Shop Spotlight: Bad Coffee
Welcome to the second installation of our Community Spotlight which will focus on Bryant Trinh and his crew at Bad Coffee. Bad Coffee is a sweet little multi-roaster in Costa Mesa that took over a space that was previously a different coffee shop and breathed new life into a left behind location. Bryant took over what was previously a Hidden House and gave it a slick makeover in black and white, a fresh outlook on what coffee to serve and how to serve it as well a focus on creating a community around it.
Bryant, like so many of leading figures in Orange County specialty coffee, started at Portola years ago while still in college. And, like so many of us coffee professionals, accidentally fell in love with not only the craft but the community around it. Portola was a place where he met and worked with like-minded people and could feel comfortable getting his schoolwork done. When it was time to move on and forward from Portola, he kept in mind the feeling that it had given him when he started there and set out to create that for others. Fast forward a few years and we arrive at Bad Coffee. When it comes to community, being located on Harbor and Adams puts Bad on the main thoroughfare in and out of Costa Mesa for whether you live, work, or go to school here. Perhaps what is most notable to us is it's proximity to Orange Coast College, one of California's leading transfer schools for community college. Many of us at Daydream are either OCC alumni or are currently taking classes there. Bad is the perfect place to link up with friends to study, lurk solo and smash integrals after calculus class, or take a break from campus to chill and enjoy some delicious coffee. Students are cats that need coffee and it's rad to see Bad catering to this demographic without jeopardizing quality.
When it comes to specialty coffee, there's nothing more important than quality. Close behind quality is creativity and Bad also has that checked off the list as well. In terms of selecting roasters Bryant has an excellent palate and also strives to select roasters that aren't currently being tapped into within Orange County. Without giving away too many of his creative ways when it comes to espresso, Bryant is interested in dabbling with variables others hold fixed such as bars of pressure pressure. Although we normally come in for delicious coffee, Bad also turns out some delicious non-coffee options that rotate. Rounding out the creative forefront for Bad Coffee has to be their graphic design. Bryant is always turning out epic tees, stickers, and swag that we're stoked on.
One component we think is often overshadowed by Bad Coffee's community, quality, and creativity is it's business strategy. In choosing to acquire an existing business Bryant was able to approach the start to his business in a unique way. When starting a business one of the hardest things to do is find enough money that you need to get the thing up and running. In an acquisition, you are borrowing to fulfill an agreement with the business you're acquiring and is usually attached to assets that hold value.
When starting a business from scratch, you're essentially going to a bank and telling them you have no assets but you have a great idea... banks don't think ideas are worth very much until they have a track record of success which means it can be really hard to get a business loan from a bank when you're just starting out with your first business. Anyone who has tried definitely knows what I'm talking about and what a harsh realization it is to be confronted with. Maybe starting a business through acquisition could be easier to get funding for and can often have some other perks such as lease agreements that could lock you into a below market rate for a number of years. This could also be a cool angle for those looking to start a business with great ideas but little to no funding. Imagine a world where more creative cats made offers to acquire spaces looking for an exit strategy. That could mean more young and creative business owners finding access to funding.