- The Coffee Appeal
- Formulating a Coffee Menu
- Choosing a Commercial Coffee Machine
- Buying the Right Coffee Grinder
Christmas, a time for fine food and drink, when pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes can expect their tills to be jingling like Christmas bells. Obviously at such a profitable time of year it’s natural that a business will dedicate time and effort to the planning, preparation and creation of spectacular feasts, making sure that the bar is fully stocked with festive favourites and that they’re ready to facilitate the best celebrations around. All areas have been thought of, right? Not necessarily.
What about considering the hot beverage selection on offer? Coffee is a steadfast favourite, a stalwart that never disappoints. However, whilst a core product, will often be overlooked especially at this time of year when the focus is on minced pies, Christmas puds, cocktails and mulled wine. By making sure coffee menus are up to scratch and not overshadowed by other areas, a full, well rounded experience can be enjoyed by all.
The British Coffee Association recently reported that the UK is currently enjoying a massive 95 million cups every day. That’s a lot of caffeine and a huge market to take for granted or worst still, disregard. Source: http://www.britishcoffeeassociation.org/about_coffee/coffee_facts/
With a little thought any business could tap into the massive market potential, if it hasn’t already.
Coffee of all varieties makes surprisingly regular appearances throughout Christmas proceedings, ever present in a number of common scenarios. Think about that coffee enjoyed after dinner, a standard cup or make it an Irish to finish off a meal. Perhaps customers are nipping in for a wake-up shot of caffeine the morning after the night before, a boost of espresso to get them ready for the day ahead or maybe people just want to relax during a break from shopping and hectic festive preparations with a smooth, mellow cappuccino or latte. Whatever the reason for a visit, coffee is a major attraction and an area where businesses need to get it right.
The high street is teeming with artisan coffee houses so it’s essential to make sure other businesses can compete. It’s vital to invest in quality equipment, a selection of the best beans and to arm staff with the right know-how to guarantee propulsion of Christmas coffee sales. By making informed choices now, businesses can take coffee menus from ‘afterthought’ to ‘front runner’.
Developing a successful coffee menu will be dependent on customer demographic. The classics are a must-have but don’t neglect new, emerging coffee trends to entice those a little more adventurous with their beverages.
Embrace the neo and consider including iced coffee, made hot but served over ice to cool, fizzy coffee created with espresso and sparkling water or cold brew coffee, the grounds steeped or macerated in water at room temperature for up to 24 hours. Cold brewing opens up a whole new range of flavours with sweeter, less acidic results making it more palatable when mixed with other ingredients.
Running a line of special Christmas coffees is also a great way to draw attention to hot beverage offerings. Try adding cinnamon, nutmeg or spices, perhaps with a side of gingerbread for that extra special little something.
Experiment with bean selection to deliver a variety of flavours and aromas from rich, deep or earthy to exotic or floral; a full range of characteristics to tantilise every taste bud. Get to know the countries of origin, what to expect from each and their distinguishing features, perhaps even run a poll for customers to find out what they want from a coffee. Getting customer input is a great way to create a new, prosperous menu.
Remember that success isn’t only determined by the types of coffee served and the beans chosen. Be sure to cater for everyone by offering suitable milk alternatives such as free-from, non-dairy, almond or soya etc. Accommodate for the increase in dietary trends and support allergy awareness by making sure hot beverages are tailored to everyone.
Getting the perfect equipment is vital. The choice of coffee machine can make or break a hot beverage menu so making informed choices is essential. Here are a few key areas to consider.
What’s the size of the business? How much coffee needs to be produced? These factors will dictate the size of the machine. Commercial coffee machines will generally have 1, 2, 3 or 4 groups, each group capable of producing two cups (or shots) simultaneously. The number of staff potentially using the equipment at once will also play a deciding role. A 2 group machine isn’t going to be sufficient for three members of staff, all needing drinks at the same time.
Always go with the equipment that best suits demand; too small and investment is wasted, too large and the equipment will be overkill, taking up unnecessary counter space and needless amounts of money. Having said that, think ahead. Planning on expanding in the future? Bear this in mind when making an investment to save having to upgrade later.
As a general rule of thumb a 1 group machine produces up to 50 cups per day, 2 group up to 150 per day, 3 group 150 to 250 shots per day and 4 group 250+ cups of coffee per day.
Top Tip: While most will work out volume over a whole day, it’s advised to instead concentrate on the quantity needed to keep up with demand during the busiest period. It’s no good buying a machine capable of producing 150 cups a day if you need half of those cups in just one hour.
One of the most important decisions is figuring out a budget. The price of a commercial coffee machine will vary based on size, potential output, brand and features. It’s easy to get carried away so be strict and don’t stray out of the set financial parameters.
The quality of the end product is only ever going to be as good as the equipment used to make it, so if serious about coffee allocate as much as possible to the cause; don’t scrimp and then expect professional barista results.
Remember that a quality grinder is just as important so don’t blow the entire budget just on the coffee machine.
Top Tip: Be reasonable. To get a decent commercial machine any business is going to have to stump up the pennies. If the only affordable unit doesn’t offer the production capacity required, it’s will be a waste of money. To help out in these situations where the budget just won’t stretch to what is needed, leasing is available so that every business can get the perfect equipment.
Semi-automatic or automatic? This all depends on the amount of time staff have to dedicate to each cup of coffee. Semi-automatic equipment relies on staff to switch off the flow at the right time meaning that constant supervision is required. Automatic (or volumetric) units time the length of shots, turning themselves off when steeping is complete. Coming into their own in busy settings, these units are ideal where staff have to multitask, pulling shots, steaming milk, taking money and serving tables. Automatic machines will guarantee consistent, repeatable results without worrying about overfilling or ruining the final product.
This area won’t shouldn’t be a deal maker or breaker but is worth a glance. The capacity of the boiler will often correspond to the number of groups the machine has. Remember that this capacity will not only need to serve coffee but may also be used to make tea and power the steam wand.
There’s no point investing in a top of the range coffee machine and spending time choosing the finest selection of beans just to use a substandard grinder that will undo all that hard work. A quality grinder is just as important as these other elements to achieving coffee success. It’s imperative to choose a coffee grinder that can cope during the busiest services, delivering precision and uniformity every time.
While coffee sales continue to soar, don’t forget that tea is still a popular choice. Branch out from the bog-standard options and offer a select range to ensure all guests tastes and preferences are catered for.
Unleash that distinct coffee aroma into your restaurant, bar, pub, café or bistro and entice custom this Christmas.