WE DID IT! But it's not over yet!
Thanks to the Kickstarter family, we reached our initial $15,000 goal within just 7 days. Then, with a fresh round of rewards, we met our first stretch goal of $20,000 with more than a week left in the campaign! The stretch goal funds are helping us purchase some custom furniture for the shop space.
With our final week, we're shooting for one last hurrah: A homestretch goal of $23,000. This final extra amount will go towards our opening staff training. Look for more details in our March 20th update.
I always wanted to own and run my own place. But I didn't feel like it should be just another coffee shop.
Connecting to people in relationships is very important to me. And no matter how friendly I think I am, sometimes I feel like I just need a little something to grease the wheels of connection. I've come to realize that two things frequently (and easily) bring people together: coffee and beer. My dream is that through the medium of these two beverages, Taproom Coffee could provide a comfortable, approachable environment where we facilitate connections. Great coffee, great beer, great memories. Throw in some sweet and savory food items from local bakeries and eateries, and Taproom Coffee is the ideal place for people to meet up or hang out any time of the day.
I got my start in coffee 7 years ago after a random conversation with a friend led to a dream of a coffee shop. I got my feet wet at a local Starbucks, discovered it was in my blood to be a barista, and started to soak in as much coffee knowledge and experience as possible. Not too long after that I got to open a coffee shop for someone else (now Chattahoochee Coffee Company). After that, I got to manage coffee shops and open a location for Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee, as well as help set up and manage the coffee bar at Empire State South. I've spent the last 2 years as a stay-at-home dad to my 4 kids as I've worked on making my dream become a reality.
Kirkwood is a national historic designated neighborhood of east Atlanta that has an active, tight-knit community. There are some great local restaurants and stores in the walkable business district that's surrounded by early 20th century homes. Looking to fulfill a coffee shop void, we're currently renovating a 1350-square foot commercial space to be the home of Taproom Coffee, complete with the service bar, communal tables and window bar seating.
*We're hoping to complete renovation, pass inspections, and open our doors this April!*
At Taproom Coffee we'll be serving you espresso and drip coffee from Counter Culture Coffee, a roasting company based out of Durham, NC. Counter Culture has direct relationships with coffee farmers around the world, and they are exceptional stewards of the coffee, making it their mission to "source, roast, and deliver the most exquisite, freshest coffee in the world." They have a regional training center in Atlanta, with three full-time coffee professionals supporting local coffee shops like us.
Atlanta has been experiencing a craft beer boom, with dozens of breweries opening recently in the area or gearing up to launch. We want Taproom Coffee to be your favorite neighborhood spot to experience the great beers produced by these local breweries. We'll have a dozen taps where we constantly rotate out our beer lineup, and a limited selection of beers by the bottle. For you non-beer drinkers, we'll have wine available as well.
With the resources of the local Counter Culture Coffee training center at our fingertips, our baristas will be expertly trained in the ways of coffee. Our goal is to have each member of our staff become a Certified Barista within 6 months of starting work at Taproom Coffee. For you, this means that every cappuccino, latte, espresso shot, or regular cup of coffee is crafted to the highest standards and is absolutely delicious.
And what about beer training? Every barista will also go through our in-house beer training program and learn as much as they can about beer flavors, styles, and service. As an objective measurement of our commitment to beer excellence, every person behind the bar will become a Certified Beer Server through the Cicerone Certification Program.
The Beerspresso Machine
A centerpiece of Taproom Coffee that physically represents this combination of coffee and beer is our our custom draft beer tower, affectionately dubbed the Beerspresso Machine. I took an old 4-group La Marzocco Linea espresso machine, gutted it in my garage, and am having it converted to become the beer tower.
The Beerspresso Machine will feature 12 draft beer taps, a beer glass rinser mounted in the drip tray, and three extra taps that will serve filtered, chilled, and sparkling water (these water taps will be home to the tap handles for the "THAT'S MY TAP" Kickstarter reward level). We'll keep you updated with pictures throughout the campaign as the Beerspresso Machine takes shape!
(We met this initial need within the first 7 days of the campaign, but you can still read about why we raised the original $15k goal.)
To date, we still need about $15,000 to help purchase our espresso machine and parts for our draft beer system. We want to have the best equipment to serve you the best coffee and beer! Remember, this is an all-or-nothing campaign, so if we don't reach our full goal, we get zero. Without your help, instead of opening with a bang, we may be opening with a tiny squeak. And ultimately I chose to come to Kickstarter so that I could have friends, family, and coffee and beer lovers join in on the adventure of starting Taproom Coffee. The nature of this business is community- and connection-focused; it just makes sense to launch it together as a community.
You can check out all the backer reward levels to the right. Look in this section for pictures and details of the Taproom Coffee merchandise included in the rewards.
Taproom Coffee logo sticker: Included in every reward level, this is a custom 2.25" x 5.75" diecut vinyl sticker with eco-friendly waterbased inks. The Taproom Coffee logo on the sticker represents our two identities: It's the outline of an espresso portafilter (the ground coffee goes in the circle part), and is also a classic beer tap handle shape.
Kirkwood Maplanta Piece: ***SOLD OUT!*** Maplanta neighborhood pieces are small works of art precisely cut out in the shape of Atlanta Neighborhoods. Featured at the LOCAL TAP reward level, the Taproom Coffee Kirkwood Special Releases are made using a variety of wood veneers, paired with a birch ply base. Each piece is fitted with a strong Rare Earth magnet for easy hanging on anything steel. Backers will receive one piece randomly selected from one of the custom coffee/beer color schemes.
