Specialty Coffee Retailer

Specialty Coffee Retailer March 2014

Specialty Coffee Retailer is a publication for owners, managers and employees of retail outlets that sell specialty coffee. Its scope includes best sales practices, supplies, business trends and anything else to assist the small coffee retailer.

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Page 5 of 51

6¬\¬-ARCH¬¬¬s¬¬WWWSPECIALTYCOFFEECOM C R: L L PIQUET'S PRINCIPLES B J P O ne of the most o en neglected elements of a new co ee shop is taking the proper time to choose a roaster. Sometimes it's an a erthought, and some start-ups never set their sights beyond the roaster down the hill. Since you are a co ee shop, it would be best for you to take the time to have a clear understanding of the caliber of co ee and degree of roast you would like to use for your shop, which roasters t that style, and which of them ts you. Start simple. Know your local roasters. Perhaps there is a terri c roaster right within your area or maybe there is a hidden diamond in the rough. Supporting another local small business is a good way to gain an ally in the local business community, and perhaps a friend or two as well. But what if the best in your area isn't so good? At what point do you have the skills necessary to know if what you consider, "pretty damn good," is just average by real world standards? e world of co ee is vast, but with the ease of accessing available information, spending just a few hours searching the internet and reading will give you some insight on who some of the top caliber roasters are around the country. Start by ordering samples. Order as many as you can from anywhere that has a shipping time of two days or less. And if you happen to be - and you should - attending trade shows such as Co ee Fest or the SCAA Event, then you should grab as many samples from as many roasters whose roast pro le meets your standards. Once you have accumulated a vast array of co ees, you are ready to begin. Spend as much time as it takes doing blind taste tests on the appropriate equipment. If you don't have your commercial machines set up yet, then invest in prosumer level equipment to test your espresso on. You can also use this as an opportunity to hone your manual brewing skills if you are testing brewed co ee as well. Gathering the knowledge of what's out there will give you a realistic basis from which to judge. Take your time. It may cost you a couple thousand dollars in co ee and equipment, but the money and time spent will pay huge dividends to your future business. Once you have brewed and tasted and compared all of the co ee from the di erent roasters and then compared those to the co ee from your local roasters, you will now know where your local roasters stack up and have the proper information from which to make a decision. If your local roasters pale in comparison to the others you tasted, the choice is obvious. And if your local roaster is among the best you have tasted, then the choice may not be so obvious. If you happen to have a local roaster that everyone is using, then if you use the same roaster you will have done nothing to clearly di erentiate yourself. You might be inclined to say, "We have better service," or "we make ours better." Balderdash! By using an outside roaster of equal (or greater) caliber, you will immediately di erentiate yourself by having a avor speci c to your co ee shop. Assuming you are adequately trained and pulling great shots, you will stand out from the crowd because nothing your local competitors can do will produce your unique avor. A er months of tasting countless roaster's o erings, and you are about to nalize your decision, remember that it's about repeatability and reliability. So before you make an agreement with a roaster, make certain that your second sample is as good as the rst and that you receive it just as promptly as you did before. What you serve can only be as good as the ingredients you start with, and if you nd the right roaster for you, your customers will thank you for years to come. SCR John Piquet is a roaster, barista, and siphon brewing specialist at ca e d'bolla in Salt Lake City, which he co-owns and operates with his beautiful wife Yiching. 06 Piquet Principels SCR0314.indd 6 3/6/2014 6:33:13 PM

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