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Thread: Starting a cafe and need some help

  1. #1
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    Talking Starting a cafe and need some help

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hello
    I am starting a gelato shop / Cafe in Sydney and was after some knowledge from people who know about coffee (Believe it or not, im actually allergic to coffee...)
    Just a little background so you have a better understanding...
    I am in a dominant area with high traffic, but I am surrounded by other cafes such as the coffee club, the coffee emporium, and gloria jeans. From my understanding and by talking to various coffee lovers, I understand that they dont make the best tasting cuppas around and thats due to the non caring 18 year old baristas I seen working there.

    1. Can any 1 recommend some good italian roasters? I have spoken to "Molinari coffee" but I'm not sure how good they are really, any feedback?

    2. Is a 3 group machine really necessary? would a 2 group be sufficient enough?

    Any other feedback or suggestions would be much appreciated, especially if you have operated a business before and know some mistakes to avoid in a cafe.

    Thanks alot
    Alex

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    Senior Member yabba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alexdotjay View Post
    Hello
    I am starting a gelato shop / Cafe in Sydney and was after some knowledge from people who know about coffee (Believe it or not, im actually allergic to coffee...)
    Just a little background so you have a better understanding...
    I am in a dominant area with high traffic, but I am surrounded by other cafes such as the coffee club, the coffee emporium, and gloria jeans. From my understanding and by talking to various coffee lovers, I understand that they dont make the best tasting cuppas around and thats due to the non caring 18 year old baristas I seen working there.

    1. Can any 1 recommend some good italian roasters? I have spoken to "Molinari coffee" but I'm not sure how good they are really, any feedback?

    2. Is a 3 group machine really necessary? would a 2 group be sufficient enough?

    Any other feedback or suggestions would be much appreciated, especially if you have operated a business before and know some mistakes to avoid in a cafe.

    Thanks alot
    Alex
    Hi Alex,
    Good luck with your venture.

    I am curious that if your allergic to coffee how do you propose to manage quality control?

    Also why do you only want to deal with Italian roasters, I have heard that some other girls and guys from other countries know how to roast including Ozzie Andy...

    Good luck

    cheers Yabba

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    Hey Yabba
    Its going to be difficult managing quality control, so im leaving that for my partner as this is a joint venture between us.

    I think you might have misunderstood my question maybe... I was after coffee companies that provide italian coffee beans, not sure what you mean there by ozzie andy haha :P

    thanks mate

  4. #4
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    Starting a cafe and need some help

    Ozzie Andy is he owner if this forum and current Golden Bean winner.
    He also can supply you with beans for your cafe.
    Craig

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    oh nice!
    Thanks alot guys

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    Hi Alex,
    what sort of budget?
    in answer to your questions there are quite a few good roasters in Sydney and i would definitely recommend starting with Andy's Coffee - a good 'general purpose' blend would be a good start, when you have honed your skills you could work with some single origins.
    buy the best grinder you can afford, my recommendation would be a Mazzer Major or similar.
    unless you see yourself as being super busy a 2 group machine should suffice (i had a 1 group La Chimbali that i could get 50 cups/hr out of if i was really pushed) - dont let any of the mass marketed coffee chains talk you into a coffee supply contract as you will be stuck with their coffee (read inferior quality and as bad as coffee club/gloria jeans etc.) and generally 2nd rate machines & grinders
    buy a good quality machine - you can get in contact with some great suppliers through this forum.
    if you think you will have a regular demand for decaf get yourself a second grinder - a Mazzer Mini would suffice

    do a barista course - i learnt heaps and my coffee improved significantly
    practice, practice, practice - be obsessed with perfection and you will gain a good following.
    cheers
    Craig
    cafe/restaurant owner for 9 years

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    Welcome Alex....

    Must say that I find your questions somewhat perplexing.

    In a past life, I had the pleasure of training a couple of thousand in coffee... I'd say 10% who turned up for classes didn't actually drink coffee. Many of them were on a government funded freebie- to find a new career and get off the dole. Perhaps they intended to enrol in astrophysics and chose the wrong door!

    I had people turn up for job interviews in my cafes. First thing I did was offer them a coffee.... "Don't drink coffee? What are you doing here?"

    How many chefs are allergic to food?

    My advice? Open the best gelati shop in town and forget about the coffee. Do something that you don't know about and are not able to taste and you are destined to mediocrity at best and that will drag the rest of your business down with it. To choose a stale 6 month old (at best) Italian import coffee will guarantee mediocrity. Must say I feel the same way about packet gelati as well...

