WHO I AM
My name is Lauren Fink. In 2006, when I was 18, I moved from Green Bay, Wisconsin to Portland, Oregon and got a job working in specialty coffee. I was privileged to work with and learn from a lot of people who have since grown to have influential roles in the industry.
I moved to New Orleans in 2011 and discovered an old-fashioned southern coffee scene mainly comprised of chain coffee shops serving dark roasted coffee with chicory. I knew this was their only frame of reference for how coffee was supposed to taste, and they had no idea what they were missing out on! In Portland, I had seen how beautiful and complex delicately-roasted coffee could be, and I knew that Louisiana deserved it too. Cherry Espresso Bar came to be because I wanted to take my new community on a sensory journey of the subtle layers that each individual coffee has to offer when the nuances aren’t roasted away into oblivion.
When extracted properly, coffee gives you the perfect balance of sweetness, acidity, and depth. Through the success of Cherry, I have found that people do know what good coffee tastes like — they simply have a hard time articulating what exactly they’re tasting and why they like it. Coffee cuppings, like wine tastings, can be intimidating if you’re new to the experience. I want to offer people an approachable introduction to specialty coffee, and teach them how to understand and appreciate each coffee’s unique flavors. That goal has maintained.
HOW WE STARTED
When I was 24, I put all of my limited resources into building a coffee pop-up inside Stein’s Deli on Magazine Street. I bought the equipment, built the counter, and got to work teaching myself to make beautiful espresso in the corner of a chaotic Jewish deli operated by a bunch of lovable grouches. It was an unconventional beginning. I loved being in Stein’s because I was able to reach people who weren’t necessarily seeking out specialty coffee from a fancy coffee shop — they just wanted coffee with their bagel. The reaction that I got from people when they were just blown away by the espresso was all I needed in the first slow months to keep me motivated.
As Cherry grew, many people approached me to invest for equity in the company, and within six months I could have left the pop-up at Stein’s and moved into a cafe with a new partner. An old friend once told me, “If you ever open a cafe, and its possible, do it alone”. I took that to heart, and was willing to put my time in. Word to the wise: If people are throwing money at you, you have something special. Don’t give it away.
Two years later, with a tremendous amount of hard work, I got the necessary business loan to open our brick and mortar location. On March 1st, 2016, Cherry Espresso Bar opened its doors at our second location inside a beautiful old firehouse on the corner of Laurel and Upperline Street. It’s a blessing that we stumbled into a wonderful supportive neighborhood.
We want to reach the average person and teach them Coffee Flavor Comprehension 101. We want to do this so that you can truly experience the beauty and appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into every cup.
We dream of a world where everyone can appreciate a perfectly-extracted cup of coffee — not just “coffee industry people”. I know it’s possible because I see it happening every day at Cherry Espresso Bar. Former coffee novices will order espresso flights so they can compare two espressos side by side. They like to talk about what their tasting! We are making a difference in our city and community to further the specialty coffee industry.
WHY WE CAN SUCCEED
Like Cherry, many coffee shops in New Orleans and throughout Louisiana have a multi-roaster program where they outsource their beans from different roasters across the country. There is a huge untapped market for locally roasted craft coffee in this state. We want the opportunity to fill that void. In order to do so, we need your help!!! We want to keep the momentum going. I have a long education ahead of me about the craft of roasting, and it will take time, but I built Cherry Espresso Bar as a largely self-taught barista, and I can do it again with Cherry Roasters.
What we have:
- A space for the roastery in Ninth Ward in New Orleans
- A roasting machine
- A coffee expert
- A dedicated staff of baristas at Cherry Espresso Bar
Your pledge will help us do the following:
- Build out our roasting space
- Purchase green coffee
- Purchase other equipment needed
- Packaging--retail design
- Learn through trial and error how to produce delicately roasted, nuanced coffee
The roaster is a HUGE cost in the process but not even close to what follows. We are trying to create a roasting facility. To do so we need to finish out buildout, create a climate controlled room to store green coffee, equipment to cup test batches of coffee and an espresso machine to taste test espresso. We want to create a training area where new hires can come train and develop their palate before starting to work at the cafe. We want to provide classes to the public and want to host at roastery. Green coffee is a crop that is harvested once a year. When you purchase it, you need to buy LARGE amounts so you have enough product to roast for at least 4-5 months. This is the heart of the roasting business and largely where your money will go. Lastly, pretty packaging sells. Help us make it pretty.
This is the All-American Dream. I came from middle-class family of seven children. I started working at the age of 14 and I’ve earned everything for myself since then. I love living in this country because I honestly believe that you have the ability to build what you want for yourself. Nothing will come to you, you have to create it. I've invested everything I possibly could to make this happen, and this is as far as I can take it. Now we need you. You can help shape the future of Cherry in a very BIG way. Support us if you like our coffee, goals, approach, cafe, staff, extreme attention to detail, or you've just been plain inspired by seeing the organic growth of small business. We will not forget it!
Meet the Krewe!
SEE US IN ACTION:
Risks and challenges
We are currently serving the best coffees in the world at Cherry Espresso Bar. I will not serve anything that isn't on par with the standard we have set. Getting to this level takes time. Roasting is a craft in and of itself and needs to be treated as such. It's hard to give an exact timeframe because I don’t know the speed at which I will progress, but I will make videos of progress along the way so you can be a part of it too. I am as eager as you are to get Cherry Roaster to the production stage, and I will not waste any time getting there. It's going to be fun, and I'm excited to share it with you!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)