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SCAA's new flavor wheel groups together different flavor attributes of coffee

Posted by Julie Beals on Mon, Jan, 25, 2016 @ 13:01 PM

smithsonian.com
 
The SCAA's Coffee Taster’s Flavor Wheel was updated last week. More science went into the updated wheel than you might think. Sensory scientists at Kansas State University created something called the World Coffee Research Sensory Lexicon, a kind of dictionary of the many different attributes of a cup of joe. Each flavor is tied to an actual object so that roasters can describe both a type of flavor and its intensity when they talk coffee. The lexicon was used as the basis of a kind of lingua franca among tasters—a language that lets roasters ensure they’re talking about the same thing when they discuss the different notes they detect in a particular brew.
 
Once the language was established, researchers from the University of California, Davis undertook the even heavier task of figuring out how coffee tasters group all of those flavors together. A study of over 70 tasters showed that these sensory specialists were pretty consistent in their groupings.
 

Tags: coffee

2015: The Year In Coffee Culture

Posted by Julie Beals on Tue, Dec, 29, 2015 @ 18:12 PM

by Liz Clayton

Originally published at eater.com.

This year, coffee culture went from specialty to mainstream.

 

The contemporary specialty coffee movement, whatever you wish to call it, has long been entwined with what many people have viewed (and embraced) as groups that are outsider and indie. And while it's true that fancy coffee places haven't really been "for geeks, by geeks" for some time now—and some never were—the shifting sands of this once outlying culture had not, until this year, seen quite such bold steps towards mainstream.

While ardent coffee fans may have already noticed this shift, it was never more pronounced than October's headlines announcing Bay Area-based Peet's Coffee—themselves owned by the JAB Holding Company investment group, who control majority shares in Caribou Coffee and fashion house Jimmy Choo, among others—had purchased Portland's Stumptown Coffee Roasters, as well as Chicago's Intelligentsia Coffee Roasters. Stumptown, which had already been sold in 2011 to TSG Consumer Partners, is poised to extend Peet's boutique-market reach, particularly through Stumptown's rapidly growing grab and go cold brew vertical. The addition of Intelligentsia to the Peet's portfolio (Peetsfolio?) mere weeks after enables the Bay Area roaster to be even more competitive. As Peet's president CEO Dave Berwick explained in October, the moves guarantee Peet's a stronger foothold in the diversifying coffee industry: "To capture more than our fair share of this market, it's important that we offer differentiated craft coffee brands."

Though it's not a new phenomenon in the haute coffee world—Oakland's Blue Bottle Coffee has raised multiple rounds of $20,000,000 plus financing in the last few years—a well-known, major chain purchasing two once-independent roasters almost simultaneously gave some people pause. But it shouldn't have.

"Honestly it's the natural process, it's the life cycle of a business," said Tracy Allen, president of the Specialty Coffee Association of America. "You build your company to a certain point, someone buys it. This gives us a look at what the ceiling is for true specialty coffee. $20 or $30 million seems to be the point where you get the attention of companies that are looking to put portfolios together of regional roasters with established brands."

Though it's not a new phenomenon in the haute coffee world—Oakland's Blue Bottle Coffee has raised multiple rounds of $20,000,000 plus financing in the last few years—a well-known, major chain purchasing two once-independent roasters almost simultaneously gave some people pause. But it shouldn't have.

"Honestly it's the natural process, it's the life cycle of a business," said Tracy Allen, president of the Specialty Coffee Association of America. "You build your company to a certain point, someone buys it. This gives us a look at what the ceiling is for true specialty coffee. $20 or $30 million seems to be the point where you get the attention of companies that are looking to put portfolios together of regional roasters with established brands."

READ THE FULL STORY HERE.

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Tags: coffee, culture

Non-Dairy Milks: Which Ones Are Best With Espresso?

Posted by Julie Beals on Thu, Dec, 17, 2015 @ 14:12 PM

Dairy milk may still rule the latte universe, but a variety of alternatives have been threatening its dominance since soy milk started showing up in cappuccino cups in the ’90s. And with almond and hemp milks — and even macadamia, cashew and coconut — to contend with, baristas can find themselves juggling a variety of steaming techniques as they try not to burn non-dairy milks while getting them hot enough to add to espresso. 

Soy’s Superiority

For vegans and the lactose intolerant, soy milk is still the standby. It’s also the non-dairy choice of baristas because it creates the best foam, with a consistency that is comparable to dairy milk. This means soy milk can be used to make any espresso drink. Soy milk is also complementary or at least forgiving to many types of coffee. The nutty, creamy flavor pairs well with common flavor profiles and can even enhance the flavor of some coffee varieties and blends.

