How to open a cafe
I remember opening my first coffee shop after college right along Katipunan Avenue. That was many years ago and to this day, I remember the long hours we devoted to trying out recipes and doing what in today’s culinary language would be called “R&D” or research and development.
We served breakfast all day and I remember having my mother make our special tapa recipe, and me nagging her to please make more as our customers increased.
Then, my friends and I opened another café which would become a chain of stores and would ride on the wave of the global coffee trend. Twenty years after, I am still in the business of opening coffee shops and restaurants. They say it is one business where risks are high, but profits (both psychic and financial) are highest. And today, as I write, yet another coffee shop is being born just around the corner from my home. It will be run by our second generation of entrepreneurs, and will be her “baptism by fire” so to speak.
Coffee is the potent brew we grew up with and will remain a staple in our family pantry, kitchen or dining table. The appreciation of it is personal to each of us, yet we realize we all drink coffee without force or simply by habit and exposure. So all my siblings and my nephews and nieces all took to coffee naturally.
Recently, while traveling with friends, we even brought our own roasted coffee, just to be sure. The apartment we rented had a French press coffee maker in its kitchen, and everything became perfect. There is nothing that could spoil a vacation more than not having freshly brewed coffee upon waking.
Because we have been in coffee for over 20 years now, it is very natural for people to ask simple questions on preparation of the brew. I was so flattered to have been asked by a professional chef how he should store his coffee! He used to freeze coffee and I told him it was NOT the way to keep coffee fresh.
Another question that keeps coming up is: how long can you store roasted coffee? These and more questions encouraged me to write a book called Introduction To Coffee which recently was revised and refreshed into The Barista Manual (2012, AnvilPublishing).
Further, Enderun Colleges asked us to run a special summer schedule of our coffee courses usually done in October. Our Coffee 101 will discuss History of Coffee, Basic preparations of coffee, roasting, grinding and of course How To Open a Coffee Shop.
We will run this on May 4 at Enderun’s Ducasse Institute in Taguig City.
My colleague Manny Torrejon will run his popular Cupping and Roasting class the week before on April 27, a sequel to those who have taken the Basic Coffee Course last year.
This summer, I am helping a niece open another coffee shop, in the Salcedo Village environs and helping her fulfill a dream. This way, I am sure, her nieces in turn will also learn the art of drinking coffee and the appreciation of all its intricacies and its rich history.
Ahhh, coffee. It is one of the ways we can leave our footprints in this beautiful world.
(Chit Juan is a founder and owner of ECHOStore sustainable lifestyle, ECHOmarket sustainable farms and ECHOcafe in Serendra, Podium and Centris QC malls. She is also the president of the Women’s Business Council of the Philippines and president of the Philippine Coffee Board Inc., two nonprofits close to her heart. She often speaks to corporates, youth and NGOs on social entrepreneurship, women empowerment, and coffee. You can follow her on twitter.com/chitjuan or find her on Facebook: Pacita “Chit” Juan. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.)