Category Archives: Uncategorized

How To Play Barista At Home

I am often asked “Levi, what’s the best espresso machine for home?” which can lead to SO many answers, depending on what you want exactly. But to be a generalist, here is usually what I point to: this espresso machine for $1,295 or $685, paired with this grinder. Its usually the best option. I have used the Nuova Simmonelli Oscar for dozens of events, its perfect for home and smaller events.

Home setup =]

Yes the above suggestion is fairly pricey, but you could actually buy one of these gorgeous beasts designed for home, Slayer/La Marzocco/Synesso for more than a few thousand dollars each.

The big thing for making great coffee is to simply use the right water and BAM you have a HUGE head start. Great blog post on the correct water to use, to make it easy on you I *generally* suggest spring water. Now, you have to buy coffee to brew coffee, right? Well don’t buy coffee with expiration dates, instead focus on coffee that is 2 days up to 2 weeks old, or ‘from roast date.’ That’s generally the sweet spot.

ACP 052: Setting Up Your Drink Menu

Let’s keep this description short and sweet.

This episode is a sneak peak into what it looks like to work with Levi in designing your beverage menu. This is just the start of the talk, where I interview the client. Its a real call, but only the first call, not the follow up. This is beneficial to you if you need some inspiration for your menu, also we chat about hemp milk and mocktails. If you need help with beverage, contact Levi[at] for more information.

Audio Cafe 020: What You Can Learn from Visiting Your Competition


Learn from your competition, not so you can run them out of business, but so you can do a better job


We get too familiar with our own shops and ignore the imperfections like smudges on the wall or a squeaky door. But how often to we look outside of our own business and to our competition for inspiration?

For a full list of the challenges visit

Audio Cafe 018: Eric Spivack Shares About His Mobile Coffee Trailer

To everyone out there who has a dream to one day own a coffeehouse I give you this small piece of advice: start small.

Eric Spivack wants to own an amazing cafe someday. So he decided to take it one step at a time, and part of this is taking the time to learn more about the industry, and get his feet wet with a small shop. I mean small.

Like, real small.


Like, can only fit 1 grinder inside.

Because it is inside of a tow-behind trailer.

But its also pretty awesome looking and gets the job done.

Now after running his mobile shop he has the experience he needed to launch into a retail location (way to go Eric!). In May 2014 Eric and I got on Google Hangout to chat about his coffee trailer. The following is both an audio and blog transcript of what we talked about.


The following Q&A aren’t direct quotes but rather the main ideas behind out talk.

Q: what can you do when you run out of materials or products from inside your coffee trailer?

A: people seem to be forgiving or understand that the later in the day it is the less likely they will be able to find everything

Q: What social media can you use?

A: Yelp and Twitter. Tweet in the first part of the day of where you are at, unless its the usual spot. If you are in the usual spot make sure to call out any interesting activity going on around you.

Q: how consistent of a route do you need to have?

A: as consistent as you can be.

Q: where do you store your food truck or trailer?

A: we keep our machine on over night, and try to keep it hot at all times and ready to go.

Q: What questions do you need to ask before you start?

1) Equipment and quality are the two big limitations. Ask yourself if 110V is enough power for a smaller machine? Or do you want to have a 2 group machine in a trailer?

2) How big of a footprint will I need inside and outside? Will there be enough elbow room to move around inside the trailer? Enough counter space on the outside of the trailer?

Q: How do you deal with bad weather?

A: Enclosed structure for staff and supplies, and we do have an awning that have fit two people. We don’t drive with it up, so we have to physically put it up when we want it.

Q: How to pick a good location?

A: get out there and walk around. Find a place that has a lot of foot traffic (not car or bus traffic) and has consistent visitors at different day parts. A steady flow of people is a good sign. Also pay attention to the ages of people you see.

Q: What prep time do you need each day?

A: Keeping the machine plugged in helps the recovery time and allows us to get operational fast. Sometimes you will need to pick up food or other supplies so plan accordingly, much easier to pick up on the way to the trailer rather than making stops with a trailer.



As promised here is a link to a post I wrote about what equipment I use. Take a look at the espresso machine. It is great for catering or other events. It wont be able to keep up with an hour long line, but it will get you on your feet!