What I Wish I Knew: Advice From Coffee Shop Owners

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The following post originally appeared in full on the Bond Street Small Business Blog

Starting a coffee business is not for the faint of heart. It will bring blood, sweat, and tears (plus a lot of caffeine).

Yet, there’s still something that makes the pursuit worthwhile.

And as the saying goes, hindsight is 20/20. So what better way to truly learn what it takes to successfully build a coffee business than to turn to those who know best?

The editors at Bond Street asked individuals behind some of America’s best cups  to share what they wish they knew before opening their coffee shops, or other caffeine-infused operations. The result is 33 pieces of advice that all aspiring entrepreneurs would benefit from knowing.

From mistakes made to tricks of the trade, you’re bound to discover at least one nugget of wisdom that will save you time, money, energy, and quite possibly your sanity — or all of the above.

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4 Practical Ways to Teach Second Wave Consumers About Third Wave Coffee

[Editor’s note: If you have no idea what this title means, check out this infographic explaining third wave coffee.]

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The following post originally appeared on Perfect Daily Grind
Written by E. Squires and edited by T. Newton

If you’re anything like me, you’ve spent countless hours reading, researching, tasting, traveling, and diving deeper into our favorite drink. You love reading about farmers and their best practices. You spend hours perfecting your brew methods and your espresso shots.

But many, if not most, of your customers won’t be as interested in the minutiae of TDS and coffee processing methods. They simply want a shot of caffeine (plus or minus sugar). Sure, some customers will come for a quality coffee experience. A select few will even want to know everything. But these will be in the minority.

The thing about us in the Third Wave is that we’re desperate to share specialty coffee with everybody – but we can’t. Great customer service means understanding your customers and meeting them where they are, whether it’s simply a morning caffeine fix or a matter of helping them along their coffee journey in small steps.

Yet while you can’t force your customers to appreciate coffee like you do, you can open the door and allow them to walk through it. Getting the balance is hard, so we’ve come up with four practical ways to teach people about Third Wave coffee without preaching or being intimidating.

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Nervous About Caffeine? Don’t Be.

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Go ahead, have another cup.

An unprecedented scientific review on caffeine safety confirms that drinking up to four cups of coffee daily, or about 400 milligrams of caffeine, is “not associated with overt, adverse effects” in healthy adults. (Pregnant woman and minors should reduce their intake below that amount, according to the report.) [1]

The review was conducted by the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI), and is the most extensive of its kind to date. Scientists scoured data from more than 700 independent studies related to various human health effects and caffeine.

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From Brew Boomers to the Gourmet Generation: National Coffee Drinking Trends 2017

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By Kyra Auffermann, NCA

Today’s “typical” cup of coffee is anything but – it may not even be a cup.

Innovation is fueling growth across the gourmet coffee segment (aka specialty coffee), according to the new NCA National Coffee Drinking Trends Report 2017, released at the NCA 2017 Annual Convention in Austin on March 25, presented by Michael Edwards, Dig Insights.

The latest data shows a market shift toward high-quality, premium beverages, with younger demographics driving this change.

So what does this mean for the coffee industry? Here are the top consumption trends, based on the latest market data.

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Data Snapshot: Coffee Brews Success in Asia

The global coffee market continues to brew up a storm, and Asia is playing a key role in its growth.

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New research from Mintel reveals that three out of the five fastest growing retail coffee markets are in Asia. Indonesia is currently the fastest growing packaged retail coffee market with a CAGR of 19.6% over the past five years, while India has had a CAGR of 15.1%, and Vietnam 14.9%.

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Seeding Coffee’s Future: A Conversation About Conservation and Verification

By Hanna Neuschwander, World Coffee Research

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An unidentified Coffea species found in Madagascar, which is preserved in a coffee genebank. Ensuring these genebanks have adequate funding to continue operations should be a major priority of the coffee industry. Source: Sarada Krishnan

Sometimes facts are so obvious they become invisible.

In the case of coffee, one of those facts is this: Coffee comes from a plant. The entire $225 billion dollar coffee industry in the U.S. is built up from the roots of billions of living, breathing coffee plants that spend their days turning sunlight into fruit. Once you stop and think about it, it’s kind of profound. Nearly 1.7 million jobs — including, if you are reading this, probably yours — depend on those plants doing their thing, photosynthesizing, outsmarting diseases and pests, being rained on at the right time in the right amounts.

It’s also profound to think about just how fragile the entire arrangement is. The vast majority of coffee plants in the field today are really, really (really) genetically similar. Most varieties are not resistant to major diseases. Most are way too old (World Coffee Research guesses that about 50% of coffee trees are more than 50 years old). That leaves coffee especially vulnerable — to disease epidemics like the one that devastated Central American production after 2012, to extremes in weather like excessive rain or drought or frost.

When crops are facing challenges like these, it helps to go back to basics: Coffee is a plant. So — what is needed to help the plant thrive? And, thereby, to help the humans who depend on it?

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Innovation, Sustainability, and the Global Coffee Industry

By Bambi Semroc, Conservation International

[Ed. note: To learn more about this project, join Bambi Semroc and Annette Pensel, Global Coffee Platform, for the breakout session “Making Coffee the First Sustainable Commodity,” at the NCA Annual Convention 2017, March 23-25, Austin, TX]

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Source: Conservation International, Cristina Mittermeier ©

Innovation is all around us.

From a 3D printer that enables doctors to construct human tissue, to a virtual reality headset that transports a policymaker in Washington, DC to a remote village in the Amazon to experience projects helping prevent deforestation. Things we never dreamed of 20 years ago are changing our daily lives. And, innovation is not just defined as “the next hot thing” – it’s critical to ensuring the sustainable growth of an industry.

The coffee sector is continually innovating. Consider the new roasting and brewing techniques that led to cold brew and single serve coffees. Or, consumer engagement through creative retail shops offering everything from hands-on technology to fully compostable cups.

That said, innovation in coffee also includes things the everyday drinker might not know about – from researchers developing new varieties and improved practices, to small-scale farmers adopting those varieties and experimenting with new techniques on their farms.

One of the most important innovations the coffee sector has been leading includes the work being done on sustainability.

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