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    Quote Originally Posted by logar View Post
    Hi Alex,
    what sort of budget?
    in answer to your questions there are quite a few good roasters in Sydney and i would definitely recommend starting with Andy's Coffee - a good 'general purpose' blend would be a good start, when you have honed your skills you could work with some single origins.
    buy the best grinder you can afford, my recommendation would be a Mazzer Major or similar.
    unless you see yourself as being super busy a 2 group machine should suffice (i had a 1 group La Chimbali that i could get 50 cups/hr out of if i was really pushed) - dont let any of the mass marketed coffee chains talk you into a coffee supply contract as you will be stuck with their coffee (read inferior quality and as bad as coffee club/gloria jeans etc.) and generally 2nd rate machines & grinders
    buy a good quality machine - you can get in contact with some great suppliers through this forum.
    if you think you will have a regular demand for decaf get yourself a second grinder - a Mazzer Mini would suffice

    do a barista course - i learnt heaps and my coffee improved significantly
    practice, practice, practice - be obsessed with perfection and you will gain a good following.
    cheers
    Craig
    cafe/restaurant owner for 9 years
    Hey Craig
    Budget regarding the machines or the coffee? I am willing to spend 2-4K on a coffee machine. if you meant the coffee then I seen prices around for $25-$30 p/kilo so I'd be happy for it to be somewhere around there.
    Thats the reason I came and asked here to be honest, most salesmen for coffee companies offered the machine for free (or as they say, I know its not) under a 5 year contract providing we sell at least 24 Kg a week, or $50 per week for the machine if we dont.
    I think your right but, a 2 group would be enough and I can always upgrade if needed.
    I'm also looking to attend a barista course this week to touch up on my skills


    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    Welcome Alex....

    Must say that I find your questions somewhat perplexing.

    In a past life, I had the pleasure of training a couple of thousand in coffee... I'd say 10% who turned up for classes didn't actually drink coffee. Many of them were on a government funded freebie- to find a new career and get off the dole. Perhaps they intended to enrol in astrophysics and chose the wrong door!

    I had people turn up for job interviews in my cafes. First thing I did was offer them a coffee.... "Don't drink coffee? What are you doing here?"

    How many chefs are allergic to food?

    My advice? Open the best gelati shop in town and forget about the coffee. Do something that you don't know about and are not able to taste and you are destined to mediocrity at best and that will drag the rest of your business down with it. To choose a stale 6 month old (at best) Italian import coffee will guarantee mediocrity. Must say I feel the same way about packet gelati as well...

    haha, I dont have intolerance to coffee, its just an allergy where I get hives after I drink it
    as I mentioned earlier, my parter who will be in the business as much as I am is a coffee lover, just never worked at a cafe before.
    I was looking at an all gelato bar, but during the winter times you do need the hot drinks, plus Im licensed as "cafe" also so why not take advantage XD

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    Alex,

    You ask about Italian coffee. It is a myth that the best coffee comes from Italy. While they invented espresso and for over 100 years have developed the espresso machines we know, the Italians depend on imported coffee beans to produce their coffee.

    If you buy imported roasted beans from Italy, the chances are they will be stale before you get them.

    To get the best fresh coffee you should find a local roaster who uses the best coffee beans available and use their skill to come up with the great coffee to be freshly ground as you need it.

    Both you and your coffee loving partner should have professional training on the type of machine you expect yo use or you will have to employ experienced baristas.

    If you can produce superior coffee to the nearby caffs, you may win.

    Barry

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    Alex, if your partner is going to be dealing with the coffee, why don't you let them make the machine / bean decisions? after all, if you're allergic to it, you can't tell if the advice is any good.

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    First thing I would have to say, is to mention the obvious that no one else seems to be willing to tackle.....is this topic for real?

    If it is, I would say that you should direct your questions to the concept designer of your gelateria.

    Does a / your gelateria need to encompass a coffee station?'

    Only you guys would know that...no one in this forum knows what you are doing, your concept or the location, so we cant comment.

    If you and your advisers think you should do coffee, your advisers should be able to point you in some kind of direction. You will need a coffee machine of size and type indeterminate. And if the main concept is gelato, how many coffees have you guys thought that you may turnover? That effects the choice of equipment etc.

    As you do not know about the coffee or equipment, the best way forward for you is to look at a small number of local roasters, and let them advise you about expected turnover of coffee in your location and for your type of concept, and the type of equipment they recommend and can service for you. ie.....allow them to do their job and look after you.....which will include training. Always accept ( and demand) training from your supplier as it is counterproductive to take training elsewhere and then give your supplier a hard time if his and your independent trainer's information conflict from time to time. Your supplier is there to help you because in so doing, he helps himself. Give him a go and dont work against him while he is trying to help you.

    Real coffee business is not a lot like a lot of the stuff you read about it in the forums, and as you have noted there are a lot of places around that are known for making mediocre cuppas, that are probably doing very very well regardless. You and your concept advisers and designers need to sell the sizzle, not the sausage. These days in business, its all about the sizzle, and that leads straight back to your professional concept design and your business start up advisers.

    Hope that helps.

