Hello all,

I am a long time coffee fan/snob/barista. I started working at a local coffee shop when I was fourteen years old. After working there for 4 years, it closed down and naturally sought to work for another coffee shop in the local arena. As fate had it, Starbucks hired me. I slaved at Starbucks semi grudgingly for 6 years. Finally, I am done with Starbucks and ready to pursue my own coffee venture. I know how to make great coffee, work hard, extract a superb cup of coffee, etc. However, I am quite the novice (I feel) when it comes to knowing all the specific ins and outs of the more "refined" coffee world. An example would be roasting, (which I am about to begin learning how to). Anyway, I desire to invest in necessary equipment to perfect my craft, make a little money, and to train others how to as well. If you have any helpful tips, any wisdom you'd be happy to share, or any suggestions; I am listening!

Thank you!

-Stephan David W.

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Asking for input about advancing your coffee career without giving accurate information on your coffee career caused ill conceived replies which were wasted time. Not intentionally wasting others time, but thoughtlessly and carelessly none the less. In this instance maybe not that big of a deal. If and when you do in fact go into business for yourself you'll begin to understand the value of time. Would you go to investors without providing fully accurate business information? Would you approach potential clients without giving them accurate business information? Learning how your actions or inactions might effect others is part of being a professional.


I would have replied quite differently had you given accurate up to date information. I know, so what, just some time. Yes just some time of a business owner working 65+ hour weeks with my own coffeehouses to tend to, my own employees to nurture, coffees to roast, coffees to source etc. who took the time to reply because I thought I saw a spark, though a spark seemingly on a misguided course because of not being provided accurate information.


I'm not sure what Mike's problem is but I'd be happy to give you some advice even if you don't have an updated profile.

Never stop learning.  I've been in the business now for a while now and I'm still learning stuff everyday.  If you frequent coffee shops, keep your eyes and ears open.  Talk to the baristas behind the counter and don't be afraid to ask them what they like to drink and why.  Don't be afraid to try new coffees. I would attend as much conferences/shows as you can and ask a bunch of questions.  I would attend as much cuppings as I can around town. If you're traveling ask this community  what coffee shops you should visit at your destination and on the way there. 

This site has a lot of useful information so I would refer to this site frequently if you have questions.


^^ good advice.  Stephan, I echo the other folks - learn all you can, intern everywhere you can, ask lots of questions, read, watch, and put yourself out there - and don't be afraid to try new things.  Funding is likely a tough road, so make sure you don't forget to ask those sorts of questions and work to establish partnerships even now.

Mike - you can excuse your curmudgeon ways for one post, but frankly, give the kid a break.  Maybe you are thinking that bludgeoning him is like a good knock upside the head, but it isn't coming across that way.  He doesn't likely need another dad. 

Starbucks, though limited in coffee, has tons to teach in customer service, business ops, merchandising and the like.  I have two friends who are managers at the 'bucks, and know that doesn't mean they are second class in the coffee world. Even having worked there will give you empathy and a baseline for the story of what's next.  Don't discard all of that.  I would take some time and write out the best lessons you learned/gleaned from SB, along with the worst, and keep that in your back pocket as you move forward.  I don't know the reasons you were there, but I'm sure that's part of your story as well. 

Lastly, don't be discouraged by those folks that try to bust you down.  You can leave the idea of telling folks how it is, as that is part of a good learning process, but don't lose sight of the end game.  A lot of folks are not going to want to help you - they will be too busy, think you are crazy, and wonder why you don't just get a "real" job.  

Let's see started at 14 spent 4 years there, then 6 years Charbucks. So at least 24 now. I'd call that a young adult not a kid and time to wear big boy pants. I don't pull punches because anyone considering going into business themselves had best be able to handle it or most assuredly won't be able to handle to real world of owning and running a business.

Jefro said:

Mike - you can excuse your curmudgeon ways for one post, but frankly, give the kid a break.  

I agree with "Happy" Mike. 

But I will add my 2 cents

Whatever we say, in the end it's about results.  Rather than focusing so much on what knowledge you can amaze others with, take the time to amaze them with that first sip. And this involves time, focus, diligence, and a strong desire to continuously improve.

In a nutshell:


2. Brew and TASTE!

3. REPEAT 1 & 2 until you produce excellent results every time.


4. Repeat the entire process over and over.

That should keep you busy for the next thirty to fifty years.


Exactly, John P.

It's about results... 

To achieve results, one must be coherent within the realm an individual seeks them. 

Define "achieve" within an actual vs. contextual reality.

Define "results" without being subject to synonymous terminology.

Define "coherent" in a coherent manner.

Define "realm" without relying on the Knights, and those who are "defenders of."

Define "individual" without subjugating us to an exploration of Id and Ego.

Define "sarcasm."

Haha! I like you, John.

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