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Introduction by David Beeman, Global Customized Water

Connecting the Dots

Categories: 2015, JuneTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

filtrationWater fil­tra­tion is the lynch­pin of fla­vor in the cof­fee indus­try. Without the PROPER water all the expen­sive cof­fee brew­ing equip­ment will deliver fla­vor pro­file that fails to live up to the expec­ta­tions of the buyer and the man­u­fac­turer, and most impor­tant to all, the customer.

Coffee equip­ment man­u­fac­tur­ers and grow­ers are push­ing the sci­ence of brew­ing to a true art form. Parameters have emerged, such as: tem­per­a­ture sta­bil­ity, con­tact vari­abil­ity, con­tact time, grind par­ti­cle size, spray head design, and so many unseen char­ac­ter­is­tics achieved at the grower level. All these incred­i­ble efforts designed to cre­ate the per­fect cup are mean­ing­less if the chem­istry of the water doesn’t allow for fla­vor and aroma extraction.

The min­eral bal­ance in water reacts with com­pounds in cof­fee to cre­ate spe­cific extrac­tion results, sim­i­lar to how spe­cific fla­vor and aroma char­ac­ter­is­tics only exhibit at a very spe­cific tem­per­a­ture. A vari­a­tion of as lit­tle as 1 to 3 ppm can be detected in the qual­ity of the brewed product.

Flavor may be the rea­son cus­tomers pre­fer one cof­fee shop to another, but equip­ment pro­tec­tion and main­te­nance cost or reli­a­bil­ity may be the pri­mary dri­ver to the café owner. PROPER water treat­ment will give you both.

PROPER water treat­ment always begins with a water analy­sis at the site of drink preparation.

The type of water treat­ment bought depends on the source water and the desires of the oper­a­tor for pri­mary con­cerns. The best water (in a sim­pli­fied form) will have para­me­ters closely match­ing 150 ppm total dis­solved solids (ppm), 30 ppm of alka­lin­ity, and 4.5 grains of hard­ness and a neu­tral to slightly basic pH.  Parameters match­ing these will pro­vide for supe­rior fla­vor and aroma extrac­tion and also reduce/eliminate equip­ment scale and corrosion.

Water with lower min­eral con­tent will over-extract and exhibit astrin­gency in the cup that is unde­sir­able and may also be cor­ro­sive, such as using a reverse osmo­sis sys­tem with­out paci­fy­ing the water through a cal­cite fil­ter after the membrane.

Water with high min­eral con­tent under-extracts as the min­eral con­cen­tra­tion inhibits fla­vor. Depending on the min­er­als, this can result in scale buildup and high equip­ment repairs cost and annoy­ance issues.

Equipment pro­tec­tion and scale con­trol in low mineral-content water requires noth­ing more than good car­bon fil­tra­tion to con­trol chlorine/chlorine and ammo­nia (chlo­ramine) and their by-products that cause fla­vor taints and cor­ro­sion, but to pre­serve fla­vor low mineral-content water requires refor­mu­la­tion to avoid over-extraction. Filtration meth­ods uti­liz­ing acid/hydrogen addi­tion or salt soft­en­ing are unnec­es­sary and may cause cor­ro­sion and spoil flavor.

Equipment pro­tec­tion in high mineral-content water can be achieved with soft­en­ers (replac­ing cal­cium with salt,) acid addi­tive fil­ters (enabling scale to stay in solu­tion by low­er­ing the water’s pH,) seques­ter­ing fil­ters (reduc­ing scale’s abil­ity to adhere to metal­lic parts by coat­ing with chem­i­cal addi­tives,) reverse osmo­sis (sep­a­ra­tion of water from the min­er­als) and most recently nucle­ation assisted crys­tal­liza­tion (pre­form­ing scale before it reaches the boiler.) All of these meth­ods present their own set of sec­ondary issues; fla­vor sta­bi­liza­tion is not achieved with any one of these processes alone.

3i or BluV by PHSI
by Pure Water Technology
purewatertechsla.com | 504.331.8393

We pro­vide seam­less fil­tered or puri­fied water deliv­ery to auto­matic com­mer­cial cof­fee Brewers and ice mak­ers. We can also cus­tom engi­neer water deliv­ery sys­tems for com­meri­cial appli­ca­tions for restau­rants and cafes.

 

ScaleGard HP Reverse Osmosis System
by 3M Purification Incorporated
3MFoodservice.com | 203.238.8974

The ScaleGard HP Reverse Osmosis System reduces chlo­ramines and min­er­als from incom­ing water to help pro­tect equip­ment from cor­ro­sion and hard scale build-up. The sys­tem allows the end user to blend in the per­fect amount of min­er­als for Recipe Quality WaterTM. Self diag­nos­tics help ensure the sys­tem is work­ing properly.

 

Filtration by Flojet
by Xylem Inc.
foodservice.xylem.com | 914.323.5700

Filtration by Flojet’s inte­grated mem­brane pre-activated car­bon tech­nol­ogy improves water taste and appear­ance, pro­tect­ing dis­pense equip­ment and mit­i­gat­ing health con­cerns. The sys­tem removes chlorine/chloramine odor and taste by lever­ag­ing car­bon block tech­nol­ogy, proven to have more than four times the capac­ity to remove unwanted water char­ac­ter­is­tics as com­pet­i­tive pre­coat filters.

 

Purity C and Purity ST
by Mavea, LLC
mavea.com | 847.429.0510

MAVEA was devel­oped to tar­get the hard­ness that causes scale in equip­ment; it leaves in the min­er­als that improve taste and aroma. The Mavea sys­tem with an adjustable by-pass can selec­tively remove cer­tain dis­solved min­er­als from the water that cause prob­lems like bad taste and odor.

 

Everpure Water Filters
by Pentair Everpure/Shurflo
everpure.com | 800.942.1153

Pentair® offers a vari­ety of Everpure®-branded water fil­ters to fit the needs of your equip­ment based upon your water con­di­tions. The right fil­ter will save you time and expense on equip­ment main­te­nance, ask us. Whether remov­ing chlo­rine or chlo­ramines, using the right fil­ter pro­vides you with great qual­ity tast­ing water!

 

SMF CoffeePRO
by Selecto, Inc.
selectoinc.com | 678.697.5519

Water is 99% of coffee’s ingre­di­ents and a key to bring­ing out dif­fer­ent fla­vors from the cof­fee bean. Selecto taste­fully crafted inno­va­tion ensures the rich fla­vor your cus­tomers expect and pro­tects your brand, equip­ment, and prof­its. CoffeePRO removes bad odor and reduces scale build-up while avoid­ing equip­ment downtime.

 

OP’ series reverse osmois/mineral addi­tion sys­tems
by OptiPure
optipurewater.com | 800.333.2556

The ‘OP’ series water treat­ment sys­tems uti­lize reverse osmo­sis (RO) to remove > 97% of the total dis­solved solids (TDS) from water. Then a bal­ance of min­er­als is nat­u­rally dis­solved into the RO water to pro­vide TDS with ‘Optimized’ water char­ac­ter­is­tics for espresso and coffee.

 

WaterChef® U9000 Premium Under-Sink Water Filtration System
by WaterChef® Premium Water Filtration
waterchef.com | 800.879.8909

WaterChef® Premium Water Filtration is the smarter way to reduce a broad range of com­mon tap water con­t­a­m­i­nants, elim­i­nate the waste and expense of plas­tic bot­tles and small water fil­ter car­tridges, and improve the qual­ity and taste of your drink­ing water (as well as your favorite recipes, cof­fees and teas.)

