Crimson Cup Celebrates 21 Years as a Coffee Roaster and Coffee Shop Franchise Alternative

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Columbus, Ohio-based artisan coffee roaster and specialty coffee business consultant Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea marks the 21st anniversary of its founding. The company recently introduced a coffee shop franchise alternative that offers all the benefits of a franchise without fees or restrictive contracts.

Seven Steps to Success in the Specialty Coffee Industry
Unlike coffee franchises and most other coffee consultants, we decided not to charge for the Seven Steps program.

Just before specialty coffee and coffee houses entered mainstream American consciousness more than two decades ago, a young Harvard University graduate decided to pursue his passion for coffee rather than continue climbing the corporate ladder.

So Greg Ubert quit a well-paid day job in Chicago, moved home to live with his parents in Columbus, and began learning everything he could about coffee. There were no coffee shop franchises or training programs at the time, so his growing knowledge of specialty coffee was hard-won.

With a modest investment from his parents and a couple of friends, he rented a tiny office, bought a small blue coffee roaster and began experimenting with different roasts and blends. He named his new business “Crimson Cup,” both for the ripe red berry of the coffee tree and in honor of Harvard's official color, crimson.

“People thought I was crazy,” he remembers. “But I was convinced I could create a better-tasting cup of coffee and enjoy an engaging work life with a fun environment and a culture of giving.”

When he was happy with the quality of his coffee, he began selling to Columbus coffee shops, offices and restaurants. “My first clients had a passion for coffee,” he says. “They didn't just want to order coffee for their employees and cafes; they wanted an upgraded coffee experience.”

Soon he was roasting coffee for restaurants and coffee shops in several states. And, as he learned more about the economics of the specialty coffee business (after all, his degree was in economics), he noticed that some of his customers were floundering when they had almost everything they needed to flourish.

“That’s when I began working with my customers to help improve their businesses,” he says, “I developed a service platform called Seven Steps to Success that incorporated everything they needed to run a successful coffee shop – from choosing a location to buying equipment to marketing and more.” He brewed the program into a book, Seven Steps to Success in the Specialty Coffee Industry, that’s now in its second printing.

Ubert says his Seven Steps program is a coffee shop franchise alternative. “Unlike coffee franchises and most other coffee consultants, we decided not to charge for the Seven Steps program,” he says. “We offer everything a coffee shop franchise does – and more – but without the franchise fees and royalties.”

Crimson Cup’s program includes comprehensive, free on-site training, marketing materials, menu ideas and much more – all designed to help reduce costs, increase profits and eliminate potential headaches.

Ubert notes that, unlike coffee shop franchises, Crimson Cup doesn’t make customers sign long-term contracts. “We earn their business every day by supplying fresh, great-tasting coffee and syrups, delicious drink recipes, effective marketing ideas and materials, and ongoing consulting to ensure their long-term success.”

As Crimson Cup celebrates its 21st birthday, Ubert has been ahead of every major coffee trend – from organic to Fair Trade and beyond. He and his team travel to remote growing areas to buy coffee beans directly from the small-plot farmers who grow them.

In 2007, the company opened Crimson Cup Coffee House, its first retail location, in the Columbus suburb of Clintonville. The Coffee House functions as a test laboratory for developing new products and perfecting techniques. A recent addition is the Brew Bar, where baristas serve pour-over coffee and loose-leaf tea from Crimson Cup’s new line of twelve artisan tea blends.

About Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea
Since 1991, Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea has roasted and packaged quality, great-tasting coffee in Columbus, Ohio and taught independent business owners how to be successful in specialty coffee. In 2007, Crimson Cup opened its first company-owned coffee house, which joined a network of more than 350 independent coffee houses, grocers, college and universities, and food service operations across 25 states that serve Crimson Cup beverages. For more information, visit crimsoncup.com. ccct051012

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Cheryl Claypoole
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