Author Archives: Levi Andersen

Drinking Through Toronto

Off to Toronto! This planes paint is all scratched off — hope the seats aren’t held together with duck tape

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Happy and dehydrated ‘hello, eh’ from Toronto Ontario. This is my 4th trip to Canada, 2nd time to Toronto this year! What a crazy awesome career I have to actually be working in these cities, hard to believe they also pay me! I wanted to share the places I went to and talk about them just a little more. No I haven’t gone to every cafe in the city of course, and no not every bar either! ….but a guy can dream.

Toronto for a coffee festival, Anaheim next weekend for another coffee festival 🙈

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I’m a sucker for taking those cheesy-tourist-photos =]

First off, I should tell the story of where I stayed, 1 place was a host, the other was a shady-hostel. ……more about those later….. That hostel place was so terrible……… Myyyy goodness it could be its own short video, yeah, that may have to be how I do it?

In somewhat chronological order (thanks Instagram for helping me remember!), here are the cafes that I checked out over my two trips to Toronto July and September of 2016. I flew in on a Saturday, giving me all day Sunday to explore one area in downtown.

First place I stopped by was definitely my favorite conversation, turns out I was served by the two owners which is always a blast for me. I love to see a happy healthy couple who are together following their passion, its not terribly uncommon either. I was chatting with them about the Toronto coffee culture and where I should go next. What is so great about visiting a new city is that I pick out a great cafe then ask them where I should go next, I can’t recall a time when this has steered me wrong.


Doughnuts topped with brownies you say???

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They also had some lovely pastries, I only indulged in one….. so far. After my one coffee Outpost suggested I head to Propeller Coffee.

I tried some of their house kombucha on tap because Outpost had me really fired up with caffeine after just one ‘flat white.’ A blessing and a curse. The space was great, its a huge space with great design and thought put into the space.

Digging this huge coffee growing mural map

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Who doesn’t love a little coffee map?

Love this photo: Toronto + Bill Nye + coffee + sunny day + bliss

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There’s a cafe called Extra Butter Coffee? Well yeah, that totally has to be my next stop! Of course, they were making the ‘bullet proof’ style coffee which I started seeing in spring of 2013, really taking full force in 2015. There are a few places doing butter in their coffee, usually coconut oil as well, personally I like it with cinnamon powder as well. I talked to the barista about a few riff ideas but either I was still zinging from espresso or he wasn’t into it – what ya gonna do?

“Ok, let’s talk cascara cherries sir” #NerdOutWithMe

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I spent a bit of time talking to the baristas at Reunion Island Coffee Bar, before running across the street to grab a slice of pizza…. make that two slices actually. The baristas were into the idea of sharing ideas and recipes. Now that it has been a couple of months I don’t remember precisely the ingredients that went into this drink, but it was something like a cascara (coffee cherry) soaked in a simple syrup with a little maple, then poured over tonic. I remember really enjoying it and chatting for a while about tonic in drinks. My thought is there needs to be less espresso in most recipes I see around the USA. I also talked about my own “Espresso Tonic” recipe that I was making in Dublin Ireland for the World of Coffee 2016 event. My main point was to use less espresso than you think you need, then try it again the next day with even less espresso.

Grabbed an iced hibiscus tea on tap

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Lit Espresso Bar, was doing some cool things. Mostly I want to point out their chalkboard sign, and the helpful graph they have that shows milk ratios for beverages. Its such a great graph to help people decide what to get or what they may like the most.

For that Sunday I was shot, I headed to a music festival on the beach and then crashed for the day. Picking up on Monday I headed to Kensington Market where I saw things like this and heard things like that. Eclectic area.

I was blown away by this idea. In August I played around with my own versions of chia meeting soda, how the dynamic textures combine to make one flavor experience. This one was a sort of lemonade soda flavor. Didn’t care toooooo much for the color of it.

Fun Toronto cafe menu

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That location was called Moonbean Coffee, its funny but I was only headed there because I heard they had a clean restroom, so glad I dropped by!


Nearly missed that one 🙄

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There I am nearly missing the plane to get back to Wisconsin! It happens sometimes, oops.


Then I was back from more in September 2016 for the Canadian Coffee and Tea Show. My co-worker Joey led a class called “Barista Meets Bartender” and I helped lead as well. These were drinks with coffee and booze in them. The really cool thing was Joey (the bartender) made drinks that a cafe can bring into their business if they have a limited liquor license (or just small storage), then I (the barista) focused on what can a bar do with just adding cold brew.

