Being in the industry now for 15 years, we’ve grown a company from not being able to afford an ice machine (ice cube trays in a commercial setting are not fun) to one of the top 10 coffeeshops in the USA. More importantly, Muggswigz has created so many smiles and inspired many to look towards a career in the coffee and tea industry. I’ve heard it from staff, guests, and people I’ve just met “One day I want to have a coffeeshop”. The following is my advice.

“ONE DAY”

If you want to enter the industry, plan to do it for more than one day : ). Seriously, wanting to own a coffeeshop “one day” sounds pleasant. However, it’s about a year of work to get to that first day, and will likely be a bit of a struggle for years to come. It is a commitment. A commitment to the industry, your community, your staff, your family, and yourself. If you’re not ready to commit years of work to make your coffeeshop work, save yourself and everyone else the trouble and don’t start.

“I WANT”

OK, now that I have you folks who are more serious about it still reading, do it. It’s work, it’s not rocket science, it costs money, but the start-up costs aren’t terrible. You’ll make big mistakes and have problems you never dreamt of, but when you overcome them and create and an organization that you are proud of, those annoyances will hardly matter.

“TO HAVE”

Well here is your next big decision. What kind of “have”? You want to be an owner / operator? A hands-off owner? A remote owner? A part-time operating owner? A hobby owner? A manager? A franchise owner? A head barista? An operations manager? A quality and training manager? A partner-owner? A share-holder owner? You want to figure this out before you start. The question to investigate is – WHY do you want to have a coffeeshop? Your answer to that is the variable to calculate your kind of “TO HAVE” .

If you decide you want to manage or be head barista at a coffeeshop but not be the ultimately responsible owner, apply for a job at a good coffeeshop! Our shopkeepers have a lot of authority over their store and share in the profits!

If you want to be a hands-off or remote owner, search to purchase an established coffeeshop you think is going well, contact the owner, and hope you are lucky.

If you want to be an owner / operator or part-owner, contact us! We have many years of experience in both wholesale and retail and would be happy to be your wholesale partner.

If you want to be a franchise owner, check out some of the available franchises online. If none of them suit your tastes, find a coffeeshop you like and just ask the owner if they would be interested in a franchise deal.

If you want to be a shareholder-owner buy some shares of one of the publicly traded companies, and walk in and be like “I own this place, put it on my tab”.

“A COFFEESHOP”

It can get fun now. It’s your time to make it your own. People call all sorts of things “coffeeshops” so now really drill down into what will define yours. Bakery items, tea, espresso drinks, light lunches, pizza, coffee-mornings wine-nights, waffles, french pasteries, modern, chic, music, art, working space, a place for children, hipsters, donuts, etc.

Congrats! Now just keep it rewarding and enjoyable for yourself or move on. Truly support the community by helping out its members and supporting other locally-owned businesses. If you decide it’s time to move on, you still helped out your community, developed very valuable skills, and if you were an owner, maybe you can sell your coffeeshop to someone else or one of the other local shops. If you know that really one day you want to have a coffeeshop, then there is no time to start like the present!

Yours in great coffee and tea !
-Alex

   I recently had an inquiry about coffee bean soup. I was intrigued. Coffee beans are the seeds of coffee cherries and real "beans". Since we roast some of our own beans, we have green (unroasted) beans on hand. So I made a coffee bean soup. While an interesting idea, a horrible result. The water takes on a intense dark green hue and turns very bitter, potent, and grassy. Additionally the beans hardly soften. If anyone has any coffee bean ideas for recipes let me know and maybe I'll try them out.

Chocolate and coffee have a rich history together and marry wonderfully. Like coffee, chocolate comes from a roasted tropical bean (also like coffee at first it was the fruit that was used and the bean was thrown away). The cacao tree (Theobroma cacao) produces fruits about the size of a small pineapple and inside these fruits are the cocoa beans. The two main varieties are Criollo and Forastero. Criollo account for 10% of the world crop, and have a finer, mild aroma and thus used for high-quality chocolates. The beans are collected, fermented for about a week, dried in the sun, exported (making sure they are kept dry), then roasted (130-150°F) and blended. The beans are blended because cocoa beans coming from different origins, have different flavor characteristics (like coffee beans). The meat of the bean (called the nib) is then removed from the shell in a process called winnowing which is normally done after roasting, but can be done before roasting for a different flavor.

   The roasted nibs are ground into a fatty (Cacao is 54% fat), bitter, viscous liquid dubbed chocolate liquor. The finer the nibs are ground, the finer and fuller the chocolate will be (the particles should not exceed 75 microns). Cocoa oil is a solid up to about 90 degrees Fahrenheit, so if chocolate liquor is poured into a mold and allowed to cool you get bakers chocolate. If instead the fat is hydraulically pressed out of the chocolate liquor, you are left with cocoa butter and a cake of bean solids that can be ground up to make cocoa powder. Then, depending on the type of chocolate to be made, different ingredients are mixed. High quality semisweet and milk chocolate contain pure cocoa liquor with extra cocoa butter and some sugar, for milk chocolate milk solids are added (more milk than chocolate liquor).

   White chocolate is just the cocoa butter with sugar and milk. Lecithin, to optimize molding, and vanilla flavoring, for aroma, are also often added. Lower quality chocolates will use a fat substitute for the cocoa butter which can be sold for a higher price in the industrial market. Incorporating the ingredients into chocolate is performed in a process called conching by a special machine that massages the chocolate at high temperatures for one to six days. Then, to prevent the cocoa butter from separating out when the chocolate solidifies, the chocolate is very carefully tempered. The added ingredients and proportions, the way conching is accomplished, and the way the chocolate is tempered comprises the art and science of making chocolate and are often closely guarded secrets.