Connecting the Dots

Categories: 2015, JuneTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

There was a time in the not-so-distant past when the word “batch brewer” and “qual­ity cof­fee” rarely shared the same sen­tence. Today, how­ever, the word is out – you can have the best of both worlds. A dialed-in batch brewer with fresh and lively beans can solve a myr­iad of cof­fee shop woes. Here are a few rea­sons to rethink your drip sys­tem as some­thing that can ele­vate your customer’s cof­fee expe­ri­ence, rather than com­pro­mise it.

The Coffee

Consistency: Built to be depend­able and reli­able, com­mer­cial cof­fee brew­ers do not leave vari­ables such as water tem­per­a­ture and other recipe para­me­ters to chance. Advanced pro­gram­ming capa­bil­i­ties that con­trol water tem­per­a­ture, water flow rates, and puls­ing sequences pro­duce pre­dictable results every time

Control: You have the power to set the para­me­ters to your coffee’s spe­cific wishes. If you want to take it to the next level by manip­u­lat­ing flow rates and puls­ing sequences, batch brew­ers are happy to oblige with­out devi­a­tion. Set your brew size, tem­per­a­ture, and what­ever else you need in order to cus­tomize your cof­fee program.

The Customer Experience

Speed of Service: Batch brew as much or as lit­tle as you need to serve the cus­tomer quickly and reduce waste.

Aesthetics: Times have changed and so have brew­ers. There are so many brew­ers on the mar­ket now that serve as a com­pli­ment to your café, even as a show­piece. Quality is not only felt but seen, and the brew­ers of the future will surely keep aes­thet­ics at the top of the pri­or­ity list.

Brew what you want when you want: Want to offer 15 dif­fer­ent cof­fees at any given time? By-the-cup brew­ers can accom­mo­date even the length­i­est of cof­fee menus at the press of a but­ton. Decaf and sea­sonal offer­ings can often be wasted if made in exces­sive amounts, but a by-the-cup sys­tem will save that waste while also boast­ing a fresher prod­uct for your customer.

Innovation

Advancements in Technology: By embrac­ing mechan­i­cal brew­ing, you’re also advo­cat­ing for tech­no­log­i­cal advance­ment. Much has been accom­plished in the world of cof­fee extrac­tion through tech­nol­ogy and engi­neer­ing; whether it’s lime-resistant com­po­nents to keep your sys­tem run­ning strong, energy sav­ing fea­tures for opti­mal per­for­mance while min­i­miz­ing your energy foot­print, or updat­a­ble soft­ware that keeps you always ahead of the curve.

Coffee Freshness: Managing fresh­ness after brew­ing is a crit­i­cal com­po­nent to any cof­fee pro­gram. At-a-glance dig­i­tal sys­tems on dis­pensers make it easy to know when it’s time to brew more coffee.

Operation

Ease of Use: Investing in equip­ment is an invest­ment in a tool, and that tool should inte­grate seam­lessly into your oper­a­tions. A good brewer will be designed for easy and intu­itive oper­a­tion, main­te­nance, and clean­ing. Because when it’s time to work, you need a frill-free zone.

Does its job so you can do yours: The more effi­ciently your machine works, the more effi­ciently you can work.

When look­ing at com­mer­cial cof­fee brew­ing equip­ment, it is impor­tant to do your home­work. Make sure the cof­fee brewer can meet your needs today as well as in the future. Other impor­tant fac­tors to take into con­sid­er­a­tion include:

• Number of cups per hour

• Weight of the equip­ment when the water tank and dis­pensers are full to ensure the counter it will be placed on can hold the weight

• Electrical Supply Requirements – Volts, amps, phase, heat­ing con­fig­u­ra­tion, wire, watts

• Dimensions

• Water Supply Requirements – Water con­nec­tor, water pres­sure, min­i­mum flow rate

• Water fil­tra­tion system

Thermal Brewer
by Bloomfield
bloomfieldworldwide.com | 314.678.6336

Volume brew­ing has never been eas­ier! Bloomfield’s tra­di­tional ther­mal brew­ers are per­fect for high vol­ume oper­a­tions. With the supe­rior spray head design, 2 brew vol­umes and fast access to com­po­nents this brewer is the sta­ple for com­mer­cial brew­ing. High qual­ity meets simplicity.

 

Gemini® with IntelliFreshTM
by Curtis
wilburcurtis.com | 800.421.6150

Simplify brew­ing and serv­ing high vol­umes of fresh cof­fee at the per­fect tem­per­a­ture. IntelliFreshTM (IF) tech­nol­ogy main­tains coffee’s ideal fresh­ness and tem­per­a­ture through­out the dis­pens­ing cycle by envelop­ing the satel­lite servers with pulses of gen­tle heat. These pulses keep the cof­fee at a con­sis­tent tem­per­a­ture while main­tain­ing coffee’s chem­i­cal structure.

Producer Profile

Categories: 2015, JuneTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

What is Cup of Excellence®?

Cup of Excellence is a pre­mier cof­fee com­pe­ti­tion and world­wide auc­tion offer­ing the high­est award given to a top scor­ing cof­fee. The level of scrutiny that Cup of Excellence cof­fees undergo is unmatched as all of the COE award win­ners are cupped at least five times (the top ten are cupped again) dur­ing the three-week com­pe­ti­tion. Literally hun­dreds of cups are smelled, tasted and scored based on their exem­plary char­ac­ter­is­tics. The prices that these win­ning cof­fees receive at the auc­tion have bro­ken records time and again to prove that there is a huge demand for these rare, farmer iden­ti­fied cof­fees. The farmer receives the major­ity of the auc­tion pro­ceeds based on the price paid at auc­tion, and the farmer can expect to receive more than 80% of the final price. The remain­ing auc­tion pro­ceeds are paid to the in-country orga­niz­ing com­mit­tee to help pay for the program.

Changing Producer Lives

Being selected as one of the win­ners at Cup of Excellence means recog­ni­tion and reward for the grower and has been a spring­board for many grow­ers to secure long-term rela­tion­ships with inter­na­tional buy­ers, which, in turn, allows for fur­ther invest­ment in the farm and brings secu­rity for fam­i­lies and communities.

The expe­ri­ence for the grower is life-changing. He or she is a star and for that one ner­vous, exhil­a­rat­ing moment, applauded. Proudly walk­ing up on the stage and accept­ing the applause, the grower real­izes their hard work, atten­tion to detail, maybe their very liveli­hood, is being rec­og­nized as impor­tant to their entire coun­try. Some are very shy, never hav­ing been in any kind of pub­lic spot­light. Many are hum­ble coun­try folk – and this is evi­dent as they shake hands with an ambas­sador, the vice pres­i­dent or even the pres­i­dent of a coun­try, their expres­sion clearly show­ing the huge ela­tion of win­ning. Cup of Excellence has cre­ated a much more trans­par­ent infra­struc­ture for high qual­ity cof­fee. Roasters can now iden­tify, find and build rela­tion­ships with grow­ers of supe­rior cof­fees. It brings together the high qual­ity roaster and the high qual­ity farmer and helps both under­stand and appre­ci­ate the nuances and fla­vor pro­files of rare exem­plary cof­fees. It has changed the pric­ing struc­ture for farm­ers and has dis­cov­ered many of the incred­i­ble cof­fees that have built con­sumer excite­ment and loy­alty. With that, we are excited to present our new series: Producer Profiles.

Table1Colombia: Buenavista
In the 2015 Colombia Cup of Excellence com­pe­ti­tion, Astrid Medina’s cof­fee won first place with a pres­i­den­tial score of 90.2 points, offer­ing exotic sweet and fruity notes, bright acid­ity and creamy medium body.

