Success Stories & Testimonials

Ben Reese

Lionheart Coffee Company

Lionheart Coffee Company

Created to be used as a space using coffee as the catalyst to bring our community together, Lionheart Coffee Company opened in May 2015. I had been in the coffee industry for over 10 years mainly working through management at several Starbucks cafes throughout the Pacific Northwest. When developing the concept of Lionheart and beginning the build out phase for the shop, I realized that although I had a lot of experience in ‘Big Coffee’ I had little experience and a limited network within the specialty coffee industry. 

I discovered Bellissimo Coffee Advisors online, conveniently located in Portland, Oregon where I live. I attended the barista basics workshop and my outlook on coffee changed forever. The amount that I was able to learn in that short amount of time is something I cannot put a value on as it is now the basis of all of my in-store training for my staff. I am so proud to be able to confidently train my baristas properly with a level foundation that they can all grow with as well as having continued access to more resources for their ongoing development. 

Through Bellissimo I was also able to begin developing a network in the specialty coffee industry where I do not know where my business would be today. We are a multi-roaster shop that serves specialty coffee roasted from all over Oregon. I am so proud of where my team of Baristas are at skill level wise and where we are at as a business has completely exceeded my expectations for our first year in business. Here’s to many more years of success for both Lionheart Coffee and Bellissimo!

Kristi Uhland

Espresso à la Carte

Espresso à la Carte

As a young Floridian bride of a native Oregonian (my late husband Chris grew up in the East Moreland area of Portland), we visited Portland often and enjoyed the coffee culture immensely.  We had a desire to introduce the cutting edge coffee "vibe" to Northeast Florida via a specialty coffee catering company. Bellissimo provided a custom training day for my late husband and I, and in 2006 we launched Espresso à la Carte.  We had the pleasure of including our espresso bar at some of the area's most prestigious events and venues.  

We considered ourselves pioneers in a sense, and it did well. However, it cut deeply into family time so we closed the company for a number of years so I could focus on the children who were growing up fast!  Then Chris battled cancer, a battle he lost three years ago.  My focus became establishing a "new normal" for our family and getting two off to college. Then, it was time. We collectively decided that we were ready and excited to re enter the specialty coffee catering business!  

We reestablished the company this spring and I quickly realized I wanted this next generation (ages 20, 18 and 16) to benefit from the training Chris and I had received through Bellissimo. We packed up, flew across the country, braved the snowy roads, and had a full day of customized training. It was a day full of laughter, learning, concentration, extracting, frothing, sipping, measuring, and most importantly to me--a day of transferring the passion for excellence into this second gen.  The kids are excited to build on this training, and their excitement has already garnered bookings for the espresso bar far into 2018. 

To me, coffee fosters and symbolizes community and connections, and this day of training brought that together once again.  The trainers and staff were wonderful and made it a truly great experience. We feel connected to people who can help us as we encounter new challenges and opportunities in our business.  And we have new friends we can visit every time we visit Portland. Certainly this was a day we will remember for many years to come! Thank you, Bellissimo, for the the confidence and credibility you provide, and for the community you welcomed us into.

Cristy Guirola

TerraNegra Trade Company

TerraNegra Trade Company

Looking back now to when I took the class and seeing what we are doing today, I feel Bellissimo was a turning point and an insightful experience in our business idea and dream. What I experienced and learned not only gave me the instruments to be able to open my future coffee shop, but also to look ahead and find new things I could do with what I had in reach.

This experience inspired and motivated me to trust and believe that what you dream can become a reality if you work hard, keep on learing, and most of all: love what you do!

This line of industry makes you fall in love with it everyday that passes, as you immerse yourself in it -- meeting new people, talking and learning about what they do and their own experience.

So thank you Bellissimo Coffee Advisors for this amazing experience. For what you do, the passion you have and transmit to others, your amazing support since the beginning of this wonderful journey, but most of all: your beautiful friendship.

Caleb Walker

Cold Smoke Coffee

Cold Smoke Coffee

In July of 2011 we sat out to open a coffeehouse that defied the “normalities” of what can be accomplished in the coffee industry. One of our biggest challenges was the fact that we actually knew nothing about coffee….cue Bellissimo Coffee Advisors.

We decided to invest time and resources into the best training we could find across the country and without training from Bellissimo our coffee dreams would have never come true. We now have a thriving retail store and roastery and have revisited Bellissimo several additional times for training and collaboration and are preparing to open our second location. Bellissimo is an invaluable resource and worth every penny you will spend. Their attention to detail and care of each trainee that comes through their lab is unparalleled in the coffee industry.

