Episodes
Innovation in the coffee industry is no longer just about large companies tweaking their standard equipment, but it is becoming democratized through small companies bringing their ideas to market through networking, research, and good old fashioned hard work. Today we are going to be talking with 2 of the 3 founders of one such company who sought to create the brew they always wanted but could not find. WE sit down with Michael Butterworth and Ozgur Jerdan of Etkin Design! Etkin believes...
Published 12/06/22
It happens all the time. We create and conduct training sessions, programs, and systems that contain a lot, but do not produce a lot.  We end up with staff that are ill equipped for handling the day-to-day work and challenges that await them and as a result the customer receives an inconsistent experience.  On today's Shift Break we will be talking about the number one way we create ineffective training programs and what we should be investing into in order to properly train and prepare ours...
Published 11/30/22
How we perceive something impacts the decisions we make when buying or selling it. That in turn shapes consumers perceptions and then the market. Tea has long been a part of the coffeehouse, but has suffered from a severe lack of attention and intentionality. As a result the way we represent tea in many cafes has a negative impact of the tea farmer in effectively disappearing their work and craft. These are the types of issues that today's guest has sought to address.  After leaving her...
Published 11/29/22
How do you measure the impact of you business? We talk about metrics mostly related to finances and judge success accordingly. But the deeper and more fulfilling impact a coffee shop can have is based in relationship. You may ask yourself the question, does what I am creating or have created have “heart and meaning”? If your answer is yes and you stick to it long enough, you might end up with a legacy similar to our guests today, Cindy and Cary Arsaga In 1992 Arsaga Coffee was founded in...
Published 11/25/22
Thankfulness, positivity, affirming others, and seeking out the good can easily be things that get pushed aside in favor of the problems, stresses, and challenges of this life. As a result we develop a lob sided perspective in reality. On today’s Shift Break we will be talking about how we can pursue thankfulness and seek out the positive in the midst of the challenge to have a full and truer view that actually gives life. Related episodes: Priorities and Deep Thankfulness  Thankfulness...
Published 11/24/22
Communicating hard things is hard! The good news is that is does not have to be ineffective or worse yet, turn into something problematic or toxic. There are ways to deliver necessary feedback to employees (or anyone for that matter) that will not only show that person respect but also allow you your dignity as well.  I wanted to re-share this old episode today with our friend Tom Henschel because there are many of us who are struggling with communicating to our staff regarding their...
Published 11/21/22
"Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good" This quote from Voltaire has been passed around a lot over the years, even still it seems we always find ways to procrastinate on starting things because we either want it to be perfect, feel fear of looking bad, don't think we have the time, or perhaps we jus don't feel the urgency.  On today's shift break we will be talking about how embracing the practice of taking imperfect action can radically transform you and your coffee shop.  Related...
Published 11/16/22
It is easy to assume that a managers main role is only to take on basic administrative tasks. At least this is the way I would argue most shop treat the role of manager. It is too often a "set and forget" scenario that inevitably leads to  managers being in the dark, ill equipped, and frustrated. Ultimately this is all due to a lack of development and a failure of ownership to play an active role in it.  On todays episode we will be talking about five key areas that need to be developed in...
Published 11/14/22
It's wild to me that this still exists in coffee. The idea that we can throw a new hire in to the mix of a shift in a new cafe and expect that they will prove themselves as being valuable based on if they fail or thrive.  On today's Shift Break we will be talking about why this "sink or swim" mentality is glorified laziness, culturally dangerous, and what we should be doing as leaders to train our people.  Related episodes you need to hear:  Unofficial Trainers & Fair Compensation ...
Published 11/11/22
  Photography and coffee seem to just go together. There is something about creating moments and capturing moments that is a common drive where we can see the beauty in the mundane and get a whole new appreciation for our work and world. Today we are going to chat with of one of our industries great photographers, Rob Sykes.  Rob Sykes lives in Houston, TX with his wife and daughter. H practices Zen meditation, writes haikus, and works full time as a PICC RN at North Cypress Medical...
Published 11/08/22
The coffee shop is a can be a stressful place. There are no shortage of challenges big and small that confront us daily whether you are a barista of cafe owner. The trouble we run into is when our confirmation bias kicks in with every challenges and our emotions run away with us and we start telling ourselves a story about what is happening that may not be true but certainly feels true in the moment On today's shift break we will be talking about how we can combat overthinking and negative...
Published 11/03/22
Some interviews we have on the show touch on so many deep, important, and impactful subjects that it is hard to stop the conversation. This was one of those. I wanted to talk about our guests' career and then see where it led us and indeed we ended up discussing an assortment of issues that are sure to inspire and spark curiosity in you as you listen. Today we sit down with the great mat North! A seasoned veteran with over two decades experience, Mat’s career has taken in the full gamut of ...
