the coffee industry, and I was fortunate enough to find a roaster and begin brewing decent coffee, instead of using preground packets of coffee. Our coffee sales have increased, and now I am brewing and serving up to 6 or 7 gallons to our customers and our staff. We upgraded our equipment to Fetco recently.

We did not go the barista route, as we didn't have the space or personnel for an espresso bar. Since then, I have developed more and more of a fascination, (no, it's more of an obsession) with great coffee, and have come to the point that I want to open my own coffee shop. I like the coffee business better than the bakery business, I guess.

If you go the barista route, do it right. Training, attention to quality and detail, good equipment. Don't do it halfway. If that seems too big a commitment, maybe start by offering quality, fresh roasted, fresh ground coffee brewed in a quality brewer, served in dispensers that can maintain at least a modicum of freshness. If your customers respond well, you may consider upgrading to a full espresso bar.
If coffee is something you are going to focus any amount on then you need to do it well.
If you are just going to offer brewed coffee just find a good roaster and they can set you up in no time flat.
If you are going to have anything from an espresso machine...you need consultation and training. Don't waste 3-5 thousand on an espresso machine to produce a subpar beverage...eventually people won't buy it and you've essentially blown your money.

As has been mentioned previously, there are several courses offered and/or plenty of people on this board that would love a trip to Reno for some excellent training of your staff.

Reach out to some of your local coffee bars and find a good roaster that will be able to offer consultation...that will be your best bet for espresso training.
I'm in agreement - start with drip. Find a great roaster to work with and they will get you going with training and equipment.

You are taking a good step by starting here. You'll want to find out which roasters are active in your area. Ask around at local shops to see who others are using. Try to get a sense for who roasts coffee that you enjoy. Hopefully some baristas in your area will jump in here with some thoughts on who is in the game. Look around for cupping events and tastings. These kind of (usually free) events will give you a great introduction to coffee.

Good luck.
Thanks everyone for your comments. If I decide to go all the way and do it right where can I go to find a list of the equipment I need and help with a good layout?
Again, a roaster should be a great first start. Typically they will be able to sale you all needed equipment since they will most likely have wholesale accounts with certain equipment manufacturer. I'm sure you have little time, but try to connect with a roaster or if you are not ready to make that leap yet simply spend some time at a local shop and offer a barista a free cake or something.

You'll find that most baristas, shop owners, and roasters are more than willing to talk shop over some tasty treats and yummy coffee.

It could even be a chance to sell some of your baked goods to some coffee shops.
Jeremiah is right here. I am a local roaster / cafe owner in our small town of 2K. I would welcome a visit with someone like you. I have most connections except for a deal on a new espresso machine. Although with enough time I could fine one. A search for a local roaster would be time well spent. Start with the roaster closest to you and shop around for one that feels like a working relationship.
JoeR
Go visit the Hub Coffee Co @ 32 Cheney St. They really know their stuff. I don't know if they do consultation, but they can get you on the right track.
Are they in Reno.

Jeremy Williamson said:
Go visit the Hub Coffee Co @ 32 Cheney St. They really know their stuff. I don't know if they do consultation, but they can get you on the right track.
Yes. They are on 32 Cheney Street. http://thehubcoffeeco.blogspot.com/ They serve barefoot coffee, and have public cuppings every Friday I believe.

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