Rachel Reilly

Cafe Trreat

Cafe Trreat

The Australian coffee culture is very different to that of Americas and as such, researching courses to do locally resulted in either a 2 day, basic course which they considered comprehensive or a 3 year degree with nothing in between. I did the 2 day prior to engaging with Bellissimo Coffee Advisors but found that it was not enough.

I have had 3 years experience managing Cafes but needed something more for detail on ownership before launching. I wasn't disappointed, the course was thorough and I left with the confidence to jump into Cafe Trreat, which I launched January 5th 2016.

The necessary information in terms of items for consideration when setting up and info on equipment is what I needed. Pure coffee bars in Australia do not come often or in the style they do in the states, so the different perspective has given me an edge not found here often, whilst still meeting our Aussie style.


Sarina Prabasi & Elias Gurmu

Cafe Buunni

Cafe Buunni

Sarina & Elias worked closely with Bellissimo Coffee Advisors in the planning and development stages and assisted in the menu, design and layout, equipment, and other areas to bring Cafe Buunni to fruition. Elias attended Bellissimo as well, and we are very excited for them both and wish Cafe Buunni tremendous success. 

In Upper Manhattan, New York, the storefront at 213 Pinehurst has emerged from its
hiatus to reveal a new specialty coffee shop – Café Buunni. Café Buunni is a coffee,
tea, espresso bar, also serving fresh juices, smoothies, packaged Ethiopian foods and
baked sweet and savory goodies. Starting off with their Washington Heights based fair
trade and organic coffee delivery company, Buunni Coffee, the husband and wife pair is
expanding with the opening of their Ethiopia-inspired café. Café Buunni features a
variety of eclectic handpicked items that complement its focus on Ethiopian coffees.

New York, NY

Buunni has made a concerted effort to source their food and handpicked merchandise
selection from other small businesses and startups like themselves. Café
Buunni is using all-compostable disposables, and has lowered the impact of construction
through re-using and reclaiming materials. All milk used in the specialty coffee house is
locally sourced, and free from antibiotics and growth hormones.

Elias and Sarina’s Ethiopian coffee is micro-roasted,
fair-trade and organic. Grown on small family farms in Ethiopia, Café Buunni’s coffee
reflects the foundation Elias and Sarina have built their business upon – sustainability,
accountability and community.


(646) 912 3428


One Couples Quest to Educate New Yorkers About Good Ethiopian Coffee - The Guardian










Federico & Lily Bolaños

Viva Espresso!

Viva Espresso!

Our journay in specialty coffee started at Bellissimo Coffee Advisors in November 2005.  Making Bellissimo our starting point has been one of the best decisions we have ever made.  At Bellissimo we learned about the basics of operating a coffee business and most importantly about the craftmanship that goes into preparing espresso through a perfect balance of theory and hands-on training.
The knowledge gained at Bellissimo inspired us to aim for the highest levels of coffee excellence, so we trained our staff to compete at barista championships.  Our baristas won 7 consecutive national barista championships (from 2008 to 2014) and at the World Barista Championship they took top honors winning 1st place in 2011, reaching Finals twice (2013 and 2014) and the Semifinals 2 times as well (2010 and 2012).  
During this time, we came back to Bellissimo to learn about roasting and cupping.  This gave us the confidence to start our roastery and the knowledge to grow it.  

We can't think of a better place to have begun our carreers in specialty coffee other than Bellissimo Coffee Advisors!

San Salvador, El Salvador



What's Up El Salvador? - Featured

World Barista Champion - Alejandro Mendez

We highly recommend anyone seriously interested in becoming a professional barista or opening a coffee bar or roastery to sign up at the American Barista & Coffee School...It will be without a doubt your best investment.  

Aaron Olsen & Kim Anderson

Handlebar Coffee Roasters

Handlebar Coffee Roasters

We attended the October 2010 barista training class and coincidentally opened handlebar Nov 1st, 2011 (more or less 1 year later).

We were both professional cyclists, Kim having won the Women's Tour de Feminine (Tour de France for women) in 2009 and myself riding 2 times in the Tour of Italy. We have passion for great coffee and had spent the past couple years taking ideas from Europe, the SF Bay area and Portland for the interior design.

