Almost 10 years after throwing in the towel with restaurants, Conscious Coffees now sees 35 percent of bean sales generated from them. And, these restaurants are serving Golden Cup quality coffee. What does it take for other roasters to tap into this market and get restaurants to brew it right?
By Mark Glenn
The first business plan I wrote in 1995 for a wholesale coffee roasting operation included three prospective customer types: restaurants, specialty coffee retailers and natural food grocers. I projected 50 percent of bean sale revenues to be generated from restaurants, 30 percent from coffee retailers and 20 percent from grocers.
In the first three years of business, we surpassed our original restaurant projections. However, our vision was incomplete because despite the success with projected volumes, it was almost impossible to get a really good cup of coffee from any of the restaurants we supplied. After all, we got into the business so we could have a variety of local places to go and enjoy a tasty cup of coffee.
It was around this time that I signed up for a training seminar at the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s (SCAA) annual Exposition entitled “Golden Cup Certification Program.” The goal was to understand coffee from a very technical approach, which would lead to the ability to consistently brew a perfect cup. This was my turning point. I learned about water quality, grind consistency and particle size, brewing ratios, uniformity of extraction and countless other variables including what that nasty flavor was when I pulled a cup from a dispenser that had been sitting for two hours after brewed. To read the rest of this article, subscribe to The Chronicle or become a member today! If you’re already a Chronicle subscriber or member, please login.