Anyone who knows about coffee should know the story of Kaldi; even though it is probably an untrue coffeehouse-told myth. So Here it goes: Once upon a time in the land of Arabia Felix (or Ethiopia) among the beautiful high plateaus lived a goatherd named Kaldi. Kaldi would let his goats out every day and every night they would faithfully return. One day Kaldi released his goats to feed and the goats did not return for the night! Kaldi, concerned, went looking for his goats and found them dancing with glee by some shiny, dark green shrubs with intense red berries. Kaldi was an adventurous chap, so he tried some of the plant himself. Soon Kaldi was refreshed, alert, and exuberant himself, and began dancing with his goats! Kaldi excited about his find, took some of the coffee cherries and his story to a local monk named Bilal. Bilal thought the new fruit was evil and cast them into the fire to cleanse them. The beans began to roast and the resulting aroma enticed the two to rake the beans out of the embers. They collected and placed the hot beans into a cup of water to cool them off. They then crushed the beans in the water and drank the first cup of coffee.

Because I am tired tonight and I need to get up somewhat early tomorrow, I’m going to cleverly avoid writing an article by listing a bunch of interesting quotes about coffee.

Ah! How sweet the coffee's taste is, Sweeter than a thousand kisses, Milder than sweet muscatel. Coffee, coffee, I must have it, And if someone wants to treat me, Ah, my cup with coffee fill! --- Koffee Kantate – by Bach

 'Coffee is balm to the heart and spirit' --- Giuseppe Verdi

"Coffee in England always tastes like a chemistry experiment." ---Agatha Christie

Coffee leads men to trifle away their time, scald their chops, and spend their money, all for a little base, black, thick, nasty, bitter, stinking nauseous puddle water. ---The Women's Petition Against Coffee, 1674

'I have tried to show the café as a place where one can go mad.' --- Vincent Van Gogh (a big frequenter of the café society)

'The drink that comforteth the brain and heart and helpeth digestion.' --- Sir Francis Bacon -

'Strong coffee, and plenty, awakens me. It gives me warmth, an unusual force, a pain that is not without pleasure. I would rather suffer than be senseless.' --- Napoleon Bonaparte

- Frederick the Great of Prussia consumed 'only 7 or 8 cups in the morning and a pot of coffee in the afternoon' - made with champagne, the coffee was occasionally flavoured with a spoonful of mustard.

Suave molecules of Mocha stir up your blood, without causing excess heat; the organ of thought receives from it a feeling of sympathy; work becomes easier and you will sit down without distress to your principal repast which will restore your body and afford you a calm, delicious night. ---Prince Talleyrand (French diplomat & wit 1754-1839)

'Black as the devil, hot as hell, pure as an angel, sweet as love.' This quote is very close to a Turkish proverb, so Talleyrand more so repeated it than authored it. --- Prince Talleyrand

Coffee: creative lighter fluid. --Floyd Maxwell (1957-)

I put instant coffee in a microwave and almost went back in time. --Steven Wright

Coffee makes us severe, and grave, and philosophical. ---Jonathan Swift

The coffee is prepared in such a way that it makes those who drink it witty: at least there is not a single soul who, on quitting the house, does not believe himself four times wittier that when he entered it. --Charles de Secondat Montesquieu

Over second and third cups flow matters of high finance, high state, common gossip and low comedy. [Coffee] is a social binder, a warmer of tongues, a soberer of minds, a stimulant of wit, a foiler of sleep if you want it so. From roadside mugs to the classic demi-tasse, it is the perfect democrat. ---Author Unknown

'O coffee! thou dispellest the cares of the great: thou bringest back those who wander from the paths of knowledge. Coffee is the beverage of the people of God, and the cordial of his servants who thirst for wisdom....Every care vanishes when the cup bearer present thee the delicious chalice. It will circulate fleetly through thy veins, and will not rankle there: if thou doubtest this, contemplate the youth and beauty of those who drink it....Coffee is the drink of God's people, in it is health....Whoever has seen the blissful chalice, will scorn the wine cup. Glorious drink! Thy colour is the seal of purity, and reason proclaims it geniune. Drink with confidence, and regard not the prattle of fools, who condem with foundation.' --- Sheikh Abdul Kadir (son of Mohammed c.1850) "Treatise on Modern Stimulants" '

The coffee falls into your stomach, and straightaway there is a general commotion. Ideas begin to move like the battalions of the Grand Army on the battlefield when the battle takes place things remembered arrive at full gallop, ensign to the wind.' --- Honore de Balzac (17th century French author)

And Mocha's berry, from Arabia pure, In small fine china cups, came in at last; Gold cups of filigree, made to secure the hand from burning, underneath them placed. Cloves, cinnamon, and saffron, too, were boiled up with the coffee, which, I think, they spoiled --- Lord Byron (Victorian poet)

'The history of coffee houses, ere the invention of clubs, was that of manners, the morals and the politics of a people. --- Isaac D'Israeli -

'The powers of a man's mind are directly proportioned to the quantity of coffee he drinks --- Sir James Mackintosh -

I believe humans get a lot done, not because we're smart, but because we have thumbs so we can make coffee. ---Flash Rosenberg

Way too much coffee. But if it weren't for the coffee, I'd have no identifiable personality whatsoever. --- David Letterman