Almond Joy?

Not quite as forgiving as soy, is almond milk. While soy’s nuttiness ca complement coffee, almond milk be too much for some coffees. But an almond milk latte can still be a good thing — just be sure to stretch your milk early, and don’t go beyond 130 degrees F (55 degrees C) to avoid burning it. Almond milk also curdles at certain temperatures, which looks terrible, but tastes the same.

Almond has even begun to replace soy as the standard nondairy milk in some cafés, typically due to digestion and allergy issues that some customers have with soy. There’s also the concern among label readers that almost all soy milks contain various unpronounceable ingredients and sugar, as well as questions about the health risks possibly associated with GMO soybeans.

Nutty Options

Some coffee shops are offering seemingly exotic macadamia or cashew milk for their rich, buttery texture. And when Starbucks announced in February that it would add coconut milk to its offerings after decades of staunchly serving soy, heads turned. Reviews have been mixed, which is to be expected. Every alternative milk imparts its own unique flavor in the cup and can be tough to swallow in the same mouthful as a bright, medium-dark roast with loads of complexity.

Rice Milk: Ridiculous?

With little to no fat or protein content, rice milk steams about as well as water. Translation: don’t even try. Still, it has a subtle sweetness and virtually no aftertaste that makes it appealing. It can be good stand in for dairy or soy as a simple, lighter creamer. It works equally well with espresso and standard brews, without the nutty flavor if you’re so opposed.

Is Hemp Here To Stay?

Relatively up and coming as a popular option, hemp milk complements coffee flavors similarly to soy but is a bit thicker due to its fat content. This result is a creamier latte with a flavor that leans toward almond milk. Vegans, vegetarians and the highly health conscious are fans of its notable protein, calcium and omega-3 content.

Hemp milk also steams rather well. Read more below.

How’s the latte art?

If you and your customers do like the taste, will the latte art come deliver on its end of the bargain? Hemp milk steams similarly to soy to produce respectable lattes and cappuccinos — and even latte art.

Turns out it doesn’t have to suffer (too much) with almond and coconut milk. A latte art contest in New York in October featured winners in the coconut milk and almond milk categories who jiggled their wrists to produce some pretty impressive rosettas from milks that don’t typically froth as well as dairy or soy.

Pacific Foods’ Coconut and Almond milks, the most popular alternative milks among baristas (after the company’s Barista Soy), are part of the reason. (The NYC alternative-milk latte art contest was sponsored by Pacific Foods, and supplied the milks.) They’re formulated for coffee shops to produce a better, more textured froth for espresso drinks. Baristas tend to agree.

That said, cappuccinos are best made with dairy, soy and hemp milks. Their creaminess is one reason, and the protein content helps considerably. Almond and coconut milks just don’t produce a thick enough foam to make a respectable cappuccino.

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Tags: coffee, espresso, milk

For The Love of Coffee: Work Injuries Among Baristas

Posted by Julie Beals on Sun, Nov, 29, 2015 @ 22:11 PM

This article appeared on the Australian website, safetyculture.com.au.

The café industry is booming and the demand to consistently provide the best product and service is taking its toll on baristas.

Work-related injuries among baristas are on the rise due to repetitive stress from slinging coffee. Coffee tamping using manual pressure can increase the risk of barista elbow, repetitive strain injuries (RSI), and barista wrist.

Treatments for these injuries include analgesics, physical therapy, and ultrasound therapy. Severe cases may require more aggressive interventions including surgery.

Two years ago, a Canberra barista who suffered permanent disability after years of steaming jugs of milk won a payout of almost $600,000.

A 2013 study on the health risks that baristas are exposed to in the workplace revealed that 47 percent of the participants suffering from RSI directly attributed the illness to their jobs.

One of the survey respondents said his injury forced him to quit being a barista.

“My doc said surgery for carpal tunnel is pointless. I essentially had to let my body heal, which meant that I had to quit being a barista. Now I sit behind a desk and I wish every day to be out with my customers, exploring the coffee world, and seeing farms! But those jobs are so hard to find without being forced to deal with torn ligaments,” he said.

A hand specialist told the New York Post in a 2014 article that work injuries among baristas in the cafe industry are common.

“It’s common, and usually chronic,” said Phaeleau Cunneen, a hand specialist at SPEAR Physical Therapy in Manhattan.