The farm, whose crops are almost com­pletely renewed, is a shared legacy and her sis­ter owns a frac­tion. “She [my sis­ter] is also a part of the farm. She is a sin­gle mother, has a boy and they also depend on us,” Astrid explains.

The farm has an area of 15 hectares, of which ten are grown with cof­fee. For five years, they have had the sup­port of a farm man­ager, who is the hus­band of Astrid’s niece. All the man­age­ment remains within the family.

Each stage of pro­duc­tion is very care­fully looked after, and Astrid attrib­utes the qual­ity of her cof­fee to the efforts of many peo­ple. “If one of them was wrong, that would affect us all, but we speak the same lan­guage, we look for and achieve the same objec­tive. It’s under­stand­ing between employ­ees, pick­ers, the farm’s man­ager and own­ers,” she says, with­out dis­re­gard­ing that nature has been very gen­er­ous to her farm.

The cli­mate and soils are very healthy, the region is very new, we never do burns, we let organic mate­r­ial do its work and fer­til­ize the soil when it decom­poses. The water for the post-harvest pro­cess­ing is also very pure,” she explains.

She also attrib­utes the qual­ity of her cof­fee to the par­tic­u­lar blend of beans that the farm allows for in the mid-year har­vest (November, December and part of January, with lim­ited pro­duc­tion). Because of its exten­sion, lands vary between 1800 and almost 2000 meters in alti­tude. “We selected the best lots to make the blend with beans from dif­fer­ent alti­tudes. We think that most of the coffee’s suc­cess is in the blend itself,” she explains. “Cup of Excellence allows us to keep dream­ing and to exper­i­ment, because cof­fee, beyond doing the right thing, is like a mys­tery, since you may like it and oth­ers may not,” she says.

Table2Astrid knows that the qual­ity pre­mium of $14.50 a pound that was paid by roast­ers from Asia, the United States, and Australia for her cof­fee will trans­late into wel­fare for her entire fam­ily, her employ­ees, and pro­duc­tive improve­ments on the farm. “I will invest it in improv­ing our house, pro­vid­ing bet­ter liv­ing con­di­tions for our farm man­ager, our employ­ees, expand­ing the “ben­e­fi­ci­adero” (post-harvest pro­cess­ing facil­i­ties), because we think about grow­ing more cof­fee in the future, hav­ing bet­ter tech­nol­ogy, improv­ing every­thing,” she says.

Coffee has allowed Astrid to keep her fam­ily together and help each other. “There is strength in num­bers. There have been ups and downs. We have already been work­ing nine years on this farm. There have been times of low prices in which one wants to give many things to the employ­ees and one can­not, but we keep going on hope.”

Producer Profile

Categories: 2015, MayTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

What is Cup of Excellence®?

Lot1_Sitio_Baixadao_9Cup of Excellence is a pre­mier cof­fee com­pe­ti­tion and world­wide auc­tion offer­ing the high­est award given to a top scor­ing cof­fee. The level of scrutiny that Cup of Excellence cof­fees undergo is unmatched as all of the COE award win­ners are cupped at least five times (the top ten are cupped again) dur­ing the three-week com­pe­ti­tion. Literally hun­dreds of cups are smelled, tasted and scored based on their exem­plary char­ac­ter­is­tics. The prices that these win­ning cof­fees receive at the auc­tion have bro­ken records time and again to prove that there is a huge demand for these rare, farmer iden­ti­fied cof­fees. The farmer receives the major­ity of the auc­tion pro­ceeds based on the price paid at auc­tion, and the farmer can expect to receive more than 80% of the final price. The remain­ing auc­tion pro­ceeds are paid to the in-country orga­niz­ing com­mit­tee to help pay for the program.

Changing Producer Lives

Table 1Being selected as one of the win­ners at Cup of Excellence means recog­ni­tion and reward for the grower and has been a spring­board for many grow­ers to secure long-term rela­tion­ships with inter­na­tional buy­ers, which, in turn, allows for fur­ther invest­ment in the farm and brings secu­rity for fam­i­lies and communities.

The expe­ri­ence for the grower is life-changing. He or she is a star and for that one ner­vous, exhil­a­rat­ing moment, applauded. Proudly walk­ing up on the stage and accept­ing the applause, the grower real­izes their hard work, atten­tion to detail, maybe their very liveli­hood, is being rec­og­nized as impor­tant to their entire coun­try. Some are very shy, never hav­ing been in any kind of pub­lic spot­light. Many are hum­ble coun­try folk – and this is evi­dent as they shake hands with an ambas­sador, the vice pres­i­dent or even the pres­i­dent of a coun­try, their expres­sion clearly show­ing the huge ela­tion of win­ning. Cup of Excellence has cre­ated a much more trans­par­ent infra­struc­ture for high qual­ity cof­fee. Roasters can now iden­tify, find and build rela­tion­ships with grow­ers of supe­rior cof­fees. It brings together the high qual­ity roaster and the high qual­ity farmer and helps both under­stand and appre­ci­ate the nuances and fla­vor pro­files of rare exem­plary cof­fees. It has changed the pric­ing struc­ture for farm­ers and has dis­cov­ered many of the incred­i­ble cof­fees that have built con­sumer excite­ment and loy­alty. With that, we are excited to present our new series: Producer Profiles.

Sítio Baixadão
Table 2Sítio Baixadão belongs to the broth­ers, Antônio Márcio da Silva and Sebastião Afonso da Silva, who also man­age the prop­er­ties Santa Isabel and Água Limpa, among oth­ers. Coming from a fam­ily with another 13 sib­lings, they grew up in the mid­dle of rice pro­duc­tion. The change to a cof­fee grow­ing began around 20 years ago when the 2 broth­ers decided to set aside 1 ha of land for cof­fee cul­ti­va­tion. What was sim­ply an expe­ri­ence became a pas­sion; nowa­days cof­fee is the family’s main source of income. The farms is located in the city of Cristina, in the south of Minas Gerais, a region that presents excel­lent char­ac­ter­is­tics, such as fer­tile soil, well-defined sea­sons and high ele­va­tion that cre­ate the per­fect envi­ron­ment to grow cof­fee. The pro­duc­ers are mem­bers of APROCAM, which holds the Mantiqueira de Minas Indication of Origin, which has the objec­tive of guar­an­tee­ing the source and trace­abil­ity of the lot. The farm is com­mit­ted to sus­tain­able cof­fee grow­ing through good agri­cul­tural prac­tices and preser­va­tion of nat­ural resources. The entire har­vest is done by hand; the beans are picked and taken to the pro­cess­ing cen­ter, located on the farm itself. Drying is done on patios under sun­light and later fin­ished in dry­ers that guar­an­tee homoge­nous dry­ing, pre­serv­ing the qual­ity. The cof­fee is stored at COCARIVE (Cooperativa Regional dos Cafeicultores do Vale do Rio Verde), which gives mem­bers sup­port through­out all stages of pro­duc­tion, includ­ing in the area of com­mer­cial­iza­tion where there is a depart­ment entirely ded­i­cated to these high-scoring lots. (www.cocarive.com.br) Both effort and ded­i­ca­tion bring sat­is­fy­ing results to the broth­ers, who together have achieved: 1st place in the Ernesto Illy Quality Award for Espresso Coffee. 2nd place in the COCARIVE Coffee Quality Contest. 1st place in the Mantiqueira de Minas Coffee Quality Contest.

