Barista and roasting training

anti-starbucks

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Apr 8, 2004
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PA
Hey everyone,

I'm new here, and I was inspired to post here after reading a thread by the youngster who quit Starbucks. I wish him or her the best of luck.

As you can probably tell by my name, I'm no fan of Starbucks, and in my town there is one located at 'State and Main' which has become an eyesore and a kid's hangout.

I've been doing research for several weeks now and I believe I have the concept - the idea to program the 'anti-Starbucks'. Now all I need is a prime location, the money, and the training!

Seriously though, does anyone have any advice or suggestions as to where I may learn to roast coffee and learn the day to day operation of a coffee house? A 'barista school' of sorts? I've thought about getting a part-time job in a place, however, I have a very demanding full time job and travel 90 minutes (one way) to work. I live in Eastern PA. Thanks everyone!
 
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anti-starbucks

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Agreed - Since I last posted I've done some more research, including visiting a store that displays a roaster and roasts their own beans. In my mind, they don't take full advantage of the roaster because, while they do sell freshly roasted beans to the public, they don't sell beans wholesale.

I have found a local merchant whose coffee I absolutely love and who's willing to sell me roasted beans.

My problems lies in the fact that, while I have good business acumen and accounting skills, and decent marketing skills (I used to sell RE in a high end area), I don't have hands-on experience making coffee in a coffee house environment.

I read of a 'barista school', however it's in Oregon and seems quite expensive. I was wondering if there was, as an alternative to a part time job in a coffee house, any workshops on the East coast that would train one to become a barista.

Thanks everyone and have a great day!
 

topher

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Aug 14, 2003
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First thing...do not tell people that you are interviewing with to become a barista that you are planning to open a shop....second...I would not punk out the competition ..yes...us in the biz feel a certain way about certain companies and their business paractices but we should keep that to ourselves! Secondly I think it is hilarious that people are so quick to hate starbucks...I personally haven't had starbucks in years...but if it wasn't for them we would not be making the money that we do today...also competition is good...it keeps you are your toes....I hate bad mouthing the comp...your product should speak for itself. Just my 2 cents
 
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anti-starbucks

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I hear what you're saying - sometimes my sense of humor is a bit irreverant. That being said, my name should be read more like someone who wants to counter-program Starbucks (i.e. create the 'anti-Starbucks) rather than someone who is against the company in general. THAT being said, I do disagree with certain business practices associated with Starbucks that happened 2 years ago (I'm new here and I don't know the taboo subjects so I'm not going into specifics).

But I agree, competition is healthy. I guess we all owe it to Starbucks for shining a big flashlight on the huge untapped potential of the gourmet coffee industry.

My concept is more of a feel-good, hang out type of place where one can drink good coffee and listen to some great music (Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Keith Jarrett). I think that the Starbucks and their ilk are becoming increasingly more for the young, as so much of the businesses usually do, and there's not much for the mid-30's and 40's crowd other than the bar scene.
 

topher

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As to what happened 2 years ago...if we are thinking of the same thing...that was not the corporations fault...it was someone who worked as an employee and they re-called the coffee and offered the true coffee in return. The person was charged with fraud. I am not saying that I like...or dislike the company or its product but like I said before without them you probably wouldn't have a job...I would though because I have been doing this job pre-starbucks explosion....but I would not be making the money I do now. :roll:
 
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anti-starbucks

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Topher,

Not sure we're thinking of the same thing (there's ANOTHER thing to be upset about? lol), but again, you're right. I'll change my screen name if it's offensive to anyone...

To get back on topic, I'm really torn as to whether or not to undertake this huge project, just to get a business plan in front of a banker and hear "you've never done anything related to coffee before - no deal"!

If anyone knows of a full day or multiple day workshop on the East Coast where I could gain experience in the business, I would be most appreciative!
 

topher

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Aug 14, 2003
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Boca Raton
I wasn't offended...just wish people would respect what "they" have done for the industry. The coffe world is an amazing place to be...I would not change the industry I am in for the world! Here is a link to coffee fest that is coming to your area...That show is schduled for october...Coffee fest is good for beginers but I would suggest you attend the SCAA show in Atlanta..all the cool kids will be there!

http://www.coffeefest.com/cgi-bin/vbbri ... ll?VBEXE=F:\users\festival\www\vhost\coffeefe\www\htdocs\cgi-bin\CoffeeFest\FrameSet.exe&Event=2&Stage=Attend&SHOW=20031111~Seattle
 

MikeTheBike

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Jan 30, 2004
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Blighty
barista training

AS,

have you thought of asking at your local Starbucks....Lilybeans should be able to give you a name to contact, they should be able to give you all the training you need. They sound as if they are keen to develop their staff :roll:
 

topher

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Aug 14, 2003
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I just want to go on the record that I am not a starbucks fan...just respect what they have done for "us" I have been in some coffee shops that where wiped out due to starbucks coming in...and I hate to say this but they wouldn't have lasted anyways...A majority of the time people under capitalize themselves and start to cut corners to make themselves stay afloat. People see that starbucks is kickin ass financially and say I could do that its only coffee...then they get open and pull in a whopping $200 a day..sometimes $500!! They could survive but as I said in the past with one store it would be hard to become super rich! So Anti-S go to the next SCAA show(Atlanta) learn as much as you can...I am sure there are some barista tutorials..Good luck!
 

