Nicholas Cho is co-founder of Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters. He has opened six coffee shops since 2002, in Washington D.C. and San Francisco. In 2014 he dispelled some thoughts that bear repeating, about some of the things you need to consider carefully if you want to consider yourself among those that serve true specialty coffee.
Even if you want to serve good coffee that’s not necessarily on the cutting edge of “specialty” while focusing more on baked goods or great lunch items, Cho’s words can be applied to those passions, too. It’s all about really showing up and knowing your stuff and caring.
Cho's big-picture analysis on how to approach and immerse yourself in your craft include keeping track of trends, staying educated and building a culture that attracts like-minded employees and customers. These are all major factors in success—just about as important as the right location or even your cash flow. Not to sound metaphysical, but it’s about energy flow. It matters.
Whether you’re a spot-on specialty coffee shop or one that sticks to the traditional aesthetic and palate of your town or region, make sure you’re the best version of that model that you can be.