—Courtesy of Alliance for Coffee Excellence

Producer Profile

Categories: 2015, AprilTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

What is Cup of Excellence®?
Cup of Excellence is a pre­mier cof­fee com­pe­ti­tion and world­wide auc­tion offer­ing the high­est award given to a top scor­ing cof­fee. The level of scrutiny that Cup of Excellence cof­fees undergo is unmatched as all of the COE award win­ners are cupped at least five times (the top ten are cupped again) dur­ing the three-week com­pe­ti­tion. Literally hun­dreds of cups are smelled, tasted and scored based on their exem­plary char­ac­ter­is­tics. The prices that these win­ning cof­fees receive at the auc­tion have bro­ken records time and again to prove that there is a huge demand for these rare, farmer iden­ti­fied cof­fees. The farmer receives the major­ity of the auc­tion pro­ceeds based on the price paid at auc­tion, and the farmer can expect to receive more than 80% of the final price. The remain­ing auc­tion pro­ceeds are paid to the in-country orga­niz­ing com­mit­tee to help pay for the program.

Table 1Changing Producer Lives
Being selected as one of the win­ners at Cup of Excellence means recog­ni­tion and reward for the grower and has been a spring­board for many grow­ers to secure long-term rela­tion­ships with inter­na­tional buy­ers, which, in turn, allows for fur­ther invest­ment in the farm and brings secu­rity for fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties.
The expe­ri­ence for the grower is life-changing. He or she is a star and for that one ner­vous, exhil­a­rat­ing moment, applauded. Proudly walk­ing up on the stage and accept­ing the applause, the grower real­izes their hard work, atten­tion to detail, maybe their very liveli­hood, is being rec­og­nized as impor­tant to their entire coun­try. Some are very shy, never hav­ing been in any kind of pub­lic spot­light. Many are hum­ble coun­try folk – and this is evi­dent as they shake hands with an ambas­sador, the vice pres­i­dent or even the pres­i­dent of a coun­try, their expres­sion clearly show­ing the huge ela­tion of win­ning. Cup of Excellence has cre­ated a much more trans­par­ent infra­struc­ture for high qual­ity cof­fee. Roasters can now iden­tify, find and build rela­tion­ships with grow­ers of supe­rior cof­fees. It brings together the high qual­ity roaster and the high qual­ity farmer and helps both under­stand and appre­ci­ate the nuances and fla­vor pro­files of rare exem­plary cof­fees. It has changed the pric­ing struc­ture for farm­ers and has dis­cov­ered many of the incred­i­ble cof­fees that have built con­sumer excite­ment and loy­alty. With that, we are excited to present our new series: Producer Profiles.

El Filo is a pretty nice farm in El Cedral – Sta. Bárbara,
but the most amaz­ing thing is the stun­ning land­scape. We had an inter­view with Miguel and here’s what he shared with us about the farm and his family:

Table 2Miguel began grow­ing his cof­fee col­lec­tively with his father 27 years ago, and in 1995 he became inde­pen­dent with half a hectare, and he now owns 2.45 hectares of cof­fee plan­ta­tion. He and his wife have 8 chil­dren, and all of them work in cof­fee grow­ing activ­i­ties. Family mem­bers do the main­te­nance activ­i­ties around the farm, but dur­ing the pick­ing sea­son they hire on almost 25 peo­ple to col­lect the cherries.

The process of pro­duc­ing a qual­ity cof­fee begins with proper pick­ing, using only the ripe, red cher­ries and reject­ing any other cher­ries that make it into the col­lec­tion. Milling is per­formed the very same day, again care­fully select­ing the supe­rior grain and dis­card­ing the dam­aged grain. Drying is then per­formed in tem­per­a­ture con­trolled solar dryers.

Miguel and his cof­fee have par­tic­i­pated in COE 8 times, rank­ing 5th place in 2013. He says “I am happy with COE, it’s a great alter­na­tive for small pro­duc­ers. In my first events, I was dis­ap­pointed but when I learned how to pre­pare the cof­fee in the cor­rect way, I saw the results.”

More on Miguel Moreno’s History:
Miguel Moreno, a small cof­fee farmer from El Cedral, Las Vegas, Sta. Bárbara is bet­ter known as El Cielito. Coffee is the main prod­uct in this zone, and it marks the econ­omy of this vil­lage. “Don Miguel” as peo­ple affec­tion­ately know him, is a second-generation cof­fee grower, start­ing his career pro­duc­ing cof­fee in 1993. During his first years, the prof­its from cof­fee pro­duc­tion weren’t enough to sup­port his fam­ily; prices were low and mar­ket pre­dicted a bleak future for cof­fee pro­duc­ers. After try­ing with­out suc­cess to get bet­ter prices for his cof­fee, he decided to immi­grate to US look­ing for the American Dream as a way to improve his family’s qual­ity of life.

After sev­eral years of liv­ing in the US, he was deported. However, he had man­aged to save up enough money to buy a par­cel of land and began grow­ing cof­fee again. But he got the same results as before: low prices and insuf­fi­cient income. He tried enter­ing the US to pur­sue the American dream once again, but was again deported. Shortly after he returned to cof­fee and just barely made the dead­line to sub­mit his cof­fee for the 2005 Cup of Excellence (2nd Edition). His cof­fee was cho­sen as a win­ner, and since then Miguel has par­tic­i­pated every year, mak­ing it to the winner’s cir­cle almost every year. The suc­cesses changed the qual­ity of life for him and his fam­ily. Miguel has for­got­ten the American Dream, because his cof­fee has made his own dream.

Now “Don” Miguel is an inspi­ra­tion for his broth­ers and neigh­bors who have been par­tic­i­pat­ing in COE Honduras. They have col­lec­tively improved the pro­cess­ing and qual­ity of their cof­fees to the point the El Cielito has been placed in the World Specialty Coffees list, and doc­u­men­taries have been made on their story.
—Courtesy of Alliance for Coffee Excellence

The View

Categories: 2013, SeptemberTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

Roaster’s Guild Retreat Recap
Another Roaster’s Guild Retreat has past and the SCAA is cel­e­brat­ing a record atten­dance for this year’s event. Filled with edu­ca­tional and cer­ti­fi­ca­tion class work, round tables, and of course, roast­ing. This year’s roaster event was well orga­nized and man­aged. I am sure that it was a really prof­itable endeavor for the Roaster’s Guild and there­fore the SCAA.

Something seemed miss­ing how­ever – the feel­ing of cama­raderie and fun. Now admit­tedly, that is not meant to be the top rea­son for attend­ing but it cer­tainly is a big one. The offi­cial par­ties seemed sub­dued and, broke into small clutches of old friends pretty quickly. With over 50% of the atten­dees being first timers, this meant that a sub­stan­tial num­ber of folks were left with noth­ing to do after 10PM. Maybe this is why so many first timers don’t return. Classes and cer­ti­fi­ca­tions are great but the fel­low­ship and net­work­ing that the Roaster’s Retreat is know for is also of extreme impor­tance. For the most part, roast­ers are pretty shy (roast­ing is not a job for folks who need a lot of com­pany) and the Retreat gives an oppor­tu­nity to “let down” with like kinds. This year the Retreat did not reach out far enough to these new participants.

I think that one rea­son for this may have been how the Saturday bon­fire was orga­nized. The win­ners were announced very early in the evening. After the announce­ment the party pretty much broke up and scat­tered. The last time it was at Stonewall, the win­ners were announced late in the evening after every­one was pretty toasted but every­one stayed and inter­acted with each other because they wanted to know if their team won. It made for bet­ter net­work­ing – some­thing to think about for next year.

