Differentiating Your Business through Specialty Coffee
Speciality Coffee is a Fast Changing Industry. Working with a partner that is keeping abreast of changes can offer you a competitive advantage.
Remember that last great instant coffee innovation that was a real game-changer? Me either. Third-wave coffee, however, in which lighter roasts are favored over dark roasts, changed the way that coffee is consumed worldwide.
As increased rates of Covid vaccinations move people out of quarantine and into cafes, “slow coffees” such as chemix, V60, and other preparations for specialty coffee are gaining in popularity. Customers who once looked to supermarket coffee they can prepare at home are open for experience coffees.
The world of specialty coffee is constantly evolving, which makes it possible for you to bring exciting new ideas to your customers.
In 2021 there are more options than ever before. Innovation at the farm level and inspiration of producers to take risks with their processing methods, supported by interested private buyers from around the world, is leading to an explosion of disruptive processes and flavors. Namely, extended anaerobic fermentation processed coffees.
Sharp flavors of lemonade, anise flower, passion fruit, pineapple, cardamom, strawberry, or fruit punch now can be identified by even amature coffee tasters (cuppers) who don't have the extensive training to identify faint flavors that are present in normal coffee. Through extended fermentation processes and combining organic materials (bio masses) into the fermentation stage, natural flavors that seep into the coffee beans are not prevalent beyond “hints” or “notes” but clear flavors.
Conversely, around 73% of Starbucks sales now fall into a cold drink category, heavily patroned by Millenials who are addicted to the latest tik tok craze.
The wealthier Gen Y and Gen Z demographics are more inclined to consume specialty coffee, and care about a premium product.
So do you follow the big chains in chasing trends, or set your own path toward a more unique offering? We’re unlikely to see the chains offering niche specialty coffees, since by definition they’re niche, and they don’t scale well on a national or international level.
But If you're not already an expert, how do you get started?
Find an experienced supplier
Probably, you're getting your beans from a local roaster, and the world is full of amazing roasters who are passionate about producing an incredible product.Since roasting is a blend between an art and a science, each roaster approaches the product differently, from types of beans collected to how they roast and package the product.
Coffee shops and cafes in the UK have never been so spoiled with choice as they are today thanks to a highly competitive roasting industry. When you carefully select the right partner to work with, you can create a coffee menu that stands out from those of your competitors and especially those of large chains.
The bravest among them we'll go out to the producing countries, meet the Farmers and engage directly for trade. This model is reserved for the most adventurous and larger roasters. We wrote an entire two part article on the challenges of buying green coffee here.
Many roasters, who are buying ‘direct’ from farmers are in fact, using an agent on the ground, who will do the sourcing, negotiation, quality control, and exportation on their behalf. Companies like Those Coffee People in Colombia help roasters understand what is happening in the local market, and do all the tasks that are otherwise quite daunting to a buyer.
At Bartalks, we keep in regular contact with experts on the ground to bring up to date information about what is happening in the industry - whether it be topics like the impact of frost in Brazil to the global supply chain, to our podcasts and interviews with leading industry experts.
The coffee industry is looking at how fermentation influenced winemaking, and now these new fermentation methods are being learned by coffee producers, offering incredible new flavours that were not available before.
For these advancements to pay off, you must identify a partner whose vision aligns with yours. Since there is a noticeable learning curve, and much trial and error, a strong partner will be an asset to you as you spend time learning the nuances of some of the popular pour-over brewing techniques, like the V60.
What type of coffee do you think is best for your business? In my opinion, a good answer to that question is one that excites and stimulates your customers, increases your margins, and moves you from serving ordinary coffee and into a world of extraordinary coffee.
Photo credit: Jennifer Pool of Those Coffee People