Beans & Machines

The Tampa Beverage Solutions Blog

Be a Barista – Date Kristen Chenoweth

From what we can tell, she really digs it –

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September 27, 2010 Posted by | Fun Facts | , , , | Leave a comment

Whet Your Palate – Preview

We here at TBS had a novel idea over our Monday lattes.

Why not integrate a regular themed post into our new blogosphere to inform and entertain our dear readers about the many variations and oddities of the coffee universe?

So, we are pleased to introduce you to “Whet Your Palate,” our home for the new tastes and trends in the java universe.

Coming up over the next few days will be our maiden posts.  Ideas are more than welcome in the thus-far ignored comments section of this blog. (hint)

Watch out for Coffee-infused wine and a cutting edge cup of joe that actually promises to burn fat while you sip it.

Keep a look out, lots of fun stuff on the horizon.

September 27, 2010 Posted by | Fun Facts, Whet Your Palate | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Diners gone AWOL – Avoid “Desserters”

At the FRA last weekend, we attended a talk given by Sherri Johns, the president and founder of WholeCup Coffee Consulting.

Sherri is a veritable coffee expert, so when she offered us some insight on a phenomenon plaguing restaurants around the globe, we were overcome with the urge to spread the knowledge.

First, some vocabulary –

Desserter (noun):

Customer who, in the event that coffee and/or dessert are not on the menu, exits the venue where he or she has enjoyed a meal in search of these items elsewhere.

Apparently, as post-meal coffee nudges its way into the habits of the American restaurant-goer, those who can’t get their fix of café au lait or espresso following dinner or lunch will not only skip on the dessert order, they will go out and find a place that provides both the coffee and the slice of pie.

That’s revenue that is lost on the restaurant owner and substantially gained by the smart cookie who serves artisan coffee roasts (and maybe a particularly nice baklava).

We want to make sure our loyal blog fans are avoiding desertion in their businesses, so we’ve thrown together this simple five step guide to ensure it won’t happen on your turf.

  1. Put Coffee on the Menu – okay, sure, that one is obvious, but you’d be amazed how many places don’t bother to put it on the menu.  Go ahead and check to make sure yours is equipped.
  2. Stock Good Coffee – Sherri shared with us a story about going to a famous, high-end restaurant a few months ago and inquiring about their coffee selection after the meal.  She was horrified that after such an in depth presentation of the meats, desserts, and wines, the only thing the server knew about the coffee was that it “came in a little golden bag.”  Not only does this not bode well for the quality of the final note of a nice meal, it leads us to –
  3. Educate Your Staff – Make sure your servers know where your coffee is grown and roasted, how it tastes, and to always mention it to tables as they are winding down on their entrees.  Equate your coffee to wine.  Not only is the taste range on a similar scale, the consumer palette is becoming ever more sophisticated as coffee popularity booms in North America.
  4. Use Clean, High Quality Equipment –Your machines will make all the difference in the product that you turn out.  Make sure that everything is clean, you are using filtered water, and you haven’t purchased something more for the bargain than the capability.  Just remember, coffee is often the single most profitable item on a menu.  It’s worth it to spend a little extra on a machine you can trust.
  5. Serve Variety – Drip coffee, espresso, cappuccino, latte … make sure you’ve got it all, because in this post-Starbucks world, specialty coffee preparation is no longer an exclusive thing.  Proper prep and lovely presentation will drive the point home that your customers need not leave the table to get their just desserts.

September 21, 2010 Posted by | Business Tips | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Café by Etsy – Cool Finds to Make your Business Indie Trendy

Vintage Spoon Set by Wooden Hive

Let’s face it – coffee shops used to be hip by default.  Cool people like to sip coffee and tea over stimulating conversation, brainstorming, first dates, you name it.  But as the popularity of the cafe heats up, so does your competition.

The aesthetic of your business to turn it into a haunt-of-choice for coffee lovers of your area is an imperative part of developing your brand identity.  As American coffee drinkers move away from the commercialism that is Starbucks in search of privately owned niche cafes, there is a more of a desire for quirk, novelty, and a unique display to set off high quality roasts.

That’s why we love Etsy.  One-of-a-kind handmade purchases by artsy folks around the globe provide just the creative touch give your place a little street cred.

If you’ve never heard of Etsy, no worries.  We’re here to give you a little guidance with some examples of picks we liked for the cafe shopper.

Coffee/Tea Pots:

Pay special attention to this one if you serve coffee or tea table-side or by the pot.