He said the dangers involved in the motions of making and serving coffee are far more serious than what the average person knows.

He explained that to make an espresso, “you have to stamp the espresso, push it into the machine, then turn the knob – and the person running the machine is probably making 100-300 cups a day, maybe more.”

In an effort to minimise injuries brought about by manual tamping, Barista Technology NSW has introduced a fully automatic coffee tamper that completely removes the manual pressure required to tamp coffee.

With just a push of a button, the world’s first automatic coffee tamper, PUQPRESS removes the need for repetitive application of pressure in tamping coffee.

“With long term RSI injuries to baristas becoming more and more apparent, minimise the risk to your business and protect your staff by replacing your traditional tamping method with the PUQPRESS. The PUQPRESS eliminates the need for repetitive application of pressure, dramatically decreasing the stress enured when tamping with manual coffee tamps. Coffee is perfectly tamped by the push of a button,” Barista Technology NSW stated in its website.

Coffee shop owners are now becoming increasingly aware of the risks that their employees are facing daily. Many have worked to retrain their staff to protect them from the physical strain of coffee making and serving. Some have even redesigned their bars to be ergonomically safe.

Diane Gregory, a professor of kinesiology and ergonomic expert at Laurier in Canada told the National Posthealth problems that baristas experience resulting from physical stress can be minimised.

“From an ergonomics perspective, there shouldn’t be a physical pain or injury-inducing parts of a job,” she said.

She suggests using automated tampers and for staff to be rotated through tasks to reduce long shift of constant tamping.

Tea Infusions: Add subtle sophistication to your drink menu

Posted by Julie Beals on Wed, Nov, 18, 2015 @ 17:11 PM

Tea is all about soothing flavor — flavor that whispers instead of shouting. It’s a subtle touch that adds a gourmet feel to other beverages, and can enable anyone to develop a signature drink that is truly unique.

And with so many types of tea to experiment with — green, black or oolong for purists, or flavored spice or fruit teas for nonconformists — you can enhance everything from lemonade and lemon drops, to hot chocolate and hot toddies. The vast array of flavor profiles offered by tea makes the possibilities nearly endless. 

Add the fact that 87 percent of millennials drink tea according to the Tea Association of the USA (albeit mostly ready-to-drink or iced at this point), it appears that giving tea a sophisticated spot on your menu, with infusions, could be good business.

Start out slow and simple with your tea infusions, and see where the journey takes you. The basic Arnold Palmer is an obvious choice — half lemonade, half black tea. You can spice it up by infusing the black tea with berries. Simply steep sliced berries with the tea and remove them after chilling the tea. 

Tea Infused Cocktails

Words like "smooth," "smoky" and "floral" might bring to mind bourbon, tequila or gin, but those terms can also describe roobios, green or black teas. The subtle similarities between teas and spirits make them perfect companions in a cocktail.

There are simple cocktails to try as well, such as a pu-erh old fashioned or a green tea mojito. These cocktails can involve adding an ounce or two of brewed tea (which has been chilled) to the beverage. But given that the water in tea will dilute the drink, you can get a little fancier by simply infusing a bottle of liquor with about three teabags — letting them sit in the bottle for 45 minutes to an hour. Try peach tea in rum, chamomile in tequila (which makes a great tequila sour), spice tea with bourbon or whisky, and just about any variety of tea with vodka.

Tea Infusions For the Daytime Crowd

And lest we forget about every coffeehouse’s core business, you can offer more than tea lattes — really. Try infusing cider with rooibos, or add mint tea to smoothies for a refreshing hit. Juices, and lighter sodas like ginger ale or club soda, are great bases for tea drinks as well.

One of the best things about a tea infusion is that the flavor it brings to a drink can minimize the amount of sweetener needed. Most tea-infused drinks call for a bit of simple syrup. Use a small amount at first, so as not to overpower the tea and other flavors.

Infusing drinks with tea makes them memorable, whether you’re creating them for your restaurant, bar, cafe or your home. You can find almost endless ideas online. Take this handy list from BuzzFeed, for instance. Or get lost in the flurry of tea-infused pins on Pinterest. And get to steeping, infusing, mixing and tasting.

 

Iced Coffee Versus Cold Press: Is Therecold_brew_and_iced_coffee A Clear Winner?

Posted by Julie Beals on Wed, Sep, 09, 2015 @ 19:09 PM

 

Cold brew coffee and iced coffee are arguably the trendiest summer drinks in coffeehouses around the country — but they hold their own in winter months, too. In a Dunkin Donuts poll, 56 percent of those surveyed said it is never too cold for an iced coffee. Devotees aren’t deterred by dropping temperatures — maybe they just wear gloves. 

