Archives for posts with tag: espresso bar

In the past three years or so, espresso bars have spread at a fast pace.

It is now a common meeting place for:

  • businessmen,
  • students,
  • OAPs,
  • young mothers with their offsprings.

The barista will have to produce the occasional babyccino with that dusty layer of chocolate sprinkles. The kind of drink which sounds very trendy but is nothing else than luke warm milk!


Anyway, the customer is always right… apparently.

Coffee shops have to cater for everyone; they are the new public houses. After all, a coffee is cheaper than a pint of beer and you can drive after such beverage. Everyone is a winner.

Have you noticed how many coffee shops are blossoming in most commercial centres, High Streets and even narrow alleyways? They are literally everywhere.

Meanwhile, there is enough space for everyone to share a slice of the daily trade. They are all busy and smiling.

It is down to the consumers to decide which one is their favourite. This means that a Costa drinker won’t go to Café Rouge or Nero and vice versa.

Even two good friends might take different directions when it is time for their caffeine fix, and then meet up proudly after having been served with their drinks which will bring something special to their busy and stressful day.

But are our towns and cities saturated with cafés?

It is true they are so many but what is also important is to make the right choice before stepping into one of them. Having a nice shiny espresso machine and décor is one thing. But what about the coffee quality/origin and the type of roast profile?

This is what should attract the client in the first place and not the cool seats or free magazines.

Are some people missing the point of what makes a cup of coffee so special and unique?

Sitting in a crowded space with a hot drink and a generous slice of cake will unconsciously make that person part of a community.

There is also the question from a business point of view: should buyers be informed about what is in the hopper or should the barista just pull espresso shots back to back without asking questions in order to guide people towards a specific taste/flavour such a waiter/waitress would do with the wine list in a restaurant?

It is first of all important for the business owner to define what he/she is after. Running a shop with all the equipment is not cheap – especially at the start. There are as well several factors to consider; is it preferable to get a rented place or  go the extra mile towards freehold investment? All this without mentioning business rates.

Indeed, there is a cost to setup such business and making coffee requires not only certain skills and knowledge but also a capital – mainly when being a small independent. There is no room for mistake.

Speaking recently to a regular coffee lover, he was amazed and shocked to hear the price for a grinder such as EK43 and La Marzocco PB. Then to this add fine coffee beans, milk, cups and all the monthly bills/expenses such as staff wages, electricity or water.

Nevertheless, when all is correctly run there is an increase in staff and some places such as Kaffeine, Workshop, Notes or Caravan in London manage to open multiple units. This is without a doubt a testimony of success in a Capital city, where everything is expensive. BrewLab in Edinburgh is following this path too.

These are great entrepreneurs. But are they taking a risk when expanding in a Society where a lot of families seem to face a financial struggle?!

According to the popularity of the existing venues, there is a kind of pattern showing more demand and interest on different levels. Growth is what is needed for the economy of a Country and without those decision makers there would be no evolution.

Knowing the average amount spent per head is around five Pounds (coffee and cake) it doesn’t seem to be affecting the consumers’ budget, it is then natural to go forward by using the same recipe.

Could we reach a saturation level for such outlets?

Do we have too many clothes shops, restaurants, supermakets? Absolutely not! Consequently, coffee shops are safe too, aren’t they?

For the time being, people want their coffee anywhere and everywhere. It is also not unusual to attend coffee talks and classes to learn more about that “new” industry which is definitely breeding successfully.

A real paradox for the United Kingdom which was at a time known as a tea drinking nation!

Coffee is not my cup of tea - teapot


Everyone has a secret – Coffee shops have secrets. Workshop Coffee Co is revealing some of them.


Everyone like a nice cup of coffee whether filter, straight black, cappuccino or flat white.

However, there is a cost behind it. Quality doesn’t come cheap. This is applicable for everything.

Let’s take an example.

Making good/perfect coffee is like taking a good/perfect picture.

There are various ingredients. To get a great result it is not just about the main product but also all accessories around it! The camera can be the best one but the photograph could be poor, because a skill is needed for the composition and having the right settings from exposure to shutter speed.

Also, buying a DSLR is the first step. You might then need a polarized filter, tripod or flashgun as well as a fast memory card (according to the type of photography). According to your level, an expensive camera might not be the right choice unless you have already a few years experience. A basic point and shoot can be sufficient for a start then upgrading is always a possibility.

DSLR Vs Point and Shoot

DSLR Vs Point and Shoot

Making coffee works the same way. Good coffee beans is just the foundation. Having a top of the range espresso machine is good as long as the user knows how to deal with it and is able to adjust the grinder in order to produce a great extraction and respect the ratio coffee:water.

As I was in an independent coffee shop on Tuesday morning (30th December 2014), a customer who was waiting for his filter (brewing method V60) started to talk about the cost of making perfect coffee.

He is an avid drinker and own himself a manual grinder. But, he openly said that all this process – despite the fabulous brew – could generate a high cost related to the step by step instructions as a full list of items are necessary:

V60 ceramic and server

V60 ceramic and server

Purists will get all of it without thinking twice because the taste and aroma will be second-to-none. There is a good reason to have the full equipment… Indeed, a budget is needed to get the same cup of coffee as the one you buy at a speciality coffee shop.

The other advantage is that you can recycle coffee grounds for your own garden or your neighbours’ allotments. It is all about waste management, which is too much ignored especially after the festive season.

Christmas rubbish collection

Christmas rubbish collection

In other words, you get a great brew and others can benefit by using what has been put in the filter to produce that nectar to grow fresh vegetables. A great chain reaction which is a win-win from start to finish.

Finally, if you don’t have the financial means to purchase the entire list of brewing utensils, the direct alternative is to visit your local espresso bar (with preferably a brew bar) and who knows, you might get a bundle if you decide to invest in several bits!