It’s no surprise that there are many boutique coffee shops in our country. Some good, and some not so good. These little shops are usually full of life, people are writing, studying, steaming milk and enjoying eachothers company. Personally, I love smaller coffee shops better than I do Starbucks (even though I end up at Starbucks Multiple times a week). These little shops of wonder can be found in most every town you visit in the good ol’ US of A. In fact, in the city limits of Kalamazoo, there are 33 coffee shops alone. That is a lot, and that just goes to show that this is the time of the small business, and of the coffee shop. Moving on, I’ve come up with some simple, telltale signs that you’ve built a good coffee shop, or you as a customer have found a good coffee shop.


Have you ever walked into a coffee shop before and had not one employee say hi, or even look up from what they are doing? Well, I have, and it drives me absolutely bonkers. When you walk into a coffee shop, you expect those employees or the owner to greet you as excitedly as your dog would when you come home from work. Because when people are paying on average $4.50, they expect a level of service that you could expect from, let’s say a manager at a 5 star resort. Okay, that’s is an exaggeration, I know. However, a coffee shop is half good coffee, and half customer service, and most of the time when the customer service is better than any other, people will come back even if you’re coffee isn’t the best.

Good Coffee:

This one is pretty much self explanatory. If you don’t have good coffee, no matter how great your customer service is, eventually you’ll find yourself without customers. There are so many great coffee roasters (especially in Michigan). Even better, there prices are very reasonable. So again, good coffee and espresso is a must. I personally like MadCap base in Grand Rapids, and Kalamazoo Coffee Co. in Kalamazoo.

Location doesn’t Matter:

I know this sounds a little weird, in America we’re used to hearing “location, location, location.” However, if you have amazing service standards, and a great cup of joe, people will drive miles just to patron your shop. I know I have before. Having more than just location means a lot to people who enjoy a good coffee shop. It’s an aura that is hard to accomplish, but I can speak to you on this because I have helped build a shop with an excellent atmosphere, and it means the world to their customers.

Know how to pull a shot, and be versatile:

These two are very important. Knowing how to pull a shot is important, and if you are a coffee lover, you will know exactly how you want your barista to make the latte. Secondly, be versatile. If you have a customer that comes in and wants something that is not on the menu, or tells you specifically how they want their drink made even if it is different than how you do it, THEN DO IT! It grinds mine, and their gears when you don’t listen to what they want when the customer is paying $5.00 for their coffee. So all in all, if you take note of these tips, you’ll be able to build quite a successful shop, and a great atmosphere.