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  • Piecewise Coffee Co. - Building a Drink Menu

    If you haven't been keeping up with our friends at Piecewise Coffee Co. be sure to check out their Bio and Selecting Equipment posts! Today we asked Stanton and Lindsey a little bit about how to build a drink menu for a coffee shop!

    First off, from a “chicken or the egg” perspective, did you decide on a general menu before selecting equipment? Or did you decide on what equipment to purchase and then build your menu around that gear?

    The answer I wish we could give was to knock out the menu first, but it was too tempting not to get caught up reading equipment descriptions and watching product reviews. Choosing the equipment was exciting, while locking in a menu was more-so work. However, we learned it is very difficult to build a shop without first thinking about the menu. Without it you can find yourself fighting to make the layout functional. We were fortunate to stumble upon a podcast by the SCA (Specialty Coffee Association) covering café startups and it helped give us a big picture focus on how equipment and menu influence each other.

    Our menu doesn’t incorporate much onsite food preparation and a big reason was an attempt to make the startup cost more manageable. Eliminating equipment needs is an obvious answer to keeping cost low, but far costlier was the additional need for architectural designs and engineered systems. Take for example biscuits, we wanted to offer some as a secondary option to our other breakfast items and we started pricing out small ovens. Well the oven led to a ventilation hood which led to additional building penetrations for air flow which all lead to an increase in the size of the HVAC units. Our commitment level to that menu item changed quickly with those additional costs. Learning about things like insurance cost increases for using an onsite grease fryer or the sizing and placement of grease traps were part of the learning process for us. 

    It’s inevitable that menu and equipment decisions will impact each other but starting with the menu first can help keep changes to a minimum. 

    What kind of market research did you do for your area to make decisions about what kind of drinks to carry?

    We visited a lot of local restaurants and coffee shops. We felt like anything within an hour’s drive was fair game for learning what products were already successful in our market. Asking waiters or baristas what the more popular products were was very helpful as was just asking for favorites from family, friends, coworkers or anyone who was interested in what we were doing with the shop. Learning their favorites made it more personal while still reaching out to our customer base. Our goal with this research was to help develop a perspective outside of our own for the drinks people want to see in any coffee shop. Generally, people were very open to share what they liked and didn’t, which was encouraging. 

    How much did your vision for a coffee focused shop affect menu choice? The assumption would be a lot, but I’d like to get at the “coffee identity” factor and how it relates to your menu.

    With our goal to offer high quality in every drink, the shop’s menu won’t be overly extensive. We didn’t want to spread ourselves to thin starting off with a lot of options. Something about tons of choices, just didn’t seem like, “us,” right now.  We aren’t minimalists in nature, but we do love to cut waste enough to truly enjoy what is in front of us. We live our lives that way and believe the same for our coffee shop and its offerings. With that in mind, we’ll offer the best of the basics, focusing on amazing taste every single time.

    Do you think about food pairings when building the menu? Or was the thought to offer standby food options but build the drink menu independent of that?

    For us, the food and drink menu were built independent of each other. We knew the size of our shop limited space for food preparation so we built the drink menu and then developed relationships with high quality food establishments to help on the food side. Pairing between the two comes into play, but it is a little further down on the decision tree for us than may be at some other shops.

    How much does ingredient/coffee sourcing play into the development of your menu??

    Sourcing hasn’t impacted the menu development as of yet! We are working with local stores, which has made most of our development more convenient.

    How do you offset the desire to do something different with the need to offer a standard set of coffee drinks?

    It’s definitely a balance act between the vision for the shop and maintaining the shop’s economics. Our vision was so intertwined with serving the community that we started from the desire to know how best to serve the customers already surrounding us. This meant providing the standard coffee offerings based off the market research mentioned earlier. We then looked at how we could advance specialty coffee in the shop. We settled on some highlights with the pour over selection and building in coffee education events. Knowing every customer won’t want to know the growing region of a bean or the solid particle distribution in their espresso shot keeps us grounded to high standards on the more traditional drinks while focusing on stellar service. We believe quality speaks for itself in any form.

    Are you working with a specific roaster or seeking a wider range of roasts?

    The bulk of our coffee offerings will come from a single roaster who is local to our city. This is in large parts to the quality and diversity of the beans they offer. 

    How did you settle on your roaster?

    This was a big decision for us and a little intimidating at first. We started with several cold calls and email inquiries to regional and local roasters. Most were happy to answer questions we had and share about their range of products. Often they would send samples, and several allowed us to visit their roasteries. While the roaster’s bean quality was high on the list in making this choice, number one was having a relationship with the roasting company and knowing we could develop a good working relationship. You place a lot of trust into your roaster and knowing the people helped us feel settled in our choice. We are fortunate to have a great relationship with our roaster. 

    Are you looking to expand the menu in the future or specialize strongly in what you already have planned?

    While we are open to making menu changes to meet our customer’s needs well, the plan is to stay within our current style of offerings or at least stay very near them.

