I will be opening a small coffee shop in England. We will be heavily focused  on producing great coffee ( Synesso Cyncra + Anfim Super Caimano combo)  and we are going to use beans from one of the best roasters in England.

 

I make espresso based drinks at home for myself. I've read lots on the internet and bought many books on the subject of coffee and coffee.business BUT I have never worked in a coffee shop before.

 

My aim is simple : To make the best coffee in the town. Sooo the questions is  "Shall I hire an experienced  Barista from the beginning "  or  I train myself and all the other beginners and hope we get to a decent standard in a few months?

 

The shop is due to open in about 4-5 weeks.

 

As usual, thanks for all responses in advance.

 

Cheers

 

Dav

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What is HasBean offering? Most specialty roasters have some sort of barista training program, some offering this service for free to their wholesale clients, others at a nominal fee. This also keeps anyone from "shoehorning" the coffee you've chosen into their preconceptions about brewing. All roasters have a slightly different roast style, and only they know their own coffee well enough to recommend how to brew it with any sort of consistency and reliability (saving those baristas with experience brewing multiple roasters' coffees). Trust your roaster to steer you the right way here, as they want you to represent their coffee in the best light possible.

Also, training is an ongoing process, and it's never finished. See what they have to offer after the initial "Espresso 101" session. How do they follow up? How willing are you to follow up?

There are some great names here with great reputations giving you great advice, so take what is useful to your vision and run with it. I especially agree with Mr Caragay, as he has both the taste and experience with multiple coffee roasters' offerings to back his advice up. Chris Deferio's advice is spot-on, too, which is what we'd expect from someone with so much experience in the industry.
it seems everyone agrees and I absolutely encourage you to hire a well experienced barista with FANTASTIC references. (just because they have experience it does not mean they are good) IF you can get your hands on more than one than jump on it.
the stronger, knowledgeable and experienced your staff is the better the shop as a whole can serve the coffee to its potential.

then I would try talking to the roaster,as a team go to labs, cupping's, ANYthing informative or constructive. Working with them should help all of you get on the same page, as a barista I would LOVE this.

that would be a good place to start. I wish you luck with your shop and would love to come England and maybe snag a few shifts from you!
-sumi

Somehow I missed this reply, sorry bout that John. I agree completely. I started out about 18 months ago with the idea of opening a shop. Then wrote a rough draft business plan and had it reviewed by a consultant who also writes in here from time to time. He gave me a list of things to do to prepare - including coffee school, cupping (monthly for the most part), constant reading about coffee, visiting shops, and practicing brewing methods (daily), been to coffee farms, SCAA events and training,.... The only thing I could not do was get a job as a barista. However, I tried. I know exactly what I want for my shop regarding quality of product, and quality of customer service. And, I have several years of business experience. The bookkeeping stuff and management is second nature.

 

What I want from an employee is to follow 'my" business model, feel comfortable behind the espresso machine under pressure, and to work quickly and efficiently. I will hire an experienced barista that is willing to adapt to my model and perhaps bring new ideas to the table. If the barista has some bad habits, they will be corrected quickly. On the other hand, I will also hire someone with little coffee knowledge if they have shown interest in learning. That person can start behind the register and train to become a barista. I intend to train and learn on a daily basis.

 


John P said:

I have to strongly echo what Deferio and Brady have said. Deferio is one of the most respected professionals in the business, and knows what he is talking about.

What I would add to both the OP and Dennis is "What's the rush?" It seems like many new owners, more often younger than older, tend to be impatient about their opening. We took two years from inception of idea until opening. 18 months was finding the right space and negotiating a proper lease, and the entire time was used studying, attending trade shows, classes, and traveling to various caffe to see how the best did it.

How you prepare prior to opening is the most crucial aspect of your business, and lack of preparation is the single greatest reason why people fail. Knowledge of how and why a particular location is good, and if the lease is right, small business management, and accounting skills, training skills, and knowledge and expertise of craft. Once you open it's not the time to learn the ropes, it's the time to continue to pull away from everyone else. Do yourself (selves) a favor and take whatever time is necessary for YOU to become the expert, and delay your openings. You will fare much better in the long run if you do.

Frankly, without it, you might not survive.

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