Water Avenue Coffee, a new Portland-based coffee roasting company was named the overall winner, or “Best Bean”, in a coffee taste-off held in Portland’s Pioneer Square on October 8. Water Avenue Coffee is owned by Bruce Milletto, president and founder of Bellissimo Coffee InfoGroup and The American Barista & Coffee School (ABC's); Matt Milletto, director of ABC's; and Brandon Smyth, the company's head roaster.
"Winning this event against Portland competition so early in the history of WAC is a strong statement about just how good our coffee is and what a dedicated and professional team we have," said WAC co-owner Bruce Milletto. "
The event, a fundraiser for the Portland YWCA, featured 15 local Portland roasters in a friendly competition where the public decided whose bean was best. Kivu Coffee, sold exclusively a Fred Meyer stores, was the winner of the “Big Bean” category, which includes roasters with more than one retail location. Trailhead Coffee Roasters was declared the winner of the “Little Bean” category for roasters with one retail location. The overall winner, or the “Best Bean” in Portland, was Water Avenue Coffee.
“We were thrilled to participate in such a fun and well organized event," said co-owner Matt Milletto. "It was great to see so many roasters come out and support a charitable cause. Winning overall “Best Bean” was such a great feeling and it really made us all proud of the dedication, passion and hard work we have put forth in the short six months since we began micro-roasting.”
Other participating roasters were: Boyds Coffee, Starbucks, Blue Gardenia, Caffe Umbria, Caffe Vita, Cardinal Coffee, Cellar Door Coffee, Courier Coffee Roasters, Oblique Coffee Roasters, Public Domain, Spella and St. Johns Coffee Roasters.
About Water Avenue Coffee
Water Avenue Coffee (WAC) creates handcrafted coffees in Portland’s Southeast Industrial district. All of WAC’s coffees are roasted on a vintage 1974 French Samiac 20-kilo roaster, which spent the majority of its life in the Swiss Alps, before finding a home on Water Avenue. The roastery is adjacent to American Barista & Coffee School, and effectively doubles the size of the ABC's instructional space to 4,000 square feet. Combining the roastery with the school makes the ABC’s experience one unparalleled in coffee education anywhere. With the addition of roasting classes, an education at ABC’s now includes almost every aspect of the coffee business.
The subtleties of coffee cupping, sourcing, blending and roasting, particularly for espresso, is the focus of a new one-day intensive workshop at the American Barista & Coffee School (ABC's) in Portland, Oregon.
The Roasting Overview and Concepts Workshop is designed as an-depth introduction to coffee cupping, blending and roasting for those coffee retailers who want to know more about the coffee they buy or who may be considering taking the first steps in setting up their own roasting operations. Participants will systematically taste and evaluate espresso blends, cup coffees for espresso blending and review roasting issues in regard to espresso.
“We are very excited to add roasting education to the ABC's curriculum, and we are fortunate to have a fully functioning roasting and retail operation integrated into the facility space," said Matt Milletto, ABC's director. "It is very important for retailers to understand how the roasting process relates to serving and preparing excellent coffee and espresso beverages. It is also great to see retailers take an interest in small batch roasting for their own coffeehouses."
The workshop is led by Brandon Smyth, head roaster and green coffee buyer for Water Avenue Coffee Roasters in Portland, Oregon and Justin Johnson, the former green coffee buyer and head roaster of World Cup Roasters, also of Portland.
Roasting Overview and Concepts Workshops are scheduled for October 27, November 20 and December 18.
Cost of the Workshop is $500 (including continental breakfast and lunch). For those registered for the 5-Day Business + Barista Workshop immediately proceeding or following this Workshop, the cost is $350. Visit CoffeeSchool.org or call 800.655.3955 for more information or to register.
Matt Milletto, director of the American Barista & Coffee School in Portland, said coffeehouses should consider raising prices every couple of years to cover the increasing price of doing business. But they should also find ways to absorb some cost increases, like the ones some coffeehouses are seeing now on coffee beans.
"Even if their costs went up $1 a pound to $9, which seems like a big increase, that's translating to only 2 to 5 cents in the cost of the drink," Milletto said. "That could justify a 5-cent increase (in drink prices), but if the retailer is serving a higher-quality product and can bring in five more customers a day, they've covered that cost increase (without raising prices)."
Though the recession has hurt some coffee sales, it hasn't ended
Americans' move toward higher-quality coffee, says Bruce Milletto,
president of Bellissimo Coffee InfoGroup, which provides consulting and
training to the industry. "Our taste buds have memories," Milletto
says. "Once you drink a really excellent cappuccino, it's very hard to
go back even to a chain store that may be using automatic machines."
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Bruce Milletto, CEO of Bellissimo Coffee InfoGroup and a leading industry watcher, thinks the company's motivation is more basic: Starbucks is returning to its roots as a comfortable "third place," a living space that goes beyond the home and the office. "People want to have ‘their' coffee bar, and they want to have ‘their' coffee," says Milletto, who remembers when Starbucks was a hip chain of four or five shops. "Starbucks has realized that's a niche they're no longer filling."
Bruce goes on to say, "Once you have thousands and thousands of stores, it's difficult to have consumers look at you in the same way," Milletto says. "I think in coffee, the small independent will always win out if it's doing a fantastic job."
Starting a Coffee Shop Business Podcast
Produced by Startingabiz.com | June 30th, 2009
Bruce Milletto, president of Bellissimo Coffee InfoGroup and founder of the American Barista and Coffee School, offers his insight about how to start a coffee business to podcast host Matt Thomas of StartingABIZ.com. Bruce offers expert advice about getting started, choosing a location, picking the right coffee and espresso equipment, and more. [24 minute podcast]
For the second time in two months, Matt Milletto, Vice President of Bellissimo Coffee InfoGroup and Director of the American Barista & Coffee School, defends the independent retailer on NATIONWIDE TV! As Matt says, "No, it is not all about price but quality." Click here to view feature on Fox Business News.
|The art of the Latte|