Archive for July, 2009

Working on labels

boxWe are working on the labels of the bags at the moment. On the front of the bag we will still have the big label but on the back where we have the name of the coffee and the roasting date we would like to add more information.

The label is the size of large businesscard. What kind of information would you like to see on the card?

We are thinking of:

– the name of the coffee
– the roasting date
– the batch number
– best before date (ideally I like it to say 3 weeks but that is not really possible)
– description of the blend, just a one liner

Would you like to see anything else on the label? Please do let us know.


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Refill for a £1

Is this a good ting? Little advertising on the tables to tell the customers that they can get a refill for a £1. Are many people going back for a second cup of coffee?

I had a chat with this about someone the other day. He went for a coffee somewhere, thoroughly enjoyed and wanted another one but spending over £4 on 2 coffees seemed too much. If a refill would have been a £1 then he would have gone for another one.

I know some of the big chains are offering it. Yesterday I was at the airport and they offered it there. What do you think? Is a good way to get people to buy a second cup or do you feel it de-values your product?

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IMG00542-20090711-1128I went over to Ian’s house today in Yorkshire for some barista training in the kitchen and it was a great day! Three guys, one kitchen, 2 Rancilio Sylvias, 1 Gaggia, 3 grinders, 2 roasters, lots of coffee, lots milk and very geeky 🙂

It was really great to meet people who are so passionate about coffee. We made lots of espressos and I think that we improved on a couple of things which will results in some great coffees. Interesting talk about the quality of the coffee that is being served in coffee shops. I strongly believe that it all comes down to passion and interest. Here are 3 guys who never had ‘formal’ training before and they produce better espressos than most coffee shops. Is that all it takes, passion? Interest and a willingness to produce something nice?

It made my job quite easy today as I just had to ‘fine tune’ a couple of things. I am impressed with ‘domestic baristas’ and it is so inspiring to see.

We produced some good latte art and we also roasted a couple of small batches of coffee. I really hope that the training was worth the effort and time.

Thanks for a great day today guys!

Here is a little video of some coffee being roasted. Sorry for the dark, camera is not the greatest.

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What is an Americano? An America started in Italy when the American soldiers asked for hot water to dilute the strong espressos. It is basically a diluted espresso.

Now, I drink pretty much any method of brewing as I enjoy it all. Yet I find Americanos a slightly weird drink. There goes great effort into developing an espresso blend, roasting it, and the barista preparing it. Espresso can be fantastic when made well and to me it seems a real shame to dilute this with lots of water.

I often give people a lovely filter coffee when asked for a cup of coffee. My preference would always go to serving a freshly brewed filter coffee, our Blue Mountain filter blend is my big favourite at the moment. It is a delicous blend of Central Americans.

It seems that when the espresso machine became popular people felt there was no more need for a filter coffee. People started serving Americanos when asked for a cup of coffee. Filter coffees are (thanks for that) becoming popular again in the industry and more and more shops are now offering it. A filter or even a cafetiere coffee can be a lot more interesting drink than an Americano.

I am not saying that Americanos are wrong or anything but why try a filter instead. You might be surprised.

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I would just like to thank everyone for coming from so far for the courses. Like Atiq for example, he came over all the way from Saudi Arabia! Most people seem to drive 3 hours for a course, absolutely wonderful. Thank you so much!
I can only do my best to make sure you guys leave smiling and full of motivation to start you coffee careers.

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2 grinders makes it so much more exciting

2 grinders makes it so much more exciting

A great way to explore coffee and to keep your customers excited is to have a guest coffee or a coffee of the week. You can have a little grinder on the side, maybe a second hand one, that has a different coffee every week. This way your customers get to experience the wide variety of coffees on offer and it keeps them entertained.

Some people get ‘bored’ with the same coffee day in day out and you might run the risk of customers going on a little mission to find a different coffee somewhere else in town. It would therefore be good to be able to offer something else for a change.

You could have a different single origin every week or you could offer every month 4 different coffees from 4 continents. An easy option would be offer this as cafetieres but it  might be more exciting to offer it as espresso coffees as well.

There is a great grinder called Mahlkonig Vario which grinds on demand and has the easy option to switch between espresso, filter or cafetiere grind. This grinder has a small footprint and is very affordable.

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