咖啡是讓我與人互動的開始| Skinny Cafe 瘦子咖啡

二月初,熱鬧的台灣新年假期結束後,採訪瘦子咖啡;事隔上回到來已經一年多的時間,回想瘦子咖啡試營運期間造訪,當時整潔、井然有序的吧檯,加上瘦子老闆略帶青澀的寒暄,如今的瘦子咖啡吧檯上多了許多裝飾小物、壁上各式咖啡器具、咖啡豆,以及進入店內即刻發現的烘豆機,都能看到這一年的瘦子咖啡有許多的不同,瘦子老闆與瘦子咖啡更合為一體了。

瘦子咖啡 我一直相信努力會被看見

咖啡是讓我與人互動的開始

起初會走入咖啡這領域,當初只是想走進人群,學習與人相處。從小自己的個性是比較冷僻,在班上也不是善於交際。在進入五專後就尋找打工機會,就選擇人與人互動較多的簡餐店,期待在工作的過程增加人際的相處,而咖啡也就在這時候第一次的嘗試。
當時第一次喝咖啡與現在的滋味截然不同,那時候的咖啡比較像調和咖啡,店內咖啡是沖煮一大桶的黑咖啡,客人點餐時可能加上鮮奶油或其他調味,對於咖啡沒真的愛上他的滋味;然而有一次店內有客人點拿鐵,看到主管在咖啡上拉花,才驚覺咖啡有這麼有趣的一面。

咖啡使我萌生開店的想法

能站上咖啡吧檯沖煮一杯咖啡、雪克一杯飲品,在年輕18歲的我覺得就是件「帥」的事,那時很簡單的想法:「有一天我要開一間咖啡店」。這樣操之過急的心態也讓自己想藉傳直銷的工作盡快賺到錢,很顯然在工作一陣子就挫敗,也沒多賺到錢。調整心態後自己又投入連鎖咖啡店,當時,瘦小的身材初期並不被看好,但越是如此自己就更努力,一年半後做到副店長,也投入其他連鎖系統進入營運管理、人事管理的工作內容。多年的磨練後,更發現自己對沖煮咖啡的熱誠大於管理,開店的想法似乎更加確立,要開一間屬於自己的店。

咖啡是種開放性平台

在連鎖咖啡店工作的幾年間,除了連鎖系統的訓練,放假時自己會走訪不同的咖啡店。走入店內坐在吧檯區,喝上一杯義式咖啡、與吧檯手請教咖啡沖煮方式,有時吧檯手也會端出正在試豆的單品咖啡。這讓自己一邊享受獨立咖啡館的氛圍,也讓自己從義式咖啡開始進入手沖咖啡。有時喝到喜歡的味道,買一包豆子回去自己揣摩沖煮方式,漸漸鍛鍊出自己的咖啡味蕾。走訪咖啡店的過程,三年前有一趟嘉義之旅,遇上了一間咖啡店,當時與老闆的聊天過程中,老闆說到:希望自己的咖啡店是能幫助人、幫助也有咖啡夢的人。老闆的這番話,忽然之間自己像打通任督二脈。過往走訪咖啡店的經驗中,前輩們與如今眼前老闆不吝嗇地分享,這就是未來自己店的核心:把自己最喜歡的咖啡做好,也讓自己也成為助人的平台,讓大家知道好好做好一件事是能活下去、甚至能幫助人的。

咖啡是帶領我認識自己的路

在正式開店前,偶然在網路上認識穩定飛行服飾店的老闆-小賴。當時小賴正打算將服飾店改裝結合咖啡,那時候心中油然而生將自己的咖啡技術與小賴合作,應該會很成功。與小賴討論後,開始設計咖啡店菜單。剛開始覺得自身幾年的咖啡店實力、加上這幾年咖啡拉花比賽獲獎,這樣的名氣應該對店有很大的吸客能量。隨著顧店的日子一天一天過去,漸漸明白人氣與人潮並不是等號,人氣
可能只在業界朋友身上,真正開店是要好好對待每一位客人,才有下一次的可能。

咖啡讓我相信努力就會被看見

隨著自己對咖啡店心態的調整,越來越明白自己想開什麼風格的咖啡店、想提供什麼樣的咖啡,心中的咖啡店也逐漸成形,瘦子咖啡也就在2015年10月正式開幕。
初期咖啡店的經營,由於經歷「穩定飛行」的磨練:將一杯自己喜歡的咖啡呈現到客人面前,讓客人知道彰化也有好咖啡。憑著這樣的心,自己也開始手工烘豆,從手網烘豆、到2.2公斤的專業烘豆機,要掌握咖啡生豆的變化,從生豆、養豆、挑豆、烘豆,每一層的學問不見得都是書裡圖片能傳達的。透過與前輩的交流,倒掉一袋又一袋的豆子,漸漸找到自己的味道,也更能將咖啡各層次的味道傳遞給客人,與個人交流。
憑著對咖啡的熱誠,自己烘焙的咖啡豆也漸漸上架,販售給喜歡咖啡的人。某一天,輾轉從朋友口中得知,彰化一間漢堡店的房東,這樣說:「有一天去瘦子咖啡,順手買了咖啡豆,味道很好,沒喝過這麼合味道的」。當下得知這位房東長年居住在法國,且擔任美食米其林探訪員的身分,如此被肯定,讓我相信只要努力就會被看見!