    How did you decide what you want to carry beyond coffee?

    Great question! We’re still working on that lol. A great part about opening the shop is knowing that every decision doesn’t have to be made before opening. This is one of those items for us that is still developing. We knew we wanted the food selection to be classic foods with a gourmet bent that would elevate the shop’s experience, almost without noticing. We believe we’ve done that with the partnership we have. The rest of what we’ll offer is still in process!

    How do you decide what to offer in terms of dairy and alternative milks?

    We wanted some variety in the alternative milk options but stayed close to the types commonly found in most shops (soy, almond, etc.). We’re big fans of the current oak milk products due to the great taste and ability to steam them like milk.

    One thing that always frustrated me when working in a coffee shop was general misconceptions about different coffee drinks from customers. Things like misunderstanding what a macchiato is, or not understanding the difference between a cappuccino and a latte, leading to customer complaints. Do you have any strategies for dealing with a customer that lacks coffee knowledge? How does that play into your drink menu?

    We see this as such an opportunity to help our customers learn more about the products they love and how they vary. It’s not possible to expect each customer to “order correctly” when so many shops vary the recipes for the standard range of drinks. This is one flaw of the coffee industry that gets translated into the customer’s error. The goal is to serve each customer and have them know they’re being served. This includes covering ordering miscues and helping to ensure they get exactly what they hoped for when they came into the shop. With the drink menu, we anticipate having a few pictorial descriptions around the shop to assist with ordering and help prevent unnecessary waste.

    Building some coffee drinks can be a challenge from a technique standpoint. How much does training and staff capabilities factor into building your menu?

    We are working to build the training program and want to really break it down to a series of small skills that build on each other. The barista trainings by the SCA are fantastic and we plan to utilize them with our baristas. With a comprehensive training program and several quality control measures, we don’t anticipate having to restrict the menu.

    Do you have any other recommendations for aspiring cafe owners on how to construct their menus?

    Definitely get a subscription to a specialty coffee magazine or two. We’ve read about some fascinating and original drinks that may be inspiring.

    We'll be back soon with more from Stanton and Lindsey!

  • Piecewise Coffee Co. - Equipping Your Shop

    Hey everyone!

    A couple of weeks ago we introduced you to our friends Stanton and Lindsey Scoma, founders of Piecewise Coffee Co. If you haven't had a chance to read about them, you can do so here! This week we're taking a look at Stanton and Lindsey's process of selecting equipment. We're also sharing some of the photos of the cafe build in progress!

    Hey Stanton! We're excited to see the progress at Piecewise. How did you go about selecting the space?

    The area we selected was in what was formerly the city’s main economic hub. Several storefronts dotted the side-walk lined street, but the life of the area had left decades earlier. We wanted to show off our little city and the history it has by giving the community another reason to walk the street.  We were blessed to have building owners who share this vision. The building we’re in is around 75 years old and we stripped back most of the interior to expose its structural character. Many of the bricks in our space were made just down the road in a local brickworks. What elements could be left exposed were.

    Makes sense, how did you go about designing the layout of the interior?

    While showing a little of our city’s past, we also wanted a space that encouraged our customers to feel welcome. The long and narrow nature of the building allowed our customer servicing area to have one long bench with several two-person table tops. This makes the space adaptable for individuals coming to study or for larger groups to come push the tables together creating a more typical community table. Community can’t be forced, and our space allows it to meet a variety of their needs. The design is full of clean lines in a lessismore approach.

    How did the general layout of the space factor into your equipment selection?

    The largest impact on selection when considering space available was ensuring the drink prep area wasn’t cluttered. We eliminated a hot water tower because the available space just wouldn’t allow it. Instead, we chose a drip brewer with a hot water dispensers to help alleviate having to eliminate the hot water tower. Fortunately, our espresso machine was in a custom space built for it so we didn’t have any space concerns with its selection.

    What considerations does workflow require when selecting equipment?

    Workflow was important for us, but we felt it could be managed well if the equipment in the shop was easy to operate and allowed our baristas to stay engaged with our customers.

    When we designed the behind the counter area, we wanted to create two regions, one for preparing espresso-based drinks and one for drip brew drinks. Each area would have its own unique equipment and anything needing to be shared would be put on a small overlapping area. Equipment capable of doing everything required for each drink area was important for this concept to work. SCG helped us think through this and showed us equipment models that could get this design right.

    Where would you say Piecewise’s “coffee identity” lies? Do you see the shop as a coffee focused shop, or is coffee just part of a wider offering of food and other drinks?

    Our focus at Piecewise Coffee is most definitely on the coffee drink. It’s our desire to produce the best tasting coffee and introduce some third wave coffee products to our area.

    Broad question, but what were some of the benefits of working with a consultant? Obviously we want to make SCG consultants seem awesome, but even more than that we want to highlight how important it is to have a dealer that does more than just sell you a machine.

