Make Coffee You Love!

  • Hot-Blooming Cold Brew

    If you’re here at the Seattle Coffee Gear blog we’re betting you know a thing or two about cold brewed coffee. This method of brewing has become incredibly popular over the last decade or so, and with good reason. Cold brewing coffee leads to fantastic extraction of flavor notes by slowly brewing coffee with the simplicity of overnight saturation. Did you know that you can tease even more flavors out of your cold brew with a neat trick? Follow along to find out!

    The Bloom

    If you’re a pour over drinker you’re familiar with the bloom. This is the part of the pour over process where you add water to your grounds, often around 1:1, to start the extraction and release gas from the grounds. You’ll see the grounds bubble as those gasses are released. This is an important step that is one of the reasons brewing pour over results in more distinct, smooth flavors than an old drip brewer.

    Cold brewed coffee already eliminates a lot of the bitterness that can come with coffee by nature of its slow-brew process. To get an even smoother, more complex flavor, you can bloom your cold brew coffee as well!

    How-To

    To do this, you’ll need to heat up some water to brew temp. For the very best flavor, you’ll want filtered water heated to 195-205 degrees fahrenheit. Once you have this water heated, add the hot water to your coffee grounds at a ratio of 1:1. You’ll want to let the coffee bloom for around a minute, which will release those gasses and flavors mentioned above. From there, simply add the rest of your room-temp or cold water and set your cold brew to saturate overnight!

    The resulting coffee will be smoother and more flavorful than your typical batch cold brewing. This technique works especially well for naturals and honeys that have a stronger flavor. If you think about this, it makes sense that brews that work best as pour over will also perform better using this method. It should be noted that this method of hot blooming your cold brew can add a very minimal amount of acidity to your coffee, but it’s something most coffee drinkers won’t even notice. It’s just something to keep in mind if you specifically need to keep your acids as low as possible.

    Conclusion

    In conclusion, Hot blooming your grounds before you set your cold brew to steep can add flavor and depth to your caffeine concentrate. Give it a try and see how you like it, and let us know how it goes!

  • Video Roundup: 8/21/2020

    Hello Coffee Fans!

    We've missed a few video roundups here and there. So sorry for that! We're back on track this week with a trio of fun videos. Let's dive in!

    First up, Ariel gave us a review of the P90 Ultralight Coffee Press!

    Next, we've got a crew review of the Oxo Cold Brewer with Jake:

    And finally, Allie and I sat down to taste our August Roast of the Month!

    That's all for now! Join us next week for all kinds of delectable coffee content. Have a great weekend coffee lovers!

  • Roast of the Month: Brandywine Costa Rica Las Lajas

    It’s that time once again for Roast of the Month! This month we have a unique and delicious Costa Rican Black Honey roast from the ever excellent Brandywine Coffee Roasters! 

    Region and Process

    Costa Rican coffee is always a treat because the flavors present are usually quite diverse. Typically coffee regions tend to have a unifying theme when it comes to flavor. Colombian coffee with its rich chocolate flavors and Ethiopian coffee featuring those strong berry notes. In the case of Costa Rican coffee, you tend to get a wide range of notes that are hard to push into a particular bucket. While that may mean it’s harder to pick out a perfect coffee from the region, for adventurous coffee drinkers it’s a great thing. Thankfully roasters like Brandywine also offer quite accurate and detailed tasting notes as well, which helps.

    Black honey processing is a unique method of processing that is becoming more common, but is still not something we see every day. Honey processing is a type of processing where the skin of the coffee cherry is removed (as opposed to a natural process where it’s left on) but the some of the mucilage inside of the cherry is left on the bean to ferment (as opposed to a washed process where the whole cherry is removed). The result is flavors that mirror a natural process but with slightly less intensity. Black honey processing is a process by which the smallest amount of cherry is removed from the bean, which leads to more intense flavor than a typical honey process. 

