I'm curious as to how many people have more than one espresso available for their customers (not counting decaf)?
I know that Billy Wilson has three available in his new shop, BARISTA. There are obvious challenges, but it also seems like a great move away from the idea that all espressos have to meet a narrowly defined criteria for mass appeal.
You know David at Vivace does it with his espresso blend and cap blend. At my previous employer we did it with five different blends. The obvious challenge was also the best feature, choice. I tried to teach every customer how to customize the beverage to the specific depth of flavor they wanted to pull through along with how the blends were designed. It was engaging and had a quick way of adding more value to the experience.
Seattle Coffee Works, Sebastian use to tap 5-6 different roasters and a few of his own projects. He served a platter called "the works" and would make 3 espresso of your choice on his perfectly calibrated Synesso, he could make those critical adjustments for temp quickly. For me the biggest issue is only one other of his employees had the same passion as him and she was fantastic at recreating the experience. The other girl couldn't get it together and often complained about the order while preparing it.
Execution is key and I could only imagine temperature stability with easy changing ability, options to change the psi if necessary, dosing grinders are evolving so quickly as well. Obviously knowing the roasters specific dose and extraction requirements and then of course trusting that the minds and hands of your staff in that they will be just as critical as yourself.
sounds fun and challenging...two of my favorite reasons to experiment.
At the moment we have two. Our "house" espresso, which is a slightly altered version of Alterra's OFT espresso (I think it may actually be exactly the same now though), and a rotating "Single Origin" (I realize there has been debate over what constitutes as "Single" origin, be it single farm, single co-op, single region, what have you, so I use the term loosely as this may change from time to time depending on what coffee is in the grinder), and there has been some thought as to adding a third which would be a blend specifically for milk based drinks as our current blend is more of a Bright and Sweet sipping espresso that has a tendency to get washed out in milkier drinks. We try to keep our "SO" espressos up to date with whats in season, so coffees will tend to disappear for months at a time.
The "SO" espressos have been received really well. We have a dry erase board up by where the drinks are served (which is easily visible from the register) that displays what the available espressos are. The first week or so was a little dicey, and nobody really knew what it was, but it has since become kind of a staple item at the shop. It's nice to see people who weren't "coffee people" before suddenly get excited when you have their favorite spro in the hopper. I have found an odd phenomenon with a small group of people though, you wont see them in the shop, or they're ordering hot chocolates and mochas, until you are pulling a specific espresso, then all the sudden they're popping in ordering macchiatos and double espressos. I think it could be a useful way of introducing people to new, more traditional, drinks.
My shop has three grinders. Decaf, house espresso, and a third that's mostly for our experimentation and fun, but when we throw some beans in that produce a great tasting shot, we love offering it to customers. It's definitely a great talking point, and a great training aid for the less experiences of us that haven't had the opportunity to try out a wide variety of beans as espresso.
Currently running 3 espresso grinders: main blend, decaf & SO/Guest blend. Was running 4 (2 SO/Guest blend) but needed the space when switched from Press of the day to airpots to instead 4 station pour over to order last November. Currently 6 pour over on demand choices, vast majority of customers love it. Lost a few who where/are always in a hurry in the morning but would rather loose a few (who don't care that much about quality) and be known for the best, freshest, brewed just for you cup in town. Of course using a 4th grinder for the pourover, but when had 4 espresso grinders it was #5.
We also run 3 grinders in store- 2 different espresso blnds and one for SO shots (a rotating singale origin). Th most I have seen in and store was at Del Doge in Venice where, I believe, they had 12 grinders servicing 3 espresso machines!!
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