    The knowledge and accessibility of the SCG consultant staff was so impressive. Each coffee shop has a unique set of needs and no equipment review we found was able to address all of our needs like John did. He had a way of steering us towards equipment to match our business and coffee goals that we couldn’t have done on our own. And we never felt pressured working with SCG.

    We ran into an issue with a custom ordered item and John worked with the manufacturer to speed up shipping times so it wouldn’t delay our opening date. To get what we wanted, when we wanted it, would have taken us several phones calls coordinating with the manufacturer and shipping company. John handled it all for us. Another thing SCG did for us was finding service technicians. Within a day, he provided several companies who serviced our area and were ready to perform initial setup and on-going maintenance.

    How much independent research did you do Vs. relying on your consultant?

    Starting out, we had a high-level understanding of coffee equipment brands but didn’t really understand the differences when it came to us considering the actual purchase of equipment. Getting ready to drop some serious cash has a way of making you more interested in the details! At each coffee shop we visited, we would note equipment being used by the baristas and often we asked how they liked working with a particular espresso machine or grinder. All the brands have several models, each with their own nuanced pros and cons. We probably spent several weeks doing independent research when you add the coffee shop visits with the internet research. A ton of hours were spent watching Youtube reviews which helped show differences in action between machines. 

    When did Seattle Coffee Gear come in?

    As we got closer to placing an order for the equipment, we connected with SCG about the purchase and found out they offered free equipment consultation. This wasn’t something we had considered or even knew about prior to them mentioning it. The team at SCG listened to our dreams and goals with the coffee shop before ever asking what equipment we were interested in. Above anything else they cared about a quality match between the shop and its equipment. Their depth of knowledge was apparent from the first conversation. It was detailed and often based on actual experience working with the different machines. Most baristas work with one or two different espresso machines or grinders, but the SCG team has worked with dozens and from their experience they shared how each would perform in a store. 

    What was one of the most helpful techniques that John used to help you make purchasing decisions?

    The biggest question they asked was “Why” we wanted each specific piece of equipment. They took the time to make sure we knew what each equipment piece could do for us. The one time we had a question they couldn’t answer, they reached out to the manufacturer and got back to us in a day or two. Our confidence in equipment selection went way up after we connected with SCG. If we had to start over, we still would have done our own independent research, but would very much preferred having a conversation with the SCG equipment team at the earliest point in the process to narrow the options. 

    How much did brand factor into the purchasing process?

    Brand factored most into the espresso machine selection. Being the workhorse of the shop, we wanted this one piece to have a solid history of reliability and, most importantly, repairability. The number of servicing technicians is limited in our market and we needed to know our machine could be serviced by someone in the area. We had brand preferences for the other pieces of equipment, but yielded to features and pricing more on those items.

    What was the hardest piece of equipment to settle on? Why?

    The drip brewer took the most thought to choose. There’s a number of makes to sort through, each with a dozen or more of their own models. Sometimes the differences were hard to spot and pricing could vary wildly. John helped us settle on one that was very programable with brew parameters like water temperature and brew time. John’s knowledge of equipment reliability helped us feel confident in making our selection.

    What equipment did you try to save some money on?

    The biggest investment for our shop was by far the espresso machine and espresso grinder. Our goal with them was to get the all the features needed to produce the best coffee possible. John at SCG really helped us navigate the different models for both those items and make a selection. John was also able to help us save money on the bulk coffee grinder by steering us away from one that would be way overkill for our size of coffee shop. 

    Where did you leave room for upgrades?

    We were a little unsure which menu items our community would want most so we left a large section of our undercounter storage area open. As we grow this can allow us to add equipment for the specific wants of our customers, whether it be with additional refrigeration or cold brew taps or hot food storage.

    What piece of equipment are you most excited to get your hands on?

    We keep referencing the espresso machine, but it’s such a such unique item and we cannot wait to get some time using it! 

    We can't wait to bring you more from Stanton, Lindsey, and Piecewise soon!

     

     

     

     

     

  • Piecewise Coffee Co. - Bio

    An introduction to Stanton and Piecewise Coffee!

    Over the past few months, we've had the pleasure of working with Stanton and Lindsey Scoma on starting their brand new coffee shop! They are looking forward to improving their community of Cayce, South Carolina through coffee! Stanton came to us for advice, and ultimately the purchase of, the equipment in their new shop. We thought it'd be a great opportunity to take a closer look on what it's like to build out and open a coffee shop! Over the coming months we'll talk to Stanton about topics like choosing a machine, building a drink menu, building out the space, and loads more. This week we thought we'd provide an introduction to the Scomas, so read on to learn more about this passionate, hard-working family!

    What’s your history with coffee?

    I’m a chemical engineer by trade, so processes, procedures, and extraction are in my blood. I love the taste of a good cup of coffee and early in 2015 I started realizing there is a true system + method to what gives you amazing taste. The taste that helps us all feel like we can truly seize the day. My wife bought me a ChemEx for Valentine’s Day, I “stole” my twin brother’s burr grinder and the rest is history!

