Your question, "Is it better to hook up with a local roaster?" says a lot.
I will respond to your question blind or with out reading any other posts from some of my BX friends who have come to me as I have come to know them and their passion for coffee. Very first I want to say, Good for you....the short answer to your questions are in the order you presented them; Yes
Not necessarily, depends on which combination.
and finally your last one. Maybe.
Now for the long answer,
I can't inundate you with knowledge because it only comes from lots of experience. It's not something you can have given to or receive from another. What I can do is leave you with some thoughts based on my year and a half of experience as a barista/coffee roaster/baker/janitor/ etc., and still open for business. First and foremost change your barista exchange profile from private to public. Barista Exchange is a social networking site based almost entirely on trust between professionals. If you have some coffee background to private to share with us don't post it to your profile. My thoughts and most likely others as well might be, what is she got that is so private. I know , I might sound harsh here because a lot of Facebook folks and some BX members prefer to remain private. Well how do you carry on a professional exchange with someone who won't show themselves. I know your new here so this is just a suggestion. I'm going to spill my guts to you anyway because coffee is my passion and I hope yours as well.
I gave you my short answers because I opened up in the wrong location because it was the only building in downtown we could buy. We are still open and plan on staying open as long customers continue to support us. That said location is very important.
Quality? Very important in the long run. For me very important in the short run. I have seen many shops in a good location with very bad coffee. Lots of other factors play a serious role with this one.
Demographic, something to take into consideration for your business plan for sure.
Hooking up with a local roaster? Yes, as long as he/she is doing a good job. You will soon know if you choose poorly.
It's all about building good relationships, again, trust relationships based on experience. I kind of like you had very little or no experience in this business when I started out. Heck what did I know. A couple of years of home coffee roasting. No coffee business background. As it is I'm still a coffee padawan and will be for years to come. For three years I studied websites to find out what the trends were with coffee shops/roastery's. Spent many thousands of dollars to acquire the equipment some of what you can see on our website. It took me over a year to do the build out on the old 1920's house by myself with a little hired help. Take some time and research, doesn't need to be as long as I spent and you don't need a ton of money. Quite a bit but not a ton. Most of all do not believe anyone who says it's over your head, costs too much, yada yada yada, because 9 times out of 10 they have no idea what they are talking about and usually have an hourly job and most likely always will.
Keep doing what your doing now, ask tons of question, take notes. Wake up the next day and do it some more till it starts coming together. If your heart and soul are together on this your back side wont be far behind.
Please keep us posted here on BX. We support each other here as much as possible.
Now I will scroll down and see what others have had to say to your questions.
Ambassador for Specialty Coffee and palate reform.
Matt B said:Your question, "Is it better to hook up with a local roaster?" says a lot.
because it means she hasn't tasted any local coffee or looked into coffee from regional / national roasters
There are lots of "local" roasters who roast inferior coffees and generally don't do a very god job. I'd probably even say this is usually the case. But going with someone local--assuming the quality is there--does not necessarily mean that you are compromising and that your product is destined for "mediocrity," which is what Dr J's posts suggest. And there are real benefits with sourcing roasted coffee locally. Will it be the "best in the world" (whatever that means)? Maybe not. Then again, maybe it will be.
Dr. Joseph John hit the nail on the head with probably the most salient advice given.
Take it with the kindness that was intended.
I know someone (not an isolated incident) who talked about being the best, and quality this and trained barista, etc. etc., and they couldn't understand why they were failing. After a while they say they are sourcing beans for about $4.50 per pound --ROASTED! Well, I don't need to taste their product to know that you can't source anything quality for that price... probably need to start in the neighborhood of twice that. Point being, many owners - both new and old alike, talk quality, but compromise from day one.
And everyone, especially you, will be happy.
Think about how much it's going to cost. Every Detail involved.
Buildout of an empty space is costly with lots of details
All the machines of course (Espresso, Coffee, Refridgerator, Grinders, ETC)
All smallwares (mugs, saucers, tampers, mats)
All the paper goods
All the coffee/pastries/milk
And so much more.
After your extensive research in learning the industry, you're going to spend months, (and I mean months), developing a business plan. If you're looking for investors a detailed business plan will help them clearly see what your vision is and the numbers that they really care about.
*A business plan clearly states what the goal of the business is, who you are and how that's going to grow the business. Plus, it outlines your menu and other services. Spend a lot of time on that so that it only becomes second nature to speak about it.
DONOT be surprised, though, if your investor skips straight to the financials. At the basic level, they could care less about what your serving. Instead how much does it cost? how much can you sell it for? and how many in what time period can you sell?
No your costs just as well as your know how to pull a good shot of espresso.
I assume you re referring to my post.
If one wants to be the best and serve the highest quality, one needs to seek out the sources that provide the best and of the highest quality. There might be a lcoal roaster that provides the best in the world, but it is unlikely, except perhaps in a few locales.
I have no problem focusing on the local sources if one's goal is to support the local businesses. Then they need to quit talking about serving the best. That is what I meant by people talking about serving the best and make all kinds of compromises along the way and end up being mediocre.
The other compromise I see is about machines. Serving the best and getting a machine with local support are not always consistent.