Archive for May, 2009


La Marzocco GB5

La Marzocco GB5

How exciting! We are very proud to be able to offer the fantastic range of the world class La Marzocco espresso machines. Over the last year we have been very happy with the Rancilio and La Spaziale espresso machines and we have no complains at all. The La Marzocco will be a wonderful addition to our range of high quality espresso machines and we simply couldn’t wait any longer as the demand for these machines is there. 


We played on the La Marzocco GB5 the other day and made some amazing espressos. The machine gave us a really soft full bodied rich espresso and the consistency was very good. Great temperature control and lots of flavour. 

The GB5 looks great as well, is very easy to work with and has some great features that we are sure people will like. The best thing though is the famous dual boiler system, one boiler for steam and one boiler for brewing espressos. This makes this machine very popular for busy coffee outlets. 

The La Marzocco machines also come with great backup support with engineers throughout the country.

The machines are available and we will be updating our website very shortly.


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Have you thought about your menu yet? I am sure you have! It might be worth it though to have a quick look at our menu on our website.

We have made an example menu to give you some ideas. It is obviously not professionaly designed but it might just give you some good ideas. Please do have a look at our hot drinks menu for coffee shops.

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Sometimes we publish useful websites and we would like to point out the website of the International Coffee Organization: http://www.ico.org/coffee_story.asp

Especially read the bit where the Dutch were responsible for exporting the coffee from Ethiopia. Makes me a little bit proud 🙂

This part I find quite interesting:

The first coffeehouses were opened in Mecca and were called ‘kaveh kanes’. They quickly spread throughout the Arab world and became successful places where chess was played, gossip was exchanged, and singing, dancing and music were enjoyed. They were luxuriously decorated and each had an individual character. Nothing quite like the coffeehouse had existed before: a place where society and business could be conducted in comfortable surroundings and where anyone could go, for the price of coffee.

Wouldn’t it be a great concept to start a coffee house that is like the very first coffee house. A place where people can meet, play boardgames and can be entertained. Now, that would be a good concept.

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Coffee and rules

For me, making coffee is a bit like cooking a meal. The more feeling you put you into it and the better you understand the taste of the ingredients and the food, the tastier the meal eventually will be. 

I don’t follow any rules when I cook a meal and I can’t imagine that the best chefs follow rules and exact recipes either. Surely it depends on the ingredients and many other factors. You can of course follow a cooking book and it will help but will it make the perfect meal? Probably not unless you give it your own ‘touch’.

For me, this is exactly the way coffee works. I don’t really believe that an espresso should be 25ml in 20-25 seconds extraction time with 7-8 grams of coffee.  I know many people who teach like this and we often get people who have been trained according to the coffee rules. I don’t think that you can’t put rules to coffee.

Wouldn’t it be better if you really understood what was happening when you are pulling a shot? Really understanding the coffee and knowing what the difference is in taste between 7 or 8 grams of coffee. Wouldn’t it be great if you could simply look at the coffee and totally understand what is happening and what kind of flavours are developing. 

Well, that is exactly how we teach people about coffee. We like to teach people, during our barista training, how all the equipment works, what different dosages and amount of water do to coffee and how to control the speed of the extraction. The idea is that you can simply look at the extraction and know whether it’s good or bad. This will make you a more confident barista which will translate into the quality of your coffee.

We feel that when you understand how it all works, that you don’t need any rules and it will be up to you how to make your espressos. After all, you are the barista and it is your coffee. It is simply our job to teach you how it all works and how it fits together.

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We had some people coming over to the roastery today which was fantastic. We tried some blending and explained all about how we buy coffee and of course how we roast it. But we also spoke a bit about customer service training and Simon was saying how he used to take his new staff to London for a tour around some coffee shops. 

The day was focused on learning about customer service and the best way might be to let your staff experience this first hand by visiting several coffee shops. See how other people serve you and let your staff be the customer for the day. I think this is a great way to train your staff in customer service skills, it is relatively inexpensive and a great day out for your staff. 

Have a good think about how you train your staff in customer service skills. Role playing can be good but there is nothing like the real thing. 

I personally used to use my lunch break to visit my competitors and I sometimes encouraged my staff to do the same. After all, all it cost me was the price of a coffee.

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We have changed our product list to make it all a bit easier for everybody. You can now find all our products in one handy list on our website. This is much easier than a product list with 4 pages as we understand that most people need clarity and they would like to have all the products on one page. It will also help when you are ordering your favourite products from us as it is easier to see all the products at once.

You can view the product list at the same location at http://www.absolutecoffee.co.uk/information

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espressosWe have a customer that opened the doors a couple of months ago. When I first met them their knowledge of coffee was minimal and I was honoured to introduce them to the wonderful world of coffee. Now they have a great girl who is managing the shop and the coffee is getting better everyday. You can find latte art and tasty espressos there all day long.

They have a semi automatic machine (which is great) and a pretty cheap plastic grinder (which is a shame and grinds inconsistently). I am a big fan of manual (semi-automatic) machines as it requires the barista to be ‘in charge’ of the espressos. In my eyes, it produces a better atmosphere behind the bar as the baristas have to watch the coffee. However, you do need to teach your staff so they actually understand the extraction. It’s all about freshness, dosage, fineness, tamping and amount of water. Not too difficult yet very important.

Anyway, our customer called to ask for some more training as they now have some new baristas and are looking to improve on the espressos. I am happy to go over as we strongly promote the quality of coffee. It is good to see when people ask for extra training, it shows they care and this is why we are in this industry. So, tomorrow Sunday morning I will be enjoying some great espressos and teaching all about dosing and extractions.

So, are you running a coffee outlet? When was the last time you had some extra training for you and your staff? Think about it, it can make a real difference to the quality of the coffee.

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