One thing I took away from the Retreat itself is a ris­ing level of worry that con­sumers are just not that into the nuance of spe­cialty cof­fees; after all these years of pro­mo­tion and edu­ca­tion, that 83% of con­sumers that drink cof­fee daily remained plateaued at com­mer­cial, office, and chain cof­fees. They are not pos­i­tively respond­ing to the mes­sage of incre­men­tally improv­ing qual­ity. As qual­ity, (and the increased costs asso­ci­ated with it) rise, con­sumers are not reward­ing small roast­ers for the efforts. There is a sense that most of the cof­fee con­sumers are just along for the ride and will pretty much drink “good” qual­ity cof­fee (as long as it scores in the 70’s and 80’s).

Now this is not to say that small bou­tique roast­ers can­not make a mar­ket for their supe­rior cof­fees. However, with a plateaued mar­ket and more and more new roast­ers com­ing on line, the result is intense com­pe­ti­tion. So what is the solu­tion? One thing is for sure: it is NOT a price war! In this, every­one loses, the roast­ers bat­tling it out with each other result­ing in less money to be able to pur­chase qual­ity green, or even stay in busi­ness. And the con­sumer, who is being taught to expect more for less, will also even­tu­ally be the loser when their source of great qual­ity cof­fee can no longer afford to buy it, roast it and sell it. The solu­tion is bet­ter busi­ness! Roasters, it is time to brush up on those busi­ness skills, mar­ket­ing prac­tices, cost con­tain­ment, and cus­tomer ser­vice, to win the race, stay in busi­ness and even grow and thrive. Not sure where to find more skills? Find your­self a men­tor. Read books. Join a pro­fes­sional group. Seek out classes. Challenge your­self to grow!

And on that note, a huge con­grat­u­la­tions to Michael Kell of GoodBean Coffee for orga­niz­ing an amaz­ing event at the Oregon State Fair this year and to Rogue Coffee Roasters on win­ning the Overall 2013 Best Coffee In Oregon Competition! Be sure to check out bestcoffeeinoregon.com for details on all of the winners!

Cheers,
Kerri & Miles

Commercial Coffee Brewing Systems

Categories: 2013, JuneTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

The com­mer­cial cof­fee indus­try is hot­ter than ever. Coffee machines that were once only seen in restau­rants have migrated over into the every­day office and home set­ting. The rea­son is, com­mer­cial cof­fee mak­ers are much more reli­able over longer peri­ods of time and brew a much bet­ter cup of cof­fee. Commercial units brew cof­fee at an opti­mum brew­ing tem­per­a­ture (10−20 degrees hot­ter than the made-for-home mod­els) extract­ing the cof­fee grinds to max­i­mize taste. When it comes to buy­ing com­mer­cial cof­fee mak­ers, you begin to under­stand that it is a big indus­try and the process can be overwhelming.

The first step is to research the var­i­ous mod­els and find the type of com­mer­cial cof­fee brewer that will best serve your needs. Technological advance­ments have improved brew­ing pre­ci­sion. Coffee can be cre­ated using exact spec­i­fi­ca­tions by just turn­ing the dial or push­ing a but­ton. These com­mer­cial cof­fee brew­ers can also be set to per­form tasks automatically.

Several com­mer­cial cof­fee brew­ers, most of whom are pio­neers in the indus­try are all launch­ing new prod­ucts that cater to spe­cific needs, includ­ing: FETCO, Bloomfield, Wilbur Curtis, Brazen, and Brew-Tek.

Curtis-Gold-CupCurtis and the Gold Cup
The Curtis Gold Cup (CGC) stands alone among open source sin­gle brew­ers.  “The CGC Brewer uses advanced tech­nol­ogy to ensure the per­fect gold cup stan­dard of cof­fee and is very reli­able,” said Brant Curtis, Marketing Director at Wilbur Curtis.  With a touch of a but­ton, the brewer is pre-programed with exact­ing recipe set­tings.  “A group of twenty can walk up to a barista and this machine is able to brew a vol­ume batch of gold stan­dard cof­fee.”  This G4 con­troller is much more than a flashy screen.  Using the most advanced man­u­fac­tur­ing and pro­gram­ing processes, it is able to exactly con­trol water tem­per­a­tures, water flow rates and water pulse sequenc­ing to the mil­lisec­ond.  In addi­tion, the user also has the abil­ity to com­pletely cus­tomize their own recipes.  This machine will brew 12–20 ounces in a few min­utes.  With smaller, pre­cisely con­trolled brew vol­umes, higher qual­ity cof­fees and vari­etals may be offered at a more prof­itable price point.  An eco­nom­i­cal fea­ture is the abil­ity to brew one cup at a time dur­ing non-peak hours, “which elim­i­nates the waste fac­tor” said Curtis.

Curtis has taken cof­fee brew­ing tech­nol­ogy to new heights with the Generation Four Gemini with Intellifresh, a dig­i­tally con­trolled and auto­mated sys­tem that uses gen­tle warmth to ensure the cof­fee stays its fresh­est, even when it is moved to a remote warm­ing sta­tion.  “This twin headed unit is designed to keep cof­fee at an opti­mum serv­ing tem­per­a­ture with­out degrad­ing it,” said Curtis.  It is like an ‘elec­tric blan­ket’.  The G4 dig­i­tal con­trol is fast and fea­tures intu­itive con­trols that make it easy to achieve the best cof­fee pos­si­ble by allow­ing com­plete con­trol over tem­per­a­ture, time, vol­ume, pre-infusion, pulse-brewing and water bypass. Pre-set, one-touch global recipes account for cof­fee type, grind and weight to help sim­plify the brew­ing process while deliv­er­ing gourmet results. This cof­fee maker from Curtis takes the guess­work out of cof­fee: “Press brew and it will remem­ber to brew that golden cup of cof­fee in a large batch, every time,” said Curtis.

FetcoFETCO adds Intuitive Touch Screen
FETCO, one of the fore­most com­mer­cial cof­fee brew­ing equip­ment man­u­fac­tures in the world is re-launching their CBS-2130-XTS Series Airport Coffee Brewer in August, now with an intu­itive touch screen. “We lis­tened to our cus­tomers and went back to the draw­ing board to re-design this brew­ing sys­tem. We are pleased with the out­come,” said Vince Kendzierski, Director of Marketing with FETCO. “Our con­sumer is typ­i­cally the con­ve­nience stores, cafe­te­rias, and spe­cialty cof­fee shops. We are a per­fect hot bev­er­age solu­tion for high vol­ume self-service envi­ron­ments.” The unit is small and com­pact mak­ing it an ideal choice for break rooms, cafe­te­ria coun­ter­tops and lobby ser­vice areas. This brewer is engi­neered for smaller batch dis­pens­ing and is avail­able in 1 gal­lon and 3 liter configurations.

8790-Thermal-Dispeser.inddBloomfield is Back
Bloomfield, a long-time inno­va­tor in the indus­try, is intro­duc­ing its Dual Automatic Thermal Coffee Brewer. “This brewer will allow the con­sumer to brew cof­fee that is reli­able and serve the needs for high vol­ume”, said Greg Loffler, VP Sales and Marketing at Bloomfield. “This electro-mechanical brewer may be con­sid­ered tra­di­tional, but its supe­rior engi­neer­ing and proven tech­nol­ogy is time­less. This brewer will deliver an excep­tional cup of cof­fee every time.” The two brew­ing vol­umes of 1 gal­lon and 1 1/2 gal­lons will accom­mo­date fluc­tu­a­tions in demand. Their exclu­sive design allows for easy access and makes for quick, effi­cient ser­vice. The “ready to brew” light indi­cates the proper water tem­per­a­ture to help elim­i­nate the guess­work in brew­ing. The pre­mium qual­ity ther­mo­stat has a full-length stain­less steel sens­ing bulb that rec­og­nizes water tem­per­a­ture accu­rately and cycles less fre­quently. The inde­pen­dent front-mounted hot water faucet allows draw­ing of hot water with­out affect­ing cof­fee taste or brew­ing cycle. The supe­rior spray head design spreads water over the cof­fee grounds cre­at­ing agi­ta­tion and a float­ing action that com­pletely sat­u­rates the cof­fee to cap­ture the full, rich essence of every bean.

