Brewing Methods and the Public

30 Jul

As some who know me are aware, I’ve been planning to start my own coffee shop for a while now, although its still very preliminary in idea its progress, one thing I’ve though about alot is offering different brewing methods.

Note: This most likely is going to end up slightly more business focused than my usual posts, sorry if it comes off a bit corporate…

If you were to walk into any coffee shop right now, you will likely find an espresso machine, or a drip brewer.

These are not the only methods of brewing coffee, merely the most convenient.  And while I love a good espresso or a good brewed coffee, I would love to see more options. Why not crack out the french press (one of my personal favourites for brewing coffee).  If you’ve got 4 people coming in for a meeting, offer them a press pot, sit them down and make it up for them.  Then replace it for them for a small fee, and again, and again, until their meeting is over.  Rather than a capp, 2 lattes and an americano, you’ve got a delicious cup of coffee in front of them in 4 minutes while you can serve someone else and its easy to give them a couple of pots.

Or why not have a vacpot on the end of the bar, not only is it good coffee, but it looks brilliant and will draw people in to look at it.  I know these methods aren’t as clean or as much fun as a barista, but they offer a greater range of choice and show a higher level of understanding of the coffee. I’m not saying every coffee shop should have a vacpot, but one or two would be nice and create a real unique selling point.

French press also gives consumers who find espresso to be intimidating a much gentler learning curve, its a nice step between their comfortable instant and fresh coffee.  You also get a nice after-sale potential with people who want to buy their own press for the house, and then want to buy coffee to go in it on a regular basis…

Espresso is often put on a pedestal as the most artisan brewing method, and I understand why.  There are so many factors to go wrong and it takes some skill to actually make a good shot of coffee, but could the same not be said of making a good french press?  If you under-dose, add water too hot, let it steep for too long, stir it too much, don’t crack the top etc.  does it not create an inferior cup?  Sure a bad espresso will scream at you and a great one will almost give you a cuddle but a bad press-pot is very unpleasant and a great one does draw your attention, all be it slightly less intensely.

Also, it creates a new point of contact with the public about coffee.  Someone who is drawn by spectacle may see a vacpot brewing and be drawn in, the old bloke who just wants a coffee-coffee can get his little pot and enjoy it without feeling like he’s being looked down upon by the barista …Oh coffee snobbery, perceived or held….another topic I feel…will pop in for his small cup of coffee and truly appreciate it. And the people who like their lattes and cappuccinos can still get them.

Obviously there are certain levels of added difficulty from these ideas, another grinder for the press-pot or one that can switch quickly between two grind levels…(Vario?)  more training for staff, more cost of equipment outlay, people demanding different brewing methods at once, coffees that don’t work in certain methods, but I feel the positives would outweigh them hugely and in the long term create a much stronger coffee industry.

I’d be interested to hear your thoughts, if any coffee shops near you, or your shop use other brewing methods and how successful the different methods are sales wise.

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