    Brewing and Flavor Profile

    As with most of our Roast of the Months, we recommend brewing this one as a pour over. This is because it has diverse and complex enough flavors that the separation offered by pour over really does the job best. We brewed at a standard pour over grind with a V60, 200 degrees fahrenheit water, and a standard 1:16 ratio. The result is a dazzling cup that brings out the notes on the bag pretty exactly.

    The apple juice note is subtle but present in a sort of fleeting way. It’s met with those delicious sweet-tart kiwi notes and a softer melon flavor. Finally, the brown sugar note is what ties these three fruity flavors together. It sort of dances around the edges of the palate, offering a delicious bow for this present of a roast. Body wise, this coffee is well rounded and full without venturing into heavy, oily territory. It’s definitely a medium roast that trends lighter, but without the brighter characteristics you get from a light roast.

    This coffee does hold up in other brew methods as well, working especially as a drip brew. With a great brewer and the right grind, you can get a near perfect cup of drip coffee from the roast. 

    Like with every single origin, this roast will only be available for a limited time, so be sure to order a bag before it’s gone!

  • Coffee Regions: Ethiopia

    We’ve taken a look at some of the unique regions that coffee is produced in before, but we wanted to revisit them! Today we’re talking a bit about Ethiopian coffee. We’ll discuss the geographical concepts at play, and dig into the flavor profiles typical for coffees of the region. We’re excited to highlight these interesting concepts in other regions too! For now, let’s get started:

    Geography

    Ethiopia has a diverse range of climates and biomes. From the dusty, but vibrant eastern deserts to mountains, jungles, and forests, this is a large, beautiful country. It also means that it contains the ideal climate for growing coffee plants. Indeed, most consider this country to be the birthplace of coffee. It’s also one of the finest regions for coffee production in the world.

    In light of this, coffee accounts for most of the foreign income in the country. Most of it is produced in the Western part of the country, with some coffee coming from central Ethiopia as well. Because of all of this, coffee in the country is grown at varying elevations. Most coffee is grown in the 1,000-2,500 meter range, but there are outliers as well. With the excellent elevation and climate, Ethiopian coffee beans really are of extremely high quality.

    Processing

    Ethiopian coffee goes through all sorts of processes. Even within specific regions like Yirgacheffe or Limu you may find multiple processing methods. For the most part, the aforementioned regions feature washed coffee. However, it’s not uncommon at all to find a delicious natural Yirgacheffe coffee. By contrast, coffee from the Harrar region is primarily natural processed. This means you get interesting processing experiments as well. Honey processing, for example, is common in Ethiopia, but reserved for specific harvests.

    Their wet and natural processing is managed by highly skilled coffee processors whose attention to detail is fitting for the quality of beans that are grown there. 

    Flavor Profiles

    The easiest way to break down Ethiopian coffee flavor profiles is by region. Generally though, coffee from the country is recognized as some of the most enjoyable and flavorful available. Rich berry notes are some of the most recognizable elements of Ethiopian coffee. You’ll also find bright, almost tea-like roasts from the region, and more balanced affairs. Here are some examples of flavors you can expect from some of Ethiopia’s most prolific coffee growing regions:

    • Sidamo
      • Rich, full, lots of floral and citrus notes.
    • Yirgacheffe
      • Bright, herbal, floral, very light and delicate.
    • Harrar 
      • Intense, fruity, acidic, and rich. Lots of berry notes.
    • Limu
      • Floral, balanced, and a hint of spice.
    • Jimma
      • Bright, fruity, and tropical.

    We hope you’ve enjoyed this look at Ethiopian coffee and we can’t wait for you to try some for yourself!

  • 2020 Rocket Espresso Home Machine Lineup

    Rocket Espresso’s home machine lineup is an excellent way to bring cafe quality drinks to your kitchen. Hand built in Milan, Italy, these machines bring authenticity and sophistication alongside their powerful performance. With the addition of the stunning R58 Cinquantotto, Rocket Espresso’s lineup of machines just got an upgrade. We thought we’d provide an updated look at this fantastic collection of espresso machines!

