company - education - coffee

Monday, September 04, 2006

How do you say Soy Milk in Italian?

SOY LATTE??? I poured this soy latte this morning and had to stop and pic it just before handing it over.... It sparked a thought about soy and I needed a reminder. I thought about it and I was slightly perplexed for a few moments...

I have nothing against soy milk but I feel like it is a weird thing that so few shops really try to get a hold of good soy milk. The kind you get downtown china town here in Boston. You can get relatively fresh soy milk and much better quality than the normal commercial brands. Then I snapped back to a harsh reality...

Order for a large decaf skim cappuccino?

In some ways, I feel odd about putting a design on every drink. The decaf skim gets a rosetta on it same as a regular at Simon's... I know I should be saying what the customer wants, the customer gets, but a little evil side of me says 'why reward them for making bad drink choices?' Why pour a beatiful rosetta on a bad drink? Why encourage them to keep ordering that drink...?

Everyone asks me why I pop the lids on to go cups instead of letting the customer cover them. I do the rosetta but I don't worry if you want a to go drink about the presentation. If it's in a ceramic, I'll toss it if the design isn't all that. Paper cup is a big whatever.

Then I thought about it some. If I truly don't want to serve decaf or skim milk, why do it? Isn't that in some ways the difference between fast food and four stars? Options vs Quality. Convenience vs Quality. Speed vs Quality. Quantity vs Quality. In other words, standards. Are high standards in direct opposition to the traditional coffee shop with all it's sizes, options, syrups, and the poorly executed decaf?

I don't have an answer, only opinions that will make me sound arrogant and unyielding. I just feel like sometimes you can't have everyone as a customer. Large skim cappuccino... hit the road and take cinnamon mocha with you...!!!

You, dear reader may think I have finally gone off the deep end, but I have put it in perspective and came away more emboldened. I tried to think about it like great restaurants and taverns. If you want options, go somewhere else, if you want excellent food come in but be willing to pay. Are some elite coffee shops getting ready to go that direction? I thought, why shouldn't we all move in that direction a little. How else can we serve the wonderful CoEs at $20+ a pound. Some elite shops must exist to showcase these coffees or they will be shuffled away to internet forums and lonely home user machines. To play these coffees out on the cafe stage with great barista behind tricked out machines is a dream in the making. Service of the coffees living up to the true expression of the coffees, that's a concept with no distractions!

The cafe floor. Standards. Quality. That's what I am thinking about right now.

-Jaime van Schyndel