But many are torn between the two methods. To cold brew or to ice, that is the question. Here we’ll break down the differences.

cold_brew_and_iced_coffee

Cold Brew: The Smooth, Low-Effort Concentrate

With a brew time that lasts up to 24 hours, you’d think cold brewing would be a complicated process. But it couldn’t be simpler — easy to enjoy with or without fancy equipment. While it takes time, cold brewing is less finicky than ice brewing. Basically, you just set it up and walk away until it comes time to strain the concentrate. You can mix it up in a pitcher, no problem, and just let it sit in the fridge until it’s time to separate the brew from the grounds with a sieve or other filter. 

Minimizing the coffee’s exposure to oxygen is a must, since oxidation creates a bitter brew. You can sidestep bitterness simply by using a container that holds only the necessary volume of coffee and water, and no more. Some cafes are even opting to serve cold brew on tap — further reducing its exposure to oxygen and enriching its texture with nitrogen,  and offering a slick new visual from across the counter. 

The long brewing process is what makes the coffee concentrated — resulting in about twice the caffeine as regular coffee. The deep, smooth flavor, low acidity and typically chocolatey notes of cold brew complement the rich sweetness of dairy, so don’t let any self-proclaimed purists guilt your customers out of adding milk. 

Cold brew is also a dream for a fast-paced cafe. Iced coffee takes longer to prepare and serve, but cold brew just needs to be poured from its refrigerated storage vessel. 

Iced Coffee: The Classic

Since iced coffee is brewed hot, it can be more bitter than cold brew. But high temperatures can also extract more coffee solubles than cold brew, adding to iced coffee’s body. 

To counteract bitterness, it is essential that hot coffee be cooled quickly in order to become tasty iced coffee. Brewing directly over ice does the trick, maintaining aromatics and desirable acidity. It is thinner than the original hot brew, but with a full body. It is even less oxidized than cold brew — fresher, in other words. (Though cold brew fans will argue the superiority of a long, cold brewing process.) 

But how can coffee poured over ice be anything but watery? It helps to use more grounds than usual (say, 10 percent more) but don’t overdo it. Also, introduce hot coffee to ice drop by drop — not all at once. Known as the Japanese method, this cools the coffee faster and doesn’t melt as much ice. 

Is it a tie? 

Cold brew is a bit easier to brew, can be prepped ahead, and provides a uniquely rich, smooth brew. Iced coffee is arguably more authentic and fresh, preserving more solids and therefore more nuances of the coffee’s character. It comes down to what you want to serve, and what your customers want. You can offer your favorite (or easiest) option, or try serving both for awhile and see how they sell.

I’ll Take My Latte with a Shot of Bacteria


Posted by Sample HubSpot User on Wed, Aug, 12, 2015 @ 02:08 AM

Originally published on thedailybeast.com.

by Carrie Arnold

As we start to understand the tiny critters that flavor our coffee, we can tailor the strains and flavors.

Many of our favorite foods, from beer and chocolate to cheese and coffee, are actually made by microbes. This microbial help in our kitchens has historically been rather slapdash and imprecise. People simply used the microbes that were available, often not even realizing that tiny bacteria and fungi were actually helping. Even now, some of the best cheesemakers and brewers still don’t know exactly how the microbial magic happens.

A new startup called Afineur wants to change all that. By using specific bacterial strains in its coffee fermentation process, they hope to create precise flavor profiles in batch after batch. 

“We ferment the beans just before roasting, selecting specific strains of microbes to produce specific flavors,” said Camille Delebecque, co-founder of Afineur.

The popularity of such an endeavor is obvious: Within just a few hours, Afineur had funded the entirety of its $15,000 goal on Kickstarter. Within a week, they had raised nearly $40,000.

Cheesemakers are beginning to experiment with similar types of targeted fermentation, and so are beermakers, as microbiologists dig deep into the diversity of tiny critters that provide some of our favorite flavors and foods. By understanding the chemicals they make and the flavors these microbes produce, researchers and foodmakers like Delebecque and his partner Sophie Deterre, a flavor chemist, hope to completely transform our palates.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE. 

Tags: coffee, espresso advice

How To Choose An Espresso Coffee Grinder

Posted by Peter Kelsch on Wed, Jul, 29, 2015 @ 02:07 AM

The quality of an espresso shot is determined by myriad factors. Most people focus on the espresso machine and/or the quality of the coffee being used —both important, of course. However, the quality of the grinder used in preparing a perfect shot of espresso is equally important. 