    Rocket Espresso Appartamento

    Rocket Espresso’s Appartamento is a fantastic entry into the prosumer espresso machine space. We often get questions about performance in machines under $1,000. Users sometimes purchase a machine like this and assume they will get the same kind of performance from them as you might from a commercial machine. The Appartamento is an option that gets you closer to that kind of performance without the cost of a professional machine.

     

    Featuring standard Rocket Espresso features like a heated E-61 group head, beautiful and solid case design and construction, a fast heat exchanger boiler, and commercial-like steam want, the Appartamento is a powerful option. On top of this, this machine’s cut out side panels and colored inserts give it a unique, striking look. The compact design of this machine compared to other Italian espresso machines makes it suitable for more counter tops as well. For an added dose of style, check out the Appartamento Nera.

    Rocket Espresso Mozzafiato & Giotto

    Rocket Espresso’s Mozzafiato and Giotto machines offer an upgrade in performance and capabilities over the Appartamento while maintaining the same design ethos and Italian espresso aesthetics.These machines feature similar design elements on the inside, and represent an upgrade due to the addition of PID controlled temperatures. The result is more stable temps under heavy load than the Appartamento offers.

     

    Both of these machines are available with a rotary or vibratory pump. Rotary pumps allow these machines to be plumbed in directly to water lines for the busiest users. The main differences between the Giotto and the Mozzafiato are the side panels, with the Giotto featuring sharp, slanted panels that provide a little extra visual flair. THe Mozzafiato features an integrated cup rail that is part of its flat side panels.

    Rocket Espresso Porta Via

    The Porta Via is Rocket Espresso’s travel machine. While this may sound counter intuitive, it’s actually a clever offering that folds into itself to create a simple to transport case. With a little bit of setup, this is the perfect machine to bring on your weekend road trip or to a cabin getaway.

     

    While it definitely doesn’t fit everyone’s needs, the Porta Via fills a unique niche that will make it the perfect option for some on the go espresso drinkers!

    Rocket Espresso R58 Cinquantotto

    The Cinquantotto is a new update to the classic R58. This machine features all of the design standards of a Rocket Espresso machine with some overhauled elements that take home espresso brewing to the next level. The Cinquantotto’s dual boilers make for an outstanding brewing platform that is nearly impossible to outrun for a home user. This means you’ll always have the perfect temps for steaming and brewing. The Cinquantotto also features a touchscreen controlled PID that allows precise temperature control, auto-on time programming, and more with a vibrant, easy to read interface. 

     

    The Cinquantotto is also plumbable and features the stylish, polished case design of other rocket espresso machines. If you’re looking for some of the highest performance on the home machine market, the R58 Cinquantotto is a compelling offer.

    Rocket Espresso R9 One Group

    The R9 One Group is a complex, hobbyist machine. This is one built for the most dedicated home brewer and features nearly unparalleled control over the brewing process. By using the machine’s brew handle you can recreate the pressure application of a wide range of machines. This lets you mimic brew pressure to recreate the kind of drink you’d get from almost any machine on the market. While the brew paddle reacts slightly slower to adjustments than with something like the La Marzocco GS/3, with the R9 One you can actually store those pressure profiles. By doing this, you can recall past pressure recipes to try your favorites over and over again.

    For a visual look at these machines, join Allie for her overview of Rocket Espresso's machine lineup:

  • Video Roundup: 7/31/20

    Hey coffee fans!

    It's time for another video round up over here at SCG. We have a mix of videos this week we hope you'll love. Let's jump right in!

    First up, we have a review of the new and upgraded Capresso Infinity Plus:

    Next up, we've got some Rancilio Silvia tips and tricks with Allie!

    And finally, a commercial crew review of The handy dandy PuqPress Q2:

    That's all for now friends! We'll be back with more videos next week! Happy sipping!

  • Pour Over or Press?

