As the coffee industry grows, the demand for a good quality coffee grows with it. More people seem to be choosing filter style coffee to give them that much-needed caffeine fix. This is getting café owners thinking and they are starting to consider filter as an option. Great!
Well, it’s great for the consumer anyway. It’s a bit of a headache for the café. Filter takes time. The average brew takes around 3 minutes, add the time it takes to grind the coffee and set the brewing equipment up and you’re looking at around 7 minutes. That’s a long time for a barista to make one 500 ml brew.
As a coffee nerd, when I go for a filter, I don’t mind waiting. In fact most places have a little sign under the filter option on the menu “10 minute wait”. And I would bet money that a fellow coffee professional wouldn’t mind waiting either. Why? This isn’t solely because I love the taste of coffee; it’s a combination of this, appreciating the skill/knowledge it takes to make a well-made brew and appreciating how the coffee got there. The story of coffee is an interesting one. It’s not just as simple as grow it, roast it, brew it, and serve it.
A coffee plant takes 2-3 years to grow before you can harvest it. It then takes another 2 years before you can harvest some decent quality cherries. Each cherry is handpicked. Each cherry contains 2 coffee beans. Each brew contains around 100 coffee beans. So your brew contains: 100 beans, 50 cherries and at least 5 years of nurturing on a coffee farm. And this is all before the coffee is even roasted (yeah that last coffee you drank took 5 years to grow…)!
Since I understand how much care and attention goes into a coffee, I want to experience it at its best. This for me and many other people is through the filter method. For us, we don’t mind spending upwards of €3 on a coffee; we know why and what we are spending it on.
The image above shows a street. The street has four coffee shops on it. Each shop offers different coffee at different prices. The price goes from low to high. If I found myself on this street, I would skip straight past the first two coffee shops. Why? Because it would be next to impossible to sell speciality coffee at that price. They would be likely selling low quality green coffee roasted in a way to mask the poor flavour profile. I would be more interested in the coffee shops at the end of the street. I would be willing to spend €3-5 on a coffee if I could see the shop cared about it, and was able to tell me about it. Things like where the beans are from, who roasted it, what sort of roast it was, what was the name of the farm and how they brewed it are what I’d expect them to know.
However, place a person who doesn’t know much about coffee on this street and I would guess they would be more interested in the first two shops. Simply because they don’t know what coffee is, where it comes from, or how much goes into making a cup. Why would they even consider looking at the two shops on the right hand side of the street if they didn’t know there was a difference from one cup to another?
This is why it is so important not distance ourselves from people who don’t know about speciality coffee, but help educate them. If we share the story of coffee, we build the appreciation for it. In my experience anyone who lends me an ear, and listens to how coffee gets from the farm to the cup, has massive respect for anyone involved in getting it there.
So how much can you charge for a cup of coffee? You can charge as much as you educate.