We spent 3 1/2 months doing most of the work ourselves, using reclaimed wood, of which our countertops came from the 2x6 studs that we saved from tearing down the wall which now has all the windows to the exterior patio seating. We are in a great little locals corner, a well established spot in Santa Barbara, with businesses of 25 and 30 years respectfully surrounding us. Our location is in a densely populated business district and has residential apartments above the store front below. 

 We roast on a Probat L12, use a La Marzocco FB-80 3 group machine, have Robur E grinders, and the Mahlkonig Guatemala grinder. 

Best put, Bellissimo Coffee Advisors helped us gain a better understand of specialty coffee, we already had the passion and drive to do our best, Bellissimo helped give us the basic tools, knowledge and understanding of how to put it all together. Without Bellissimo, we wouldn't have had the skill-set to be ready for all that happens when the doors are open. Everyday is learning for us, and that is a good thing.

Santa Barbara, CA

Article in Local Newspaper

Best thing we could of ever done for the business was to attend your week long school to have a better understanding of all that goes into great coffee, how to prepare it, serve it and for that and everything else Bellissimo has done for us, we are truly grateful. 

Handlebar coffee roasters has hit the ground running since opening Nov. 1st, 2011 and we owe a lot of our success so far to you and everyone whom has helped us out at Bellissimo Coffee Advisors.

Steve Kraus

Press Coffee

Press Coffee

Our concept is a marriage of everything we are passionate about- coffee, food, and wine.  We often get asked how we came up with the name Press.  It was easy -- Coffee French Press, Panini Press, Wine Press, and my job working in TV broadcasting, Media Press.  Less than a year later, we expanded our company with Press Coffee Roasters by freshly roasting our own coffee beans daily.

I attended Bellissimo Coffee Advisors in August of 2008 with intention of truly understanding coffee, the business aspect and of course the information and understanding of being a “true” barista. I wasn’t clear as to what I would take away from Bellissimo, but I was pleasantly surprised with how much I did. There were still days after a few years where I’d still reference the books they gave me or the notes I took. Bellissimo has and will always earn my respect for what they do professionally and personally. I still see Matt and Bruce at trade shows and they always make it a point to say hello, this truly is a long term relationship going forward. As an individual in the industry, I would recommend Bellissimo Coffee Advisors indefinitely.

Janice Chua

Bitter + Sweet

Bitter + Sweet

Bitter+Sweet was launched in July 2011 by Janice Chua with the mission of serving the best coffee and desserts in the South Bay community. Janice, an ex-banker of 17 years, wanted to create a café for members of the community to come hang out and enjoy great coffee and food. At Bitter+Sweet, her team of talented baristas will serve customers expertly prepared espresso and coffee drinks, using fresh beans from Sightglass Coffee. Customers will notice that her shop has a rather unique look to it. Its modern sleek with clean architectural lines. 

I attended Bellissimo Coffee Advisors in May 2010. Bellissimo has helped in so many ways, including:

i) Understanding the importance of a good business plan - The Cupertino Economic Development Manager was so impressed with my business plan and concept presentation that she told many people that the business plan was the best one they had ever seen! The business plan, which was written with Bellissimo Cofee Advisors' help, was integral to my business' success.

ii) Learning all about espresso and coffee - at the school, I learned the basics of espresso and coffee preparation. I remember very clearly the exercise we went through before we started the session on "The Perfect Shot".....I had a eureka moment when I tasted the espresso that was pulled perfectly, "so, that's what espresso is supposed to taste like!" With a ton of hands-on practice time at the school, I was able to gain enough confidence to prepare espresso drinks on my own. And to think that I had ZERO coffee experience when I stepped into Bellissimo. Now, at my own shop, my staff knows that I am the one who can dial in great shots. 

iii) Having the opportunity to work with so many pieces of great equipment in their lab - Bellissimol allowed me to try out the various makes and models of espresso machines, and helped me decide very early on in my planning process as to which machines I was going to purchase. Seriously, where else can you work on 10+ different types of espresso machines in one sitting? 

iv) Getting all the tips from the pros (Bruce, Matt and company) on what to focus on:

- need to set myself apart from the chain stores....I think I have done very well in this area as my store has a truly unique feel and ambience. It's a HUGE differentiating factor for us, and is what draws customers in. 

Cupertino, CA

Santa Clara Weekly

Cupertino Patch

Bitter + Sweet was also featured on the cover of Specialty Coffee Retailer Magazine, December 2011 


In it's first 7 months of business Bitter + Sweet has received over 150 Yelp Reviews with a 4.5 star average




Mark and Joey Trujillo

The Hub Coffee Co.

