Thoughtful Rant

Restaurants.

I love restaurants. I love going out to dinner, even now, when I am vegan and thus the choices are narrowed. I still like the anticipation of service, menu and bar choices. I love scoping out the design, atmosphere and any attempted innovations. Old classics, tried and trues, completely fucking insane stabs at re-inventing the wheel in restaurants…I welcome it all.
I do however dislike the end of dinner, not all of it, just the SEVERE LACK OF GOOD COFFEE SERVICE.
I still don’t get it. Why would you go out on your menu, and ingredients all the way through dessert and then completely skimp on the coffee? Why? It makes absolutely no sense to me that you would buy the best ingredients to make up a great meal and then question someone on the PRICE of amazing coffee.
Whenever a specialty roaster approaches a restaurant they seriously are taken aback if the coffee costs anything over $6/lb wholesale. Really? With the markup you can have you are gonna freak about any price above that? You are gonna take the chance of masking a fantastic meal with shitty coffee because of price point?
I just don’t get it. Really, I don’t. If a chef is truly a thoughtful person, this thoughtfulness would go into the coffee as well. The vision of your place of business should be complete…from the napkins, to the toilet you buy, to card stock to the COFFEE. I am so tired of looking at the menu of 95% of restaurants and finding really crappy coffee being served/prepared poorly and without any sort of care. If you are a restaurant worth your salt, hire a bartender that can also take the time to care and understand coffee preparation. Everything that you do, or offer, you should master it and do it well, if not, you might as well not serve it at all.
To connect it to coffee, if you are not committed to tea at all…don’t serve it in your coffee bar. Why bother? But if you do want to offer tea, take the time to source a good tea wholesaler and take the time to learn how to serve/brew/present it well. It will make the vision of your place so much more clear. It also sends a message that you care about the entire experience.
So this is a note to restaurant owners/operators…please please please take coffee off the menu unless you care enough to do it correctly. If you want to take coffee on, do it right. Think about the quality and consistency of the coffee not the price. Think of the hard work going into bringing you the coffee, and think of the lasting impression on the meal.
ok, that’s enough for now.

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~ by Me on February 26, 2010.

5 Responses to “Thoughtful Rant”

  1. Amen, brother. Amen.

  2. word

  3. Excellent thoughts. It’s the last thing on their tongue when they leave. It’s the last thing most people remember. Don’t spend all your time telling people about your high quality, fresh, local food, while serving old, stale, generic coffee.

  4. Perhaps specialty coffee suppliers need to do some creative marketing to inform the restaurant owner and the customer of the sublime experience to be had when drinking fine coffee. Marketing!!! Price points can be met with higher costs to the the customers for the experience of having extraordinary coffee. Sixty dollar wine? How about a five dollar cup? Not too much to ask. No?

  5. Agreed. I love your post. I run a coffee program at Woodberry Kitchen, Bmore. The truth is, sometimes the numbers don’t initially make sense… but if you have dedicated trained baristas, an educated staff, and an understanding of the latent potential that great coffee & tea service have in a restaurant…. then the more the masses will follow. Give it time. Chef’s will come around.

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