Coffee Guy

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Oct 19, 2003
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Seattle,Washington USA
Okay it's time for my two cents...Remember everyone in this business rather being a cafe, coffee shop, cart, drive thru, or roaster all began with a dream. In the beginning we all have a lot to think about including, but not limited to serving the best drink possible, providing great customer service, and educating your customer. Starbucks was not the first, but they have proven through time and smart marketing that they had a goal. That goal was to bring a little taste of Europe to the U.S. and multiply their efforts by generating excitement and creating a feeling that the U.S. would continue to expand into the future. Well today they have proven that their idea has worked. Until recently their biggest competition was Seattle's Best Coffee (SBC) who controlled most of the wholesale market, whereas, Starbucks basically controlled the retail market. Now, Starbucks controls both since they purchased SBC last year. In my opinion it does not matter how they got to where they are, just the fact that they created a successful model and stuck with it.

I agree with both E.O. and Topher, one should never bad mouth the competition, but instead should embrace the competition and learn how to fulfill the areas they may not address. I joined this forum with the hopes of educating those that wish to start a business and hopefully become a supplier for them, while at the same time learn something new myself. This is not a difficult industry to be in but if not started correctly or if you lack dedication, you are destined to fail rather you have a Starbucks or any other competitive coffee business in the area.

If you want to get into the business and be successful at it you must commit. Part time will not do it. After spending at least 90 days with your business, you'll have a better idea of what's going on. Only then if you feel comforable should you bring someone else into the picture to assist you and give you a little relief.

Bottom line is you can be respectful of your competition and be respected by your competion.
 

mcbone

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Apr 13, 2004
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Nashville
First of all let me preface my response by saying that I am new to the site and to the business. My wife and I are opening our coffee shop in the fall and have been doing nothing but educating ourselves in every facet of the espresso product and the business in general.

To me, quality has to be a priority; whether your competing with Starbucks or an Independent Shop. We're all asking our customer to spend part of their already slim disposible income on a $2-$3 cup of coffee and why would they do that on a marginal product. Competition is healthy for everyone involved and the customer will always win, educated customers will always find the best value being the best quality for the best price and I don't believe Starbucks is too hard to beat in that respect.

Article of interest for those worried about Starbucks putting them out of business. (Wall Street Journal- Tue.Sept24,2002) The article is entitled Counting Beans - Despite the Jitters, Most Coffeehouses Survive Starbucks. The synopsis of which is that against conventional wisdom independents benefit from Starbucks educating the market and getting people interested in what it is you have to sell. If you focus on Quality instead of losing business to Starbucks or anyone else; combine that with a competitive price and great customer service you will succeed.

I appreciate all of the insite I get from this forum, great site.
 

Java Lover

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Aug 31, 2004
8
0
Omaha, NE
I know this is a dated discussion, but I just joined the forum today....

I believe the coffee shop "mania" that's going on right now wouldn't be there if it weren't for Starbucks, so I feel grateful to them for opening the eyes of the public.

I own three coffee shops (not Starbucks), and I just want to give all you "little" coffee shop owners like myself some hope. Our shops have won the "Best of Omaha" title for two years in a row now, even though there are several Starbucks in town. How do we do it?? Besides offering great espresso drinks and brewed coffee, we also offer the customers a smile!! That's right, something as simple as GREAT customer service will bring the customers back, as long as you're providing them with a product that's at least as good as the competition.
 
Hey Java Lover welcome onboard. Congrats on the award as well! Agreed, and I think most of us who are in the business also hold similar sentiments to you. The phenomena which is specialty coffee has been in part driven by the Starbucks of the coffee retail world. Where I am Starbucks is like coffee 101...it gets the kids and the hip crowd (early adopters lets say) interested in the product then as this crowd learn more they search for alternatives and discover real specialty coffee retailers. Quality of product, quality of service...the small but simple things such as remembering a customers name, their birthday, what they do for a living and of course their regular drink all speaks volumes for the impression people have of you, your staff and your store.
 

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