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The SanFranRoaster Blog......

5 Steps to Twitter Success for Coffee Businesses

Posted by Emily McIntrye

Sun, Mar, 09, 2014 @ 08:03 AM

Know you need to use Twitter for your coffee roasting company but don’t know how? Or, have you started using it without success? Social media drives the coffee industry more and more; frustrating or overwhelming it might be, but very few coffee businesses can thrive now without online engagement.
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Topics: coffee roaster, Successful business, 101, Social Media, twitter

Roaster Profile: Harbor Perk

Posted by Emily McIntrye

Sat, Mar, 01, 2014 @ 07:03 AM

The story of San Franciscan owner Harbor Perk Coffeehouse and Roasting Company starts like that of many who fell in love with coffee and coffee roasting: Kelly Sposito was unhappily employed in a downtown Cleveland law firm when her husband Jake bought a coffeehouse in Ashtabula, Ohio in 2006. Over the next few years, Jake did a lot of research on coffee roasters, and in 2009 Harbor Perk Coffee moved to its current 100-year-old location where Steve the SF6 creates conversation and where Ryan Sposito, Jake’s younger brother, roasts daily in the busy season.
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The Spositos are a big Italian family, and Kelly jokes “My husband and Ryan have a natural palate for food and beverages, while I’m a wino.” Working with the highly supportive staff at Royal, and doing their best to educate their clientele gently, they’ve enjoyed exploring many of the single origin and micro lot coffees available. Ryan says, “I tend to like like Africans, especially Yirgecheffes, and I get down with Sumatra as well. Our customers appreciate us selling Fair Trade coffees, and we get a kick out creating fun blends to sell around Ashtabula.”
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Things for the Spositos were going well until Jake was diagnosed with brain cancer. Kelly says, “Ryan was in college. When Jake got sick, he came home and we taught him to roast so he could take over.” The very communal nature of coffee which they love so much was one of the hardest aspects of dealing with Jake’s illness. “Since Ashtabula is such a small town, everyone knows us and witnessed it from beginning to end. Can you imagine being stuck behind a roaster for 8 hours a day and having to talk about cancer the whole time? But the whole experience really brought our customers and us together as a family.” Jake passed away in August, and Kelly and Ryan carry on his passion at Harbor Perk with a sense of humor and a lot of hard work.
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Being the only high-end roaster in Ashtabula gives Harbor Perk a unique position in town, and Ohio’s weather cycles make for a different busy season than other roasters—the summer is hopping for Harbor Perk, while the extreme cold of the winter keeps people in their houses (and not buying coffee.) Customers include a lot of Kent State students, and Kelly says, “We let people do whatever they want as long it’s not too crazy.” In the summer Ashtabula has become a tourist destination, which the Spositos enjoy. Business is going well.
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As many San Franciscan customers acknowledge, care and maintenance of their roasters is easier vs. other makes--but it's still a lot of work! “We take very good care of Steve,” says Kelly. Given his residence in an old building, cleaning the flue is a bit more complicated than usual: the lucky cleaner has to crawl up an elevator shaft, take the entire flue apart, and climb out onto the roof to finish the job. Still, the onerous task has become a bit of a coffeehouse event, with friends helping by bringing along various kinds of equipment to aid the process and cheer it along.
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With a lot of bravery and a warm sense of community, Kelly and Ryan are moving forward, and one thing is certain: Ashtabula’s got a good thing going in Harbor Perk! 
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Topics: roaster profile, coffee roaster, roaster, Successful business, SF6, ohio

Roaster Profile: Insight Coffee Roasters

Posted by Emily McIntrye

Wed, Jan, 29, 2014 @ 14:01 PM

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Lucky Rodrigues is co-owner of Insight Coffee Roasters in Sacramento, and roasts on an SF25 coffee roaster. He's also a bearded man with unmistakable excitement and humility in his demeanor. "I’ve worked for every local coffee company in town except for Chocolate Fish," he says. "I’ve been in coffee in Sacramento since I was 15."
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Starting as several other prominent Sacramento coffee folks have by working for Chris Pendarvis of the Naked Lounge, Lucky and his co-founder Ben Lance opened doors at Insight in 2011. The company has grown rapidly and draws visitors from around the country to California's capitol city.
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"Having a machining background, I approached the selection of my roaster from a simple standpoint," he says. "How does the machine work? I like very simple, straightforward equipment." He also liked the design of the SF25--specifically the air flow, cyclone, and afterburner designs. Driving three hours to the Fallon, Nevada plant and being able to talk directly with Bill on the phone certainly helped, and he's enjoyed watching the revival of the company since he bought his roaster.
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Topics: roaster profile, SF25, California, roaster, Successful business

Social Media 101 for Roasters

Posted by Emily McIntrye

Fri, Dec, 06, 2013 @ 10:12 AM

Social media is important in the coffee industry, but how can roasters start using Twitter, Facebook, and other networks? It’s dizzying! And urgent—nearly 80% of Americans use social media on a regular basis. How do roasting companies start using social media without losing focus on what is most important: roasting and selling great coffee? Below, a short Social Media 101, kicking off a series which will delve into more details as the months roll on.
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Building a Social Media Plan for Coffee Roasters
Start Simple. One mistake many businesses make when getting started in social media is to take on too much. The list of available platforms rolls on and on—Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn (and that’s just the most common ones). It takes time to succeed at social media. The best strategy is to begin with Facebook and Twitter, the two most important platforms for the coffee industry, and master those. Once you’re rocking them, add Instagram. And so on.
How Often Should I Post? Plan on posting around 4x a day for Twitter and 1-2 for Facebook. Weekends are even more important than weekdays for reaching your following, so don’t let the content drop off just at the crucial moment.
What Should I Post?  You should follow coffee industry thought leaders and post links to news, related trivia, and events. Keep track of your accounts, and post fun references to them, promote them, and generally prove that you’re not just in business for yourself. Learn the basic protocols for writing posts (when to use #hashtags, how to use @twitter handles, etc.) Add value to conversations, and you will be followed. It’s that simple.
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How Do I Make Time to Post? Count on spending regular time, perhaps 45 minutes to an hour a day, or delegating someone to do it for you. Consistency is the most important factor in making your voice heard online—especially on Twitter, if you’re not reasonably aggressive, you might as
well not be present.
What is Social Media Success? It’s easy to confuse a large number of followers with success online. While gaining followers is a strong indication that your reach is expanding, follower engagement is also important. And if you engage with your followers, they’ll engage with you. It’s a conversation, just like any other, merely in a different format.
While it’s important to plan your entry into the social media marketplace, as a roasting company catering to an increasingly social media-focused market sector, the time is right for plunging in. By starting small & regular, entering industry conversations, and expanding your reach as you grow, you can succeed in the competitive social media world!

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Topics: Successful business, 101, Social Media