I'm planning to open my shop this summer in Paola, Kansas and while I'm doing my research and trying to figure out what brand I want to sell, I have to ask, how do you choose? Do you go to roasters and have them make a special blend just for you? Do you order online? How do you get that distinct flavor? So many questions!!! Thanks for any info you can give!
1) If you can, I suggest finding someone local. The closer the better. This will diminish shipping issues, cost, and give you closer access to training, etc. I am a customer of PT's coffee, and would definitely give them a big thumbs up.
2) Why do you have to stick with just one roaster? Some roasters insist on a contract, exclusivity, etc. Unless they are providing free training, equipment, financing, etc., it really isn't appropriate. Instead, if you really like two roasters, you may want to work with them both.
1. Is it good coffee? (This is primary).
2. Does the roaster have good corporate values? (Ethics are important to us, and increasingly, to our customers).
3. Does the roaster provide support? Training? How responsive are they to questions? Can you get the roast master's email address? Do they do maintenance? (We have two roasters, we use Alterra for brewed coffees and Intelligentsia for espresso. Alterra does free trainings, has a maintenance program, lends us a coffee brewer, and is extremely responsive to any questions or concerns that we have).
4. Are they local? (Being Wisconsin-based, we like to work with other businesses in Wisconsin. Alterra's been an excellent partner and they actually deliver the coffee to us weekly for free. Intelligentsia is obviously in Chicago, but they're the best and we love their Black Cat espresso).
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