Adobe Photoshop PDFBrew-Tek
Brew-Tek has come out with yet another depend­able, eco­nom­i­cal and reli­able com­mer­cial cof­fee brewer. The “ADJD-3” will be on the mar­ket in June and fea­tures 3 but­tons on the front allow­ing the con­sumer to have a brewer that is easy to oper­ate. “The beauty of this brew­ing sys­tem, is that you can use the same packet of cof­fee to brew 3 dif­fer­ent types of cof­fee: mild, medium or bold,” accord­ing to Steve Hyde, national Sales Manager with Brew-Tek. “What it boils down to is choice and bulk brew­ing. That is what we believe makes more money for the client and choice for the consumer.”

Brazen5Brazen – an Automatic Pour-Over Solution
What started out as a way to brew a bet­ter cup of cof­fee has turned into a pas­sion for Joe Behm, owner and inven­tor of the “Brazen” cof­fee brewer. “I took a look at what was avail­able on the mar­ket and knew we could do bet­ter,” said Behm. The Brazen took four years to com­plete, but has received rave reviews, includ­ing the “2012 People’s Choice Award from the SCAA and is Amazon.com’s #1 cof­fee brewer. The Brazen is sold through Boyd’s cof­fee, one of the old­est fam­ily owed cof­fee roast­ers in the USA. “We were quite pleased with what we have achieved,” said Behm. “We have brought some­thing new and inno­v­a­tive to the mar­ket and we believe we have suc­ceeded.” The Brazen incor­po­rates patent-pending tem­per­a­ture cal­i­bra­tion tech­nol­ogy, cou­pled with proven tech­niques such as pre-soak fea­tures, pre­cise and accu­rate water deliv­ery tem­per­a­tures to com­bine for the ulti­mate cus­tom brewed cof­fee. The Brazen puts you, the user, in con­trol of the brew­ing and tem­per­a­ture process. “Most cof­fee mak­ers don’t allow the cus­tomer to change the brew­ing tem­per­a­ture of their cof­fee,” said Behm. Before intro­duc­tion of the Brazen, there were no con­sumer ver­sions avail­able with a pre-soak func­tion and almost all had poor extrac­tion due to poor design of water dispersion.

One of the key aspects of well-brewed cof­fee is mak­ing sure the grounds are evenly sat­u­rated. Unlike most home brew­ers, which drip from the mid­dle, Brazen sat­u­rates the grounds in a shower of hot water, at the right speed and the right tem­per­a­ture. Why is tem­per­a­ture con­trol so impor­tant? Having con­trol over the brew tem­per­a­ture enables you to decide at what tem­per­a­ture you would like your cof­fee brewed. Different brew­ing tem­per­a­tures extract dif­fer­ent fla­vors from the grounds and can greatly affect the char­ac­ter of the cup. “We are the only brewer on the mar­ket that can store your mem­ory and data.” For exam­ple, since no sin­gle brew­ing tem­per­a­ture is “right” or “per­fect,” hot­ter may not always be bet­ter. In sim­ple terms, being able to choose the brew­ing tem­per­a­ture gives you con­trol over the fla­vor of the cof­fee because the tem­per­a­ture affects how much is drawn from the grounds. Draw too much and it is bit­ter, draw too lit­tle and it is weak. By adjust­ing the grind, the qual­ity, and the tem­per­a­ture you have greater control.

Other fea­tures include a man­ual water release for teas, a pre-soak and adjustable rest time, and alti­tude cor­rec­tion. “It is going to be the gauge that oth­ers are judged by because the user has com­plete con­trol of the tem­per­a­ture,” says Behm.

We are proud of what we have achieved. The Brazen was designed to meet or exceed the SCAA Gold Cup Standard. Be on the look­out for new prod­ucts on the mar­ket. We will have 3 new prod­ucts on the mar­ket in the next 1–2 years. We want to be the leader in doing things dif­fer­ently but with pre­ci­sion and accuracy.”

Everybody’s taste in cof­fee is dif­fer­ent. This brewer was designed to be a leader and cost effec­tive, allow­ing every­one to drink a great cup of cof­fee at an afford­able and eco­nom­i­cal price. For me, all that mat­ters at the end of the day is that I have given peo­ple the oppor­tu­nity to have their own jour­ney in cof­fee. I love what I do, for me it’s a pas­sion!” What else sets the Brazen apart is their qual­ity and cus­tomer service.

Whichever cof­fee brewer you choose, keep in mind, it is impor­tant that you make the right choice for your busi­ness needs. Any one of these brew­ers will be a wor­thy invest­ment that will deliver a steam­ing cup of java every time!

Tips for Building Profitable Strategies

Categories: 2012, DecemberTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

12_12 24-AConsumer taste and per­sonal income drive demand. The prof­itabil­ity of indi­vid­ual com­pa­nies depends on the abil­ity to secure prime loca­tions, drive store traf­fic, and deliver high-quality prod­ucts. Large com­pa­nies have advan­tages in pur­chas­ing, finance, and mar­ket­ing. Small com­pa­nies can com­pete effec­tively by offer­ing spe­cial­ized prod­ucts, serv­ing a local mar­ket, or pro­vid­ing supe­rior cus­tomer service.

Cafes com­pete for con­sumer dol­lars with other spe­cialty con­sumer stores such as con­ve­nience stores, gas sta­tions, quick ser­vice and fast food restau­rants, gourmet food shops, and donut shops. These stores are gen­er­ally under 1,500 square feet and have a small food prepa­ra­tion and back of the house area. Cafes high­light the Espresso process, offer high-quality bak­ery items, and are lead­ers in qual­ity cof­fee and roast­ing. Seating has expanded toward more diverse styles and table heights. Expanding your food and bev­er­age offer­ing can increase your hours of oper­a­tion, prof­itabil­ity, and bring in more cus­tomers to your café. Maintaining qual­ity is impor­tant when adding items and experience.

Experience keeps cus­tomers com­fort­able and com­ing back. The phys­i­cal and vir­tual expe­ri­ence for cafes is becom­ing more unique and closer to that of a full din­ing expe­ri­ence. Community rela­tion­ships are more and more impor­tant with con­sumers look­ing to pur­chase from retail­ers with an out­reach into the com­mu­nity. A ser­vice model that con­sid­ers a loy­alty pro­gram, engag­ing your cus­tomers, social media, and other forms of con­tin­u­ous con­nec­tion will have an impact.

The fol­low­ing are Tips to con­sider when plan­ning a pro­gram for success:

1st Tip – con­sider food items that are desir­able beyond the AM hours. Salads, soups, smooth­ies, and sand­wiches can be inte­grated eas­ily if imple­mented right. Be care­ful to cre­ate a menu and food prepa­ra­tion that keeps your infra­struc­ture costs to a min­i­mum. Often a table top induc­tion burner, a high speed air impinge­ment oven, and sand­wich cart are all you need to make a vari­ety of menu items and still keep your infra­struc­ture costs to a min­i­mum. Typically, the menu prices at Cafes on food items are lower than dine in restau­rants; there­fore, tar­get under 15–20% food costs (per­cent­age of menu price). Work with a menu con­sul­tant on com­pet­i­tive menu items, process, flow, and low prepa­ra­tion and labor time.

