Coffee Voyager | Summer - Dan Cafe
Editor | A grass-eater designer
Hey everyone! I’m writing to you all from the land of smiles—Thailand! I haven’t written for a few weeks… how could this happen?
Well, first of all, I’ve been crazy busy. And then, I’ve still got breath in my lungs, so I’ve decided to finish up this article.
Recently, I read an article that talked about being busy. It basically said the following:
[In Chinese] the character for “busy” combines “heart” with “death”. Why does Chinese combine these concepts?
Think about people who always say they’re so busy, they have no time to stop and enjoy life. They rush about from place to place, but don’t even have time to think about the task at hand. They cross off the tasks of their to-do lists and look forward to the day’s end.
Why are you so busy?
You're busy because your boss thinks you can handle it.
You’re busy because you are striving for a better quality of life.
You’re busy because you are fighting for the people you love.
But do you really know what you want deep inside of your heart?
Do you still stick to the principles you always had? Or do you forgo these ideals because you don’t have the time or patience to think about them?
For many of us, owning a cafe is a dream, a chance to realize our ideals, to manifest our passions in physical form.
“Opening Day” is the moment when the dream becomes reality. But we need to remember that we should not give up our principles just because we are busy.
Recently, we had the chance to meet with some “coffee voyagers” who followed their dreams and, despite meeting many challenges along the way, continue to fight for what they love.
We were lucky enough to sit down with some of these heroes and learn about their experiences. Their love for coffee drives them, and they hope their stories can help others realize their dreams as well.
Our first story is from Summer Huang, the owner of “Dan Cafe” in Shenzhen. She was new to coffee, but followed her heart with the hopes of spreading her love for specialty coffee.
My name is Summer Wang (Huang Yuhua). I Graduated from the Department of International Trade and worked in a Human Resources Department for 3 years.
I am passionate about sports, especially badminton. So after I left the HR job, I focused on badminton training, sports goods trade and brand agencies.
Now I am living in a particularly fast-paced city, where entrepreneurs often act first and think later - Shenzhen.
I tried specialty coffee randomly and after that I fell in love with coffee. But it is difficult to find a good cup of coffee, so I thought I should start with the product. I want people to focus on the coffee and then popularize it. My friend, who worked in a bakery encouraged me to fight for my dream. And so, I have spent the past two years preparing for my dream.
I have met so many problems while I preparing, and in order to give you, the prospective coffee shop owner, some useful advice, I wrote them down:
1. Practice Makes Professionals:
To be honest, I have the dream in my heart and mind, but the first step is also the most difficult step, because I am not in the coffee circle.
I don't really know where to find resources for coffee except according for my own preferences. Along the way, with the help of friends and continuous learning and consultation with experts, I have gained a deeper understanding of the coffee industry.
This step is the most crucial and so I have invested most of time on this in the past two years.
Compared with other popular coffee shops, I actually am not very good at decoration, design or marketing.
Therefore, my idea is to have a small, fresh coffee shop, which is focused on coffee quality, even if I don’t earn money—my personal principles drive me to develop this concept. Good quality is important for customers who care about it like me.
2. Human Resources:
I was working in a Human Resources Department for three years, so at first I thought this would not be difficult for me.
But I got completely stuck in this process. I don't want to measure the entire coffee industry in terms of my experience—that’s just my experience.
I interviewed a lot of candidates, but most of the baristas have arrogant or flashy attitudes. This makes me feel that this industry is too superficial. Where are the professionals? Where are those people who want to learn?
Maybe because I have built such a relationship with my friends so I think that people need to be honest to get along with each other.
Friend I met in Q-Grader Class
Fortunately, in the end, I also recruited some talented people who were satisfied with me and my business concept. They told me honestly that they had the same dream as me, which was to open a coffee shop where quality comes first.
Remember—no employee will work for you forever, but as long as they feel safe, then you can build a healthy and comfortable working environment.
Communicating with people who share the same ideas, I'm grateful to the editor from Torch Coffee for developing this column where different owners can share their stories with each other.
These shared experiences are indispensable knowledge for others in similar positions.
I know that I am not perfect from what I’ve learned this July [after failing to pass the Q Grader], but I hope I can continue to learn. I want to have a better understanding of this industry I am jumping into!
(Picture with my Q-Grader Instructor: Martin)
On the recommendation of my friend, I came to coffee origin In Pu’er to study for the Q Grader.
I have learned so much more professional knowledge here in Yunnan. There is still a long way to go, but it makes me realized that coffee is so more interesting and complicated than I had imagined.
If I can share with you a message through coffee, it is my hope that the public's misunderstanding of coffee can be corrected.
Coffee is still considered an unhealthy beverage because of the caffeine that causes people to lose sleep.
A moderate intake of coffee is not harmful. Maybe you will think I say this because I love coffee, but have you ever thought about how milk tea that contains caffeine and lots of sugar, but why it's so much more popular than coffee? This is one of the questions that is always on my mind...
Reflecting now on what I have done, Light Coffee was really like my baby. And I think it's because of my love for it that I don't complain. (:
Here are a few key points I want to share with others who want to open a coffee shop:
Be sure to set clear goals for yourself
Why do you want a coffee shop?
What do you want your coffee shop to bring for the people around you?
Know your bottom line of financial loss
Nothing can be earned steadily or quickly, so only when you know your bottom line (the limit of of how much you are willing to lose when you first open you coffee shop) can you have a better plan for your business.
Finally, you decide what you want to do, and do it :) for your dream.
Visit “Dan Cafe” and say hello to Summer when you have the chance!
33 Longchuantang Street, Dongbin road, Nanshan district, Shenzhen