Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Own a Cafe? Integrate the Coffee Catcher Without Changing Workflow..

I (Nate) had the opportunity to attend the Barista Round Table on cup brewing today, led by Sarah Dooley and Jared Mockli. The session included a free experimentation time, and I took the chance to brew a few French presses of delicious Kenya coffee from Water Ave.

I also got the opportunity to clean a press with a Coffee Catcher using Visions' faucet and rinse basket, which is very similar to cafe cleaning setups I've observed around Seattle. It turns out that the water jet from the open faucet did a great job pushing all the fines and grit that had been trapped under the Catcher back out of the press in the rinse water. The result was a sparkling clean carafe - even under the Coffee Catcher (see pictures below).

I think this discovery has significant implications from a production perspective. Now, it seems, the Coffee Catcher can perform a filtering function without being removed from the press from brew to brew. This makes the Coffee Catcher very easy to integrate into traditional cafe workflows. It seems to me like a cafe can brew with the Coffee Catcher exactly as normal, but serve a cleaner cup to customers.

Quality improvements can also be fine-tuned to a particular cafe's trade-off between labor efficiency and quality. At one end of the labor spectrum, a cafe could go the whole way and train baristas to remove the Coffee Catcher and clean it after every brew. At the other end, a cafe could simply leave the Coffee Catcher in all day and simply add Puro Caff at the end of the day. I suspect a lot of cafes will want to fall in the middle, giving a thorough rinse when the roast changes, but otherwise leaving the Coffee Catcher in from brew to brew.

For the record, here are pictures of a Coffee Catcher after brewing and rinsing and swishing just as normal with the press. This was three rinses.

Side View
Bottom View

Top View

Of course, most home users do not use filter baskets in their sinks, and so I expect most home coffee lovers will continue to find that hooking the Coffee Catcher is the easiest way for them to remove grounds from the press. That said, this discovery does allow those who do swish out their coffee to continue to do so while enjoying a cleaner tasting cup.

Returning to the cafe, there are plenty of other ways to integrate the Coffee Catcher into the production environment. I've been thinking a lot about different ways to add unique value to the customer in terms of menu items that go beyond a commodity ("cup of drip") to a value-added experience for the customer. A lot of new drinks territory to explore here, I think.

1 comment:

  1. PS. Yes, I did brew again on top of the rinsed Coffee Catcher. Same brew (Water Ave.'s Kenya). It was delicious.