"BARIST MEETS BARTENDER" class just finished and one of us is buzzed and one is boozed 😉

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(No the caption below isn’t totally true – but it seemed so playful and fun I just had to)

Busy cafe, Toronto, natural light and caffeine bursting from everywhere

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Dineen, met two baristas from Australia here. I must say, the manager (oh no, I forgot her name!) may the most killer-dream-about-that-foam-latte for me. Gooooooodness it was good. I may or maaaaay have gone back again for a decaf latte, and again the next day, just saying.

This rad cafe has the best phone…..

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The whole space is gorgeous, so old-world and charming. Checkout the phone they have on the wall, yes, that is the phone, yes it does work….. Either its BRILLIANT or ridiculous (and that’s pretty much how I like to live my life).

I wouldn’t have stopped in Hot Black Coffee if not for the sign outside, but I am so glad I did. Look at these crazy creations, how have I not been using agar to turn liquids into gels? What an idea. It was super fun to suck through the straw.

NEO COFFEE BAR as you can see by my Instagram post, there was a lot to love about this space. I think the caption is enough for now.

Sipping a Coffee Soda in Toronto

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After hanging out in one cafe for a few hours and working on my emails I headed to Cafe de Melbourne, to change up the scenery. I love walking cafe to cafe, seeing a city from the streets, hearing the sounds and smelling the smells. Sometimes making friends along to way. This cafe is another one owned by a husband and wife, the husband originally from Portland Oregon and the wife from Australia. They moved to Toronto fairly recently and opened this location, living upstairs in the building. What a dream, right? If you visit you gotta check out the reclaimed hand washing water that is used to fill the toilet water – I had heard about these but hadn’t seen one yet!

Found an Expiring Cantaloupe, So I Liquefied it

So today I came into the Beverage Suite where I work and there was a cantaloupe barely holding onto life. I mean it was getting pretty soft (you can see a top-right-dimple in the photo) on the outside, but I didn’t want to just toss it. So I had to take action and turn it into something new and different.

My mind went right to a Pina Colada riff, “Instead of pineapple what about cantaloupe?” I asked myself. After a few tests I came up with the plan.

Above you can see me getting out some ingredients and doing a test run. The recipe is above but I will explain it again here.

Cantaloupe Cream

  • Take cantaloupe pieces and lightly blend in blender
  • However full that was, add half that amount of DaVinci Gourmet Naturals Coconut. The Naturals line is preservative free and made with natural flavors, so the flavor really comes through strong over the sugar/sweetness. Blend these two together.
  • Now you have your base, just add 1 part of this puree/syrup to 4 parts ginger beer.
  • If you want to make it even easier, you can add the lime juice and cream (or coconut cream) to this base as well. I was using ‘a splash’ of both on top of each drink so start with about 20% cream to batch ratio, and 5% lime juice then taste and adjust.
  • Doesn’t hurt to have some wild straws, this is the best deal I’ve found for a re-usable tiki style


Personally, I love limes so I threw some into the mix. I wanted it to be a bit spicy so I used ginger beer for that kick. Then it was all cooled down with some cream (but I wish I had coconut cream instead).

The end result was pretty fun little midday mocktail. I served it to 7 people for a private lunch and they loved it. If you try it and add booze I’d love to know what you added =]

ACP 054: Corey Dane from Yelp

Hello, Levi here =] Summer 2015, I sat down with Corey Dane at a local cafe to talk about how cafes should use to get more business. As a former coffee stand owner I used it myself and know for a fact that people came in because of the app/site. helped people discover my business who would otherwise not have found me. I’m also someone who uses Yelp several times per month, mostly to find new places to eat (especially when on the road/traveling).

This episode you will learn:

