Sometimes we get a request for espresso "to go." We just pour it into a heated 8 oz paper cup, since that is the smallest size cup we carry. However, the presentation of espresso to go in an 8 oz cup is not very attractive. We don't encourage espresso to go at all, but when a customer wants it this way, what is the best way to present it visually? Does anyone have any suggestions in an attractive "to go" espresso cup?

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Just don't serve it. The espresso isn't going to be as great served out of paper, you leave yourself open to the "ghetto latte," and you're wasting a cup that if a person consumes espresso like most do, they will be throwing away less than a minute later.
I've found that more people than not are receptive to the concept if you ask them if they want it in a ceramic cup for the short while.

I'll be honest though, i get espresso to go more often than I'd like to admit. I prefer it in a 12oz cup with no lid. Saves the .04 for the shop and it allows me to stick my nose inside the cup to smell the deliciousness as i taste it. Even though the shot quality is not peak, it intensifies another sense in there that i enjoy.

As far as presentation, i think the only way would be no lid to show off the creme?
No espresso to go. Espresso should very much be enjoyed at the bar in ceramic.
The best response I've seen to keeping customers from ordering spro-to-go is a picture I saw on flickr. On the companies menu board it lists a double espresso as $2.00 and below that it list a double espresso "to go" as $10.00. Creative way to keep espresso in ceramic. If I find the picture I'll post it.
I've NEVER understood this. I almost feel like some customers do it just cause they know it annoys us... but find that really hard to believe. I had a customer a few weeks ago ask for it to go. I really, really tried to convince him that it would be SO much better in ceramic, but no, it had to be to go.

I'll give you 1 guess where that paper cup went.

That's right... the trash can next to the door, on his way out.

Solo makes a 4 oz paper cup that we stock for giving coffee samples ("here, try this" works far better than a lengthy flavor description) scoobie snacks for good customers, and the dreaded "to-go" espresso.

You could also buy some super-cheap demis to have on hand just for that occasion. Explain why you refuse to serve it in paper, and ask them to bring it back on their next visit.

If you do end up serving it in a to-go... do it in a 12oz and charge them for the cup. Explain that the cost of a paper cup is not built in to the drink cost, as it is a very strange and unusual request.

By the way, my absolute worst was a customer that I had last year (at a different shop). She'd stopped in on her morning walk and decided that she would be nice and get a double to-go for her husband to have when she got back to the house. She lived some distance away, and it was cold out. I pre-heated the paper cup, apologized to the shot as it dribbled sadly in, and lidded it up.
Carol Kerchner said:
I have a few of my customers that are bakers. They have ask for ground espress for there baking needs. So I have come up with my sample bags with about 2.0 oz of epresso in each bag & then they are sealed. I charge them about $2.00 This way I make a few a week,, and they are great stocking stuffers too for the ones that get espresso machine for x-mas.

Hi Carol.

Your baker customers probably don't really want ground espresso. Most recipes that I've run across that use espresso mean the instant "espresso" powder that outfits like King Arthur sell. The two are definitely not interchangeable... espresso powder dissolves in the wet ingredients, the ground espresso obviously doesn't. YMMV, but it might pay to check.

What does work very well is to substitute some brewed espresso for some of the liquid called for in the recipe. I've sent slightly cooled ristretto doubles home with people in those little 2oz plastic lidded solo portion cups that we use for cream cheese.
"Just Say NO".

For a brief time we did into 4 oz. paper and knew it was just... stupid.
Either you want espresso or you don't. There really is no argument that can be made for serving it "to go".
Espresso is ordered, we get on it right away, into the demitasse with a small side of Pellegrino (or similar).
We haven't had any demands or complaints.
Carol Kerchner said:
NO, they need my espresso ground,,,, they been using it for now over 4 years, so the cakes and bread have been great.

Great! Glad to hear that. I just threw that in because many people (even bakers) that haven't worked bar don't necessarily understand the difference between the two ingredients. My wife is a pretty serious home baker that uses espresso in many recipes, and I know that she would never substitute one for the other. I can't imagine that the texture that ground espresso brings to the cake is all that great, but maybe that isn't such a big deal. I will not argue with someone that's been using it for 4 years and is happy with the results.
Carol Kerchner said:
funny , most of the bakers that I deal with are full time chefs.. I have one,, customer that calls me to send some to the White House.

Again, I will not argue with someone that's been using it for 4 years and is happy with the results. I was just suggesting that if an average baker comes in and asks for espresso for use in baking, that it might be a good idea for the barista to verify that ground espresso was actually what they wanted. We aren't all selling to bakers that bake for the president, you know... some of our customers can use a hand with stuff like this.

I'm terribly sorry to have questioned your approach here. I had no idea that you were selling espresso to the president. Please accept my apologies. I'll make sure to tell my wife that she doesn't know anything, since she only bakes for our family.
We use a 4oz. disposable Solo brand cup. We even have lids for them, in case they ask for one.

We do use a brief disclaimer about the espresso tasting much better in a ceramic cup, and when enjoyed immediatly.
I haven't found a really great way to say this without sounding argumentative.
We too have a 4oz cup... but we use this more these days for samplers etc at events. I agree with John, briefing the staff on the disclaimer on qualiyt is important. The 4oz are though a cute piece of mobile advertising

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