The Hub Coffee Co.

Owners: Mark and Joey Trujillo, and Jessica Devine (father, son, and daughter!)

Papa Mark is a graduate of Bellissimo Coffee Advisors, having attended in 2006.  Our company at the time, Walden’s Coffeehouse, proved a wonderful spot to begin to introduce specialty coffee á la Portland/Seattle/etc. to our community.  Bellissimo introduced us to the graceful “dance of the barista”, training us in careful technique and instilling in us a proper understanding of the various aspects of working in the coffee industry.  Bellissimo gave us all the necessary tools to craft tasty coffee beverages in a traditional manner, while still promoting the artisanal, progressive edge inherent in the emerging “third wave” coffee culture.

We’ve since built up our own small craft coffee company in Reno: The Hub Coffee Co.  Since first opening in June 2009, throwing open our tiny roll-up garage door at 32 Cheney St., just south of downtown Reno, The Hub has become a friendly, inviting community gathering place complete with (what else?) tasty traditional espresso drinks and coffee.

As of Fall 2011, we’ve begun roasting our own coffee here in Reno.  Out of yet another small garage space not far from Hub One, we roast specialty grade coffees for our café locations, as well as a number of small accounts throughout town.

Were it not for Bellissimo providing us with our training wheels and a loving push in the right direction, we might never have made it to the top of the big hill!  Thanks Bellissimo Coffee Advisors!

Reno, NV

Our most recent addition to Reno’s independent scene is a new coffee cart in the Nevada Discover Museum, located in downtown Reno.  This new location (albeit tiny), along with our foray into coffee roasting, is in our opinion a testament to the rewards to be had after a tireless pursuit of knowledge and constant practice of quality coffee service.

  • "Wow! The workshop I took at Bellissimo blew my mind. When I arrived, I didn't know what to expect. I was already a coffee lover, but as the workshop went on, I fell more deeply in love. I learned the importance of technique and that every drink I make must be perfect. Bellissimo demands excellence from its attendees and stresses the all important saying, "Success is in the details."

    - Branden M. | | Milton PA

  • This workshop has been a great eye opener, it is a must if you want to go into the coffee business knowing what to do and what to expect! Great information and wondeful hands-on training! Great trainers, very knowledgeable and with a lot of expertise and coffee backgrounds! Loves this experience, learned a lot and enjoyed all the great company from all over the world that came to take this workshop!

    - Evelyn G. | | Fresno, California

  • "The workshop I attended was amazing. For someone who knows little about coffee and the coffee business, Bellissimo, in a short amount of time, gives you all the tools and knowledge of the more. If you also want to see the heart of Portland, Oregon, I recommend this workshop as well."

    - Chad B. | | Virginia Beach, VA

  • "I learned a lot on how to open a coffee business, both business side and the practical side.  I encourage everyone who's opening a shop to go here!  The trainers are very helpful and they make sure what you're doing is right."

    - John A. | | Thornhill, Ontario

  • "I had an amazing time during this workshop.  The trainers were all super friendly, knowledgable, and taught effectively.  Improvement in my latte art was almost instant.  Lots of the business aspect of running a coffee bar was also super helpful and practical.  Highly recommended!"

    - Michael T. | | Jakarta, Indonesia

  • "Absolutely fantastic investment!  This was the best choice I have made in regards to the business.  I'm walking away with the confidence and competency I was hoping to have.  The ROI is through the roof."

    - Rich L. | | Hudson, NH

  • "The business start up workshop exceeded my expectations in every way. I came to Bellissimo wanting to round out my knowledge of coffee and general business practices, and I left with a greater passion for the industry and the confidence to turn a business concept into a reality.  While the materials were exceptional, what made the trainers so effective was their ability and willingness to discuss their more than 50 years combined experience in restaurant/coffee shop start up and management, as well as extensive travels abroad."

    - Keira M. | | Fort Worth, Texas

  • "Build the workshop into your opening budget and just do it.  The money you spend on this will end up in your pocket if you take the trainers' advice and open your business."

    - Jim C. | | Irvine, CA

  • "I had so much fun attending the five day barista class + one day intro to roasting. All of the instructors were so enthusiastic about sharing their extensive knowledge and passion for everything coffee, returned home from (Bellissimo) with a love for the specialty coffee business and feeling confident in opening our new coffee bar. Thank you everyone at Water Ave for being such an inspiration!!"

    - Kelly D. | | Ojai, California