Espresso requires a very fine, consistent coffee grind in order to brew correctly, and thus a specifically designed and engineered professional grinder. Other factors: choosing the correct size and model for speed, efficiency and consistent quality to keep up with your espresso machine during busy hours at your coffee shop or restaurant. 

Here’s a short guide to help you make the right decision when purchasing an espresso grinder for your business.

Mazzer_Family

WHAT WILL IT COST YOU?

As with all commercial equipment, coffee grinders require food and utility safety certification and thus, can be relatively expensive. Add to this the fact that nearly all units are made in Europe (primarily from Italy) and the costs can vary from $500 to as much as $4,000. Typically you can expect to pay between $1,000 and $1,500 for a traditionally sized commercial espresso grinder for a typical espresso coffee operation. 

 

But before making a decision based on price, consider motor speed, burr size, burr type, hopper size and dosing type.

 

DOSING CHAMBERS VS. DOSERLESS GRINDERS

A doser or dosing compartment is where coffee is disbursed after being ground by an automatic grinder. They keep grounds from falling on the counter and provide one-shot measurements for each espresso you make. The dosing compartment has been around since the 1920s and has been used consistently ever since.

However, in recent years there has been a movement toward a more pure, exacting method for dosing espresso coffee, after much research and discovery around how coffee flavor is affected by brew time and temperature. Unfortunately, when a doser is used, there is a tendency for too much coffee to be ground at once, leaving some behind for future use. Baristas may grind more beans than necessary for one drink order, then then next and the next — building up ground coffee in the dosing compartment. By the time the coffee is used, it may no longer be fresh. 

The doserless grinder is the answer to this problem. 

A doserless, or semi-automatic grinder does not have a dosing compartment. The grounds are simply deposited straight into a waiting portafilter. This enables every single shot that to be made with freshly ground coffee beans — not something that has been sitting in a compartment for a while. The one downside to using a doserless grinder is that it will make a much larger mess than one with a dosing compartment. Coffee grounds will fall directly on to the countertop if a portafilter is not placed directly under the grinder, and even when a portafilter is present, grounds inevitably spill over the sides. 

A few grinders have large compartments for holding ground coffee beans, but such grinders are not recommended. Grounds will quickly become stale and unsuitable for a good shot of espresso.

 

GRINDER BURR TYPES: CONICAL VS. FLAT 

There are two primary types of commercial burr grinders: Flat and conical style blades. Both types have a multi-cut angled tooth edge that is engineered to cut coffee into smaller and smaller particles until a very fine and consistent powder is produced that is ideal for espresso coffee. Both also have one stationary top blade and one spinning lower blade. 

 

With flat burrs:

Parallel horizontal plates pull coffee beans into the grinding teeth through the centrifugal force of a fast moving motor.

Once the coffee beans contact the grinding teeth, the beans are broken apart.

The beans are cut into smaller and smaller pieces as the speed of the lower blade forces them through smaller and smaller cutting edges, to form a fine powder.

 

With conical burrs:

Gravity is the primary force used, as the burrs cut vertically at an outward angle, pulling the coffee downward.

Coffee beans are cut into smaller and smaller particles until the desired fineness is reached. 

Because no centrifugal force is required, conical burrs grind coffee at a much slower speed, resulting in lower heat transfer to the coffee beans and less likelihood that the grinder will heat up the coffee and alter its flavor before being brewed. 

Conical burr grinders are designed for use in very high volume applications — such as Italian espresso bars producing several thousand shots per day. In busy shops, flat burs may get too hot to produce consistently good espresso. But both burr types produce similarly sized ground coffee particles, and flat burrs rarely increase coffee temperature more than 20° above room temperature in the most extreme uses, and follow empirical testing standards.

 

Sprudge's Take On LaMarzocco's "Auto Brew Ratio"

Posted by Peter Kelsch on Tue, Jul, 14, 2015 @ 15:07 PM

This article first appeared on Sprudge in April. But it deserves another mention.

La Marzocco Launches Linea PB With “Auto Brew Ratio” Espresso Technologybrew-ratio-la-marzocco-740x400

We are living in a Neo-Italian espresso preparation era. Espresso is being brewed meticulously by fastidious baristas around the world on top of the line equipment. Old world Italian methods like pre-ground espresso, full dosing chambers, 1:3 ratios, and 14 gram baskets are en vogue. What’s old is new again. Perfecting these practices with scales, better grinders, and much better coffee? Well, that’s what makes this such a delicious time to be an espresso drinker.