    Espresso and drip coffee both require machines that might not be easy to accommodate in a small kitchen, or travel with. For those looking for a brewing solution that fits some tighter spaces, pour over and press brewing is quite attractive! Let’s take a look at each style so you can get an idea for what might fit your taste buds more.

    Water

    Whether you end up going for press or pour over, hot water is a must. We recommend picking up a variable temperature kettle like this Bonavita kettle or this Fellow EKG. One of the most important parts of any brew method is accurate, consistent temperatures, and both of these kettles will provide that!

    If you’re traveling and don’t want to bring a whole kettle with you, you can get by with boiling water left off boil for 20-30 seconds. 

    Pour Over

    Pour over brewing is simple and effective, but takes a little practice to get right. When considering it as a brewing option with a smaller footprint, keep your scale in mind. Because of how pour over is made, you really need a scale to measure weight as you brew. This can take up additional space, but there are plenty of scale options that are compact enough to slide into a bag for travel. We love the Hario V60 Drip Scale for its slim profile and usability.

    You’ll also need a dripper, which doesn’t take up much cupboard space, but can be difficult to pack for travel if that’s your goal. The Hario V60 is a gold standard dripper, but this collapsible dripper from GSI Outdoor is perfect for travel. You’ll need appropriate filters for your dripper as well, which can add a bit more complication for travel.

    Space questions aside, pour over offers fantastic flavor. It’s the brew method we use here at SCG to try new coffees, and the perfect way to take in every note from a roast.

    Press

    Coffee presses generally offer a bolder, stronger flavor than pour over. For some, press coffee is the only way to go. Depending on your press, it can be a little bit difficult to get a totally grit free cup. With that in mind, the Aeropress Go is a fantastic press that uses a paper filter to strain the grounds. Aeropress is one of our most popular presses, and a fantastic option for coffee on the go or at home. The Go in particular collapses into a simple cup to travel with.

    Other presses can still offer excellent results as well and brew in larger quantities, but might be harder to travel with. Classic like this Bodum Brazil or this Espro P7 are fantastic options that are simple to use and delicious. These larger options are a little on the large side, so they might be hard to travel with.

    Final Thoughts

    One last thing to keep in mind is a grinder. Luckily a simple brew grinder like the Baratza Encore or the Oxo Brew can handle press or pour over brewing.

    The best thing you can do is try both brew methods. For those who like a little variety, the space and cost is gentle enough with pour over and press brewing that you might even find room for both!

  • Coffee Testing

    One thing we don’t talk too much about is the way we taste test new coffees, and how that might help you experience a new roast. 

    As you’ve almost assuredly noticed, coffee tasting notes aren’t always perfect. There’s usually some nuance in there, which we’ve talked about in the past. As such, we don’t just look at the notes and decide whether or not to bring on a roast. We actually try everything we bring on to make sure we like it.

    Given that, you might wonder why sometimes your brew is different from what we describe on product pages. So much of this comes down to brew method and personal palate, but what are the ideal ways to try a new roast?

    Brew

    For brewed coffee instead of espresso, we recommend a pour over. This allows you to start with a small sample of coffee instead of a whole pot’s worth. You’ll also get the most definition in the coffee’s notes, which is important for the initial tasting. 

    For a recipe, we always stick to a 1:16 standard ratio of coffee to water. It’s good practice to use around 20 grams of coffee and 320 grams of water. We then brew with three pours, using around 106 grams of water in each, starting with a 30 second bloom. Spreading the pours out evenly like this can help to balance and settle the tasting notes, even if an ascending pour ultimately leads to better flavor.

    Once you’ve tried a pour over of your new roast, you’ll be able to understand the way the flavor will come out in a drip brewer or press. I’ll also give you the best baseline for understanding those flavors.

    Espresso

    We often receive roasts not explicitly marked for espresso that seem well suited for the brew method. For these roasts, we still taste them as a pour over as described above. After that, we’ll try dialing them in for espresso.

