Coffee Schools & Consulting: Buyer Beware?

The 10 Essentials in Starting & Successfully Operating a Specialty Coffee Business

Operational Challenges For the Independent Coffee Retailer in 2007
by Bruce Milletto

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Bruce Milletto
Bruce Milletto is President of Bellissimo, Inc. and Founder of The American Barista and Coffee School. His early involvement and insights into the American gourmet coffee movement have been written about in numerous national and international industry trade publications, where Bruce has been hailed as a pioneer of the American espresso industry and dubbed "Mr. Espresso USA."

Bruce is recognized by the press and the coffee industry internationally as “the voice of North America’s specialty coffee industry”. Next to Starbucks founder Howard Shultz, no specialty coffee professional is quoted more in the national press than Bruce Milletto.

The media frequently call upon Bruce for information about the specialty coffee industry. He has been interviewed by, or quoted in, The New York Times, Time Magazine, Newsweek (U.S. and International Editions), The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur Magazine, Kiplinger's, Forbes Magazine, The San Francisco Chronicle, Harvard Management Update, Crain's Business Review, The Seattle Times, and The Oregonian as well as hundreds of other publications. His expert commentary has been heard on the radio, including “Coffee Talk” on National Public Radio. In 2003-2004, Bruce appeared on an HGTV (Fine Living Network) television series that aired on the cable station and on the United Airlines in-flight service network. In 2005, he appeared on the History channel program “Modern Marvels,” in an episode about coffee.

Bruce holds an undergraduate degree from Northern Arizona University and a master’s degree from the University of Oregon, where he taught in subsequent years in the MBA department.
Bruce is often described as a renaissance man, as he is also an accomplished composer, fine arts collector and has worked for various corporations and government agencies in marketing and teaching positions. He has owned three successful retail gourmet coffee operations and has assisted numerous clients in creating new coffee start-ups worldwide. As a consultant, he has worked with individual and corporate clients in Asia, Mexico, Europe, the Middle East and North America.

In 2003, the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) named Bruce one of its 20 “Coffee Luminaries,” and in 2004, he appeared on The Gourmet Retailer’s list of the 25 individuals who helped shape the specialty coffee industry in the magazine's 25th anniversary issue. Bruce serves on, and is the former Vice Chair of, the SCAA Communication Committee and is Chairman of the Advisory Board of Coffee Kids.

Bruce is also the recipient of the SCAA’s Distinguished Author Award in 1999. He serves on the prestigious editorial board of the Specialty Coffee Journal, covering the marketing segment of the specialty coffee industry, and a coffee-product review panel for NSF International, an independent, not-for-profit, third party standards development and certification organization specializing in public and environmental health.

Underscoring his role as “voice for the specialty coffee industry,” Bruce wrote a column for many years for Fresh Cup Magazine, the specialty coffee industry’s leading publication. He continues to frequently author articles for the magazine as well as provide articles and interviews for such trade publications as Specialty Coffee Retailer Magazine, Fancy Food Magazine, Coffee and Beverage Magazine (Canada), Euro Coffee (Italy) and Coffeenet (Greece).

Bruce was the keynote speaker at the first Greek Coffee Industry Forum in 2001 and has provided keynote speeches and led seminars at all of North America’s major coffee trade shows as well as coffee events and trade shows in Europe.

Bruce is the author of Effective & Essential Marketing for the Specialty Coffee Retailer, which was named Best New Educational Product at the 2005 SCAA Conference and Exhibition, and co-author of Bean Business Basics, Bellissimo's 740-page start-up/operational manual. Bruce is also an award-winning film producer/director of coffee-industry films. In 2001, the Bruce Milletto/Kenneth David’s production, "The Passionate Harvest," won Best of Show at Coffee Fest Las Vegas and Best New Product at the 2001 Specialty Coffee Association of America Conference and Exhibition. The film won a Bronze Award at the 22nd Annual Telly Awards, a Silver Award at the 2001 Summit Awards, the Award of Distinction at the 2001 Videographer Awards and a Platinum Award at WorldFest Houston 2001. In 2005, Bruce won a Gold Award from WorldFest Houston for "Advanced Barista Training: Extreme Pours."


Kris Larson
Kris Larson is vice-president of Bellissimo, Inc. She has extensive experience developing and implementing strategic marketing, media, public relations and promotional programs through her work in both the public and private sectors. Ms. Larson's financial experience includes managing and administering publications and advertising budgets, and projecting financial data for new business startups She has developed an extensive understanding of the specialty coffee industry/retail business, and has assisted numerous individuals in many aspects of the creation of their businesses. She is a speaker at Coffee Fest Trade Shows and the Fresh Cup Road Show. Ms. Larson holds degrees in English and Political Science from St. Cloud State University in Minnesota.

Matt Milletto
Matt Milletto is Bellissimo's Consulting Director. He is responsible for coordinating Bellissimo's individual and corporate consulting programs, acting as liaison between Bellissimo clients and consultants while improving the operation efficiency of the company's consulting division. He is also responsible for the company's Web Design, Graphic Design and Internet solutions.

Matt has extensive experience in retail coffee and has managed multiple coffeehouses and worked as a barista since 1994. Matt is an instructor at the American Barista & Coffee School and is one of four lead barista's in Bellissimo's newest Advanced Barista Training/Fancy Pours video. Matt is a speaker at CoffeeFest Trade Shows and has been quoted in numerous newspapers and industry magazines. He also sits of the SCAA Training Committee and the Espresso Training Sub-Committee.

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