In Coffee on October 10, 2011 at 6:30 am
As of today we officially open our newest venture the Pumphreys Coffee Centre and Brewing Emporium. As many of you know Pumphreys have had a site selling freshly roasted coffee beans, loose tea and various associated paraphernalia in the Grainger Market for over 40 years. We haven’t been fortunate enough to have the facilities at the Coffee Centre, or permission, to serve coffee and tea….. Until Now!
The adjoining units have always been pretty stable and there have been very few changes over the years so when the two units attached to the back of the coffee centre came up we jumped at the chance to take them on.
The idea behind the ‘Brewing Emporium’ is to showcase the coffees and teas we already supply, help people brew coffee and tea better at home, be a little one stop shop for coffee shop spares equipment and to caffeinate the general populous!
In terms of the kit we will be using (I know some of you will be eager to know) we want to be able showcase our coffees so have chosen appropriately.
Espresso machine: San Remo Verona TCS
Main Grinder: Anfim Super Caimano
Guest Grinder: Mahlkonig Vario
Decaf Grinder: Mahlkonig Vario
Brew Bar Boiler: Marco Über Boiler
So please pop down and give us a visit!
In Uncategorized on September 30, 2011 at 6:37 pm
I’ve been rushing around this week setting up our new coffee shop on the back of our existing Grainger Market site in Newcastle. As usual with any development everything has taken that little bit longer than I expected or planned for and it has made me think. Setting up a cafe is not an easy thing, not at all! It is hard work! In my experience anyone who thinks that it is has either trivialised that ‘type of business’ in their head and assumed that throwing money at it will work or has been involved in stamping out chain cafes after all the hard work has been done.
Whilst talking a break from the sawdust, paint and wiring I took the liberty of dropping in on Joe for a chat, who’s cafe Flat Caps does some great single origin pourovers and stupidly nice cheese scones. As always the conversation inevitably turned to coffee and a chap we both knew who’s cafe didn’t seem to be firing as we both thought it might. We found ourselves trying to understand the reasoning behind it. After some discussion we decided that his focus was wrong. His focus was on Quality! As soon as we said it we both realised that we sounded like every manager we hated from every greasy spoon/naff cafe we’d ever seen. ‘We’ll have to be careful saying things like that. That’s dangerously close to …… I know!’
To put things into perspective. In my opinion you can’t focus totally on quality…bare with me. In order to have a business in the first place you have to be in business and have a market. Now, if you are setting up a business you need to have a market to serve, if you don’t have one you will have to make one! Making a market takes a lot of money or a lot of time and most of the time both. If you are in the coffee industry, which most of you will be, you will know that coffee is either a numbers game or needs to be part of a business that sucks people in for bigger value sales. This is normally food in the form of sandwiches and cakes etc but can also be things like books, music, furniture and even in the case of ‘Look Mum No Hands’ food and bikes. If you are only making cups to coffee, which can be done, you need a lot of people every day just to get by. Say you make, to make it easy, £2 per coffee. How many of them do you need to make a day, every day to take home what you want/deserve for your hard work? Then consider how much your espresso machine cost you and how long you can do without that money in your account. Has the number gone up? Or course it has. Now consider your grinder… Up again? Now the rent…Up again? Etc etc. It’s a big number, isn’t it? Can you guarantee that number every day. Probably not! What do you do? If you haven’t got lots of money you have to take it slowly, build a strong ‘sticky’ market using the most reliable form of marketing ‘word of mouth’. Quality will create a sticky market for you but at what cost. There is really no limit to the amount of money you could spend increasing your quality. What is the right balance!
Now this is where Joe and I had an issue. Is spending all the money you have and some you don’t on the best machines, coffee and gadgets under the sun going to increase your market and ultimately make you a living?
Joe’s coffee shop – Flat Caps – A must visit in Newcastle www.flatcapscoffee.com
In Baristi on June 24, 2011 at 7:09 pm
During my recent dalliance into the cafe world the exact opposite of this question has been flowing through my brain! Having been a tutor of the C&G VRQ in barista skills for quite a while and a trainer at Pumphreys for much longer I have seen lots of differing skill sets and personalities passing though. Identifying people’s good points and bad points becomes easier after time although people never fail to surprise you. One of the most enjoyable parts of the VRQ is discussing service. Part of the course is a whiteboard session where the trainees shout out their best and worst service experiences. I don’t know if this is an English thing but in my experience people are able to spot negative behaviour or experiences a lot easier than positive. They find it very hard indeed to pick out their best service experiences.
In that light my I would like to answer the question in exactly the opposite way and reverse my answers to highlight the positives!
How to brew coffee well and still send people away in droves!
If you really want to put people off you should probably not wash your hands. I’ve found that having grounds staining your hands and espresso dribbling on your fingers every now and again looks great. Rubbing your hand through your hair and then dosing espresso, picking coffee cups up with your fingers in the rims, never rinsing your jugs or cleaning up your little spills and always wiping your hands on your apron whilst changing it as little as possible makes people feel sick. If they feel sick they will probably just walk out. Unfortunately for you, you won’t be able to tell which disgusting skill to accredit this to! Dam!
Have an untidy look.
Maintain a scruffy demeanour and ‘look lazy’. This really puts people off and is excellent for creating a lasting first impression that will increase the likelihood of non returning customers. Great! Also, as a bonus, people automatically assume that you don’t know what you are doing and can’t wait to leave for the day!
Turn your nose up at people who ask for very basic advice on home coffee brewing. Make them feel like they are small and stupid by sniggering when they ask their trivial questions. Always maintain that you know best and that they couldn’t possibly know more about coffee than you. Tutting is also good! If someone politely returns a coffee to you asking if they could have it heated up always assume that it is the customers fault for not understanding that ‘We foam our milk like this to get the best flavour’ or ‘we don’t caramelise the lactose at that temperature’ or ‘ It’s to stop the proteins de-naturing’ etc. If you can get away with it tell them that they are wrong directly to their face or even better mumble grumpily as they are walking back to their table. Never actually test the coffee to see if they are right! Use the words ‘don’t, can’t, no, not and won’t as much as possible! Point blank refuse to serve americanos to anyone!
Let people wait.
Only acknowledge people when you are serving them and chat to other staff when you are doing that. This helps people think that their custom means nothing to you. Make them think that you think they are lucky that they are even getting your service and you have better things to chat about like ‘that thing Gwilym did’, ‘the new machine at [insert new London cafe name]‘ or ‘@coolbarista’s newest post’.
Don’t clear tables.
Maintain constant table clutter. There is nothing better that getting a customer to clear up after other customers before they can drink their coffee to put people off. This one is a winner! Don’t clean them for gods sake!
Have I missed anything?