    Dialing in a shot can be very challenging depending on the roast. Many coffees just aren’t suited for the brew method. Some trickier single origins (or even blends!) really need a long pull rather than the standard 20-30 seconds you usually start with. By developing your palate and practicing with different espresso blends you should be able to use pour over brewing to understand a coffee’s flavor. Developing this understanding can make it much easier to dial in a shot, because you know what you’re looking for. 

    In any case, it’s always exciting to pick up a new coffee and work out all of its subtle notes. We highly encourage you to experiment with these different tasting methods to get the most out of your coffee too!

  • Roast of the Month: Colombia Finca El Cedro

    It’s time once again for our Roast of the Month! This month we’re featuring Colombia Finca El Cedro from Bluebeard Coffee Roasters! We always love a unique Colombian single origin, and this one is no exception. Let’s get into brewing and tasting this delicious roast!

    Spice Forward

    We definitely think this one works in a variety of brew methods. Regardless of how you brew, this roast is very interesting because it really fits a “spice forward” profile. This is unique among Colombian coffees, which usually favor strong chocolate notes. In the case of this roast, the more chocolatey flavors are quite subtle, with much more spice coming out in the flavor profile. When we say spice here, we really mean a baker’s spice kind of thing. Notes cinnamon and nutmeg are what we taste, along with some of those sweeter notes from the fruitier flavors.

    The raspberry note on this one comes across as quite subtle, barely presenting unless you brew as a pour over. More prevalent are the brown sugar and apricot notes. When combined with that spice flavor you get a delicious fruit pie-like taste. We get the sort of pie notes that you might encounter in a Fall apple pie. 

    One interesting element to this roast is just how bloom time really affects the flavor here. Let’s talk about brew methods to get into that a little bit more!

    Brewing and Blooming

    When we refer to bloom time, we’re talking about the bloom step of brewing as pour over. This is the stage where acids are released from the coffee with a short pour at the start of the pour over process. By extending the bloom time on this roast, you can really affect the flavor. A longer bloom will bring out more of those spice notes, versus a shorter bloom time, which highlights a bit more of the sweetness. We’ve experimented with bloom times ranging from 20 seconds to a full minute!

    If you’re not brewing pour over, you’ll still get a great cup of coffee out of this roast. Drip brewing leads to a more balanced cup, which still highlights the spice notes we keep mentioning. As an espresso, you’re going to get more of that sweetness, which is usually the case with this richer brew method.

    No matter how you brew, Colombia Finca El Cedro is a delicious coffee that you won’t want to miss! Grab a bag today!

  • 5 Things to Know Before Opening a Coffee Business

    Taking a passion for coffee beyond your kitchen and into a professional setting can be challenging, but also deeply rewarding. There’s a world of choices, problems, and concepts to confront before you start shopping for coffee equipment. At Seattle Coffee Gear, we’ve made it our mission to help you every step of the way. With that in mind, here are some key things to think about before you open your commercial coffee business. 

    Your coffee identity

    The first thing you should think about when planning your business is what your coffee identity is going to be. This may seem like a simple choice, but how you define your coffee service determines so much of your business plan. Things like floorplan, water needs, electrical requirements, barflow, workflow, and ultimately equipment choices will be impacted by these concepts. Here are some examples of specific kinds of coffee businesses:

    The Coffee Shop

    Coffee is your bread and butter. From carefully crafted pourover to incredible espresso shots, your focus is on coffee. You have a carefully trained staff that knows the ins and outs of coffee service and how to provide your customers with a memorable experience . Your espresso machine is on your front counter, so that baristas can look toward the customer as they prepare their drink. You have a close relationship with your roasting partner or partners and select coffee roasts based on quality and taste. You or someone on your management team understands how to properly cup coffees and identify “good” vs. “bad” tasting coffee. New employees are trained rigorously on bar process and coffee knowledge, and are hired based on their barista experience. You may offer some food items such as pastries from local bakeries and supporting drink/food options, but your menu revolves around your coffee service.

