All right, so we figured out the grinder dilemma (Bunn G1), the nixing of flavored coffees. Now, what equipment do you use for hot water? What is the process you employ?

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Bunn HWT-5 or 10, Fetco HWB-5 or 10, or the new Curtis Aeration Water Tower. Really, they're all about the same. The difference is the capacity you think you will need and the size. Both the Bunn and Fetco 5 gallon towers are roughly the same size, while the Curtis is shorter but stouter.

Both Bunn and Fetco also make 2.5 gallon models that are even 120v powered. These are good for low volume because the 120v means longer recovery time. I just bought the Bunn HWT-2 for our new cupping lab.

Another lower cost alternative is to utilize the Hoshizaki line of electric water heaters (about $130) or the Bodum or Capresso hot water kettles ($35-60). These, of course, require you to constantly fill the vessels and anticipate demand.
I didn't realize that Hoshizaki made water boilers. I did a google search (of course... yay google) but didn't find anything on them. Link or something?

For our teas and when we do cuppings we just use a few Zojirushi electric water boilers/heaters. They are pretty cheap, and do just fine for our needs.

I would really suggest, as Jay mentioned, going with a larger water boiler if you can afford it, unless you don't plan to have a lot of volume. But you have to remember, you could get stuck with cold water if you get caught with a rush beyond your capabilities.

-bry
Agreed with the towers discussed.

As I mentioned on the other thread, one way to do it is to pick a size, pick a coffee or three, and pre-portion a couple of servings of your beans in those smallest glad or ziplock plastic containers. Then you can just pop open a container and toss them in the grinder when you get an order.

One thing that I've noticed, even with our limited number of brew-to-order customers, is that too many choices can be a problem. Saying "we can brew any of our coffees" gets me a blank stare. If I start rattling off more than a couple of coffees they glaze over. However, if I follow up "we can brew anything we have" with "but today I recommend..." and pick three that I know are really good this week, are popular choices, and represent a variety of flavors, they are usually happy.

A printed menu with some tasting highlights is nice... but we all know that some on the list happen to be better options than others today, so I like communicating that. Plus, you have an opportunity to get the message across that coffee is dynamic, and that what's good today may be different tomorrow and next week. And you get the message across that YOU understand this and that you can be trusted to take care of them. This is the beauty of this sort of approach.

Incidentally, I'm in the process of planning this fall's Southeast Regional BGA jam and one of the workshops on the schedule will be on manual brew methods in a coffeehouse environment. This will be held in Charlotte NC on the weekend of November 13th. I know you are looking to start up your program sooner than that, but you may want to think about coming up for that. I'll be posting more on this event in the next couple of weeks, but since we're talking about it I though it was worth mentioning.
Brady,

Most definitely send me an invite for that. I would love to get some experience and info, plus have some fun!

Brady said:
Agreed with the towers discussed.

As I mentioned on the other thread, one way to do it is to pick a size, pick a coffee or three, and pre-portion a couple of servings of your beans in those smallest glad or ziplock plastic containers. Then you can just pop open a container and toss them in the grinder when you get an order.

One thing that I've noticed, even with our limited number of brew-to-order customers, is that too many choices can be a problem. Saying "we can brew any of our coffees" gets me a blank stare. If I start rattling off more than a couple of coffees they glaze over. However, if I follow up "we can brew anything we have" with "but today I recommend..." and pick three that I know are really good this week, are popular choices, and represent a variety of flavors, they are usually happy.

A printed menu with some tasting highlights is nice... but we all know that some on the list happen to be better options than others today, so I like communicating that. Plus, you have an opportunity to get the message across that coffee is dynamic, and that what's good today may be different tomorrow and next week. And you get the message across that YOU understand this and that you can be trusted to take care of them. This is the beauty of this sort of approach.

Incidentally, I'm in the process of planning this fall's Southeast Regional BGA jam and one of the workshops on the schedule will be on manual brew methods in a coffeehouse environment. This will be held in Charlotte NC on the weekend of November 13th. I know you are looking to start up your program sooner than that, but you may want to think about coming up for that. I'll be posting more on this event in the next couple of weeks, but since we're talking about it I though it was worth mentioning.
Brady said:


One thing that I've noticed, even with our limited number of brew-to-order customers, is that too many choices can be a problem. Saying "we can brew any of our coffees" gets me a blank stare. If I start rattling off more than a couple of coffees they glaze over. However, if I follow up "we can brew anything we have" with "but today I recommend..." and pick three that I know are really good this week, are popular choices, and represent a variety of flavors, they are usually happy.

A printed menu with some tasting highlights is nice... but we all know that some on the list happen to be better options than others today, so I like communicating that. Plus, you have an opportunity to get the message across that coffee is dynamic, and that what's good today may be different tomorrow and next week. And you get the message across that YOU understand this and that you can be trusted to take care of them. This is the beauty of this sort of approach.