  • Overall strategy you should use when starting a Yelp page
  • How to reward fans
  • Dealing with negative reviews
  • Rewarding your staff for a job well done.
BIO: Corey Dane Corey Dane hails from Chicago and worked as a voice over artist, TV host and arts administrator before joining Yelp in 2010. Since then he’s created and cultivated two robust communities of consumers looking to connect with great local businesses, first in Tucson, AZ and most recently in Madison, WI. In his current role as Manager of Local Business Outreach, Corey travels North America, speaking with business owners about leveraging the power of Yelp to help grow their business.
Show notes by time:
  • Time 3:20
    • Q: What is the first step when starting a Yelp profile?
    • A: First look to see if anyone has started you a page or if you’re already listed as a business. If its brand new how long before you should start a Yelp page. Start all other social media first then leave Yelp as one of the last. Plus you want to leverage that HOT AND NEW Yelp endorsement when you are actually open and people can come and buy things from you right away.
  • Time 4:30
    • Stagger the build out of your business plan, first pick a concept, then find a location, train, get a photo shoot ready, then 1-2 weeks before launch that Yelp.
  • Time 6:00
    • Yelp started as Yocal – like local and yo check this out!
  • Time 7:55
    • Post events at your business on! That would get people to find your new business and get Yelp Elite’s (super users) attention. 70% of browsing on Yelp is done via the app.
  • Time 9:40
    • “Cuppa-Yelp” as an idea for a fun event to get people out. A group of unique cafes offering different helpful stuff like ‘cupping’ or milk ’texturing’ or just a $1 off different and unique items. Its really event-marketing and pulling people in because of the event itself. The firs step to gaining a regular is getting them into your door.
  • Time 11:45
    • How do you get a Yelp users attention? What draws them in? You sell them an experience, more than just food. They will want to come experience that thing at your business and pay you to do it. What gets your interest, what is exciting to you? “You never know what’s going to grab people” so experiment.
  • Time 13:25
    • “How do you speak their language?” Corey response to that question.
  • Time 17:30
    • The big takeaway is figure out exactly your ideal cafe can serve, then people will know what they will get before they GET there. Have pictures of your staff waving at the Yelper, be totally transparent so people aren’t surprised when they visit.
  • Time 19:30
    • Denver cafe, Steam ( is leveraging reviews from Yelp users on their website. Its like picking a customer of the month, but also like picking a Yelper of the month? Customer AND Yelper of the month? Should you leverage these into ads if you’re going to use them on Facebook? Best to describe your cafe from someone else’s eyes.
  • Time 21:00
    • Incentives for reviews? Well, they can be in-authentic if there is an expectation for a reward. Recognize them when they come in, print out the good reviews and have them at the register with that persons photo so your staff can say thanks to them personally. Leave a nice note for them and toss them a scone or something they wouldn’t consider buying already.
  • Time 24:30
    • Check-in offers for visiting your cafe? Put an Ad of the offer on FB/Twitter of users who aren’t already a fan/following your business. You can even offer a free high-five or thumbs up if you want to be quirky.
  • Time 26:25
    • But you gotta wash them hands…… so how about a hug?
  • Time 27:55
    • POS check-in offers, there is more help at When you have a check-in offer it shows up on Yelp with a little star and it really helps stand out in the search engine and captures people’s attention, making them more likely to come in an visit. If you offer something I recommend it not being a beverage, but rather a food item that is unique to your coffeehouse.
  • Time 28:55
    • Add Yelp-burst onto your site to cross promote and get people interested in leaving a review or sharing YOUR site on THEIR social media.
  • Time 29:55
    • Yelp is all about CONNECTING the community. Anytime you use Yelp or a user review remember its a way to connect your customers to other customers who love your brand. don’t be surprised if one Yelper becomes the local celebrity-endorser of your cafe.
  • Time 30:40
    • Newsletters that have themes to users. Make sure you’re getting the business owner newsletter and read the tips there.
  • Time 31:45
    • Events that people talk about may get in the newsletter, get your event up there and it will get noticed, you don’t have to do more than that.
  • Time 32:00
    • Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh negative reviews….. respond to good and bad. Rather than just responding and saying thanks, why don’t you respond and say ‘thanks for coming in next week we are featuring this special event or drink’ if its a good review – but what to do with bad reviews……
  • Time 35:45
    • If you have a staff member who needs guidance, leverage yelp reviews to use them as a starting point to talk to them. It will show that their actions are being noticed by customers (good or bad). Reward staff for good behavior.
  • Time 38:00
    • Photos: “thanks for helping us tell our story” what a great phrase. Make sure you caption the photos, and personally I love when there is a month and year listed. I first upload in Instagram then take that gorgeous photo and pump it onto Yelp after that. Take a look at for inspiration.
  • Time 40:55
    • “People are looking for the best ways to spend their hard earned money”  people in the community trying to lift up other wonderful things in their community.
  • Time 42:50
    • How often should you check your account to stay on top of it? Mostly just keep pace with it all as it comes in. If you are checking your Yelp everyday and notice you’re getting 1 review a week, then why check more often that once a week? Don’t burn yourself out, but you do want to stay in tune.

ACP 053: New Orleans Coffee Crawl

August 27th 2015 marks the 10 year anniversary of when Hurricane Katrina touched down in New Orleans. I was just flying out of New Orleans the Monday before the storm touched down, close timing. I remember visiting Cafe Du Monde, I actually had two cans of coffee from them that I took back home.

This episode shows what the cafe culture is like in the city here today. The next podcast will show a little piece of the story of the city.

