Tales of two coffee shops

In Slate, Michael Idov writes about the shattered dream of owning his own coffee shop:

“You know that charming little cafe on New York’s Lower East Side that just closed after a mere six months in business—where coffee was served on silver trays with a glass of water and a little chocolate cookie? The one that, as you calmly and correctly observed, was doomed from its inception because it was too precious and too offbeat? The one you still kind of fell for, the way one falls for a tubercular maiden? Yeah, that one was mine.

The scary part is that you think you can do better.”

The article goes on to describe monetary blackholes, stressful work hours, and a marriage almost destroyed by the business. [Via Radley.]

In contrast, things are looking way up for San Francisco start-up Ritual Roasters:

…[In] his wildest dreams, [Jeremy] Tooker never would have imagined life could be this sweet: he and business partner Eileen Hassi — who became buds while they both worked for Torrefazione — opened Ritual Coffee Roasters in San Francisco’s Mission District on May 12, 2005, and have spent every minute since riding a wave of popularity that’s been strong, swift and something mighty, even by San Francisco standards… Tooker and Hassi, knowing full well the little neighborhood needed a shot of espresso — good espresso — and fast, took the risk on the high rents of San Francisco. The gamble, obviously, was a good one.

… It’s hard to do anything new in San Francisco, with so much good food and innovative design already in place, indeed, with a population so accustomed to quality. Perhaps the reason Tooker and Hassi have done so well — the lines at Ritual are routinely out the door, and they bust through 250 pounds of roasted beans every week — is because they brought just enough of the Pacific Northwest into Northern California, thereby distinguishing themselves but with enough sense to serve it on a platter of cool.

The full story is in the current issue of Barista Magazine, not currently online.


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