Agree. While I "offer" about a dozen choices and have a brewed to order menu, when someone asks for a "house coffee" that tells me they aren't that deep into coffee. We simply ask "do you prefer a medium roast or a bit darker roast". Then brew either my McLoughlin House Blend or Vienna Gloriette Blend. I learned the hard way never to brew extreme taste coffees for the person who just want a "cup of coffee." No fruity DP even if it is a spectacular Idido Misty Valley , no spicy earthy but clean Sumatra, no floral citrus Yirg' etc. Those are for the real coffee people:-)
Bry-

You're right, the boilers I'm thinking of are Zojirushi (my favorite rice cooker manufacturer) and not Hoshizaki (putting together refrigerator orders so it's on the mind).
Right now I'm using two 5L Zojirushi's set to hold temp at 208f. Work marvelously for pour-over. Key is to work out of only one keeping the other to swap out since it takes about 45min from cold fill up to temp. While the Zoji's work very well, holding temp spot on, it is a hassle when busy swapping and manually filling 'em 4 or 5 times in the morning and plan to install a water tower soon.
Mike I know I've been asking a lot of "numbers" questions from you recently, but I am thinking of going to a pour over (we roll with airpots standard with option for chemex or press right now) and am wondering if we would be able to keep up if we had a couple 5L boilers.

What would you guess your max output is in the morning over those few busy hours? You can throw money figures or cups at me, either way.

We just don't really have a "rush" at my shop and I think we would be able to get away with 2-3 5L boilers rather than trying to talk the owners into a $1,200 (or however much they are) water tower, at the same time as trying to talk them into a LM machine and some new Mazzers. $400 for three boilers looks so much better on paper than $1,000-$1,500 for a tower.

Thanks mike for your help with the roaster thing and for this one,
-bry

miKe mcKoffee aka Mike McGinness said:
Right now I'm using two 5L Zojirushi's set to hold temp at 208f. Work marvelously for pour-over. Key is to work out of only one keeping the other to swap out since it takes about 45min from cold fill up to temp. While the Zoji's work very well, holding temp spot on, it is a hassle when busy swapping and manually filling 'em 4 or 5 times in the morning and plan to install a water tower soon.
I think Zoirushi's will work for us since the current shop doesn't really go through a rush like that. It gets a constant steady flow. Although until now, it didn't really cater for the early morning crowd.
Question, so you pour water from the boiler into a container and then over the filter? Do you loose a lot of temp this way? Or is there another way of doing this?
I don't think I would really recommend the zojirushi pots unless you were operating under severe capital restrictions. If you're really going to do cup service then you really want the power and convenience of a tower.

A 5 gallon tower should cost you less than $1,000 to purchase. A four cup Tru Bru station is about $400. The Hario gooseneck pots to pour the water cost roughly $75. From there, you'll need counter space, a digital scale and whatever the cost of running a 240v line to the station (if one isn't there already). Total expense to get running should be about $2,000.

The question you need to answer before you go to your masters for the money and approval is: how do you make this addition a money-making proposition? Do you have the space? How many cups to make back the investment? When will the investment turn a profit? Do your homework. Know your business. It's cool that you want to explore by the cup brewing, now it's time to know your craft and demonstrate that it can make money and how. And for that, only you know the answers because they will be specific to your business.
Jay,

Thanks for the advise. The Master is I (and my partner in crime), and the initial investment, well, we open in 8 days. The original shop had a Curtis grinder and airpots from their roaster. Since we are not going forward with the same roaster, we need to acquire pronto whatever we need to do cup service. I figured it will cost me almost the same if I go whichever way and I want to go the pourover bar way. For the reason of quality and the waste.

Jay Caragay said:
I don't think I would really recommend the zojirushi pots unless you were operating under severe capital restrictions. If you're really going to do cup service then you really want the power and convenience of a tower.

A 5 gallon tower should cost you less than $1,000 to purchase. A four cup Tru Bru station is about $400. The Hario gooseneck pots to pour the water cost roughly $75. From there, you'll need counter space, a digital scale and whatever the cost of running a 240v line to the station (if one isn't there already). Total expense to get running should be about $2,000.

The question you need to answer before you go to your masters for the money and approval is: how do you make this addition a money-making proposition? Do you have the space? How many cups to make back the investment? When will the investment turn a profit? Do your homework. Know your business. It's cool that you want to explore by the cup brewing, now it's time to know your craft and demonstrate that it can make money and how. And for that, only you know the answers because they will be specific to your business.
Everyones comments so far are spot on. Ask your new roaster if they can get you a water tower at their price or a nice discount. Since they are not shelling out money for loaned equipment and you are willing to take responsibility for a quality coffee program perhaps they can make a deal. You mentioned waste. We switced from a Curtis double brewer to a bunn HWT 5 a few months ago. We brew French presses in the busy morning along side the pourover brew bar. We don't brew any decaf except pour over. When things slow down around midday we no longer brew the presses. Our customers are getting more educated about the coffees THEY choose and are doing more drip than ever. I know that we are using about 20 lbs less coffee per week since we aren't having to not dump airpots. That saving not only feels good- but it has already paid for the water tower.

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