Archive for November, 2010

Morning Buzz

Posted in Coffee of Course on November 25, 2010 by whyyoushouldhatecoffee

This morning a customer informed of an article he had read in the New York Times. The article by Frank Bruni entailed a coffee drinkers experiences in a cafe, asking Baristas and shop owners about home brewing equipment and how best to use it. It details his experiences with the French Press, the Hario V60, and finally the Chemex. From his radical word usage It seems as though Mr. Bruni hates brewing coffee by the cup at home.

After reading the article I had a number of thoughts regarding the act of home brewing, it’s cost/reward ratio, the cost of our product and the customer experience.

-I’ll admit. I brew coffee at home and it’s rarely Great. I use a Chemex or a Clever, a Hario Skerton, a digital .01 gram scale, a timer, a Hario Buono kettle, and a measuring glass to measure Minneapolis city water. There’s a few things I do alright, but most if it could be done better. I know that others make worse coffee at home and I know that others make better coffee at home. regardless, I still do it. I would prefer to do it than to have to leave the house and have someone else make it.

-I also make myself an omelet/breakfast on my mornings off. I source all of my groceries from The Wedge, most of them local and organic. I’ve gone through a few different routines, a few different breakfasts and found out pretty well what I like. I use multiple pans, multiple utensils, and multiple herbs, spices and oils. This is certainly not me trying to brag about my routine, quite the contrary as it seems to me such a simple selfish pleasure. Much rather I’m trying to point out that it seems silly to expect that I would only use one pan, one utensil, one plate and one glass. Different foods cook differently, and therefore to me different kitchen tools are required. So it goes.

-I don’t want to get into the argument of whether nutrition, both food and drink, should be valued as high as they seem to be today. I can’t say why I value them so much considering my Barista income, but I can say at they are very valued. Maybe excessively.

-Brewing coffee at home is almost obviously cheaper than buying coffee at a coffee bar on a daily basis. Depending of course on your equipment, and where you buy whole bean coffee.

At the shop.
10oz coffee 2.75avg.
X 5 days = 13.75/wk.
X 4 weeks = 55/mo.
X 12 mo. = 660$/yr.

At home
Clever = 12.50$
Hario Kettle = 55$
Hario Slim = 34.50$
Gram Scale = 25$
Filters = 7$
Coffee = 15$/455g avg.
455g/12g doses = 37ish brews
We’ll say 1-455g bag = 1 mo.

Whole bean costing 15$/mo. And 1 cup at the bar costing 55$/mo.
Equipment costs 132$
Saving 40$ per month home brewing, the equipment would be paid for in roughly 3 1/2 months.

This of course makes many assumptions about your ability to make coffee at home, your desire to, and that this would be your only equipment. Adding more would cost more, using more coffee would cost more. On top of that, this is all to say that you would be making coffee at home that’s alright. Sometimes Great, but rarely.

To me, making a connection with a customer about home brewing is so much fun! I don’t know if it’s the fact that I get so much pleasure brewing coffee, troubleshooting coffee, that it reminds me of my routine, or that someone else is actually excited about it too. Of course it could be all of the above. All I know is it’s pleasant for me. I feel I can say that anytime I, as a customer, have an experience with a service industry person and they are/seem happy, passionate or excited, I have a better experience. That’s good.

At first I was honestly a bit upset about the NYT article. Now I’m actually pretty excited that single cup home brewing or hand brewing (Chemex) is in the paper. The fact that it’s a topic of conversation is great!
I certainly don’t mean for this to be a rebuttal against Mr. Bruni. Simply my thoughts on the matter, that I decided to let out. Also, I really like the word expeditiousness.