    My wife’s history is somewhere between a long dependence for an early morning cup of joe and anything special I can make for her. She inherently knows when it’s disgusting and when it’s perfection. She’s a sucker for the smell and always thinks it tastes better with a dash of cream + dessert.

    What led you to want to open a coffee shop?

    Like we said earlier, we are true dreamers at heart. Our brains are constantly thinking of all the wonderful things we could be a part of. We would drive by a run-down gas station and talk about how a cute coffee shop could give the area and community a facelift. A coffee shop isn’t just a business, it is a place where community is given the opportunity to gather together. It is a business you don’t just open for yourself, you open it for others. We love the concept!

    Changes in my job lead us to move to a different part of our town. After the move my wife saw a building that left her wondering if this was an opportunity to do something awesome in our area. We started digging and it turned out the building owners were friends of ours who were also searching for someone to do something special in the space. Well, stars started aligning at that point and it’s hard to turn away when they do. Between the amazing building owners, changes in the season of life and my growing love for the industry, we decided we were all in! Opening a coffee shop was in our future.

    How did you find Seattle Coffee Gear?

    The first time I heard about Seattle Coffee Gear was through watching their product review videos for commercial espresso machine reviews. We were interested in specific features, but not a specific model and wanted to learn more about the best machine for our shop. The videos were such a useful resource in making our choice!

    What’s the thing you’re most excited about in terms of building out the shop?

    It would be seeing all the disjointed planning efforts coming together into something real and tangible. The dream comes to life slowly in these small step-by-step iterations. Seeing your invested time, research and decision making finally come to fruition is the sweet reward. You are finally purchasing equipment, choosing furniture color, printing branding on merchandise, and engaging with customers on social media. As exciting as it is to decide on building the shop, it pales watching it become a breathing entity.

    What do you think the biggest challenge will be?

    While we are excited to share the coffee shop with the community, we wonder if the community will be as excited to see the coffee shop come to them. Success can be measured in so many different ways and you hope one of the ways leads to the business sustaining itself. Most business start slow and enduring until you see success will probably be our biggest challenge. No one buys into your vision like you, but if you do something great it is worth the fight. Our inclination is that the community will adopt us, but it still falls into the great unknown until the doors to the coffee shop are open.

    What’s your favorite way to brew/drink coffee?

    My favorite brew method goes back to how I got started with specialty coffee and that’s with a simple ChemEx and burr grinder. I drink my coffee barefoot (aka black). My wife’s favorite brew method is to ask me to make it for her lol. We have a local grocery store who has a good coffee selection and each week we pick up a different roaster or origin. Keeping the brew method the same and changing the beans makes it easier to pick up on all the fun differences in flavor.

     We'll have so much more to share from Piecewise Coffee Co. coming soon!

  • New Product Spotlight: Eureka Drogheria

    We're very excited to add the Drogheria MCD4 to a stellar lineup of Eureka grinders!

    The Drogheria MCD4 is a brand new bulk grinder designed specifically for commercial settings. The grinder has a host of features that make it into a great machine to add to your cafe space.

    The grind adjust dial is big and easy to use, with a label that makes finding the right setting easy, even if you're not an every day barista. The knob, like the rest of the grinder, feels sturdy too.

    The hopper is a whopping 5 Lbs, allowing you to grind entire bags of beans at a time. The footprint of this machine is also easy to vouch for, fitting even tight cafe counters.

    Finally, the bag clip is strong and simple, and the grinder's two position switch makes it easy to use.

    The insides

    Looks and usability are great, but it's what's on the inside that really counts, and the Drogheria delivers here as well. The 75mm burrs can handle the bulk that the hopper delivers, and are capable of grinding for almost any brew method. The motor is big and reliable as well, and doesn't affect the temperature of the beans for most settings.

    All of this combines with extremely durable and reliable parts. This is a meaty grinder that really delivers on dependability along with the aforementioned aesthetics and usability. If we have any caveats to offer, it's that this machine does heat up more on the settings needed for Turkish coffee. We recommended grinding under 8 oz. when using this setting. Otherwise, it's a great device.

    Also worth noting, we're introducing the KRE from Eureka this week as well, which serves a very different purpose. Look forward to more info on that machine soon and check out the Drogheria here!

     

     

     

     

     

  • Cafe Stories: Native Coffee + Kitchen

    The staff at Native Coffee + Kitchen. Image credit: http://www.alexisthegreek.com

    Seattle Coffee Gear’s focus is simple - make coffee you love, wherever you may be. While so much of that happens in kitchens at home, our commercial team works closely with driven business owners across the country to find the equipment that will best fit their goals! Whether it’s a bookstore serving up a few dozen drinks a day or a high volume metropolitan café cranking out a couple hundred drinks a morning, our relatable and researched crew is helping baristas all over “make coffee your customers will love!”

    We know every business has a great backstory, and we’re excited to share a glimpse into these with a new ongoing blog feature called “Café Stories”.

