Sunday, September 6, 2009

Your Shops Foundation Is More Than A Location

In an effort to reach out and live up to 9 bar espresso's "committed to community" mantra our rostmaster and I will be posting at least once a week here to our blog for our current and future espresso customers to enrich their coffee experience. We hope this will open up a dialogue between 9 bar espresso and the coffee shop owner, the restaurateur, and the at home coffee connoisseurs. In doing so we can all learn from each other how to better serve our own communities while supporting each others success.

This post is inspired from Fresh Cup Magazine's article by Chris Ryan about how Coffee-training programs give you and your staff needed know-how.
Making coffee is no simple task. If it’s espresso you’re brewing, the steps are numerous: grinding, tamping, extracting and more. Make a mistake in just one of those areas, and your product will suffer. And if you’re introducing milk into the equation, you better hope it’s steamed to perfection if you’re going to put forward a great drink. If you’re using another brewing method—from French press to siphon to pourover—coffee-to-water ratios, extraction times and more must be just right to produce the best brew.

It’s not hard to see the benefit of having a well-trained staff: The better they make your drinks, the more likely your customers will be to return for them. “With most coffee bars, you’re really dependent upon your employees for your success because they’re going to be the ones that are interacting with your customers probably 98 percent of the time, and they’re going to be the ones that are preparing the food and beverage,” says Ed Arvidson of E&C Consulting. “If your people aren’t trained, then instead of helping you build business, they become a liability.”

With so much time, money and effort invested in choosing the best coffee beans, shops are wise to implement a training program to ensure that those beans are properly prepared. “You can have the greatest product in the world, and if it’s mishandled, ill-prepared or misunderstood, then the quality of the coffee bean doesn’t really matter that much,” says Marcus Young, who does sales and distribution for Batdorf & Bronson in Portland, Ore.

The lengthy coffee education process will reveal general truths about any coffee—for example, over-extracted espresso produces a bitter flavor, while under-extracted espresso has a sour taste. However, one of the main benefits of extensive studying before using a machine is that the employee will become so well acquainted with your particular coffee that once he or she does get on bar, that barista will know how to make the product taste its best. “Knowing the coffee is very important,” says Bastin. “Because if you don’t know your coffee, then you’re probably not going to get the best flavor characteristics out of it.”

Understanding the product backward and forward also gives the barista the ability to troubleshoot when there’s an issue with the coffee or the equipment. Hiccups inevitably happen during a shift, and being able to address them swiftly is a vital skill. “For coffee businesses that don’t do regular training, when one thing goes wrong, every single thing goes wrong. So with training, when things are off, they’ll know how to find the source of problems,” says Sarah Dooley of Visions Espresso Service.

The desire to learn also extends to customers, many of whom are eager to absorb information on brewing methods, quality cups and more. Shops would do well to pass on what they know to the people lining up to talk to them. “It’s a great opportunity for cafĂ© owners to connect with their customers,” says Young of Batdorf & Bronson. “If you sell 12-ounce bags of coffee, why would your customers need to go to the grocery store to buy coffee when they could buy it right from you? And then you can pass along that training and help them to brew a great cup at home.”

Here at 9 bar espresso we are all about education and training for a wonderful product resulting in more profit and returning customers for your business. No matter if you are just starting out or are looking to bolster your existing espresso program 9 bar espresso is here to help you with education and training. Email our roastmaster or call him at 1.888.576.9227 ext. 267 to set up a training consultation.

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