Friday, 23 March 2012

Roast of the day

If there is one thing that I’m passionate about it’s fresh coffee.  I don’t care how you extract it, aeropress, v60, espresso, French press, chemex, whatever floats your boat.  But when it comes to buying fresh coffee I offer my café customers one option and that is to buy Irish roasted.  Irish roasted coffee can come in many guises, from small artisan specialists to big commercial roasters.  But the most important factor is that your coffee is fresh – and that is the key to any great food offering.  (yes, coffee is a food!)  Freshly roasted, freshly ground and each cup made to order – you won’t go far wrong.

When I say freshly roasted coffee – by that I mean coffee roasted at absolute maximum within the last 4 weeks.  We don’t have to accept stock piled coffee that sits on pallets in Italy or the UK, maybe roasted 3 months ago and with a shelf life of 2 years – we’ve moved on.  It’s time to support local suppliers and buy Irish. Your customers will appreciate you for it, and you’ll have a happier conscience too.   

Like cooking, roasting is a skill where the specific pleasant flavours and tastes within the bean are identified by the roaster through the roasting process.  When roasted, these flavours are then magnified through the extraction.  So in short, properly sourced, quality beans, roasted with skill and precision will taste of fantastic ripe fruits, will posses great body and length, a balanced acidity and punch, and will linger in your mouth with a smooth and velvety feel.  It’s a skill that takes years to perfect and understand and if you are passionate about coffee and want your customers to be interested in what you offer, I encourage you to go beyond the bag and find out more.  

Finally don’t get consumed by price when choosing your coffee supplier.  A euro difference per kilo from one supplier to the other in the price nets down to little over half a cent per shot when you get to the bottom line.  It could be the difference between losing a customer forever or winning one for life.

The Barista Boom

Article from Totally Dublin magazine Issue 90 - March 2012
Yeah we’ve had baby booms, but there is definitely a Barista Boom going on at the moment. The whole coffee experience has shifted, black mugs of day old stewed filter and free refills are no more   …thank god.  Coffee now has a standard.

The word barista is of Italian origin, and when you think of passion, the Italians have it in buckets full.
Barista’s take pride in the coffee they sell, and how they make it.  And this desire for perfection, encourages their customers to come back time and time again.  It’s no use if you are to set up a café to just open the doors and hope the customers will come in, you have to create something different, an experience. You have to display a passion and enthusiasm for what you do, and this can be translated to the customer for between €2 and €3 a cup. 

Café’s all around Dublin have copped onto this, and the results are fabulous coffee served with care and pride in places such as Clement and Pekoe (South William st), Cup (Nassau street), 3fe (capel Street) and Thirdspace (Smithfield).   If you run a café and need to do something about your offering you can take various barista training courses at Coffee Culture, run every month in Dublin, or catered specifically to your property.  More and more café’s are seeing the benefits of employing baristas.  Not only are they a skilled and educated barperson, but they engage with your customers, and take them on a coffee journey.  More importantly they bring your customers back for the experience, time and time again.