    Native Coffee + Kitchen. Image credit: http://www.alexisthegreek.com Native Coffee + Kitchen. Image credit: http://www.alexisthegreek.com

    Starting on the Eastern Seaboard, we begin with Native Coffee + Kitchen! Opened in the summer of 2017, Native is a “family-owned, locally sourced, chef-inspired, team-driven, and eco-conscious” dining space based in Rye, New Hampshire. We chatted with founder Josh Newman to get a better look at what sets this community centric space apart from other shops. Combining elements of homegrown recipes with a progressive coffee and kitchen menu sets Native apart!

    Where is Rye, NH? What the heck is scrapple? Why the Rocket R9 over another espresso machine? Native Coffee + Kitchen Founder Josh Newman gives us the details below!

    First and foremost, take me back to the initial conversations about Native. How did that come about? Was it something that had been brewing for a bit or just a strike of genius.

    Founders Josh and Christina Newman with their children Clive and Natalie. Image credit: http://www.alexisthegreek.com Founders Josh and Christina Newman with their children Clive and Natalie. Image credit: http://www.alexisthegreek.com

    It wasn’t until our local coffee shop closed down that we were energized to start our own business. We noticed a void in our community and realized the importance of having an independent café that truly caters and connects with their customers. As they say, you don’t know what you have until it’s gone.

    My wife and I both share a passion for food and coffee, we appreciate flavor whether it be ethnic cuisines or single origin coffees. As parents with 2 young children, we also know the challenge in finding high quality coffee and food at the same establishment. This led us down the path of a fast casual restaurant with a 3rd wave coffee/tea service combined with a chef inspired menu. We were determined to create an environment where the whole family was comfortable and people of all ages and backgrounds felt welcome.

    It’s clear that there is a deep connection between Native and its community. Tell me about about Rye, NH and how that’s affected Native.

    For us, sustainability extends beyond the environmental impacts of running a business. It speaks to developing a sustainable relationship with our community, we owe it to our local customers to support their community. Native is blessed to be located on the Seacoast of New Hampshire. In addition to being surrounded by great history and tradition, we have a diverse and strong community. The New Hampshire Seacoast only accounts for 13 miles along the Atlantic Ocean, it is truly incredible place to live with a close-knit community. There is a shared value in our environment and outdoor activities with beautiful state parks and beaches, education, arts, and most importantly, helping others. At Native, we donate to various charities on a monthly basis whether it be food/beverages, gift cards or baskets. It is honestly the most rewarding part of the job.

    You guys mention it a handful of times on your site - “Have a seat at the table.” It seems like that’s something bigger than just asking customers to come in for a bite. What’s the ethos behind that?

    Living in seasonal area with many tourists and transients, retirees, young professionals, and families, we wanted to create an environment where everybody felt comfortable when they walked in the door. The space was designed to be open and bright, the seating is communal and there is also an outdoor area to roam for adults, little ones, and our four-legged friends. The food and drink menu is intended to be accessible and unpretentious. We know we can’t please everybody and constructive criticism is inevitable, but it just makes us determined to get better each day.

    Native’s food offerings seems like a balance of local favorites with a healthy slant. How did you build out your menu?

    The Native menu was created by our Executive Chef, Mike Piergrossi. Mike has a diverse background in fine dining including some of the best restaurants on the Seacoast. The Native menu reflects our shared values of local ingredients, sustainable methods, and simplicity. We offer an all-day breakfast menu including bowls and toasts, specialty sandwiches, salads, and soups/broths. We source all of our meat, dairy, and produce from local farms and have options for both carnivores and vegetarians. We have a very active customer base, we have guests who visit us after Crossfit, Surfing, Yoga, Cycling, and Hiking, so we know the importance of healthy and clean food. We also have an awesome kid’s menu with the basics using high quality ingredients like our French Toast shaped like sharks made from brioche and served with NH maple syrup and our Jr Native Burger made from house ground grass-fed beef brisket.

    Scrapple - a Pennsylvania Dutch delicacy. Image credit: http://www.alexisthegreek.com Scrapple - a Pennsylvania Dutch delicacy. Image credit: http://www.alexisthegreek.com

    What on earth is “Scrapple"? 

    We call Scrapple, God’s Polenta. It is a question we get from our customers every day and we are happy to answer it! It is considered a peasant food with origins in the Pennsylvania Dutch culture. It uses pork scraps and cornmeal and then formed into a loaf, the final product has wonderful flavor and texture. One of our favorite menu options is the Work N Class which is a bowl of our crispy hash browns and garlic greens, topped with Scrapple, a sunny egg and smoked maple syrup. Scrapple is a perfect reflection of our menu as a whole, that is why we call it a simple necessity.

    Obviously we’ve got to talk about coffee. You’re using New Harvest Coffee out of Rhode Island and have chosen to have a full third-wave espresso bar. What made you guys go that route?

