College Coffee Bar (Old Thread from 2004)

esspressodrnkr26

New member
Oct 23, 2004
2
0
Hey,
Any thoughts on a simple operation of selling brewed coffee at my community college? I want to build a basic coffee cart but look sophisticated. I can not afford espresso equip. or the manufactured carts. Although, I am a barista on sabbatical.( raising kids) I'm back in school studying business management and have been researching for my plan to open an espresso bar for some time. I know this is not as exciting as the other almost cafe owners but I have 3 kids and need a way to start my business. Any ideas greatly appreciated! :wink: [/u]
 

barefoot

New member
Sep 21, 2004
75
1
Santa Clara, CA
don't do filter drip coffee. Too cheap and easy.

Instead only brew french press or better yet grind and brew single ups for each cutomer of Melitta type filer cones. Closer to french press without the mess. THat way you can have ZERO waste, 100% freshness and awesome taste all in one and be very different from everyone else. Make your main cart attraction be the filter cone brew bar which can be a stainless steel or copper stand that holds four gold cone filters and then have one or two grinders and grind fresh and brew fresh for each cup. You can brew four at once and still be pretty fast. No one else will have anything even close and you can charge 10-30% more per cup than regualr coffee.

that's what I would do with no espresso. Then you still have the "made just for you" and the freshness.

and be FANATCIAL about the highest quality coffee and make no comprimises.
 

BaristaTrainer

New member
Oct 18, 2004
192
0
Portland, OR
I have done the pour over Melitta in a shop I managed back in 98. They do produce a great cup and are cost effective, but I would at least have a brewer with 4-6 airpots so you can facilitate high volume if needed.

That way you can have more of a self serve set up. Have you done foot traffic counts yet? How much do you have to invest in this project? Do you have an ok from the College?

Good Luck - BT
 
I'm thinking b-school and 3 kids. And spouse. Time is not on your side. You're going to need to get some student or other low cost labor to make this puppy work and turn a profit for you. Class schedules, homework, recruiting, being a dad and good hubby - not much time for pulling shots.

If you go espresso, use a superautomatic. I know it is not in your budget, but hell, you might get some seed money from your classmates. Remember that one of the reasons to go to b-school is to build a network. Why wait? Just remember that you're going into business - screen your classmates for complementary skills/strengths and similar vision.

We've been recommending the Schaerer Ambiente but we've placed everything from an Acorto 2000s to two dozen different makes and models of semi-automatics. If training and turnover is going to be an issue, you want an automatic.

If you really can't swing an automatic or don't want to, I'd still put a priority on simple - just because of the labor issues. French press is fairly simple and you can go upscale with it. But that isn't going to help you in the morning push or the flood between classes. You need a high volume solution, too, otherwise you're going to be getting practical experience in opportunity cost. Many people just want a cup of joe to go. Make them wait and you might not see them again.

Think about a solution for your convenience market (students in a hurry) and your high margin market (kids willing to plop down $4 for an esspresso based drink with half a cow squeezed in and a big wazoo of whipped cream on top with sprinkles).

One last rule - YOU ARE NOT THE MARKET. Unlike lots of espresso purists who do it for themselves and their art, this is a time to make hay while the sun shines. Wife. Three kids. Tuition.
 

Italian guy

New member
Oct 23, 2004
1
0
college coffee bar

Hey, Thanks for responses to esspressodrnk26(My Wife) We are thinking of using a Bunn brewer and airpots. Not sure about french press and speed, thinking more of self-serve. Any tips on building a coffee cart??
 

espressomaniac

New member
Jul 8, 2004
67
0
Tacoma
building a coffee cart

For those that care to click on the signature at the bottom of the post, I'll simply state, I just launched a new "budget" line for people just in your situation. The cart is full sized, completely up to most health department codes nationwide and is damn cheap, you just can't find a 6' espresso cart brand new with warrentee for $2200 (as of Dec 2004, prices subject to change), but this is what I've managed to come up with for those that just don't have the mula for the cool looking designs yet want something simple and elegant that passes code.

To build an espresso cart on your own, I'd have to ask, How handy are you with powertools and a tape measure? Does 5400 rpms intimidate you or do you want more power and bigger blades????hehe....

I've taken people that were completely green and trained them upon how to build some elements of the espresso carts, but have yet to find one that could handle it start to finish without being babysat for at least a year walking them through all of the stages. I see alot of home made designs created and to be honest, the normal response is,....you could have done better, saved money and had something impressive that pais for itself out of the wow factor which you'll need in any retail enviroment....

If you are very hands on and have alot of patience, you can build yourself a very nice cart, just don't try to show off on the first one and don't think you are going to just put it together mistake free in 10 hours.

Feel free to email me, I don't check PM's that often, but I'm sure I can help you through it if you are game, I would rather not post the steps in a forum for obvious reasons.
 
superauto

I'm trying to start a college-oriented coffeeshop, and am definitely leaning towards a super-auto. However, I've been a barista for about six months, using a automatic (not super), and am a little bit concerned about the supers-.

Are they hard to maintain/need a lot of maintenance?
Are they consistent?
Do the ones that put the frothed milk in your cup allow for flavoring to be added?
Which ones would you recommend for commercial use?

I'm thinking of a Jura Capresso S9 or something from the Ambiente line, but this is just first impressions. I live in WV, so getting things repaired might be an issue.

Thanks...
 
one-cup

I'm also looking at doing individual cup brewing...hate brewing a bunch and then throwing it away, or accidentally selling old coffee.

Is there a quality one-cup brewing system? I'm partial to Illy, but they don't seem to have anything similar to their E.S.E for brewed coffee. I don't quite understand how the Melitta system works or what it is; so maybe you could explain this to me.

I'm looking for something that's not incredibly expensive.

Any suggestions?

-micah
 

wmark

New member
Nov 12, 2008
475
1
Canada
Thinking out loud here, does the cart set up allow you to service the expected volume with espresso ? Would you not need a product and setup to handle peak volumes ? What is your peak volume ?
 

Lulla

New member
Dec 16, 2019
12
0
I always liked student life. When I entered the university I had to combine work and study, it was quite difficult and I had little free time. But this was the time when I worked in a student cafe and then I fell in love with coffee. Since I had to be at work most of the time after classes, I needed help with my tasks, I sometimes used this site https://essaytoolbox.com/essay-writer to find a good writer for my essays, because it took too much time to write good essay. In addition, I often missed student parties, so I remembered this time as the most effective time in my life. Then I learned how to plan my day and time management, which helped me open my business in the future.
 
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Koffeely123

New member
Dec 15, 2019
5
0
Hey,
Any thoughts on a simple operation of selling brewed coffee at my community college? I want to build a basic coffee cart but look sophisticated. I can not afford espresso equip. or the manufactured carts. Although, I am a barista on sabbatical.( raising kids) I'm back in school studying business management and have been researching for my plan to open an espresso bar for some time. I know this is not as exciting as the other almost cafe owners but I have 3 kids and need a way to start my business. Any ideas greatly appreciated! :wink: [/u]

Oh you're great when you have the idea of wanting to trade coffee like that. Hope you will be lucky to start your business. I think you need to borrow some capital to buy a coffee maker for your business
 
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