2nd Tip – con­sider other bev­er­age items to expand your hours of oper­a­tion. Coffee and tea con­sump­tion and pur­chases often end around 3:00 pm. cre­at­ing more rea­sons to visit your café at dif­fer­ent hours of the day will increase your prof­its. Consider adding beer or wine to your menu. When inte­grat­ing beer or wine, con­sider the space lay­out to max­i­mize sales, tast­ing events, food pair­ing, and pric­ing that is com­pet­i­tive in the mar­ket. Look into local codes regard­ing your space lay­out, bar­ri­ers, and other reg­u­la­tions in the serv­ing of beer or wine.

3rd Tip – con­sider inte­grat­ing spe­cial dietary items such as gluten free, sugar-free, and non-dairy selec­tions in your menu. Having a vari­ety of options will attract a wider range of con­sumers into your café and you can mar­ket that you have a menu for many tastes and dietary needs.

4th Tip – con­sider updat­ing your expe­ri­ence to align with your new menu refine­ments. The expe­ri­ence that would align with healthy menu items might inte­grate sus­tain­able and green mate­ri­als and fresh col­ors and tones. Typically retail and restau­rant con­cepts need to be reviewed and updated every 5–7 years at the most or when menu items and over­all con­tent has changed dra­mat­i­cally – which also is an indi­ca­tor to re-review your over­all brand and messaging.

5th Tip – con­sider unique loy­alty and com­mu­nity out­reach pro­grams. Giving back to local orga­ni­za­tions can include donat­ing your café venue for their events, thus pro­vid­ing expo­sure to your café, as well as, show­ing cus­tomers that you are part of their com­mu­nity and want to give back. Consistency and patience is the key. Results in this area can often take 6 months to 1 year at a minimum.

When con­sid­er­ing these tips, cre­ate a sound plan of deliv­ery includ­ing research, bench­marks for suc­cess, and hire indus­try experts to lead you through the process as needed for bet­ter results.  Competition has increased and suc­cess means plan­ning ahead of the curve.

12_12 24-FMelanie Corey-Ferrini is the Founder of The Dynamik Group in Seattle, WA cre­at­ing café and restau­rant con­cepts through­out the world.
www.dynamikspace.com

Roasting in Korea – Stepping up to the quality challenge

Categories: 2012, AugustTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

Walk­ing down the streets of Seoul, Bussan, and other cities in Korea, one is amazed at the num­ber of cof­fee shops. On one city block in Seoul you might pass more than 10 if you are look­ing. In Seoul the retail stores are at street level, base­ment level and often the sec­ond story of the build­ing. The other thing you might be shocked to see is the num­ber of shops that have 1kilo or smaller roast­ers in their shops and roast­ing every day. The ques­tion is, “Are they doing a good job roasting?”

At an event some years back, Ric Reinhart, Executive Director of the SCAA, spoke to a group of indus­try pro­fes­sion­als that had gath­ered to do the good work of the asso­ci­a­tion. He said (and this is NOT an exact quote) “If some­one get­ting into the indus­try asked me what they should do when open­ing a cof­fee shop I would tell them to open a roaster-retail store.” The roast­ers in the room were not amused by this as they made a liv­ing roast­ing and whole­sal­ing to new cof­fee shops. Was he try­ing to kill that business!?!

Upon reflec­tion one could see the sub­tlety of what he was say­ing, and fig­ure out that what has always been true in the indus­try; there is enough busi­ness for every­body as long as we make qual­ity a pri­or­ity. If new shops open and roast, they will drive more and more con­sumers to qual­ity cof­fee and away from the mediocre cof­fee. If there are more cus­tomers demand­ing it, there will be more cus­tomers for qual­ity whole­sale cof­fee as those that don’t roast try to upgrade.

The true chal­lenge is this: Just because a com­pany is roast­ing their own cof­fee does not mean it is a supe­rior prod­uct. If you are not pro­vid­ing qual­ity cof­fee it will con­fuse con­sumers even more and could send them back to reli­able and pre­dictable coffee.

So there are sev­eral chal­lenges to this new phase of in shop roast­ing. A great case study is to look at what is hap­pen­ing in Korea and learn­ing from their suc­cesses and fail­ures. Let’s take a quick look back before we look forward.

United States: We roasted cof­fee in our homes in the 1800’s and early 1900’s. We moved away from that expe­ri­ence in the mid 1900’s with the indus­trial rev­o­lu­tion putting cof­fee in a con­ve­nient can on the gro­cery store shelf. In the 1960’s and mov­ing for­ward, some cof­fee extrem­ists found qual­ity in a cup by small batch roast­ing and started the spe­cialty cof­fee mar­ket. People and shops were resis­tant to roast­ing their own and were happy to have an indus­try pro­fes­sional do it for them and deliver fresh roasted cof­fee each week. Consumers now enjoy cof­fee all day but it is dom­i­nated by our grab and go ‘need cof­fee’ men­tal­ity instead of an ‘enjoy cof­fee’ one.

Korea: Drank tea for 6000 years, and got infil­trated by the West’s craze for cof­fee about ten years ago; Deciding to imi­tate and improve on our prod­uct. Coffee houses sprang up every­where pro­vid­ing a social place to enjoy each other’s com­pany over a deli­cious cup. Coffee is con­sumed as a means to gather. Seldom are shops open at 6:00am for the com­muter but more often until 11:00pm for the late night meeting.

Challenges for the small roast­ing oper­a­tions are sim­i­lar between our two coun­tries, but addressed differently.

Challenge 1: Roasting in the City and Putting Out Smoke.
In the United States most shop roast­ers are above 5 kilos (likely 12 kilos and up). Depending on where the store is sit­u­ated it is often required to put on after­burn­ers or sweep­ers. This adds instal­la­tion costs, pro­duc­tion costs, per­mits and inspec­tions and often square footage costs.

In Korea the roast­ers are often 2 kilos or less. Cheap vent pipes exhaust the smoke and neigh­bors think it smells great.

Challenge 2: Training and Labor for Roasting staff.
In the US there is a com­mu­nity of roast­ers that help each other. If you are just start­ing out you can join the Roasters Guild and access the tal­ents and skills of other roast­ers. There are also con­sul­tants out there that will help write pro­ce­dure manuals.

In Korea it is tougher to find a men­tor group. There are labs pop­ping up every­where that you can go and buy knowl­edge, although a lot of it is ques­tion­able. The SCAA licenses Roasters Guild classes to part­ners in Korea so they can actu­ally get cer­ti­fied with the SCAA.

Challenge 3: Supply of Quality Green Coffee
In the US many of the roast­ers offer a range of cof­fee. They will offer ‘the house blend’ for the grab and go cus­tomers. They also offer ‘high end’ cof­fees for those cus­tomers that will sit and enjoy it or that want a pound for home. Many also whole­sale blends to other restau­rants and cof­fee shops. This means that US roast­ers buy grades 1–3 and carry more inventory.

In Korea the small shops roast to order for their shops and cus­tomers. They are all com­pet­ing to buy the new 90+ cof­fees and to cel­e­brate them as sin­gle serve drinks. At Square Garden Café, Sung Hui Park will even hand roast cof­fee over the open flame of the stove while you wait. This puts pres­sure on importers to hunt for, and con­tract for, grade 1 cof­fee that scores high. Not a lot of cof­fee is con­sumed in the home as it is a social drink rather than the morn­ing fuel.

Challenge 4: The Big Chains
In the US, spe­cialty cof­fee is dri­ven by the chains. They are often seen as the mar­ket­ing depart­ments of the small roast­ing shops. The best thing that the chains do is to move peo­ple from the gro­cery store canned cof­fees to a bet­ter cup. Then a sub­set of those peo­ple go on to demand great cof­fee and find the local roaster.