    We actually found New Harvest Coffee late in our search, but we were really blown away by the variety of coffee they offered and the consistent quality. They offer accessible and tasty blends while also having direct connections with the growers which allows them to provide single origin offerings from across the world. New Harvest is really a great partner; they truly care about spreading their love of coffee to their customers and have super wholesale support.

    Over the years, I have learned the importance of equipment and talented baristas, it takes a tremendous amount of knowledge to operate an espresso bar at a consistently high quality level. As a customer, there is nothing more disappointing than a bad cup of coffee or improperly made latte. It doesn’t need to be perfect, but it does need to be made with care and attention. I believe our baristas are equally as important and talented as our chefs, there are so many similarities which is really fun to watch in person on a daily basis.

    Custom white Rocket R9. A centerpiece at Native. Image credit: http://www.alexisthegreek.com

    Situated in the middle of your bar is a beautiful, custom white Rocket R9! What made you chose that machine over others?

    The R9 was the first piece of equipment we purchased and sat in my garage for about 2 months before it was ready for installation. It really became a focal point of our design and created a lot of excitement for our employees, vendors, and customers. Honestly, I was very close to buying a La Morzocco Linea PB when I visited SCG.com and learned about Rocket. I thought the R9 was visually stunning and spent a couple weeks researching the product and calling customer references. The combination of the sleek design, functionality, which was backed up by a really strong Rocket brand. Rocket’s association and support with cycling was also appealing as we have a very active cycling community and are located on a major cycling route. We feel Native is a unique concept, so we wanted an equally special espresso machine.

    The Rocket R9 in action. Image credit: http://www.alexisthegreek.com The Rocket R9 in action. Image credit: http://www.alexisthegreek.com

    What else should people know about Native? 

    I think the blog post sums us up pretty well, I wrote this after our first month of business:

    Native was built on the concept of 3rd wave coffee combined with a chef-inspired menu, blending the creative side of both food and coffee with the goal of finding synergy between these two different worlds.

    Native is for the community. We designed a space and menu to bring the seacoast community together, a place that would make every guest feel like a local. A comfortable spot for families, where kids have a space of their own and parents can relax and enjoy high quality food and drink.

    Native is local. We source almost exclusively from local vendors. This not only gives us access to the best products available, but allows us to build strong partnerships.

    Native is powered by our employees. We have a talented staff who love what they do and are always excited to collaborate. We don't underestimate the value of this. We believe in paying a living wage and providing work-life balance. Easier said than done, in this industry, especially when trying to provide value to your guest. But we value our employees and return to this value constantly.

    Native is focused on exceptional service. We want to have great communication with our guests. We need to show guests that we appreciate their business and support. We also have a need for speed, we owe it to our guests to be a QUICK service restaurant.

    Native is accessible. We never want to come across as pretentious, but rather humble. We can’t always please 100% of our guests, but we want everybody to have an option to choose from and to feel comfortable with us. Our food and drinks are intended to be simple, using the best ingredients possible and preparing them with care.

    Native is transparent and focused getting better each day. Our mantra is continuous improvement, making mistakes and learning from them. Feedback is appreciated, whether it be enthusiastic or constructive. The details matter! A good operation can turn quickly and we remain focused and determined to get better.

    Native looks ahead to the long term. We will not sacrifice service or quality for short-term goals. We are building a foundation for something bigger.

    A perfect beverage. Image credit: http://www.alexisthegreek.com A perfect beverage. Image credit: http://www.alexisthegreek.com

    Learn more about Native Coffee + Kitchen by visiting their website, Instagram, and Facebook!

    Have a question for our commercial team? We’d love to connect!

    Find more Café Stories on our blog or on our social channels under the hashtag #SCG_CafeStories!

  • Crew Review: Rocket Espresso Boxer

    The Rocket Espresso Boxer commercial espresso machines are the latest set of machines that have impressed us. The Rocket Espresso Boxer comes in a one group version and a two group version, perfectly suited for any volume.

    Rocket Espresso takes pride in their finished design, keeping with their iconic contemporary look for these machines. The stainless steel and aluminum finish will look great in any environment and truly give your customers something to look at.

    Both machines come with two cooltouch stainless steel steam wands. Something you won't find on many one group machines. The steaming power on these machines won't disappoint either. Be sure to check out the Crew Review videos below for a demonstration of the steaming capabilities!

    Both Rocket Espresso Boxer models have microprocessor controlled electronics, allowing you to program your drinks volumetrically. The Boxer 1 group allows for four individual volumes to be programmed, while the Boxer 2 group allows for up to eight different volumes. The Rocket Espresso Boxer also has a manual switch to bypass all the electronic programming. This is a great feature that will keep your down time to minimum, should your electronics ever fail.

    Be sure to watch the full Crew Reviews below! Have any questions? Connect with our commercial team here.

