Serving quality coffee in a coffee shop
We would all like good coffee in our coffee shop, but how do you ensure that you get good coffee? Is it about finding a good coffee supplier? Or is it just the training?
Serving quality coffee in a coffee shop is a combination of a small number of things. You can't just buy high quality coffee and expect to always have excellent coffee for your customers. Quality coffee in your coffee shop is a combination of:
Quality coffee beans and fresh coffee
There is no barista in the world that can make an excellent cup of coffee without quality coffee beans.
The only way to find good quality beans is to research. The best rule is to make sure that you find a coffee that is very easy to drink and full of flavour. There is a good chance that your customers will like the coffee when you like it.
You also want to get coffee from a coffee supplier who can supply you with coffee that is roasted fresh. Ideally you need to have a roasting date on the packaging which tells you how fresh the coffee is. Coffee is very much like bread and needs to be fresh. Ideally within a month from roasting and within a couple of days of opening.
You can work with a blend of beans or with a single origin coffee. Usually a blend of beans works better as it is easier to maintain the same flavours throughout the season by adjusting the blend. The roaster can also create unique flavours with a blend which can not be found in a single bean.
In the end, look for a coffee that is smooth with lots of flavour. That kind of coffee that is easy to drink and makes you want to drink more. When you sample the coffee make sure though that it has been made correctly. There is no point sampling coffee if the coffee has been extracted incorrectly so we advice that you first learn all about coffee during a barista training course and then go out and sample coffees. Or you might just find the perfect coffee during the training course.
Your coffee is only as good as the last coffee you served. Every cup of coffee is important and it's vital that you and your staff know how to make good coffee. Making good coffee is not rocket science but it's very important to receive quality barista training before you work behind a commercial espresso machine.
Barista training also gives you and your staff confidence in coffee making. You should know by just looking at the coffee whether it's any good or not. Barista training can do this for you.
Quality coffee machines
Coffee is influenced by many factors such as temperatures and pressures. This means that you need to be able to adjust a coffee machine to the correct settings such as dosages and fineness. The best machines for this are coffee grinders and traditional espresso coffee machines.
We strongly recommend to stay away from bean-to-cup machines as much as possible if you are looking for the highest quality where baristas are at work. Anything that is fully automatic is more likely to break down and will almost always result in a lower quality. Bean-to-cup machines are usually more expensive than traditional espresso machines. Of course bean-to-cup machine work in many places such as self service areas but in coffee shops we recommend espresso machines.
The choice is obviously yours. However, we believe that the skill is in the barista, the coffee and the coffee machine. Not just the coffee and the coffee machine.
Last but not least! The cups are extremely important.
The material used is important for the feel and the size determines the strength of the coffee. Smaller cups usually gives stronger coffees than larger cups. This is only applicable to espresso based coffees, not to cafetiere and filter coffees.
A cappuccino in a 6 oz cup with 1 shot espresso will be stronger than a cappuccino in a 8 oz cup with 1 shot espresso. The ratio of espresso to milk or espresso to water is important.
We recommend to try different cup sizes with your coffee. The only way to find out what works well with your coffee is to trial and error. Simply make some cappuccinos and caffe lattes in different cups and see which ones taste the best. Remember that a cappuccino should taste slightly stronger than a caffe latte.
I have just returned from 2 days training with Stuart and the team at Limini. The course was excellent: Stuart's enthusasim was infectious. I would highly recommend the 2 day course for all who are considering opening a coffee shop. Thanks. - Gareth