Deep sea diving Instructor turned coffee entrepreneur says it takes more than just ‘a passion for beans’ to run a successful coffee business

What’s the connection between a deep-sea diving instructor and running a successful coffee roasting and wholesale business?

The answer can be found in the back-story of Youri Vlag (originally from The Netherlands) who – following a career under water – created a successful business on dry land, Limini Coffee, back in 2008.

After training as a barista, and working through various roles in the coffee industry, Youri’s passion for all things coffee encouraged him to establish Limini Coffee with his wife Samantha.

Their Yorkshire-based business began by providing the support, training, equipment and supplies needed to run a coffee shop.

Since the early days, Youri  has developed his own ethically sourced freshly roasted Espresso blends that are now served and enjoyed by hundreds of independent coffee shops across the UK, The Netherlands, Ireland, Belgium, France, Spain and Germany.

Their initial passion remains undiminished.  Whilst some players in the independent coffee market come and go, Youri and Samantha have built their sustainable business on a relentless passion for coffee quality, and a commitment to their suppliers and customers.

Limini Coffee focuses on roasting specialist blends, and boasts strong ecological credentials including a gas coffee roaster (Robbyn) which uses 80% less gas than traditional roasters, and active support for World Coffee Research.

Youri also delivers daily courses in How To Start a Coffee Shop, Barista Skills and Latte Art.  Youri says: “We have been providing training courses for the past 12 years. We were probably the first coffee company to offer and develop the ‘How to start a coffee shop’ course and we teach this every single day to independent coffee shop owners from across the UK.”

“We’re here to help new coffee shop owners realise that it takes more than just passion for beans to run a successful coffee business.”

He adds: Many people will start a coffee shop without really knowing how to do it or having the background that is needed to get off to a good start. Much is left to chance and hoping it will all work out. We provide this course because we know how to run successful coffee shops and we have in-depth knowledge from all our customers all over the UK.”

“In the two day course, we focus on coffee, naturally, and so the first part of the training is the barista course. Our clients learn all about coffee and how to make it. We teach to the highest standards and at the end of the course our baristas are able to produce the most delicious coffees.

The second part of the ‘How to start a coffee shop‘ course is about everything else that is involved around setting up a successful coffee shop. It covers a range of topics, including licensing and planning permission, lease negotiations, sales and margin planning, equipment choices, coffee shop layout and managing staff.

Such is the demand that the Limini Coffee team teach the “How to start a coffee shop” course almost on a daily basis and the team has trained many people who are now happy successful coffee shop owners.  “Our clients tell us that the initial training was very beneficial and we see this when we visit their shops” says Youri.

He adds: “We never want to stifle our clients’ passion for coffee, says Youri, but it’s also important to teach them the key business skills that will help their independent coffee shops become the success they deserve to be.”

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