Out of curiosity , In your shops respectively, what are some customer requests that you absolutely cannot/ will not comply with?

Do you make a 20 oz caramel breve with whip?

Do you pull a long shot?

Do you make a 200?

do you Ice the espresso or serve it to go?

Which rules are yours personally , which ones are store policy?

I've got a few of these myself but I would really like to hear from some others.

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Melissa,
I like it.
Joseph

Melissa said:
with the exception of an iced capp, i rarely say no to anyone. HOWEVER, if you are going to come into my shop and request something rediculous, you are going to pay for it. For instance the woman standing at my counter right now who wants a decaf latte made with half soy and half rice milk. She got charged for an extra shot of espresso and both soy and rice. She didn't blink an eye so I assume I'm not the only one to have done that to her, tehehe
I try to keep things as simple as possible for my customers and still educate them when I can.
Joseph

Joseph Robertson said:
I make them all the time. Answer IMO is yes. A soy Latte.

stephanie crocker said:
what about when a customer asks for an americano with steamed soy? Isn't that basically a latte?
I never said I wouldn't make a drink "extra hot", but I would never steam past 160-170. The milk starts to burn around 180, and I wouldn't be willing to compromise my drinks quality based on something they've probably heard in the line at Charbucks. Also, the milk heats up more quickly around 160-170, so stopping it before 180 is much harder.
Same here, Jason. Sometimes less is more when it comes to lengthy explanations for customers.
I try and do what is right for my coffee that I take great pains to roast just right. My go cups are the insulated type and hold the heat very well. If the customer doesn't come back because I don't scald the milk......Oh well.
Joseph
-- Ambassador for Specialty Coffee and palate reform.

Jason Dominy said:
I never said I wouldn't make a drink "extra hot", but I would never steam past 160-170. The milk starts to burn around 180, and I wouldn't be willing to compromise my drinks quality based on something they've probably heard in the line at Charbucks. Also, the milk heats up more quickly around 160-170, so stopping it before 180 is much harder.
Things we say no to:

o 20+ ounce drinks (we don't have that size)
o blended drinks (we don't have a blender)
o whipped cream (we don't have whipped cream)
o any change to the way we pull shots
o making a cappuccino other than 6 oz (everything larger is a latte)
o steam milk over 160 degrees
o free refills (every drink is paid for, every time)
o loyalty cards (the best coffee in town isn't free, even after 10 visits)

We will

o make an espresso, macchiato, or cappuccino to go
o put espresso on ice
o flavor a cappuccino (which we put it in an 8 oz cup)
Steve,
Thanks for this. We pretty much fall in line with your format.
Joe

Steve Belt said:
Things we say no to:

o 20+ ounce drinks (we don't have that size)
o blended drinks (we don't have a blender)
o whipped cream (we don't have whipped cream)
o any change to the way we pull shots
o making a cappuccino other than 6 oz (everything larger is a latte)
o steam milk over 160 degrees
o free refills (every drink is paid for, every time)
o loyalty cards (the best coffee in town isn't free, even after 10 visits)

We will

o make an espresso, macchiato, or cappuccino to go
o put espresso on ice
o flavor a cappuccino (which we put it in an 8 oz cup)
There's one thing I wish I would say no to, but don't: Grind whole bean coffee to go. I have a tough time turning away the sale to a customer that doesn't have or want to grind coffee at home. If I were the purist I aspire to be, I'd flat say no.

Instead, I really need to stock some grinder options for sale in the shop, so I can sell whole bean coffee and a grinder, even if I don't make a nickel on the grinder (though that's foolish).
Steve

My pet peeve as well!
We do a farmers market and I'd say at least 80% of our customers who ask us to grind their coffee have a grinder at home, that they just don't use! They have many excuses and know that grinding fresh is the way to go, but are just too lazy when it comes down to it!
That why so many people have moved to K-cups and pod machines! My Biggest Annoyance!! And the scourge of our industry.
There is a “slow food movement” and the coffee industry should become a part of this.


Steve Belt said:
There's one thing I wish I would say no to, but don't: Grind whole bean coffee to go. I have a tough time turning away the sale to a customer that doesn't have or want to grind coffee at home. If I were the purist I aspire to be, I'd flat say no.