    The bar/bakery/restaurant

    Coffee is not your central product. You care about being able to offer fresh brewed drip and espresso based drinks, but maybe your espresso machine is on the back bar, or somewhat out of sight. You focus primarily on food/service/other drinks and offer coffee as a supporting item. Perhaps Your coffee purchasing is based on price and availability over specific flavors. Ideally you have someone on staff that manages your coffee service and has barista experience, but you don’t necessarily focus as much on coffee when training new employees as a coffee shop would.

    The Coffee Cart/Truck

    Your business is small and mobile. You work events and busy street corners or lots. The biggest challenge you face is cramming a full coffee service into a small amount of space. You’ll need to think about this alongside all of the normal questions that come along with opening a coffee shop. This will lead to important questions and choices that you’ll want to answer from the unique position of a small amount of floorspace.

    The Office Kitchen

    You provide coffee to those working in an office, but want to find a more efficient, satisfying, and sustainable solution than a single cup brewer. You have a wide range of tastes among staff that you want to affordably satisfy, without spending much time on training. You need a machine that can potentially brew many drinks per hour to keep up with the demands of your staff.

    Putting it all together

    Your business will most likely have unique needs that these examples don’t cover, but generally this should give you a starting point for this thought process. Consider these concepts and work on completing the Coffee Identity Worksheet to get an idea of what your coffee service will look like on opening day.

    Build a Business Plan

    Having an idea of how your coffee service will look is a great start, but you’ll need to expand that visioning document into a full scale business plan. Understanding how to write a business plan is a complex subject that is covered in entire classes, but a basic business plan should include the following:

    Executive Summary

    Your plan should include a brief summary of what your business is, including where it is, who your customer will be, what your focus is, and give an overview of your business.

    Company Description

    You’ll want to provide detailed information about who you and your existing partners are, your location, who your customers are, and what your competitive advantages will be. This is like an expanded executive summary.

    Market research

    This section should outline the reasons for why you will be successful. You want to outline your competition, your market, and why your business will perform well given those factors. 

    Organizational Info

    This section will outline how your company will be structured from an organizational standpoint. How will you be structured legally? There are methods like an LLC, sole proprietorship, or private corporation to consider. Who will be responsible for different aspects of running the business? Certain aspects of your business may be handled internally or contracted out, such as hiring an agency to help you find employees. Another extremely important question is how will your business be funded? Bank loans? Personal finances? Private investors? All of this should be covered in your organizational info section.

    Product Lines and Services

    This section will outline your specific products and services. For a coffee shop, this would be where you will define your coffee offering. The section should be specific, but you don’t necessarily need to build a menu in your initial business plan. Things like what kinds of coffee will be offered, what sorts of food options will be available, what, if any, retail services (selling bags of coffee, etc.) will be offered.

    Marketing Plans

    This section will explain what sorts of marketing you have planned for the business. How will you raise awareness of your business and brand? Will you be working with external marketing firms? What kind of “voice” do you plan to have in your marketing? The internet & social media really open the options for modern day marketing. 

    Funding Request

    Unless you are self-funding your business, you’ll need a section with a clear request for funding. This may be directed at a bank for a loan, at private investors, or potentially other creditors. You’ll want to outline how much money you will need and how that money will be spent here.

    Financial Projections

    This section provides details on your financial projections. This is where your market research combines with your budgeting to give an idea of when you’ll be profitable and when investors will begin to see returns.

    Appendix, conclusion

    This is where your citations, appendix, and closing information will be included.

     

    Completing Your Plan

    As you can see, building a business plan is an extensive, exhausting project, but it’s an extremely important step to complete. While the above information should help you to get started, you’ll also want to seek more in depth resources for building business plans. There are hundreds of books and sites that can help just by searching “how to build a business plan” in your favorite search engine. You will quickly find there are many resources available to help you with this process, but try not to be overwhelmed and focus on getting started!

    Know Your Location and Market

    Understanding who you’ll be serving and where you’ll be physically located is incredibly important, and factors in to building your business plan as well. Your location’s floorplan will dictate things like access to electricity and water, both extremely important factors in running a coffee service. Floor plan and layout will also dictate things like line flow, behind counter workflow, and aesthetic. It’s important to keep all of these things in mind while choosing a location. 