 

Skinny Cafe I’ve always believed that hard work will pay off

Coffee marks the start of my interaction with people Initially, I entered the realm of coffee only to engage with people, learn to get along. I was a quiet kid not so good at socializing. I was looking for part-time job opportunities when I entered junior college, and I chose a diner that allowed me to interact with people. I was hoping to enhance my socializing skills during work, and that was the first time I attempt to make coffee.

The taste of the coffee I first had was very different from what I am used to now. It was more like a blend. We would make a bucketful of black coffee and add cream or other seasoning to the coffee whenever someone ordered. I wasn’t really loving it. Later when someone ordered latte, my interest in coffee was suddenly triggered after seeing the latte art my manager made.

Coffee inspired me to open a store

To the 18-year-old me at the time, being able to stand at the bar and make a cup of coffee or shake up a cool drink is a “cool” thing to do. My thinking was simple, “I want to open a cafe one day”. My hasty attitude led me to work in a pyramid scheme because I wanted to earn money as fast as possible. Obviously, it was a failure soon after I started it, and I didn’t make much money either. After some adjustment on my mindset, I joined a chain
coffeehouse. I was seriously underestimated back then due to my skinny figure. Yet, I worked so much harder because of that. A year and a half later, I became the deputy manager of the store, and started engaging in business management and human resources management under other chain systems. After years of hard work, I find myself way more passionate about coffee making itself than management, so the idea of opening a store of my own has become more concrete.

Coffee is an open platform

In the years I worked in a chain system, aside from the solid training at work, I visited many cafes on my day-offs. I would sit at the bar, oder an espresso and ask the barista about coffee making techniques. Sometimes the barista would offer me single origin coffee that is still being tested by them. The experience not only taught me to love the ambience of independent cafes, but also made me enter the domain of hand pour coffee. Whenever I came across a nice cup that I really enjoyed, I would buy a sack of the coffee and work on my hand-pouring skills. It was then I gradually equipped myself with sensitive taste buds for coffee.

In my journey of cafe visiting, I went to this cafe in Chiayi three years ago. During our chats, the owner said, “I anticipate my cafe to be able to help people, help those who also dream of a coffee dream”. His words stroke me then. My past experiences visiting cafes, hearing from the generous owners and masters, is going to be the core of my cafe. “Make the best coffee that I am passionate about, and be the platform that offers assistance. Let people know that doing what you like is a way of living, and it can even be helpful to
others.”

Coffee took me on a journey of self-exploration

Prior to officially opening up my cafe, I came across the owner of StableFly, Lai, on the Internet. Lai was planning to combine coffee with his apparel store. I thought about the great success it might be to offer my expertise in coffee and collaborate with Lai. After rounds of discussion, Lai and I started designing a coffee menu. At first, I thought my solid experience in the coffee industry plus the prizes I won in numerous latte art competitions would attract loads of customers. However, as the days passed by, I realized
that fame is not equivalent to business revenue. The fame that I have may only be recognized by people within the same industry. The real business opportunity lies in treating every customer right once you’ve opened up a store.

Coffee taught me to believe that hard work will pay off

As I have adjusted my mindset towards my own cafe, my idea of what style, what coffee my cafe will offer became more vivid. Therefore, Skinny Cafe was officially opened in October 2015.

At the initial stage of our operation, thanks to my experience with Stable Fly, I continue to work under the notion that I am presenting coffee that I am passionate about to the customers, and that there is good coffee in Changhua, too. Bearing this in mind, I started roasting coffee by myself from roasting by sieve to operating with an 2.2 kg roaster. In order to closely monitor the raw beans, you need to learn about each step of the process from aging beans, picking beans to roasting beans. The knowledge is not necessarily understandable from the pictures you find in books. After learning from experienced professionals and having dumped sacks and sacks of unsuccessfully roasted beans. Gradually, I came to find the taste of coffee that is originally mine, and I am now able to deliver the tastes at different levels to my customers and exchange the experience with them.

Starting with my own passion for coffee, coffee beans roasted by my own are now available in stock to those who love coffee. The other day I heard from a friend that a landlord of a burger place said,“I went to Skinny Cafe once and bought some coffee beans since I was already there. The taste was splendid. ”I’ve never tasted coffee that satisfy my taste buds so wonderfully. ” Later I found out that this landlord lives in France and is a Michelin inspector! Having received such positive feedback, I am more certain that hard work will pay off!

 

04 723 2046  FB:Skinny Cafe 瘦子咖啡
彰化市光復路143巷4號 No.4, Ln. 143, Guangfu Rd., Changhua City, Changhua County 500, Taiwan

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