    • TIME 2:55
        • If you want to know what it looks like when a New Orleans resident takes over a cafe space from a big chain that had intense colors and worn-out floors, you should look up Pulp And Grind on 644 Camp St in the Warehouse District. Look them up on Yelp, or visit this episodes show notes to find out what-the-fuss is going on with those Bagel Bombs they’re cooking up.




  • TIME 3:30
      • While we were there Becca made me some chai she’s working on, we tried some of their juices….. Woohoo! But… (music stop) I don’t exactly have a recording of that. Because. We accidentally locked our phones and bags in the back room. With the backup keys….. ooops.






  • TIME 4:20
    • Flashforward with me now past all of that and to us leaving, where you get to hear us leaving with those same keys we accidentally locked in the back room! From there we got a ride from one cafe to the next spot.
  • TIME 8:20


Getting my craft #doughnut (#donut) on!

A photo posted by Levi Andersen (@audio_cafe) on

  • TIME 14:00
      • District Donuts location – did you hear my excitement about the Maple Sriracha doughnut?





  • TIME 15:45
      • Revelator Coffee, totally got lost on ‘637 Tchoupitoulas’ before running into Brandon Paul Weaver. Very sleek space, minimalist, very limited and specific menu.






  • TIME 17:00
    • Thanks to a special barista from Spitfire Espresso Bar
    • New Orleans is an old city, 1920 larger population than today, 384,000 residents. NOLA being a very traditional sport where things don’t change quick, its richly STEEPED in traditions and character.
    • Backup and thank Byron, Spitfire Coffee off St Peter for making my list. That part of the city has buildings older than America itself.
  • TIME 20:00


Here is a link to where I stayed in AirBnb, it was gorgeous. The host left me notes, beer, magazines with local events. All of that great stuff, highly suggest it (if you don’t mind being a couple miles from down town).

No I did not visit Cafe Du Monde this time, I have in the past though. Also, Spitfire is awesome. I didn’t mention them in the podcast, but it was the shop I went to almost every single day.

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 051: Stuart Guest-Smith of Bare Coffee pt. 2

StuartGuestSmith of Bare Coffee In Seattle With Levi Andersen for a Podcast April 2015


TIME 1:50 “What different trends do you see in the USA and abroad?”

  • 1) The Australian coffee market may be 10 years ahead of the US market, maybe because of the high concentration of Greeks and Italians?
  • 2) In Australia we see more dark/syrupy/chocolate but full of flavor coffee, not as much light roast or citrus/fruit/acidic centric coffee.
  • 3) China appears to be quality focused, everything used has to be absolute highest quality beans.
  • 4) America loves single origin coffees.

TIME 8:20 “How long is the waiting period between when you hear a customer wants Bare Coffee before they actually have Bare Coffee in their shop?”

  • 1) We have an automatic system, if an order is set it can ship out nearly instantly.
  • 2) Other customers can take about 3 months depending on their own internal systems. It seems that the Australian market is faster, just a different market.
  • 3) If a customer has an agreement with their current roaster then there is that waiting period.
  • 4) We don’t sell it to everybody that comes a long, you wont find out coffee in 7-11. We’re looking for people who want to be our customer.
  • 5) We also have a system called Bare Buddies (lawyers/accountants/webdesigners). We offer this because we want our customers to be around longer, not to add another sale or source of revenue.

TIME 13:20 “What services that you offer to smaller cafes are the biggest help or biggest surprise to cafe operators?”

  • 1) There’s only so many coffees you can make and sell in one day. Have you scaled up to see just how much you can sell within a day, or how much traffic/customers you can facilitate? There are so many other ways you can make money rather than selling just lattes. When there’s 30 cafes in a strip on a street, how do you differentiate or what do you do to keep open? You need passion – but likely you already have the passion, what you likely need to do is to learn how to make a profit. Usually cafes focus 95% on just the coffee and forget about the other peices that support it as well, and that can be an oversight.
  • 2) Outsource where you can, put in some of the items that are higher margined or higher ticket.
  • 3) Think about renting out a boardroom or space for freelancers to have a landing space to work out of. Now there is a person who chas thought about maximizing the offerings that their cafe can give. And my view has always been to charge for top-top-top quality wifi.

TIME 20:00 “What are your plans for the next 6-months and next 6-years?”

  • 1) We’re moving into China, its a tough space to get into, but they love Australia. Perhaps setting up a roastery there.
  • 2) We will be rolling out some new cafes as well, that we are really excited about.
  • 3) The next 6-years? Wow, that’s a big question. The coffee industry is strong but always changing, how can we know where its all headed? Will Starbucks focus more on the home and will that change everything? Who knows.

TIME 32:20 “How should we be educating our customers before they enter our doors?”

