It's been thrown around a ton in our coffeehouse to better manage the quality and freshness of our brewed coffee by using some method OTHER THAN what we are using currently... We brew up to three different selections (not including a decaf) into 2.2 liter airpots and allow the customers to self-serve.

Here is our issue: our shop was never known for coffee (despite the word "coffeehouse" being part of the name). Everyone came for the sandwiches and whatnot... woopdidoo! WE WANT COFFEE RECOGNITION! It's been tough turning the long-established poor coffee preparation (i.e. espresso) techniques into the quality and carefully-executed process we work hard to maintain today. So since we took ownership, espresso drink quality and consistency has excelled tremendously.

I now feel that, while we by no means serve a poor cup of brewed coffee (it is certainly a good cup), we need to focus on extracting the full potential in our brewed coffees through either a pour-over drip station method, or french press, or even both (maybe even offering all THREE methods, including a drip option from an airpot). And this is the root of my little quandry! I need advice, testimonial, whatever you can give me to help me better make my decision on the switch... BUT please keep in mind that it is basically tradition that I am working to squash here, and I want to be able to minimize the aggression from those customers who rely on their $1.50 ("too expensive," they say), sneak-a-refill coffee from those lovely (...) airpots.

Thanks in advance
Joey Trujillo

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What we do- and it still may be a compromise to ultimate quality- is to brew a decaf, medium blend, and a dark roast into 2.2 litre airpots. We also brew two French Presses of a single origin of the day and pour into a 2.5 litre airpot.The other key is that we have the airpots under our control( facing the barista ),which creates interaction and conversation with the cashier and barista. We change the coffee selections daily, so the customer is asked and must decide which one they would like , often after getting a flowing description of the different options.Then -if the customer would like a different coffee that what is out that day we offer an individual French press brewed just for that discerning customer for a higher price. Seems to work-- though still trying to cut the waste on slow afternoons.
It sounds like you are saying that you are happy with your Espresso Drink business but are wanting to build up your Single Origin or Regular or even flavored brewed coffee business. Am I right in that assumption? I would also assume you are starting out with good quality fresh roasted, freshly ground beans? Do you have a good selection of these beans? Something to give your customers a reason to come back daily so they can try a new estate direct coffee & figure out which coffee they like the best. If all of this is the case then the first thing I would do is offer (and make the the customers are aware of it) the option to brew a single cup (whether it be by French Press or Melitta type single cup brew cone which you can pick up both methods together for less than 20.00) of their favorite bean. This lets the customer feel like they have a say in what they drink. Why not, they have a say in what exactly they drink if they order a cappuccino, or latte, or whatever. So why should they have to come into a coffeeshop & be forced to drink the Coffee of the Day if they would prefer to have a Tanzanian Peaberry? So by offering any of the coffee you have available to be brewed to order the customer feels like they are getting to experience the coffee instead of just ordering a cup of whatever coffee is brewed. Plus they also know its fresh since they see you brew it right there. Also make sure you are sampling the daily brew you are making. Sample it to everyone that comes in the store & doesnt order coffee. Everyone that comes in to get a sandwich should be offered a sample to try. Also advertise a Cupping Day. You dont have to do true Cupping method but have a special night where you brew up each of your coffees with a mixture of methods. Just offer everyone a 2oz sample of each one or so. Have a few in airpots with your regular brew method for when they first arrive (make sure you keep them full in the event you get a good crowd) and then while everyone is there talk to them about the different coffees & different methods. Do a few French Press pots right in front of them & let them taste it fresh off the press. Maybe pick up a vacuum press & brew that right in front of them (looks awesome!) Pickup a Chemex brewer (you can get one off their webpage for less than 40.00 & its always good to have around the shop). Just show people the different coffees you offer & the different methods of brewing. Another thing you can do with this is figure out if you customers might be interested in buying the different brewers you are showing to see if its worth you picking up some French Presses, Vacuum Brewers, Chemex Brewers to sell in your shop. Of course also use it to sell pounds of coffee for them to take home. Offer your Bulk Coffee at a sale price for that night for anyone that comes to the Cupping. This will help build drinking customers as well as bulk customers. Dont just do it once, try to offer it monthly. Each month try to add new Coffees to sample so you can get repeat customers in every month to see whats new. Maybe even try to add new brew methods each time (or mix them up so its not always the same). Make it a monthly event & it will grow. Because its not just a sampling, its entertainment. People will start bringing their friends & use it as their weekly outing. Who needs a movie when you can go see coffee brewing up close & personal! Alot of people are hungry for education. Just like people goto Wine Tastings & Dinners, you can try the same thing with Coffee. You wont be able to charge 30-60.00 a seat as I've done in Wine Dinners but hey, who knows what the future holds!

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