     

     

  • Commercial Customer Spotlight: Microsoft Data Platform Group

    Continuing our commercial customer spotlight series, we thought we would give a little insight into a business that out paces some coffee shops when it comes down to cups to day! That's right, surprisingly when you give coffee away for free, people drink more of it! And by "more of it", we are talking to the tune of 600 cups a day!

    The Microsoft Data Platform Group's building was recently remodeled and as a part of that remodel they decided that they wanted to offer free, self-service espresso for their employees. Naturally we wanted to help that dream become a reality, because we know first hand the power of a cup of coffee.Microsoft

    TELL US ABOUT YOUR SETUP

    Due to the high demand at our location (~600 cups per day), we chose the Rancilio Egro One Touch with attached multi-fridge option so we can serve both skim milk and 2%. Additionally, we added a large milk refrigerator and cabinet with beans right next to the machines so our employees can refill consumables themselves.

    Microsoft

    ANY ADVICE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE?

    We had to buy a second machine to keep up with the demand. We decided to set them up right next to each other rather than distributing them throughout the building because they act as our proverbial water coolers and are a destination in the building where the team members congregate and connect.

    MicrosoftOur main advice would be to install the machines over a compost bin so that the grounds can fall into a large receptacle rather than into the little drawer within the machine, which fills up quickly. Also, additional labeling was applied to inform people whom to contact if there is an issue with the machine and to push the milk cartons all the way back in the milk refrigerator to register their presence.


    We  are so happy that the folks over at Microsoft are getting great use of their new machines! Cheers!

    Are you interested in downloading a PDF of their spotlight? Get it here!

  • Commercial Tips: Where Do I Go From Here?

    "Help….I don’t know where to go!"question mark

    We hear this plea for help from many clients that call into Seattle Coffee Gear. It's very normal to feel overwhelmed when starting a new business, with the search for the appropriate equipment adding to this stress. That's actually why Seattle Coffee Gear Commercial exists -  simply to help you understand your options and pick the right equipment for your goals!

    And what's our goal, you may ask? Well, that is to provide a VIP consultative approach to all your coffee and espresso equipment needs. Whether you're a donut shop looking to add fresh brewed coffee or an office that would like to caffeinate its employees with an espresso machine, we're here for you! So, let us talk you down a bit: "Take a breath. Pick up the phone and dial 866-372-4734. Ask for SCG Commercial." *whew* That was easy, right?

    Now, we know you might be a little nervous about making the call. We all feel this way sometimes (even us, and we deal with coffee all the time!), so we're going to take the mystery out of the process. In doing so, we hope you'll feel confident in jumping on a call with us!

    What Should I Expect?

    TelephoneOnce you've contacted us, you'll receive one-on-one consultation from a Commercial Equipment Specialist (this means they're experts on coffee and espresso equipment for businesses) that will listen to your business concept and needs. Based on what you tell us, we'll create a list of equipment that will work for your business. We'll thoroughly discuss it with you, tweak areas based on your feedback and create a customized quote.

    This consultation and follow-up is typically done over the phone. However, if you live in the Seattle area, in-person consultations are certainly available to you.

    What Do I Need to Know Before the Call?

    We really only need you to know one thing: That you want to serve coffee in your business. We're willing to bet you've already decided on this, eh? From there, we'll help work through the multitude of options that exist, finding the right equipment for your business needs that fits inside your budget.

    What Are Some Things to Consider?

    As we said before, you really only need to know that you'd like to serve coffee or espresso in your business. However, here are some additional things that could be helpful to think about, both for your business in general and for the call.

    • Where is your business located (city/state)?Coffee Menu
    • What is the coffee culture like in your area?
    • What are the ways that you can stand out from similar businesses (differentiators)?
    • What are the hours of day you will be operating and how many days per week?
    • If you're open throughout the day, do you have plans to change your offerings?
      • For example: Espresso/coffee with pastries in the morning and blended/iced espresso with sandwiches in the afternoon.

    These considerations can help us hone in on the types of equipment you will need along with their proper configurations.

    What Happens If I Order?

    You will be provided pre-installation requirements, such as electrical and plumbing needs, for the major pieces. At this point, Seattle Coffee Gear will ship the equipment to a selected service provider, or your business location, for installation preparation. Your Commercial Equipment Specialist will introduce you to the service provider and then assist with coordinating the installation.


    Do you feel like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders? Let SCG take some of that load off! There really is no obligation to working with us, so give us a call. We promise to listen, recommend and allow you the freedom to choose what best fits your needs. We like to call it a 'super easy, no pressure, consultative service.' That's a long name, though, so you can just call it the SCG Promise.

  • Commercial Customer Spotlight: The Seed

    Did you know that we have a department dedicated to helping coffee shops, and other commercial caffeine-serving institutions, get the perfect setup? Just as we're super passionate about helping people make a great cup of coffee at home, we also want to help baristas make a great cup of coffee for you while you're out and about!