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    Hey Fresh_coffee
    yes, this is for real. I know there are alot of time wasters on the net but I can assure you this venture will be open in little over a week.
    To be honest, there are no advisers or concept designers in this business. This is my own venture and I have the choice of putting a 3 - 4 hell even 6 group machines if I wanted. I dont need an adviser to tell me I need coffee really, I see a line outside of emporium coffee every morning at 6 AM.
    The reason I posted here is to ask regarding good roasters in Sydney.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alexdotjay View Post
    Hey Fresh_coffee
    yes, this is for real.....this venture will be open in little over a week......The reason I posted here is to ask regarding good roasters in Sydney.
    Ok now we are down to the nitty gritty.

    Are you getting a health inspection? They will be very interested in the partculars of plumbing and drainage of the equipment especially the drainage, and you will need to decide whether to organise inspection before or after said equipment is commissioned. If it is before, suggest you say nothing about your intentions wrt coffee, and you will have to get your skates on and find a suitable roaster / supplier to advise you and help with the very important matters relating to that plus training etc.

    I cant help you find a coffee supplier in another (very large) city to where I am located, and please note its not just coffee supply, its all the requisite help with the equipment incl ongoing service and advice.....the beans and equipment will need to go hand in hand as you apparently dont have prior expertise or service providers to draw from.

    Hope that helps.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fresh_Coffee View Post
    Ok now we are down to the nitty gritty.

    Are you getting a health inspection? They will be very interested in the partculars of plumbing and drainage of the equipment especially the drainage, and you will need to decide whether to organise inspection before or after said equipment is commissioned. If it is before, suggest you say nothing about your intentions wrt coffee, and you will have to get your skates on and find a suitable roaster / supplier to advise you and help with the very important matters relating to that plus training etc.

    I cant help you find a coffee supplier in another (very large) city to where I am located, and please note its not just coffee supply, its all the requisite help with the equipment incl ongoing service and advice.....the beans and equipment will need to go hand in hand as you apparently dont have prior expertise or service providers to draw from.

    Hope that helps.
    Hey
    I have already allocated a drainage point for the coffee equipment.
    Although your points are valid, they do not answer my question yet...

    Can you provide me with a company that roasts good coffee in sydney?

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    Senior Member Lukemc's Avatar
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    Starting a cafe and need some help

    Where in Sydney will you be located roughly?

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    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alexdotjay View Post

    Although your points are valid, they do not answer my question yet...

    Can you provide me with a company that roasts good coffee in sydney?

    Why don't you go and actually talk to some, try their coffee, ask about pricing / service / contracts, and talk to their other clients etc?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fresh_Coffee View Post
    ....
    I cant help you find a coffee supplier in another (very large) city to where I am located, and please note its not just coffee supply, its all the requisite help with the equipment incl ongoing service and advice.....the beans and equipment will need to go hand in hand as you apparently dont have prior expertise or service providers to draw from...
    Hope that helps and better get your skates on if you are opening in a week.

  18. #18
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    Many of the better quality cafe's in Sydney roast their own coffees. Of roasters in Sydney (that I personally know of) I would recommend 'Campos Coffee', 'Mecca Coffee' and 'Toby's Estate'. I know there is some debate from some of the coffee snobs about the varying quality of these products, however in the right hands (a good barista, using the right equipment) I feel these three brands deliver a high level of quality and consistency. Having said all of this, I know that some if not all of these roasters also enforce fairly strict quality control requirements upon their purchasers in order to ensure and maintain their brand integrity.

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    Allpress at Alexandria is one roaster used by many cafes and seems to be pretty well received. In your position I'd consult their cafe finder at Commercial non-sponsor link removed per the http://coffeesnobs.com.au/general-ne...icy-rules.html to visit a few cafes serving Allpress that you won't be competing against and ask for their experiences.
    Last edited by Javaphile; 8th April 2013 at 01:16 PM. Reason: commercial link removed

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alexdotjay View Post
    Hey Fresh_coffee
    The reason I posted here is to ask regarding good roasters in Sydney.
    to be honest, in your situation, a 'good' roaster doesn't matter - I suspect _any_ roaster will be good enough for you. so pick someone who will help you with the cafe biz, not just someone who sells you beans. if you can't taste the coffee, you can't make a decision on how good the beans are, and most customers can't either, since barista skill will be a more important factor.

    if you can't taste the coffee, how do you know if your staff are any good?

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    Re: Starting a cafe and need some help

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Quote Originally Posted by Hildy View Post
    to be honest, in your situation, a 'good' roaster doesn't matter - I suspect _any_ roaster will be good enough for you. so pick someone who will help you with the cafe biz, not just someone who sells you beans. if you can't taste the coffee, you can't make a decision on how good the beans are, and most customers can't either, since barista skill will be a more important factor.

    if you can't taste the coffee, how do you know if your staff are any good?
    What roaster wont have facilities to make coffee?

    Someone above mentioned Mecca; Ive been to their cafe in the sydney cbd (only good one I could find in NSW ), and also had their coffee here in Perth, from the time my local were still setting up their roastery. In the right hands, its nice coffee.

    Good luck!

    Edit: Hildy your comment looked as though you were suggesting some roasters cant make coffee. Now I realise you were talking about the OPs inability to drink it.



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