Instead, I really need to stock some grinder options for sale in the shop, so I can sell whole bean coffee and a grinder, even if I don't make a nickel on the grinder (though that's foolish).
Relate it to uncorking a bottle of wine for someone, that normally helps paint a clearer picture. Tell them,

"If you had a corkscrew at home, you wouldn't have me uncork a bottle for you, would you? This is along the same lines. Once coffee is ground it looses 60% of it's aromatics in 15 minutes... 15. Your coffee will be 60% less exciting by the time you get home."

-bry
If someone comes into my shop and asks to have a $14 twelve oz bag of 84+ coffee within a week of roast date ground for them, we'll happily do it. That's pretty much the only coffee we carry. Why would I even think of saying no?

So what if the ground coffee isn't in the most pristine, pure state when the customer opens that bag tomorrow morning? It's still going to taste far better than what they could buy at my local competition. Once they get used to having it every morning, they'll be hooked in short time and come back for more.

What's next, only selling whole bean if the customer can prove they have at least a Vario for the sake of being a purist?

We don't stock grinders. We used to until it became clear we were sinking a ton of working capital into product with very slow turnover. We have a short list of grinders we recommend and a list of online sources with the best prices for them.

Hell, we don't even have a problem recommending the customer buys a cheap blade grinder if they're using a filter drip method and that's what they can afford (we'll recommend a hand grinder if they use a press pot and can't swing a burr grinder, or sell them a Clever dripper). We'll give them suggestions on agitation and dwell time to improve what that blade can deliver. But we think it would be silly to suggest the customer has to drop $200 on a burr grinder before they can buy coffee from us.

As long as we're responding, we will also happily make a 10oz cappuccino. Ratios are the same. Hell, you can even find that drink in Italy. But flavor a cappuccino? That's a gas station drink. We'll make a latte instead (noting that in watching barista competitions, the distinction between latte and cappuccino seems to have all but disappeared). Espresso over ice? Not exactly - but we'll do a Shakerato.


Steve Belt said:
There's one thing I wish I would say no to, but don't: Grind whole bean coffee to go. I have a tough time turning away the sale to a customer that doesn't have or want to grind coffee at home. If I were the purist I aspire to be, I'd flat say no.
Instead, I really need to stock some grinder options for sale in the shop, so I can sell whole bean coffee and a grinder, even if I don't make a nickel on the grinder (though that's foolish).
Rich,

As James Hoffman wrote (on a thread you participated in) in his blog,"A couple of people seemed borderline outraged at the suggestion that they actually had to grind their coffee just before brewing to get a fresh cup. I asked if they had a pepper mill. They said yes. I asked if they used it and if they considered it worthwhile. They said they did, and I tried not to flog a dead horse."

James nailed a perfect analogy.

We rarely have anyone ask if we have ground coffee. I think I've had maybe three people ask this year, and two of them bought grinders on the spot. The third came back a couple of days later and said they were borrowing a grinder from their sister because they had to throw away the coffee they bought from another local shop.

As I wrote on my blog two weeks ago, "...Coffee should always be sold fresh-roasted, and whole bean. Quality is not an inconvenience."

I say, look to the heavens with demitasse on outstretched hand and as the light glistens off of your rusted chiffon crema, ask WWSD? "What Would Schomer Do?" - Whole bean only, of course.
Could not be put in any better words John.

John P said:
Rich,

As James Hoffman wrote (on a thread you participated in) in his blog,"A couple of people seemed borderline outraged at the suggestion that they actually had to grind their coffee just before brewing to get a fresh cup. I asked if they had a pepper mill. They said yes. I asked if they used it and if they considered it worthwhile. They said they did, and I tried not to flog a dead horse."

James nailed a perfect analogy.

We rarely have anyone ask if we have ground coffee. I think I've had maybe three people ask this year, and two of them bought grinders on the spot. The third came back a couple of days later and said they were borrowing a grinder from their sister because they had to throw away the coffee they bought from another local shop.

As I wrote on my blog two weeks ago, "...Coffee should always be sold fresh-roasted, and whole bean. Quality is not an inconvenience."

I say, look to the heavens with demitasse on outstretched hand and as the light glistens off of your rusted chiffon crema, ask WWSD? "What Would Schomer Do?" - Whole bean only, of course.

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