    The SeedOver the years, we've worked with a variety of commercial customers, from cafes to banks and restaurants to schools. Each one of them has two things in common: They have a vision of their dream setup and they have very distinct needs (be it throughput, available space or even the color of the machine that will pull the whole space together). So, we're super excited to begin a series of spotlights on some of these businesses that we hope will help you feel more confident when making your purchasing decisions and maybe even provide some inspiration!

    The Seed, a coffee and juice bar, was gracious enough to be our first participant (thank you, Rachel!). So, without further ado, we present their Commercial Customer Spotlight!

    Tell us a bit about your operation.

    The Seed is a third wave coffee and juice bar in Boca Raton, Florida. We provide an artisan experience with an in-house roaster, pour over bar, espresso service, and small batch juices.

    What equipment did you choose and why?

    The Seed La MarzoccoWe built our shop around the La Marzocco GB/5. We knew this machine would be the centerpiece of the shop with a custom matte black powder coat. From there, we moved on to find the best grinders for our espresso and selected two Mahlkonig K30 Airs. For our slow bar, we went with the triple threat of Chemex, Hario V60 and Aeropress. These methods are ground to specific parameters on Baratza Forte grinders and the water comes from a Curtis tank. For our classic batch brew, we pair a Curtis grinder with a Bunn brewer.

    A huge factor in our selection was the knowledge of the SCG team. Jason was quick to give us all the good and bad which allowed us to make the very best educated decisions for our shop.

    What was your experience when you purchased from Seattle Coffee Gear?The Seed - Mugs

    Several internet searches pointed us to SCG. The customer service and endless conversations from the SCG sales team, specifically our point person, Jason, were more than we could have hoped for. We would highly recommend the team at SCG and intend to have a long standing relationship for all our coffee gear needs.

    What’s in store for the future of your company?
    We're hoping to open several similar operations in the next 2-5 years.

    Any tips or tricks you’d like to share with those that are new to the coffee-serving community?

    Trust that the common factor must be great coffee and great people. In order to yield the very best coffees, your equipment must be on point. Do not settle for subpar equipment. Your espresso machine and your grinders are EVERYTHING!


    We're really excited to see what the future holds for The Seed, which is already off to an awesome start! You should also totally check out their Facebook page because they seem like a pretty happenin' place!

    Interested in downloading a PDF of their spotlight? Get it here!

  • Crew Review: Rancilio KRYO 65 OD

    Rancilio KRYO 65 ODWant to be able to create the perfect grind on demand when making drinks at your cafe? Now, you can with the Rancillio KRYO 65 OD. The “OD” just happens to stand for “On Demand.” With this grinder you will be able to easily dose any amount of coffee you want to be ground with the single, double and customize buttons on the machine. The thing that is particularly nice about this customize feature is that you can grind continuously when making drinks. For instance, if you are making a single, double and triple, you have the function to grind for all three drinks without actually going in and changing the settings as you would on most other machines. Likewise, with this grinder you will be able to grind for nearly any application you can imagine – French press, drip coffee espresso, fine drip/pour over and even Turkish coffee.

    While the On Demand function is what makes this machine standout most from its “sibling” the KRYO 65, there are a couple of other features, such as dosing and counting, which are unique to the Rancilio KRYO 65 OD. One feature we really like is the “start dose” option. This setting provides you with the choice of starting the dose by activating the grinder with a portafilter or the press of a button. Thus, if you don’t like to have to constantly push in your portafilter to start your grind, this is a very nice option.  Another option you have within the KRYO 65 OD’s dosing settings is to set the grinder to dose out your coffee based on time. To do this you will have to figure out how many seconds your grinder needs to run to in order to fill up your portafilter for a single or double shot, but once you do so, you can program the machine to run for that length of time every time you want it to grind for a single or double shot.

    When it comes to counting your drinks, the KRYO 65 OD allows you to keep track how many total drinks you have made, as do many other machines. However, unlike other machines, you can also keep track of how many single, double and customized shots you produced on the grinder. By keeping track of your drinks this way, you can make sure you aren’t running through a bunch of espresso and not charging for it. In addition, there are counters for the burrs themselves, a feature we haven’t seen on many other machines. These counters allow you to calibrate your grinder by weight, so it will tell you exactly how many grams of coffee you use when you make a shot. You then can take that weight and input it into the settings of the machine, so your grinder thinks every time it makes a shot it is dosing a certain amount of coffee. Finally, you can then use the burr counter to see how much weight has gone through the machine. While this process isn’t completely perfect, it is great because it allows to you too see how much coffee has gone through your machine so you know when you are due to replace your burrs (this typically after going through 900-1,000 pounds of coffee).

    Ultimately, we found the Rancilio KRYO 65 OD to be a pretty great grinder. It is a pretty clean grinder, so you won’t have to worry about cleaning up a huge mess after making a drink. In addition, the price point of the machine is pretty reasonable, especially considering all the great features that are included. To see what actually all of these features and options to do, watch as Brandon explores some of the machine’s settings.

    Crew Review: Rancilio KRYO 65 OD

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