  • 1) Starbucks has been great for educating the marketplace for us. We want educated customers.
  • 2) But we definitely need to become more efficient as a workforce serving our customers.

Audio Cafe 050: Stuart Guest-Smith of Bare Coffee

April 2015 I was walking through the streets of Seattle the Wednesday night before the SCAA event and was tweeting out a few things like where I was eating dinner. Then out of the blue, @BareCoffeeCo started chatting with me on Twitter. Eventually the two fellas invited me for a drink, I accepted, and we chatted. Here is a picture from that very night.
Here are my notes from the recording, with my main take away thoughts or learning. Enjoy =]
  • Chance to work with friends
  • Enjoy working in a space (the USA) that is still blooming
  • A chance to apply skills from other industries and take into the coffee industry
  • Not specific to coffee, they’re always let by passion but don’t always identify the main goal whether that’s pure profit or a passion to be within the industry
  • It needs to be business first and passion second, because at the end of the day the passion stops when the money runs out.
  • Why is it you want a cafe rather than any other business. The key is when someone says “I wanted to run a great business and I love coffee.
  • Or do what Richard Branson did, hire to your weaknesses so you can focus on your strengths
  • Maybe its been a lucky streak with our marketing, but we haven’t had a customer in that situation
  • Our marketing is a ‘wine to coffee’ and the intrigue round that
  • People trying to understand who we are, and why come from Australia to the USA?
  • A good second question is what is the difference between the US and Australian market?
  • We can talk about competition because the Australian market is so robust, so much competition in close proximity.
  • “Do you know what a balance sheet is?”
  • “They’re paid well”
  • Each cafe respects their internal culture
  • Brothers Espresso, Queensland Australia
  • Boom Coffee, Houston
  • Wrecking Ball San Francisco
  • 34:00 Smallest espresso bars, hole in the walls, are great. PROS: so cheap to setup and run day to day. Quirky and tiny, smaller, faster, cooler, small menu.
  • 37:45 I think we’re tapped out on sports analogies
  • 42:00 there is plenty of room for growth within the coffee industry
  • Know your COGs (cost-of-goods-sold)
  • Understand your operating capitol needed
  • Identify your differentiators
  • Team up with another business like a local bakery, “What can we do where we both make a killing” also private label roast for other businesses
  • Keep your eyes on cold-brew as well
  • Customer Service is a hard thing to market as the differentiating factor
  • Always step back and think of a couple of hooks that will establish a relationship with your brand versus another brand.

Audio Cafe 049: Why Your Cafe Should Host a TNT

I was just at a TNT event in Milwaukee (thanks Stone Creek Coffee for hosting!) and ran into a listener who is not in the coffee industry. He was telling me about how much fun he is having at this TNT and how glad he was to have seen a simple poster hanging up by the door that told him about the event. He then went on to tell me my next podcast needs to be on this exact topic of “Why Your Cafe Should Host a TNT: and since customer service is so near and dear to me, Andrew, your wish is my command, enjoy.

Audio Cafe 048: Honest Branding

“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe”Simon Sinek

In February 2015 I took the opportunity to work a booth at the Natural Products West Expo in Anaheim, California. While I was there I met Joanna from Honest Tea and she shared a story with me that was amazing. This 11 minute episode is inspired by our chat.

144 Joanna from honest Tea at NPWE2015


For more pictures be sure to checkout my Instagram account: @Audio_Cafe

  • Time-stamp:
  • 1:00 Joanna from Honest Tea
    • recording if people are stealing or paying for tea
    • Joanna: “We’re honest with our ingredients, and we just want to see how other people feel about honesty” totally on brand
  • 3:00
    • Take your brand name, mission, product, then connect it with your customers in a new and unexpected way. As you go, what other information can you discover and share with more people along the way?
  • 4:00
    • Joshua Boyt’s lost Metronome, ‘Motro-Gnome’ search and rescue PR stunt. Keep your marketing in theme with your brand as a whole. Metronome in Tacoma WA, on
  • 6:00
    • Coupon for free tea on Facebook, simply post 1 of 3 inspirational quotes, 95% success rate of taking the coupon and posting the quote
  • 7:00
    • End of Power, no business has a monopoly in the current age. Marketing in the future will just be transparency showing the good that each brand does. The most effective marketing is showing the why behind the what: “People buy why you do, not what you do.” James Altucher podcast
  • 8:00
    • making a video of what they were already doing in front of customers
  • 9:30
    • Do something totally unique and on brand for you company
  • 10:00
    • See you at the 2015 SCAA / WBC, booth #3005. We’re  going to chat about ice quality next week


Link to article on ‘Keeping America Honest’