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It's easy to get lost in the ever changing menu boards of your local café, especially when you're trying to make a healthy decision. Many options can be tailored to fit your lifestyle's needs, but end up falling short in the taste category. There are plenty of reasons why we associate green foods with holistic well-being; they often contain a hefty amount of antioxidants, are low in calories, and high in phytonutrients. Well, green drinks are no different, and they won't taste as leafy as some of their edible companions. Here are three drinks that you may be familiar with, but that are definitely worth giving a second look and taste.

Autumn is a time of rituals. Some traditions are necessary, like the switch from swimsuits to sweaters because of the gradual drop in temperature (depending on where you live) and some are subconscious like the annual biking to work everyday because it’s-just-so-darn-nice outside. Some are bizarre like the Zozobra Festival in Santa Fe and some are so natural it is impossible to imagine the months September to November without them. One tradition that is quickly being inducted into the last category is the Pumpkin Spice Latte. People come out of the woodwork for that stuff. You’ll be hard pressed to find a coffee shop without it. Well, we think it’s high time to expand all of our colorful leaved horizon and give some other Autumnal drinks a chance of entering the seasonal canon. Here are some autumn flavors you may not have given a chance yet. As you’ll soon find out, Maple, Pumpkin, and Spice are the words that will sustain you through Halloween and Thanksgiving. Here are 5 unconventional ways to mix up your fall lineup.

Do you drink coffee? Do you know what illy caffé is? (pronounced EEE-LEE) If you answered yes to both questions, you are among the minority of Americans. Illy is one of the oldest espresso roasting companies in the world and widely considered the gold standard in Europe. You may not know much about Francesco Illy and his coffee business; here's 5 reasons you owe him and his company a large debt of gratitude.

Depending on where you live, you probably notice a new concept restaurant opening in your area about once a month. Most of these new restaurants find a comfortable niche location within a strip mall on highly trafficked street and fit the recently defined genre of “Fast Casual Dining.” This label refers to businesses like Chipotle, Noodle’s and Company, and Five Guys Burgers and Fries. The aforementioned restaurants have achieved great success because they have responded to a market audience that desires higher quality (often healthier) food, at a faster pace and relatively low cost. These businesses are the fastest growing segment of the restaurant industry for good reason. On the other hand, there is the long established category of restaurant known as “Fast Food” or “Quick Service Restaurants” (QSRs) that also achieve comfortable, if not dramatically lucrative, profits. The most successful of these have a strong brand identity and thrive on providing consistent, rapid, low cost dining experiences. Both styles of restaurant can readily be compared to specialty coffee and tea shops respectively, and it is important for you to have a clear concept for your business to achieve its maximum potential. Hopefully you may find that one of these models can help achieve a more unified approach to brand identity in your unique cafe. It is important to note that neither of these examples is the “right way” to run your cafe, you will want to evaluate the criteria for both and see if either concept matches your café more closely.

No small business is an island. Every business depends on the goods and services of other businesses. Distributors specifically can be valuable small business partners if you utilize their full potential. You'll remember our two friends from our previous article "Five Buck Chuck" and "No Slip Chip." They each have different perspectives on their cafe's role in the business ecosystem, specifically when relating to wholesale distributors. Chuck, as you may recall, spends several hours each week running to and from a large wholesale supplier. He receives a couple of small deliveries for milk products and baked goods each week, otherwise he retrieves supplies himself on his own time. He wants to save as much money as possible so he rarely researches new products that could be used or sold in his cafe. For this reason, his menu rarely changes and many of his products have become outdated. Chip, on the other hand, has a healthy relationship with his various vendors. He uses a couple different companies but has one that delivers most of his supplies once a week. He rarely has to worry about adjusting his orders, and when he does, he is ordering more of a product that is selling better than he expected. Unless the cafe is overwhelmingly busy, he gladly talks with his vendors when they call or visit and thoughtfully considers the products they present. Here is why Chip places value on his relationship with small distributors.

Without a doubt, the capital sin of small coffee retailers that keeps their businesses from healthy growth is an ongoing effort of trying to "buy their way to success." This might sound good in theory and seem natural to many managers, but these individuals tend to cling to their hard earned dollar so tightly that they neglect the potential fat-walleted customer who would gladly become a loyal patron given the proper motivation. Having worked with many different managers, we have concluded there are two types of coffee shop managers personified by Five Buck Chuck and No Slip Chip.

What does it take to be a "Soda Jerk?" Well in case you didn't know, "soda jerk" was a common professional title for a soft drink maker a couple of decades ago (the kind of person you would find behind the counter at a Mom n' Pop drugstore). Even though the term has since fizzled out, soft drinks are as popular as ever and are developing in new directions every year. If we

Time and time again, we have witnessed several up-and-coming restaurants zealously incorporate specialty coffee drinks into their already ambitious array of menu items only to post their semi-functional espresso machine on craigslist a couple months down the line. Failures such as these discourage many restaurant owners and managers from dreaming about ever offering espresso. The absence of lattes and cappuccinos in the majority of sit down restaurants begs the question: Can espresso succeed in

We all know that coffee shop lingo is its own kind of code - a latte means less foam in some places and more milk in others - and it takes several trips to any given shop to master its unique language. As an employee of a café or restaurant that utilizes an espresso machine, or even just a home barista, there are certain standardized components that you should be familiar with. Here are