Sponsored by FETCO®
In just a few years coffee has evolved from an afterthought into a featured item in many restaurants. Operators are upgrading it to draw customers and drive profits.
It’s easy to see why. Nearly one-half of all adult Americans drink brewed coffee on any given day, says the BUZZ 2016 report by the market research firm Datassential. That makes it the most consumed beverage after tap water. It has a higher daily incidence rate than that of bottled water, juice and both regular and diet carbonated soft drinks. The U.S. coffee market has an estimated retail value of $48 billion, according to the Specialty Coffee Association of America.
Against this backdrop restaurants are serving coffee in diverse ways. In addition to the widely used drip brewing method, espresso-based drinks like latte and cappuccino and hand-brewed, pour-over coffees are in play. In the past couple of years cold brew and nitro coffee served on tap have become trendy refreshers.
Although alternative brewing methods can add variety to coffee programs, drip brewing remains the fundamental method for volume coffee service in restaurants. It’s the quickest and most efficient way to serve good coffee to a crowd without high labor and skill requirements.
Today’s advanced drip brewers and thermal coffee dispensers provide a continuous supply of fresh, hot coffee that is easier to execute, more consistent and more profitable than ever before. The following are a few key practices which will help operators get the most out of their drip coffee.
Size it right. Ideally, a restaurant should choose a drip brewer with a capacity that matches the number of cups per hour it serves. A brewer that makes excessive coffee risks incurring waste and high costs. On the other hand, a brewer with insufficient volume can lead to service interruptions and long lines of impatient customers. “It is really important to understand your cups served per hour,” ,” says Vince Kendzierski, director of marketing for FETCO. “You obviously don’t want a brewer that makes 500 to 600 cups per hour if you only sell 100 cups per hour.
Water matters. “It is important to have very good water filtration because 98 percent of coffee is water,” says Kendzierski. Large multi-unit operators typically use a standard water filtration profile chainwide to maintain a consistent coffee taste in all locations.
Get with the program. The FETCO XTS brewing system has programmable daily brewing modes tailored to the desired coffee flavor profile. This allows brewing steps that otherwise would be done by hand to be done automatically --- thus training requirements are reduced and all staff members can brew consistently good coffee. Furthermore, that consistency can extend across a multi-unit restaurant system that uses the equipment.
Drip brewing settings include brew volume, which can be adjusted to produce a balanced batch. The pre-wet feature allows water to contact the coffee grounds prior to the brewing cycle, causing them to swell for better extraction. Bypass redirects water directly into the dispenser, bypassing the coffee grounds in the brew basket, to provide a custom water-to-coffee ratio. Brew time can be adjusted to bring out the optimum flavor and aroma of the beans.
Talk to the pros. Coffee purveyors know their beans best, so they can give helpful direction on drip brewer settings. “Our equipment can be adjusted in multiple ways to deliver the best quality cup of coffee,” says Kendzierski. “It can reach any level the coffee roaster wants.”
Hold it hot and fresh. The new FETCO LUXUS L3D Series thermal dispenser is a great partner for a drip coffee brewer. It keeps coffee at serving temperature up to four hours while protecting flavor. Its standard features include a digital Freshness Timer® that displays how long the coffee has been held and a Volume Indicator that shows how much coffee has been dispensed. Both are invaluable for managing a continuous coffee supply. Other important features include a redesigned funnel enclosure, flip-open brew cap and front-facing handle with funnel lock that make handling and maintenance easier.
Thermal dispensers are often placed at satellite beverage stations in the dining room that would not accommodate a full-sized brewer. They save steps and enhance the efficiency of coffee service. Using them is advantageous in many types of operations, including places that feature all-day breakfast and need plenty of hot coffee ready to serve.
“Having the thermal dispenser at hand allows service staff to draw from it rather than frequently brew more coffee,” says Kendzierski.