This blog really wants to stand at a bar and drink his espresso.

A Quick Thought

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This industry claims to be based entirely on volume. While I realize that one must sell a lot of relatively low-priced items in order to make money, I see two situations where making money and quality are complementary. Even better, one of the situations might actually increase volume.

Case #1: By-the-cup brewing. At all times besides the morning rush, by-the-cup brewing makes complete sense. There is no hurry; most people are there to sit and linger over a cup of coffee. So why not now? There’s no easy way to increase volume to make more money, so why not increase the average sale by brewing by the cup? It might even cut down on waste, since there’s no need to dump coffee that goes stale sitting in a pot.

Case #2: Espresso machines. We use our espresso machines wrong. We are in no way optimizing the use of our espresso machines. When making a series of 16-20oz drinks that all have different milks in them, any efficiency that is inherent to manual espresso machine design is lost, and those Verismos that Starbucks has start looking really attractive. The machinery we work on is designed to pump out a lot of straight espresso quickly, and a lot of small whole milk drinks quickly. Steaming for multiple drinks is not unrealistic when they are all whole and small – it’s certainly possible to maintain foam quality when doing so, and even pour art. I’ve done it, which means that the many more skilled baristi out there can do it too. So why not trim down the menu, and start making drinks twice as fast? The drinks will be better, and the nuances of the espresso will be preserved. Isn’t this the ultimate goal, making money while serving the drinks we’re proud of?


Written by Nick

8 October, 2008 at 2:52 pm

Posted in Coffee

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