Additional Maplanta Pieces: Don't worry if you missed out on the first round of Maplanta pieces. The great folks behind Maplanta have released an additional special run of pieces! Now available are coffee/beer colored map outlines of: (a) The city of Decatur; (b) The city of Atlanta; or (c) Any of the 50 States! If you were one of the first 165 backers, you can add one of the new Maplanta offerings to your rewards package by upping your pledge by $35.
Taproom Coffee KeepCup: Featured at the SWAGGY TAP or the SUPER SWAGGY TAP reward level, you get one barista standard reusable KeepCup. This dishwasher-safe and microwave-safe splash-proof cup is made from recyclable materials. Let us know your choice from one of the FOUR color schemes, which all feature a dark gray cup band with a logo designed by Ben Blake of Draw Coffee. Available in 8 oz., 12 oz., and 16 oz. cup sizes.
Taproom Coffee Beerspresso shirt: Featured at the SWAGGY TAP or the SUPER SWAGGY TAP reward level, you get one Taproom Coffee Beerspresso shirt. The artwork on the shirt is also designed by Ben Blake of Draw Coffee. Shirts are American Apparel, Sweatshop-Free, 100% Fine Jersey cotton, available in all adult sizes, men’s and women’s.
Pre-Opening Party: Once our buildout is complete and we’ve hired our staff, we’ll throw a big pre-opening bash for our backers who have contributed at the INSIDER TAP level or higher. You’ll be one of the first people to enjoy our new space and taste through our menu! Scheduling of the party will depend on completion of construction and passing all the necessary inspections.
Hands-On Coffee Education Experience: Featured at the EDUCATED TAP reward level and higher, you and a friend get a personal 1-hour coffee education experience. Do you want to participate in a guided coffee tasting? Get a crash course in barista espresso skills? Learn the art of manually brewing the perfect cup of coffee at home? We’ll customize the experienced based on what you want!
Beer Education Experience: Featured at the EDUCATED BEER TAP reward level, you get to attend a group class at Taproom Coffee on general beer education and take the same independent certification test as our staff to become a Certified Beer Server! Visit http://cicerone.org/ for information about the certification program our staff is participating in.
Custom Beer Tap Handle: Originally limited to just three backers at the THAT’S MY TAP reward level, we are now going to outfit up to all 15 taps on our beer tower with custom handles! You will get to consult with a local woodworking artist and come up with your personal (tasteful) design for a beer tap handle. The tap handle will be permanently featured on our Beerspresso Machine!
For first round backers only: As a privilege of being part of the first 165 backers who contributed to put us over our initial Kickstarter goal, you'll get an extra Taproom Coffee sticker and one extra free coffee drink if you adjust your pledge upward by at least $10. You can also take advantage of the new Maplanta offerings by upping your pledge by at least $35.
Stretch goal BONUS REWARD: Since we hit our stretch goal of $20,000 before the end of the campaign, there’s a bonus backer reward! Maplanta is providing an oversized, 6-foot wide Kirkwood piece that will hang on the café walls. Everyone who contributes at the $100 level or higher will have their names make up the text of “KIRKWOOD”, as a legacy for helping us kickstart Taproom Coffee!
Risks and challenges
We've already gotten past the biggest challenges: Securing the bulk of our startup funds, finding a location, and obtaining a building permit for renovation, and actually starting the renovation process. Right now it seems like the opening of Taproom Coffee is inevitable.
However, there are some minor risks for delays at this point:
- Timely completion of construction is dependent on our contractor meeting all of his deadlines.
- We have to pass all relevant inspections before we are granted our Certificate of Occupancy.
- Separate alcohol permit applications, inspections and the signature of the Mayor of Atlanta are required for us to receive our permit for alcohol consumption on premises.
- An unsuccessful Kickstarter campaign would restrict us financially, either forcing us to secure additional capital, or make us get really, really creative with cafe furniture or just how much toilet paper we can stock.
And of course our ongoing success is not guaranteed. We hope to quickly win over a loyal customer base, but we realize that it takes some businesses years to build that foundation. In the meantime we have followed sound business practices and have some working capital factored into our ongoing budget so that we can still operate while our level of sales ramps up.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
What rewards are included at the higher levels? Can I get the map of Kirkwood instead of a t-shirt or KeepCup?
Most of the reward levels $30 and above include previous level rewards as well. Each reward description mentions which previous level is bulked in with that one.
For example, if you pledge $55, you get all of the following:
- 1 KeepCup or 1 t-shirt
- 1 Kirkwood Maplanta piece or 3 free coffee drinks
- 1 sticker
Or, if you pledge $500, you get all of the following:
- Educational coffee experience for 2 people
- 2 tickets to the pre-opening party
- 1 KeepCup
- 1 t-shirt
- 1 Kirkwood Maplanta piece or 3 free coffee drinks
- 1 sticker
- 7 additional free coffee drinks (making it 10 total if you also opted for the DRINKY TAP)
At the end of the [successful] campaign, you'll receive a survey where you'll get to choose which rewards you want, and other things like shirt size, KeepCup color preference, etc.
Absolutely! That will be one of the options for you to choose in the backer survey that you'll receive at the end of the campaign.
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