Greetings Everyone..

 

I'm opening a cafe in about 2 months and I'm getting lost the closer I get...

I suppose this is a clear sign about my inexperience but I really thought choosing a coffee roaster was going to be easier than this...

 

I thought about...

illy and lavazza because I used to love drinking it (in china believe it or not)

and then I thought about just choosing a major chain (I figured the brand name would draw in customers since it's a new shop) but either couldn't get it or didn't like it

and so now I'm just constantly ordering and tasting different coffees...

So far...I'm still thinking about lavazza, batdorf & bronson, northstar fine coffees, and I have a bunch still on order...

I love intelligentsia but they don't want to service me for some reason...

can I please get some advice!!!

 

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This is a big decision.  I would focus your decision on quality, freshness, and customer service.  That being said, stick to someone on the east coast/mid america that roasts to order... 

It also sounds like you need a mentor.  Good luck with your endeavor.

There's a pretty wide range of services offered by roasters.  Some roasters just roast coffee of varying quality and price point.  Others offer syrups, sauces, equipment support, business consultation, and training.

 

Consider what your needs are and choose a roaster that meets them.

Well please don't with  lavazza they are to far and you coffee will be never fresh. Just a suggestion , look around you ! there most be a local roaster? You will get fresher bean, wich is very important and buying local is always better for the economie.

yes i agree fresh is always better... we do have a couple of local roasters... and/or at least close enough... lexington coffee is only about an hour away.

My question is then... do you think fresh coffee from a decent roaster is better than say a really good coffee roaster on the other coast?

olivier dutil said:

Well please don't with  lavazza they are to far and you coffee will be never fresh. Just a suggestion , look around you ! there most be a local roaster? You will get fresher bean, wich is very important and buying local is always better for the economie.

it all depend on how fast they ship it and how the roaster are on the ball because they can ship it the day they roast it and the coffee will spend 3 to 7 days in the shipping so you will get your coffee at the prime time

for espresso. Juste a question Where are you from"?

Try Specialty Java. Kevin is a great guy and he's highly recommended. His Jamaican Blue is his specialty.

http://www.specialtyjava.com/

Are there any local roasters?  I'd look strongly at them.  Depending on what they do, you might get someone who is willing to work with you than a big national (or international) brand.  Many small roasters also supply equipment at lower rates than national stores. And if your willing to buy from them, some will sell you equipment for a little or nothing over cost.  Another option is buying from several roasters.  Have one espresso from a national roaster and another from a local roaster.  I have a friend who owns a shop that uses two local roasters and PT's.  And there is no real drive to buy the same thing week after week.  You and your baristas will have much more fun getting to tell your customers about the new coffee that they are excited about.

Stockton Graham is a great company with a good, consistent product and superb customer service.

 

We've used them for the past few years and they have always taken care of us, help promote our bar, and worked with us on coffee selection. They're also a full service company that can help with equipment and all of the other items a coffee bar needs.

 

Prior to Stockton Graham, we worked with a more "local" roaster that had me pulling my hair out. They couldn't supply our demand and we often ran out of coffee.

 

So, definitely do you homework. Request samples. Make sure they'll give you free shipping. The roaster is a big "partner" in your business and you both need to have the same vision about coffee.

 

All the best!

in Roanoke, VA

Mick C said:

yes i agree fresh is always better... we do have a couple of local roasters... and/or at least close enough... lexington coffee is only about an hour away.

My question is then... do you think fresh coffee from a decent roaster is better than say a really good coffee roaster on the other coast?

olivier dutil said:

Well please don't with  lavazza they are to far and you coffee will be never fresh. Just a suggestion , look around you ! there most be a local roaster? You will get fresher bean, wich is very important and buying local is always better for the economie.

I personally don't recommend going beyond a 1-day shipping radius.  Many roasters ship coffee anyway, so your quality will not suffer at all within that radius.

 

This gives you tons of options - Stockton, Counter Culture, Batdorf & Bronson, etc... lots of options.

 

Access to training resources will depend on your ability to get to the training facility, or the trainer to reach you.  This weighs in favor of a more local roaster.

where are you located? as a small artisan roaster, for a whole host of reasons, i like to work with accounts who are within a defined circumference; this gives you one day ups delivery for beans if you are cutting it close, it gives you good proximity when your machines need servicing, etc. i suggest you define what you are looking for - just beans, or beans and equipment, equipment servicing, training, etc. some roasters sell beans only, while, on the other end of the spectrum, can can assist with design & layout, installation, setup and calibration, as well as training and service.

Mike,

In my opinion and experience it's a no-brainer. Go with Lexington. We've used them since we opened with a cart in Charlottesville back in the early 90's and have won Best Coffee in Cville for the last 15 years.

Terry and Melissa are excellent roaster partners and know as much about coffee as anyone I know. They have placed several coffees in the Top 5 of the Roaster's Guild annual competition at SCAA. They and their staff know how to source beautiful coffees and roast them to complex perfection.

Their training program is solid. Our baristas always come back educated, inspired, and motivated.

LCRC the best roaster I know of that close to you. We order Monday. They roast Tuesday and deliver Wednesday every week. The freshness makes all the difference.

We have never been disappointed. We have only been happy and proud to carry Lexington.

Feel free to contact me directly if you have any other questions.

John Lawrence

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