Meet Your Merchant: Coffeebar – a local’s caf
TRUCKEE, Calif. – Dark swirls. Patches of rich browns, foamy ribbons of intense chocolate. This mocha latte is tangled in various shades of espresso and froth. But what’s this, something new? An image is distilled in the cup. It is the barista’s rendering of a leaf, wedged profoundly, yet unobtrusively, in the foam.The cup is another one of Coffeebar’s original pieces of drinkable artwork. Caf owner Greg Buchheister has been serving up his authentic brand of organic coffee and espressos for nearly a year now in downtown Truckee. The business venture is the work of Buchheister’s years in the coffee and tea business, bone-tiring work and a bit of prophetic serendipity.It’s debatable where the venture truly stems: Buchheister’s time living in Italy as a professional skier where he absorbed the country’s taste of authentic herbs and beans, or his time in Colorado opening various coffee shops and working with tea distributors. However, for Buchheister, much of Coffeebar’s success he credits to a spontaneous yoga trip to India.Rishikesh, India – known for its yoga roots and centers – was where everything crystallized for Buchheister, and eventually, his caf. Buchheister said he was traveling with a group of friends with the intention the traveling was going to be more of an entertaining vacation than a life-changing trip.However, after a trek along the Ganges River, Buchheister said he was introduced to a number of events and people that altered his life’s direction in a definitive way. Among those people was an old swami, heralded by the people of Rishikesh for his intuition and perception.”He asked me my name, my birthday, what time I was born, and then just looked at me and said you need to make your own brand and you need to move away from where you are now to do it,” said Buchheister. “All this stuff that he said has just fallen into place, and it’s kind of weird.”Deciding to simply take the swami’s advice, Buchheister said he made the decision to leave Colorado, where he had grown up and where his family and friends were. Just like that. Soon after his trip, a friend living in Truckee recommended the caf’s current location on Jibboom Street, and after a little research with other locals, Buchheister said he saw the spot and Truckee had potential.
Coffeebar’s opening weeks were marked by dramatic success, Buchheister said, topping all openings of his previous caf’s.”I had $10,000 in my personal savings (apart from his start-up investment) and we found out that we were ten grand over budget, so we opened up and survived on cash flow from year one,” he said.Yet, after the first five weeks, Buchheister said locals began to pour into the shop in such quantities the small caf was able to pay off all its start-up expenses with some change to spare, a feat Buchheister said stands out as a bit miraculous from a business standpoint.”Ever since I made the decision to do this, everything has just fallen into place. It’s like when you find your path. I just knew that it was going to work,” he said.Yet there is no special moksha medicine inside his coffee – mostly, it’s all about community and good product.Long hours have been dedicated to the little cafe’s development, both by Buchheister and by his team. Local artist paintings adorn the walls (some of whom work in the caf), and the caf also features fine gelato, a host of in-house pastries and of course its proprietary blend of C1 organic coffee beans imported directly from a family of Italian coffee roasters in Italy.The organic coffee, Buchheister said, is the highest quality available on the market.”It’s kind of like driving a Ferrari instead of a Ford Focus – it’s just a huge quality difference,” he said.Community is also a significant aspect of the caf, which Buchheister said is all about locals.”I don’t cater to the tourists, I don’t price for the tourists. If they come and find us, then that’s awesome, but we really just want to be a place for the locals,” he said.As the shop develops, Buchheister said he hopes it becomes an outlet for the community, a place kids can have access to free Wifi for school projects, a place where old men can gather to talk, a place where residents can be confident they’ll receive good service, in a good atmosphere, drinking a truly unique product.
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