I am just curious about this. I'm not sure if a discussion has already been started on this, frankly I'm too lazy to check! When a customer asks what a pour over is, or whatever your shop calls it, how do you explain it to them in a few lines?

Views: 1185

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Phil,

Please don't take this as a personal attack.  But I see and hear your perspective from quite a number of respected people in the industry and I basically just disagree.

Why is it best to go all in on pourovers?  Bars don't go all in on premium liquors.  What are you saying about brewing that makes having both batch and a brewbar hypocritical?  I'm not saying anything like that.  Staff who are engaged will be excited to do manual brews even if it is more difficult, especially because it involves higher tip percentages in most cases.

The notion that some of the people spending money at your business aren't really your customers is dangerous.  Furthermore, it's this attitude that accelerates the alienation you deny.  

Most people do not do terribly inconvenient things in the morning before they've had any coffee, this is why location is so important.  It's not a bad thing.  It's just a simple fact    Customers being there "for some other reason" isn't a bad thing either.  People love caffeine, excellent customer service, comfortable or stylish cafe spaces, meeting friends etc. If you scare everyone except for people that travel long distances for the creamy lemon curry notes  and then spit into a cup because they don't need the caffeine then all three of your customers for the day will be industry people and you'll be in business for around a week.

As far as staffing: Well though out training with incentives and raises for demonstrated progress in technique and knowledge will go a long way. A new manager firing long-time employees for lack of enthusiasm about a new way of doing things can be terrible for trust and morale.  Especially if there's not a clearly laid out set of expectations for improvements in technique and knowledge.

Sorry for the rant.  I think Brady is spot on for this topic.

John P said:

Phil,

 

I think your idea of adding espresso first is a sound one. It gives everyone a chance for greater interaction with the customers and more education by the cup.

 

When you look to implement pour over, it's best to go all in. You can't do both pour over and batch-brewed drip. It shows both the employees and the customers that you don't believe in what you are saying, and it encourages the employees to let the pour over take a back seat because they perceive it as more "difficult".

 

The notion that you alienate customers is not true at all. Your idea of adding espresso first is sound because it allows progression. As you move forward and serve a higher quality beverage you lead your customers and they will follow. Those who don't come really weren't your customers to begin with, they were there for convenience or some other reason. Just let the coffee do the talking and customers will eagerly follow where you take them.

 

Also (if it's your call) you need to take a hard look at the current staff and find those who are on board and passionate about coffee and replace those who are not. Perhaps they've never been introduced to good coffee or espresso, so give them all a fair shake, but as you know, the barista are the core, the face or what's going on, if they aren't all in, there's really no place for them.

 

Good luck and happy brewing!

 

 

James, I'm not sure what we disagree on. I think it would be a bad decision given our model to go all pour over. I think there are places where it works well and places it doesn't. I don't think it would for us, I decided to add espresso instead. I completely agree that there is a market for drip and pour over.
Thanks for the response, I think you were directing that at John P...

John P said:

Phil,

 

I think your idea of adding espresso first is a sound one. It gives everyone a chance for greater interaction with the customers and more education by the cup.

 

When you look to implement pour over, it's best to go all in. You can't do both pour over and batch-brewed drip. It shows both the employees and the customers that you don't believe in what you are saying, and it encourages the employees to let the pour over take a back seat because they perceive it as more "difficult".

 

The notion that you alienate customers is not true at all. Your idea of adding espresso first is sound because it allows progression. As you move forward and serve a higher quality beverage you lead your customers and they will follow. Those who don't come really weren't your customers to begin with, they were there for convenience or some other reason. Just let the coffee do the talking and customers will eagerly follow where you take them.

 

Also (if it's your call) you need to take a hard look at the current staff and find those who are on board and passionate about coffee and replace those who are not. Perhaps they've never been introduced to good coffee or espresso, so give them all a fair shake, but as you know, the barista are the core, the face or what's going on, if they aren't all in, there's really no place for them.

 

Good luck and happy brewing!

 

 

Yeah, I did write that in response to John P's perspective.  Sorry for the mixup.

Phil, 

 

You can assess your own situation. But I don't offer my perspective lightly, and my reputation is sound. I am speaking as an owner who has done nothing but espresso and single cup brewing in a city not known for caffeine consumption.

 

Having concerns in terms of "how" when making a major change is reasonable. Having fears or doubts will handcuff you. If you're not prepared to be bold and confident with what you are doing when it comes to single cup brewing, you will not succeed. And if you do not deliver in the cup, especially when going the pour over route, you will fail miserably.

 

By the cup brewing is not for everyone, but it can work all places. How not to do it is easy. How to do it takes a little planning. Your OP was a great question. It seems like you do understand that it's a major upgrade. Assess and take time to plan accordingly. Plan for the long term, it's difficult to change your entire game overnight.  But as far as perspective, the only relevant perspective is from those who are doing it successfully. 

 

John, thanks again for the response. This thread really had nothing to do with implementing an all pour over brewing program, but just how we inform/educate customers that are unfamiliar with the process.
Again, if all we did was focus on coffee, it would be an easier move if that's the route we wanted to go. If our staff were all passionate about coffee and our traffic count were much lower it would be an easier move. I know you can achieve quality and consistency in a very high traffic area doing all pour over. I spent a lot of time at Intelligentsia after they made the switch. I saw the number of staff dedicated to the pour over bar that it took to achieve all of that. I also know that their staff were all passionate about coffee and that's really the only thing they focused on there.
My experience has taught me quite a bit about the industry. One of the main things, which has been mentioned in a couple responses to this thread,is that you really must know your market. Customers currently and eagerly paying for their drip coffee are still your customers. I think we can still serve great coffee using any method. I went all pour over at my first shop back in 2005 before it became the trend it is today and it workers well for that market, even though our customers weren't highly educated. It was a great fit there. I offered both at our high volume shop in Boston, and that was a good fit there. I think the route we are heading here is a good fit given our market, staff, and current circumstances. Ideally, I would the roaster from the small warehouse we currently use and lease a space on Main street in the heart of the village where we would roast, offer pour over and espresso. I'd love to minimize our offerings to things we do exceptionally well.
Were I the owner, I think thats the route I would choose. We are going to meet and hopefully surpass our customers expectations in every area we can in our given market and hopefully employ change where the opportunity is there. It seems like its an easy decision to discount any other way of running a business other than the way each person here runs theirs. Everyone wants to believe that what they are doing is the right way or the best way for any given market, which is reasonable because if we thought there was a better way we would hopefully change and do things differently. Not every circumstance is the same and we should focus on serving our market to the best of our ability and seek out training to address any issues that may be compromising to our values.
If coffee shops were so cookie cutter, everyone would be opening and running shops in every kind of market with success. Different markets require different setups and that what makes visiting local shops around the world so interesting and fun! We also learn a lot by visiting these different shops and hopefully implement changes that are effective in similar settings.
Thanks again for the great responses. Sometimes when people are so passionate about what they do in an industry they are equally passionate about, it's easy to want to be seen as a leader and want to be right about how they run things. I'm sure what you do is right and exceptional given your circumstances. I just hope that there isn't this need to act like every other way is wrong.

John P said:

Phil, 

 

You can assess your own situation. But I don't offer my perspective lightly, and my reputation is sound. I am speaking as an owner who has done nothing but espresso and single cup brewing in a city not known for caffeine consumption.

 

Having concerns in terms of "how" when making a major change is reasonable. Having fears or doubts will handcuff you. If you're not prepared to be bold and confident with what you are doing when it comes to single cup brewing, you will not succeed. And if you do not deliver in the cup, especially when going the pour over route, you will fail miserably.

 

By the cup brewing is not for everyone, but it can work all places. How not to do it is easy. How to do it takes a little planning. Your OP was a great question. It seems like you do understand that it's a major upgrade. Assess and take time to plan accordingly. Plan for the long term, it's difficult to change your entire game overnight.  But as far as perspective, the only relevant perspective is from those who are doing it successfully. 

 

Phil,

It sounds like you have a good direction that works for you.

Keep brewing great coffee!

Reply to Discussion

RSS

Barista Exchange Partners

Barista Exchange Friends

Keep Barista Exchange Free

Are you enjoying Barista Exchange? Is it helping you promote your business and helping you network in this great industry? Donate today to keep it free to all members. Supporters can join the "Supporters Group" with a donation. Thanks!

Clicky Web Analytics

© 2019   Created by Matt Milletto.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service