2/28/12

How to Keep Ground Coffee Fresh

Keeping coffee fresh is as important as buying a quality product. Once coffee is no longer fresh it will have a stale taste to it and will not have all the notes of deliciousness that you will find in a freshly ground, freshly brewed cup of coffee. There are some tips and tricks to keeping coffee fresh and today I will discuss a few with you.

My first tip is to buy freshly ground coffee or even better, grind it yourself! If you do not own a grinder, and do not want to buy one, you can grind your own beans at the grocery store or coffee shop. These days almost every grocery store will have almost a whole aisle dedicated to coffee. You will typically find a machine to grind your beans if you do not own your own grinder.

Also, if you stop by your local coffee shop and pick up a bag of their coffee, they will be more than happy to grind it up for you. This is always a great place to try some different roasts and blends to find out what is your favorite. Not only is this a great place to do some taste testing, you are getting freshly ground coffee, and once you start drinking it freshly ground, you will never go back to before!

After you get your glorious coffee home, you want to keep it fresh until you actually consume it. It has been a long time misconception that you want to freeze your ground coffee to keep it fresh. This is bad for a couple of reasons. The first reason is coffee is very porous and will absorb not only moisture, but whatever else you have in your freezer. This is not good for the flavors of the coffee. Also when you freeze the beans you remove the natural oils and flavors of the beans, resulting in bland coffee.

The best way to store your coffee is in an airtight container. You want to store it in a cool, dry, dark place as moisture, air, heat and light are enemies to your precious coffee beans. I like to store mine in a large Tupperware container, in my pantry. My pantry has a doors and it is always dark and cool in there. If you do not have a pantry, you may want to keep the coffee in a cupboard away from an oven, stove or any other heat source.

2/13/12

How to Find Used Coffee Shop Equipment

When you first have the idea of starting a new coffee shop, everything is exciting. You will probably approach everything from looking for suppliers, to developing your recipes with a great deal of enthusiasm. However, it isn't uncommon for that passion to eventually fade, as you realize that the task before you is actually quite daunting - to say the least.

Starting a coffee shop, after all, is starting a real business. And, as with any real business - there are going to be challenges.

Finding suppliers with reasonable prices, looking for seating that doesn't cost an arm-and-a-leg, and sourcing good coffee, are all challenges that you will eventually have to face. One of the greatest of these challenges though, will be finding the actual equipment you are going to need to run you coffee shop.

Buying New

Obviously the easier solution for this problem is simply to buy the all the equipment you need new. And, while this is certainly a viable option, it is extremely expensive. You can easily expect to spend upwards of 20k USD, for all new coffee shop equipment.

Buying Used

This is where you can end up saving a lot of money on the start-up of your endeavor. For example, a new barista machine might cost you $8,000 dollars. But, a used machine might go for half of that (and still be perfectly usable.)

How to Source Used Coffee Shop Equipment

The trick is actually finding the equipment that's been used. There are three excellent ways of getting this done.

1. Network

The best way to find used equipment is to be well-connected with other restaurant owners and sales reps in your industry. I used to work in a store that sold restaurant equipment, and even though we didn't make a practice of dealing in used pieces, we often knew where you could find them and how much they might cost.

Secondly, all the restaurant owners that were successful and buying new equipment form us, would try and use us to move their old pieces. So, know a local salesman of new equipment is often to your advantage.

2. Out of Business Shops

The second best way to get used coffee shop equipment is to find coffee shops that are currently out of business, soon to go out of business, or recently gone out of business. Find the owner of these shops any way you can. They are often sitting on large loans, and would do anything to move some of the equipment for cash.

3. Find Used Re-Sellers

The final way for you to find used equipment is to search Google and the phone book for re-sellers of used equipment. Keep in mind, however, that you will often spend more money with a re-seller than you would if you bought the equipment directly from the original buyer. They do have to make money after all.

The advantage of buying from a re-seller is that the equipment will be very clean and ready to put into your establishment.

Conclusion

Don't get to stressed about finding equipment for your coffee shop. With a little hunting, some determination, and maybe a little luck, you shouldn't have too much trouble sourcing what you need. Ultimately, you will likely have to buy a few items new, but sourcing as much used as you can is certainly to your advantage. And, it will keep your pocket book full!

Test 3