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MikeHag

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  • Location
    Aberfeldy, Scotland
  • Occupation
    Barista/Cafe Owner
  • Twitter Account
    @HaggieBarista

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  1. Wil Freeborn is a Glasgow-based artist who last year went to several indi coffeeshops in Scotland and produced a limited edition calendar of his sketches/paintings, sold at the Glasgow Coffee Festival in December. We have all the pages on our walls in the cafe so customers can see where to go for good coffee (includes places like AvenueG, BrewLab, Machina Espresso, Habitat Cafe, Singletrack Skye). He's working on the 2016 one now, and planning to make it based on more dispersed and rural coffeeshops (we hopefully still do it well). Keep an eye on his work (google), and I'm sure he'll have a stand at this year's festival too.
  2. That would indeed have been me, if he was a tall beardy fellow Or could have been my protoge Stu, but probably not 2 years ago. Full circle, very cool! Still serving Genmaicha here. It's surprisingly good as an iced tea! (Habitat Cafe, yep)
  3. From Portree head North to do a loop around the Trotternish peninsula, taking in The Quirraing and The Old Man Of Storr. Coffee-wise, look up Singletrack Skye and it's on the above route. Two aussie ladies serving Artisan Roast beans and on my visit it was the best espresso on the island. Looks like you'll be travelling mostly on West coast Scotland, but if you decide to head inland then drop by and see us in Aberfeldy, Perthshire.
  4. Two decafs from hasbean are great when they are available. Unleaded blend, and colombia el meridiano.
  5. Matter of opinion I suppose... We've been running Compak K10s coupled with nothing but Has Bean since we opened in 2012. People say the guys at Has Bean roast light... not sure I'd agree but they are certainly not dark. Anyway, the combination (along with other factors) seems to work ok for us ... I do agree that bitterness is part of coffee... it's about balance. But within speciality coffee, I'd say, the bitterness tends to be minimised... or at least can be, and IMHO should be.
  6. Always liked anything that might interest developing home-baristas in adding an extra level of control Back in 2011 I went through this process and kept a log. If anyone's interested, it's here: http://haggieslab.blogspot.co.uk/2011/05/holy-grail-espresso.html?m=1 http://haggieslab.blogspot.co.uk/2011/05/more-on-perfect-espresso.html?m=1 Bits will be wrong/out-dated by now, but still may be useful.
  7. Given the basic info you've provided, you don't want to go for a limited company structure. The benefits would be limited liability, but the additional admin burden isn't a good idea for a small business, and if you're running the business carefully then you shouldn't need the safety net of limited liability. Partnership has the benefit of not having to publish detailed accounts (unlike Ltd Co), but you would be well advised to get a solicitor involved to draft the partnership agreement. That's a standard caveat with partnerships and helps make them more future-proof. Since your business is unlikely to put either partner into the High Earnings tax bracket, sounds like partnership is the better of those two. BUT it may not be the best option. As mentioned above, there is now a Limited Liability Partnership structure, which has additional financial reporting/audit requirements. Could be right for you, but I doubt it. Used more for large partnerships with many partners. Speak to any firm of accountants and they will be able to advise you. It's basic stuff that all accountants learn very early on in their studies.
  8. The Auber timers are really great. We've been using one on our K10Pro since opening, and still using that combo with the K10Fresh now sitting alongside. Actually prefer the K10Pro + Auber combo as it speeds up service since we can press the timer button a few seconds before needing to fill the basket and the ground coffee is there waiting for us to dose, rather than having to wait for the doserless grinder to grind. Saves a few seconds, which is vital if you've ever been there. Also, it can be 'tickled' to give fractions of a gram for fine-tuning basket dose, whereas the K10F has a minimum 0.5secs timed dose, which is wasteful when all you want is 0.2g Had to pay about £18 duty on the import. Completely worth it.
  9. Ok so you're working in a cafe/coffeeshop and there are 6 tables who all came in at the same time, have looked at the menu, and are now looking around for someone to take their order. They are all part of a bus tour departing town in 30 mins so they're getting twitchy about time. They see you. There you are, casually shooting the breeze with a local pensioner called Netty. No rush. Chatting etc. One table gets up and leaves in disgust. The other 5 tables create an eerie silence across the room. Netty carries on chatting to you. Does that explain?
  10. Assuming you'd have seating for about 16 (leaving space for bar, toilets and storage), in your shoes I'd be asking myself how I'm going to successfully spread myself across the various jobs. Taking orders, making drinks, serving, cleaning tables, washup, receiving deliveries, chatting with those customers who insist on chatting, checking toilet roll holders, replacing lightbulbs, measuring fridge temperatures, meeting council officials, selecting and ordering stocks, repairing broken things, etc. Ok, so it CAN be done, but just because something can be done, that doesn't mean it should. A solo coffeeshop is viable (eg Hayley's place The Window in Norwich), but with so many seats? Not something I think would be sustainable or that would lead to returning customers. I'd suggest either smaller premises (no tables, perhaps just benches), or a realistic plan to make your proposed premises operate effectively. Having staff is indeed a challenge at times (I currently have 20), but those problems are best tackled rather than avoided.
  11. At our cafe we recently changed our standard tamp pressure to around (estimated) 15-20lb, having previously calibrated ourselves to 30lb using an Espro Press tamper. We've seen improvements in both the visual appearance of the shot using a bottomless portafilter, the measured extraction (using the mojo) and the tasting characteristics. But that's with our grinder, and our selection of Has Bean beans. Increasingly my view is that there is no right or wrong tamp pressure as it depends on your own unique parameters and equipment. But tamp pressure does matter
  12. We use Waterloo Tea, who work with US company Rishi Tea, who have great info on their website. Quality is #1 IMHO. But possibly best for a combo of quality and fantastic supporting info, as well as an ever-changing selection, is Canton Tea Co. I subscribe to their weekly tea delivery for £5 a pack, which is supported by an info sheet and blog post. Great way to learn about different processing methods and origins.
  13. MikeHag

    caterkwik

    Used them lots. All above board.
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