Published 10/31/22
I am so happy to share with you this Founder Friday episode that takes a hard look at what is possible when you want to offer excellence at scale in a cafe setting. I am joined by the founder of the iconic and standard setting company, WatchHouse, Roland Horne. Roland founded WatchHouse in 2014 after extensive experience running small-to-medium-size businesses, including luxury aquarium design consultancy Aquarium Architecture. He holds directorships with property development funds Verum...
Published 10/28/22
It is that time of year where cafes are all but expected to have the ubiquitous PSL in their menus. But there is so much more. Beyond this staple drink specialty cafes around the world have developed both wonderful signature creations and others that don't really resonate.  Today on shift break we will be chatting about signature drinks and I will be offering some tips on how to approach curating and creating your specialty drink menu so your beverages are more likely to succeed.    ...
Published 10/27/22
Should you open a coffee shop? How hard could it be anyway? Thousands of people around the globe have a dream to open a cafe. Once open however that dream can quickly become a nightmare. I am thrilled to have been able to collaborate with fellow podcasters over at the Adventures in Coffee podcast to put together an episode that deals with this subject head on.  In this episode you will hear from several aspiring, and experienced entrepreneurs as James harper, Scott Bentley, and myself take...
Published 10/24/22
How long should you let your coffee age after roast? Is freshest always best? How can we ensure our customers get the coffee at its peak? These are some of the questions that we explore around the topic of ideal resting times for roasted coffee, the myths around freshness, and the best practices for managing your coffee's flavor life cycle. In this episode of RoR from Roast Magazine we are exploring the new data associated with ideal resting times for coffee based on a study recently...
Published 10/21/22
The work of running a cafe seems to never be quite complete. While we know that chasing “ perfection” is not the goal, we would do well to embrace the idea of dial in and refinement in our work. Today on Shift Break we will be talking about what a summer woodworking project from years ago taught me about refining what we do in our cafes.   Related episodes: Higher Degrees of Imperfection 373 : The Owner’s Role: 5 Behaviors for Effectiveness Feedback Culture : Making feedback a part of...
Published 10/19/22
The coffee shop is made up various tasks and roles that all work together to create something magical. Wen those roles are not clear or followed through on then the we lose the magic and gain frustration. No role in the cafe is as important than that of the owner (arguably managers but that's another topic), yet we rarely see owners having job descriptions let alone a schedule organized according to both the administrative / financial needs AND the areas of operations, quality, and people.  ...
Published 10/18/22
Finally. It is time to get meta and have a Shift Break conversation about...shift breaks.  We all go to work with a finite amount of energy to use on that days tasks and responsibilities. Trouble is that we also tend to work well beyond the point at which we have used up our energy and subsist on coffee and fumes. The shift break is supposed to be something that allows for some respite in the midst of a busy day but is often more an idea than a regular and well resourced practice.  Today on...
Published 10/13/22
Every day on bars across the globe baristas are using milk to create amazing drinks. For almost as long as coffee has been served in coffee shops, milk has been a staple ingredient. Yet, in spite of its ubiquity in coffee culture, we tend to focus (understandably) more on understanding and crafting coffee than we do the milk that today makes up such a. large portion of our menus.  Today you are in for a treat. We will be diving into the subject of milk from both a scientific perspective and...
Published 10/11/22
I got a great question in from a listener. "How should managers be appraising staff?" I love it because it gets beyond the trope of the holy trinity of delegation (Schedule + Inventory/ordering + Shift coverage) and assumes correctly that a manager should be involved in the development of their team.  So today on Shift Break we will be talking about the how of apprising staff as manager as well as the preparations necessary to be effective with your coaching, feedback, and reviews.  Don't...
Published 10/04/22
We all are susceptible to the siren song of trying to fix a place or a person to our own detriment. In the moment it seems like the right move and there is a sense higher calling an nobility pushing us forward. The reality though is that for certain cafes and bosses, there is no reformation only resistance and a dedication to the ways that will eventually drive you into the ground.  On today's episode we will be discussing why you should not try to be a hero at the expense of your own well...
Published 10/04/22
I am excited to present to you another great interview with an inspirational founder! This time we get to hear the story of the founding an development of a business that has long been a pillar of specialty coffee in the U.S.. We are talking with Tony Dreyfuss, Co-Founder of the award winning Metropolis Coffee Company!  Tony started Metropolis Coffee with his Father Jeff Dreyfuss in 2003 and they continue to own and run it to this day. In the span of 2 decades Metropolis has established...
Published 10/03/22
One of the top questions I get asked is about how to improve employee morale. As someone who has conducted and sat through his fair share of meetings designed around this issue,  I can tell you with a fair degree of certainty what does not work.  On todays Shift Break we will be talking about the wrong way to improve employee morale as well as the right way to begin truly fixing the problem instead of throwing a lot of meetings and initiatives at it.  Please listen to these recommended and...
Published 09/29/22