Archives for posts with tag: quality

The coffee culture is on the rise. Coffee shops and espresso bars are the new social places to meet and work (WiFi connection being almost everywhere). There is initial a trend of people a coffee drinker maybe because of all the subtelties in the aroma and flavour?!

Drinking coffee is also a lifestyle.

You are what you drink…remember this?

In the past, there were lager, bitter and ale drinkers. The price of of pint of beer is gone through the roof. Alcohol is also restricted when you have to take the road. The new alternative being caffeine. It keeps you awake, helps to concentrate (sometimes) and is a stimulant. Overall a winner for the wallet, the well-being and finding a right balance when it comes to working positively.

Price of Pint of Beer infographic

Price of Pint of Beer infographic

But can we (or should we) categorize coffee drinkers? Let’s have a look at the most popular ones.

1/ Americano: a double shot espresso and hot water – generally black but with a dash of milk for some. Those are for the ones who are after “just a coffee” – in a hurry and willing to have that coffee hit with no hassle. It can’t go wrong.

2/ Cappuccino: foundation of a double espresso with steamed milk and that froth to end the beverage. The chocolate sprinkles are sometimes requested, because it looks good – but for a coffee gourmet this is irrelevant. A kind of long drink ideal when meeting with friends or colleagues.

3/ Latte: in other words espresso with warm and little frothy milk (way less than a cappuccino…or it would be one). This drink is generally ordered by customers who are looking for something really hot served in a mug so they can hold it too. Practical on the way to work or during lunch break to “escape” the stressful day. Rather comforting with a piece of cake or toasty.

4/ Flat white: a new comer – smaller cup with a double ristretto and just warm enough milk (not hot), delivering a smooth coffee that the client could drink instantly without any burning feeling. The milk temperature and texture being the essential factors to get the perfect flat white. Younger generations are after such recipe…some say “this is a hipster drink” – no comment on this front.

Flat white in Acme cup

Flat white in Acme cup

Coffee fans/experts shouldn’t be assimilated as snob or arrogant: they just like the drink to be made correctly according to the rules. No sugar would be added to the ordered cup. This would almost be seen as a sacrilege. As prime examples, no lemonade would be added to expensive red/white wine – no extra should alter the original aroma/taste – simple as that!

Nowadays, it seems to be the norm to ask for supplements on everything. When people purchase a bicycle they want “free” accessories added because the initial cost is high – a helmet or front & back lights will do. This pattern is also present when it comes to catering (food and drink) people want to get as much as possible bits from cinnamon to ketchup, mayonnaise…etc, even if left on the table when leaving. It is the want rather than the need. In these particular cases the “less is more” attitude should be chosen, in order to appreciate the full flavours released by the ingredients when reaching our taste buds. Quantity doesn’t win anymore…quality comes first.

A similarity when watching TV programmes related to properties: why do people want huge bathrooms or bedrooms – isn’t the living area a space to focus on?

The main and ongoing question applicable for everything: what are you expecting from a specific service/product/space?

The first words to come up: good – meaning durable, solid which is after all quality!

It is obvious that investing your cash in an estate is a serious matter – it can’t be compared with buying a daily crafted coffee – or can it? When you think that the average price of coffee is about £2.50… and if you fork out this amount 5 times a week for let’s say 11 months, the total amount dedicated to the brew could be around £550.00!

Being “addicted” to coffee requires solid finances, but it brings this unique feeling and almost privilege of belonging to a specific group of individuals who appreciate first class beans, extraction and ratio…without being too pedantic.

UK and the love for coffee - infographic

UK and the love for coffee – infographic

 Click on image for larger version

Stepping into a coffee shop gives a feeling of well-being. Because you know that something comforting will make that experience nice and sweet: coffee and cake is always a great combination.

Most customers only see the “front of the stage” and the “backstage area” is still unknown.

Making coffee using various methods is one part, but the most important is how the beans are selected then roasted to give that specific flavour.

There are various types of coffee and they are all different whether the origin is from Ethiopia, Colombia, Rwanda or Nicaragua.

Click on infographic for larger version

Delicious Coffee - Infographic

Delicious Coffee – Infographic

Coffee roasters such as Origin (based in Helston – Cornwall), follow a particular process in order to get things right.

However, it is not rocket science – it is all about ticking the right boxes and having a great infrastructure.

Sending a person (or two) abroad is part of this quest; finding, seeing, roasting and cupping potential beans which will give that cachet to the espresso coming out of the machine. Travelling is essential – you can’t find gold by working remotely from behind a desk.

Click on images for larger versions

Stressful Business Travel - by Role

Stressful Business Travel – by Role

Stressful Business Travel - by Gender

Stressful Business Travel – by Gender

Coffee drinkers usually like the kind of buzz and café culture present in espresso bars. But preparation is so important to get the final product right. After all, it is like having quality ingredients for a recipe.

The crop can be the best but the coffee roaster will have to deal carefully with it as well. Slightly overdone and it will all be too dark and the taste could be awful. This is why that craft coffee requires skills from start to finish and each stage is precious to get the real thing.

More and more people are keen to take workshops to learn how to be a barista or roast coffee without spoiling it. Britain is become a nation of coffee experts, without a doubt.

The next step would be to run a coffee shop: a dream for a lot of individuals. But do they know what is actually behind such venture?

It is not just about standing by the percolator and grinder and playing with it. It is also about working long hours to serve from early morning when people commute to work – to early evening and eventually catch the same crowd on their way back home. Getting that regular foot fall is a great point, because the barista will start to know its clients and even their drinks… a great customer service will then be delivered.

To keep the business running it will be important to get a variety of coffee and not just one, as people like choice. Coffee owners must have a kind of investment management system in place and this has to be done on a regular basis to create this uniqueness – the passer-by will stop because of the new & distinctive scent coming out of the shop.

Whether the premises is large or small, it is also about getting the right staff. The drink can be awesome but the service has to be good too, with the correct manners. No need to go over the top, but being attentive to the customer’s needs is always appreciated: this can go from asking the right questions to serve the correct drink to bring hot or cold milk for that americano!

Getting the right brew is not just about pressing a button on a machine, it all starts at the root of the selection. It makes sense that a cup of coffee is around £2.50 because there is a cost of research, skills and knowledge behind it. Daily, the grinder needs to be adjusted too, all this according to the air pressure or this extraction could produce inconsistent espresso.

Good coffee requires time and skills

 

Specialty coffee: it has to be craft, artisan, freshly made and prepared with “attention to details” (i hate this expression, but that’s how it is).

Making things right is what will make a great cup of coffee and this goes from the quality of the coffee bean, the way it is roasted but also the water quality – as mentioned very clearly in an article by Colonna and Smalls HERE.