    Knowing where you are located matters as well. Having a clear picture of how people will see and access your business is key. What sorts of businesses exist around you? Do they complement or compete with your business?. Will you have parking available or is your customer arriving on foot? Is there a nice view or just a busy boulevard or back alley outside the window? Is your location cost and forecasted revenue in line? Asking these and similar questions upfront can be the make or break with a coffee business.

    Where you are physically will also determine what sorts of rules and regulations you’ll need to follow. Health guidelines and certifications can prohibit you from opening, so understanding your local rules and regs is important before you build your business plan. State and City regulations are not all created equal. Do your homework and don’t make assumptions here. Your state and city government websites are a great place to find more information about specific health code regulations.

    Finally, understanding who your customer is imperative. University students may want a place to study and sit for long periods of time. They may be open to waiting for a great beverage, but may also be very price conscious. On the other hand, a busy, suit clad business person may care far more about a quick caffeine fix than a beautiful piece of latte art. Identifying customer groups is more complex than it might seem. For as much as the example above may hold true, simply stereotyping groups won’t help you understand your customer. It’s important to see your business from the perspective of members of the local community. Working with informal focus groups of friends and volunteers, observing how locals utilize the services of other businesses, and observing trends in data obtained from sources like local chambers of commerce can all help with this.

    Selecting Your Equipment

    This is our favorite part, and for many, the most exciting. It should also be one of the last parts of your planning process. Once you have worked through your location, customer, and market, many of your equipment choices will have been made for you. We can help with dialing in those decisions. 

    Having a budget is extremely important at this point as well. Once we know what kind of business you’re starting, what your location looks like, who your customer is, and what your budget is, we can assist you with making decisions about your equipment. It is important to keep in mind that espresso machines in particular can be a large expense, so you’ll want to expect to invest in them appropriately if coffee service is a central part of your business plan. Think of your espresso machine as the heart of your coffee business. You can’t have a coffee shop without one. Don’t skimp and cut costs on this central piece of equipment. Then from the espresso machine build out the rest of your coffee equipment set to compliment it and provide the desired level of service and offerings for your unique coffee business.

    One easy trap to fall into is leasing or using loaned equipment from a roaster or other supplier. While this may seem like a convenient way to get started, it can lock you into limited menu choices and service options. Not to mention tying your success to that of another business entity. We recommend working to have your own equipment so that you can control your coffee service and menu completely from day one.

    Another mistake that some new coffee shop owners make is thinking that a home machine will work in a commercial environment. Machines must be certified for commercial use in most markets. Home machines are generally not certified. An NSF rating is usually required, at a minimum. From a practical standpoint, home machines are not build to handle the volume of any business that offers coffee. Most home machines are built to handle making 3-4 drinks in an hour and cannot withstand the constant use of even the slowest commercial environment.

    Installation and Maintenance

    Installing and maintaining your equipment properly is an important thing to consider before you’ve even purchased it. You will want to develop a comprehensive service plan before installing your machine, as well as have an experienced technician perform or assist with the install. Mistakes in installation and negating maintenance can jeopardize machines worth thousands of dollars and cause your business loss of revenue due to equipment down time. As part of our sales process, we set you up with vetted local technicians to install your new equipment and and help you plan for maintaining your investment. When you purchase equipment from Seattle Coffee Gear you will have access to support from seasoned professionals to help guide you through this sometimes confusing process. 

    Putting it all together

    This concludes a very high level look at some basic things to consider when starting your coffee business. If you’re working through our comprehensive planning workbook, go ahead and complete worksheet 1. We have yet to cover more in depth topics like staffing, brew methods in detail, finding financing, and so much more, but this article should give you some concepts to consider as you begin to plan your new coffee business. Let us help you make coffee you love, not just for yourself, but for all your future customers. 

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