Quality coffee in a cafe bar

The standards in coffee shops often have room for improvement. Improving the coffee standard in a coffee shop is not as difficult as some shop owners may think. Setting up some basic rules and techniques can seriously improve the coffee that is being served in a coffee shop which will obviously improve your business. I will try to write down some of my ideas in this article.

Quality

The margin on coffee is extremely high, you can expect to reach margins of 90% to 98%. Therefore I believe that you should go for the best quality possible. Do not go cheap on beans! Pay those extra few pennies more per cup and you will see result.

I also believe that it is a good idea to invest in good looking quality cups. Have your company logo printed on these cups to create a professional image.

Have the option open for your customers to make a choice between skimmed, semi or full fat milk. Also make sure that you offer soya milk.

Offer the customer milk or pouring cream on the side with Americano’s and chocolate sprinkles with cappuccino’s.

Remember that it’s usually a small thing that makes the customer happy.

Caffe Latte

Freshness

Always think fresh when you think coffee. This starts with the freshness of the beans. Make sure that you keep your amount of stock of coffee as low as possible. Your coffee supplier should ensure that you get the best coffee delivered but you have to make sure that your beans are not on the shelves longer than they need to be. You can keep the beans in the hopper of your grinder for a few days so usually you don’t have to worry about this too much. Make sure that your coffee supplier is a professional!

Grinding beans is a different issue. Ground coffee goes stale quicker and should be used as soon as possible. The maximum time that you can keep ground coffee is only a few hours but I recommend that you use ground coffee straight away. I recommend the new ‘Grind On Demand’ grinders. These grinders grind only when you ask for it hence the name. This means that you have no ground coffee laying around. If you do not have a ‘Grind On Demand’ grinder then grind only small amounts of coffee at a time, or grind only what you actually need.

Espresso should be served as soon as possible and at the end of the order. The same thing counts for every coffee actually, try to serve the coffees at the end of the order.

Milk should be kept cool and in a dark place like a fridge. Try to minimize to steam milk twice and always add fresh milk when you steam. Use the right amount of milk when you steam to minimize the amount of milk left overs in the pitcher.

Consistency

Train your staff the same way. Everybody should be using the same technique. This is important because customers like to know what they can expect. I recommend that you train your staff according to the rules of the Barista Championships. Making coffee in a coffee shop according to these rules does not slow anything down. Obviously you have to relax the rules a little but base the technique on them.

Use only hand tamping. Make sure that your staff are all tamping with the same pressure. Focus with the tamping on levelling and pressure, these are the most important factors to think about.

Steaming and pouring of milk should also be very consistent. Try to get the same amount of foam on each drink. There should be no bubbles in any pitcher or in any cup. A cappuccino for example should only have around a centimeter of foam.

Tip: try to get a little competition going amongst your staff. It can be great fun to see who is the most consistent and you can set up little Latte art competitions as well to motivate your staff.

Latte Art

Latte art can blow the mind of your customers away. A beautiful heart on top of a Cafe Latte or Cappuccino can have a great impact on your business. It gives the customer that extra little joy that might just make them come back every single day.
Latte art is great fun for your staff. It motivates them to perfect-ionize their technique and there is always room for improvement. You can even take pictures of the best Latte art and place them on your website for example.

Cleanliness

A clean working area shows that professionals are at work. It is not only a good image for your business but most employees enjoy working around a clean and tidy coffee machine. My suggestion is to have the pitchers on the side of the machines. Have some space in front of the machine to pour the drinks. This space can be used at busy times to leave the milk. But remember, keep the milk cold!
Have a clean cloth at each steam wand. Keep the cloth folded up so it looks nice and tidy.
Have a dry black towel to clean the porta filters.
Also make sure that your pitcher are clean throughout the day. Milk and ground coffee should be cleaned straight away. Especially milk on the steam wand should be removed as quickly as possible.
Try to get your staff in to a ‘clean up after yourself’ attitude. This way no one else has to clean up anybody’s mess´and things are kept clean and tidy.

And don’t forget to only serve coffee in clean cups.

Group Head Flushing

Size

Personally I would go for a small size as a regular drink (5 to 6 oz for latte’s and cappuccino’s with 1oz espresso). This gives your drink the best flavour and maybe even gets your customer back for a second round. Most coffee shops have a large size as a regular drink, usually around 12oz. I believe that it would be a better idea to have a smaller regular size and make it a slightly cheaper drink. Obviously you should also offer the larger sizes. It is a good idea to offer 2 or 3 different sizes, the same thing for take out drinks.

Just remember that it’s not only the coffee that makes your business a success. Your staff make or brake your business so keep them happy! And always serve the coffee in a pleasant way 🙂

Let’s face it, espresso is not your best selling drink. But, it is probably your most important drink if you take coffee serious in your shop. The espresso is the foundation of your drinks and it’s your job as a manager or owner to ensure that you serve the best coffee possible.

Quality is extremely important. Having customers come back for your coffee is the key to success. And you will only get these people back in your shop if you serve them in a professional matter and with great products, in this case coffee. You know that you are doing a good job when you see someone for the second time (if they look happy).

So how do you ensure that you serve great coffee all the time?

Training. That is probably the most important aspect. With training comes motivation as well. If you have trained and motivated staff then your customers will get great coffee served with a smile, and that smile is just as important. The problem nowadays is to find enthusiastic staff, so everybody says. Well, it is up to the manager to make sure that the staff get motivated and enthusiastic in being a barista. If you train your staff in a fun and motivating way then you can probably get everybody in your coffee shop exited about coffee. And face it, if someone is truly not interested then they shouldn’t be working in your shop!

Motivate your staff with in-house competitions, you can set up competitions for latte art for example. Or a speed competition, where your staff get timed to produce 2 caffe latte’s. These are just two simple ways to motivate your staff in to coffee.

It might take some time and effort but it will be very beneficial to your business. Realise that it’s hard to find a good espresso on the high street. If you serve that rare good espresso than you will get yourself a reputation of a good coffee house. Reputation takes a little time to build but if you do it well, then you will get so much back for it.

You might miss a few things here like a good coffee supplier. But I disagree. If you have staff that know their coffee than you will end up with a good coffee supplier automatically. Your staff should know after their training where the problem (if there is any) lies: barista skills, ingredients or equipment. Listen to your customers and to your staff and you should end up with the right coffee beans and the right equipment.

Stick to a few basic but very important rules:

– have your staff and yourself trained by professionals, and review the skills from time to time
– use fresh beans, fresh coffee ground, fresh milk and fresh coffee
– give one person the responsibility for the quality of the coffee, you need this to ensure that the standards don’t drop

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