In Korea, the chains are attempt­ing to be large ver­sions of the small shops and tend to still offer hand pours and focus on roast­ing their own as a sell­ing point. They tend to be much more direct com­pe­ti­tion for the ‘lit­tle guy’.

Challenge 5: Differentiation in a Saturated Market
In the US you can still dif­fer­en­ti­ate just by the fact you are roast­ing. The next thing you can do is sin­gle serve or hand drip the coffee.

In Korea since they already roast and hand drip, dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion comes with inte­rior design and food pair­ing. The chains don’t do this very well so the small shop still can have a com­pet­i­tive advantage.

Challenge 6: REALLY Understanding Quality
In the US we get together, share ideas, train each other and try to make the indus­try stronger. We inno­vate things like the SCAA scor­ing sys­tem and the CQI Q-Grader cer­ti­fi­ca­tion so we can improve the entire sup­ply chain. The US also believes in the value of prac­ti­cal expe­ri­ence and trial and error.

In Korea, if imi­ta­tion is the best form of flat­tery, then the US should be VERY flat­tered. Koreans are com­mit­ted to con­tin­u­ing edu­ca­tion but gen­er­ally try not to share ideas amongst them­selves. They look for for­mal school­ing and cer­ti­fi­ca­tions like those offered through SCAA and CQI. This is why Korea has about 4 times as many Q-Graders as the US. First year baris­tas are get­ting cer­ti­fied. They want to know how to do things right up front, the first time.

There are some absolutely stun­ning exam­ples of qual­ity in both coun­tries. In the US how­ever there is a higher like­li­hood that a new roaster is going to pro­duce a high qual­ity prod­uct as the indus­try will make sure they have they knowl­edge to do so. In Korea there is ‘book learn­ing’ but some­times the per­son that wrote the book was not a cof­fee pro­fes­sional. As the SCAA con­tin­ues to spread the knowl­edge around the world, coun­tries like Korea will con­tinue to improve. In Korea there is also a desire to be BETTER than the com­pe­ti­tion, and a resis­tance to shar­ing infor­ma­tion. This desire com­pen­sates for the cul­tural dif­fer­ence of non-collaboration.

The bot­tom line: Both coun­tries are com­mit­ted to qual­ity. Neither coun­try will tol­er­ate small roast­ers doing a bad job. In the US we will edu­cate them and make them bet­ter. In Korea the poor roaster will solve the prob­lem by going out of busi­ness. Either way, the qual­ity will hope­fully stay high and drive more cus­tomers to desire great coffee.

Rocky can be reached at rocky@INTLcoffeeConsulting.com

Retailer Profile: Something is Brewing in California

Categories: 2012, AugustTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

We always try to pro­file busi­ness own­ers that can offer some unique advice and show­case their bold busi­ness moves within the indus­try. Today isn’t an excep­tion, as we head down to Santa Monica, CA to chat with Joy Park, the CEO of Brew Coffee Bar.

V. What made you get into the cof­fee busi­ness at such a young age?
P. I got into cof­fee because I was drink­ing crappy cof­fee my entire life, and liv­ing in Los Angeles I saw a pretty huge void in terms of good cof­fee. That is why I wanted to get into the cof­fee busi­ness. My part­ner Charm and I both went to Cornell for hos­pi­tal­ity, so this is very impor­tant to us, we really care about ser­vice nation­ally. He opened up a cof­fee shop in Boston, which was really suc­cess­ful. I wanted to open some­thing in L.A., so we teamed up and started Brew Café Bar. We opened up our first loca­tion in Santa Monica about 9 months ago, we are open in Yahoo cen­ter, and we have a cof­fee truck as well, which we run daily around downtown.

We came in for the pur­pose of spread­ing good cof­fee as quickly as pos­si­ble. All these great lit­tle cof­fee shops in L.A. and even in the greater parts of America, are all in these small neigh­bor­hoods that are hard to get to, and some of them are a lit­tle pre­ten­tious. I real­ized some­times it’s dif­fi­cult to actu­ally have access to some great cof­fee, so our inten­tion was to bring cof­fee to the peo­ple. That’s how we approached this mar­ket, which is why we are in Yahoo cen­ter right now. We under­stand that not every­one knows about great cof­fee, not every­one is will­ing to drive and walk through that alley and get to the cof­fee shop on the corner.

V. How did you get your train­ing?
P. I needed to be able to do the craft. I am not one of those own­ers that are hands-off; I am really hands-on. So, I actu­ally got train­ing in Portland by Stumptown cof­fee roast­ers. We got our offi­cial train­ing there for a week, and then got con­stantly trained for the next 10 months. We had them send two train­ers for at least a month and half.

What is great about us is that we brought in expe­ri­enced skilled baris­tas. Then we added on the Stumptown train­ing, and so we have amaz­ing baris­tas. For me, there is a dif­fer­ence between some­one who cares about cof­fee, who does it as a career ver­sus some­one who just con­sid­ers it as his/her side job. I went through over 400 apps and inter­views to find a great team of less than 10 peo­ple, and I am happy about that. Some even moved from out-of-state to come join our team.

I want to build and main­tain a work place where our team mem­bers are com­fort­able. You have to put the best peo­ple together, but you have to make sure that they get along. I think that is what is a lit­tle dif­fer­ent from our com­pany in terms of how we hire, how we keep our employ­ees, and how we have a lower turnover even in this industry.

V. Coffee Truck! What is the idea behind it?
P. We really wanted to do a mobile café, and doing so has been a great expe­ri­ence. We real­ized we could build a cof­fee shop any­where. You give us 100 square feet of space, we will make it work and run effi­ciently. It has been 3 months now, and we are the very first cof­fee truck in Los Angeles. L.A. is the hard­est place to get a per­mit from. What we did dif­fer­ent is that we didn’t get your coach-roach aver­age 1980s truck, instead we took a Mercedes Sprinter van and uplifted it with La Marzocco machines and grinders.

It has been great so far. We are doing events with it, so the truck has been very busy. That truck is great in terms of doing some­thing unique on the side and attract­ing a dif­fer­ent mar­ket. We did the Easter Sunday Church event and the Porsche Boxster launch among oth­ers. I am very for­tu­nate that we got it passed because it was a very dif­fi­cult process to go through.

V. Anything you want to share with the cof­fee com­mu­nity?
P. What I find unique about this busi­ness is how people’s view and their rela­tion­ship with cof­fee are almost tra­di­tional. People are used to what they know and cof­fee is a daily habit. When Starbucks came to the mar­ket, peo­ple believed that they were a supe­rior prod­uct. That is why I respect Starbucks, because they did change the per­cep­tion of cof­fee; but the thing is, they just stopped right there. That did bug me and moti­vated me to start a cof­fee com­pany of my own. There is actu­ally really good cof­fee out there from roast­ers that go on direct trade with the farm­ers. The farm­ers grow bet­ter beans. The qual­ity con­trol starts from the cherry and Stumptown roasts beau­ti­fully. We take it a step fur­ther and we have a great team of baris­tas that can actu­ally craft what­ever you order to its honor. It has been a great jour­ney for me edu­cat­ing and open­ing people’s eyes to what really great cof­fee is. That is why I am really excited. If I can change someone’s view about cof­fee, then I believe the knowl­edge should be shared. For me there are no bound­aries, no per­fect cup of cof­fee, no per­fect latte art and no per­fect baris­tas. There’s always room for more.

Brew Coffee Bar

2425 Colorado Ave
Santa Monica, CA 90404
www.brewcoffeebar.com
joy@brewcoffeebar.com

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