Here’s a new wrinkle in the pursuit for delicious espresso coffee, courtesy of our friends and partners at La MarzoccoLa Marzocco’s Linea PB espresso machine will soon be available with scales built in to the drip tray. SCALES IN THE DRIP TRAYS.

Scales in drip trays are not a brand new concept; several other espresso machine companies have been tinkering with similar tech, and La Marzocco themselves outfitted prototype Stradaespresso machines with scales all the way back in 2012. But in the three years since then, and with help in partnership with the scale masters at Luminaire, La Marzocco have created scales they claim are capable of reading precise weights during even the most jiggly of high-volume situations.

The Linea PB will soon be available for purchase with built-in drip tray scales. This is a real thing that is happening. La Marzocco have also created something called Auto Brew Ratio, a technology that’s going to get coffee geeks wiggling.

READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE ON SPRUDGE.COM.

Tags: commercial espresso equipment, commercial espresso machine

How To Sell More Than Coffee in OCS

Posted by Julie Beals on Thu, Jul, 09, 2015 @ 00:07 AM

by Emily Refermat

Article first appeared on vendingmarketwatch.com.

OCS is a lucrative business in most regions. That is especially true when upselling locations to specialty hot beverages. This was the focus at a 2015 NAMA OneShow OCS-focused panel, which centered on a few ways to give  users coffee service they love while maintaining good margins.  The key is to look to coffee shops for inspiration, experiment, highlight the SKUs and services already offered and charge service fees.

Offer many options, see what sticks

Panelist moderator Mike Tompkins of Coffee Products Associates, noted that to increase sales, operators must always be on the lookout for new products. “If you see it at a coffee shop, investigate it,” he said. “This is how you will be able to figure out how to deliver it to boost sales.” One example is the increasingly popular cold brew coffee. Large OCS operators are addressing how to bring this into workplaces on a large scale.

Ancillary specialty beverage items are also important. “Don’t forget, milk and sugar are a big component of what the consumer wants,” said Tompkins.

To see what the new OCS trend might be, look to Millennials, said panelist Tom Steuber of Associated Services. He finds that Millennials are driving a different type of coffee experience in the workplace than the previous generation. They like bean-to-cup machines, which they feel make a fresher cup of coffee. Many of the units also have touchscreens which give the brewer a modern, state-of-the-art feel. “We’re trying out different things,” said Steuber, who feels it’s important to understand the customer. “Sometimes things work and sometimes they don’t.” In these cases, the brewer or coffee is eliminated, but Steuber doesn’t treat it as a failure, just a learning experience.

Promote what makes you different

Panelist Ken Shea of DS Services of America talked about retention and incremental OCS sales by promoting what is already in the warehouse. There might be a number of items in the warehouse that could be considered specialty beverages that could be offered to a location. Shea cites cocoa as an example. If a product is an existing SKU, but hasn’t reached 100 percent penetration of accounts, operators should consider it for specialty beverage expansion. Hot tea is another example. “We’re seeing really good teas in these coffee shops today,” said Shea. “That will help operators sell these items for a higher price.” Other items include sparkling and flavored waters.

“Make sure you are promoting the special aspects of what you are already offering,” explained Shea. He recommends talking to the account about upselling, especially with specialty coffee blends. “A price of 60 or 70 cents per cup is not uncommon in the coffee shop — use that,” he said. If the location wants specialty equipment, get a service fee and make sure to offer, and get, the pantry service. “You can’t leave anything on the table,” Shea stressed to audience members.

Equipment isn’t cheap

“It’s one thing to delight the customer, but equipment is expensive…you have to make money,” panelist Steve Brehm of Berry Coffee Co. warned. He gets a commitment upfront to accept a service fee that will increase if the account doesn’t maintain a minimum volume order. The location also has to designate someone to clean and maintain the brewer, in the case of a bean-to-cup machine. “With this model, any size operation can be a potential customer,” added Brehm. He’s careful to ensure the water going into the brewer is filtered to keep the machine working properly, the coffee tasting good and because it provides another revenue stream.

Brehm finds offering specialty equipment really does delight a location. For one foodservice account he even agreed to place a frozen coffee machine. He has a partnership with a coffee roaster for a special recipe to be used. “Even with the extra maintenance [done with a laminated cleaning checklist] it’s worth it,” said Brehm.

Tags: coffee advice