There is a limitless array of pots from handmade ceramics to funky painted glass on etsy.  The one pictured to the left is a Japanese Ceramic Pot posted by Logan Square Houseware on 9/17 for a bargain $20.

Table Decor:

Place mats, coasters, tablecloths, games … the possibilities are endless when it comes to sprucing up the tables in your cafe for dine-in customers.

Our favorites from a spur-of-the-moment search on Etsy were these super cool recycled woven coasters by Harriet’s Haven for $11 and these Leaf Table Pieces by River Bird.  Pictured to the right were another set of coasters we are still drooling over by Etsy coaster queen Love My Coasters.  They run on average $12/set of 4, and the shop array features all sorts of yummy options for coffee house chic.

Behind the Counter:

Apron by The Lime Shop

With all the stuff required to full suit your staff and counter, there’s a lot of room to play with your purchase choices.

From funky aprons to shabby chic chalkboards like this vintage option from Chalk Board Originals, you can really throw yourself into providing a distinct personality to your cafe for relatively cheap and the reassurance that your stuff is one-of-a-kind.

Consider doing a locale search to find Etsy artists living nearby as well.  You can always commission out pieces from shops you like (even if they aren’t local) to fit a specific logo, brand, or vision you’ve got in your head.

Best of luck, and be sure to send us photos of your finds!

September 17, 2010 Posted by | Business Tips, Decor | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kahwa Coffee wins Creative Loafing’s Best of the Bay!

A big congratulations to Kahwa coffee for snagging Creative Loafing’s Best of the Bay award for “Best Local Java,” at the Loafies last night!

The write up in the paper that hit the stands this morning is as follows:

BEST LOCAL JAVA
Kahwa Coffee
Downtown St. Petersburgers knows where to go for a caffeine fix, or when they’re in the mood to browse the Sunday paper over a latte and a croissant (and it doesn’t start with an ‘S’). Kahwa is a local business that cares about quality and the community, roasting the beans at its facility in St. Pete and serving fresh brews at their two hip downtown locations. Kahwa’s signature blends are slightly sweet without being overly bitter, and the prices are hard to beat for the quality of product served. 475 Second St. N, 727-823-4700; 204 Second Ave S, 727-821-1942,kahwacoffee.com

September 16, 2010 Posted by | Kahwa Coffee, Our Products | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vatican Venti – the Papal Baptism of Coffee

When the coffee bean started to trickle into the western world back in the 16th century, the energizing effect of caffeine caused a predictable stir in society.  The appeal of a tasty beverage that would clear up fatigue for those crack-of-dawn vespers or all-nighter fresco painting sessions in Renaissance Europe probably looked like a Godsend.

Unless you asked the Vatican.

Coffee beans, originating in the Ottoman Empire (aka the land of infidel Muslims), with their foreign taste and drug-like effects looked Satanic to the Counsel of Rome, like a Muslim replacement for wine in the Eucharist.  And God help anyone who decided to have a taste.

Except, of course, for the Pope.

The man likes a strong cup of joe.

Clement VIII must have been curious, or maybe he happened to have a whiff of some freshly ground beans en route to one of his papal duties and couldn’t resist.  Either way, he rebuffed his counsel and decided to try Satan’s drink for himself before making any rash declarations.

Lucky for today’s coffee lovers, the man absolutely loved what was in his mug.  Unwilling to let go of such a find, he decided there and then to baptize coffee as a whole, reclaiming it for Christendom (and making it a permissible part of his daily routine).

And so, the cuppa became Catholic.

September 15, 2010 Posted by | Fun Facts | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Want to serve the Bay Area’s best java? Buy Kahwa Coffee exclusively from TBS

If bohemian hip could come in a cup, it would most certainly be a Kahwa espresso.

With French roots, two locations buzzing with activity in the heart of trendy downtown St. Petersburg, walls covered with subversive local art, and a nomination for a slot with Creative Loafing’s Best of the Bay, Kahwa Cafe pretty much has cool on lockdown.

Kahwa roasts locally, hand-crafting five meticulous blends with beans from South America, Africa, and a rare Indian sweet bean you won’t find in any other blend here in the States.

If St. Pete isn’t within your commutable range, fret not.  Kahwa has recently decided to sign an exclusive distributor contract with none other than yours truly.  TBS is working hand-in-hand with owner Raphael Perrier to bring Kahwa to cafes around the nation.

September 10, 2010 Posted by | Kahwa Coffee, Our Products | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment