Make Your Cafe Dream a Reality

Inhaling, the pungent aroma permeates the senses.  Discovering it takes more than forty three pairs of hands to deliver that cup of liquid gold, there’s a realisation that the journey is so much more about the people than the coffee.

More to coffee than coffee art

More to coffee than coffee art

It's a lot like a wine tasting, except it's called "cupping"

It's a lot like a wine tasting, except it's called "cupping"

Independent Straight Up Advice

In early August, Rachel and Nic Berry from The Business of Coffee invited me to join their coffee workshop – a hands-on class held at The Barista Academy as part of their 12 week Cafe Start Up School.  Independent of the coffee roasters and a strong advocate for cafe owners, Rachel and Nic’s course delivers:

  • Honest, unbiased advice on how money is made in coffee
  • Ways to reduce the failure rate of new start-ups and existing cafes
  • A business model for a new generation of savvy cafe owners.
Cafe Start Up School - materials ready to go

Cafe Start Up School - materials ready to go

Twelve cafe enthusiasts gathered together that Saturday.  Amongst us: a food technology teacher; a French tourist; and three couples about to set up their own cafe business.  Another participant was building a cafe in a 20 foot shipping container; someone else was considering a career change and even a non-coffee drinker too. While everyone was at different points in their journey, what they had in common was a desire to succeed. With 70% of new cafes failing at the first hurdle, they had come to the right place.

“The course looked at coffee holistically... it looked at every single thing.” Karen

Discussing bean freshness - how often to buy and how much stock to hold

Discussing bean freshness - how often to buy and how much stock to hold

Understanding the implications of different basket sizes on taste 

Understanding the implications of different basket sizes on taste 

Exploring the coffee wheel

Exploring the coffee wheel

The day was filmed to be shared with overseas participants

The day was filmed to be shared with overseas participants

Educate and Empower

The Business of Coffee provides the perfect forum to educate, support and empower cafe owners.  Rachel and Nic both have more than 20 years hospitality experience and a willingness to share knowledge, tips, tricks and tools and even industry secrets to maximise profits while delivering an outstanding customer experience. 

Varying cup and basket sizes impact on taste and your profit

Varying cup and basket sizes impact on taste and your profit

It’s not hard to understand why people fail. Participants are encouraged to focus on what they can control.  There is so much to learn. About beans and machines.  How best to engage with roasters.  The implications of the size variances of takeaway versus crockery cups.  The importance of recipes and ratios, grind, baskets, water pressure and equipment cleanliness.  All factors that impact not only on taste but the bottom line too.

“My head’s full but I don’t feel overloaded.  Lots of information – it was awesome.” Carrie

Getting the Right People

One of the biggest things new business owners often overlook is getting the right people on board.  Your team is a reflection of your cafe. Recruit people with the right fit with your business then teach them the skills they need.  Support your team on the journey with encouragement and learning; the more they feel valued the longer they will stick around.

Daniel and Carla's key take-out, “Always watch the barista”. 

Creating coffee experts - hands on courses from The Barista Academy

Creating coffee experts - hands on courses from The Barista Academy

A great coffee is more than aroma, flavour and taste. A customer’s coffee experience in your cafe is in your hands – create a ritual for your customers with coffee on the side.  The next 12 week Cafe Start Up School kicks off 1 September so contact Rachel now for more information.

And if you love you local cafe, then tell them.  Better still tell all your friends too.

Michelle



Coffee and Ginger Gems

Arriving home from Waiheke Island an unremarkable brown cardboard box sat at the front door.   Inside, a preview tub of The Collective NZ's latest limited edition yoghurt with my name on it!

A tub of yoghurt with my name on it

A tub of yoghurt with my name on it

Perfect with cereal and fruit at breakfast, the coffee yoghurt was a hit.  But sometimes a little baking experimentation is called for.  Ginger gems are quick to throw together when unexpected people turn up.   

Here's a variation on a basic gem recipe - coffee and ginger gems:

  • 60 g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 1/4 c caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp golden syrup
  • 1 c flour
  • 3 tsp ground ginger
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 c coffee yoghurt
  • 1/2 c strong coffee (double strength plunger coffee)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 20 g extra unsalted butter
  1. Heat gem iron in oven at 200 deg C.
  2. Cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. 
  3. Add egg and beat until combined, then fold in golden syrup.
  4. Sift flour, ginger and salt into mixture, then fold together using a large metal spoon (mixture might be quite thick at this point).
  5. Add yoghurt to the warm (not hot) coffee and mix together, then add baking soda and quickly whisk.  
  6. Fold into wet mixture until just combined - do not over mix (mixture will now be a batter).
  7. Remove gem iron from oven.  Divide extra butter between gem iron hollows then spoon batter into the sizzling butter. Fill to top with one large spoonful but don't overfill.  
  8. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown.
  9. Serve warm with an extra dollop of yoghurt.
Coffee and ginger gems - hot out of the oven

Coffee and ginger gems - hot out of the oven

 The Collective NZ's  limited edition coffee yoghurt launches week commencing 27 July in stockists nationwide – if you love coffee, you'll love the taste.

Happy baking.

Michelle

Queenies Lunch Room

There’s little traffic on this quiet inner city backstreet on a Saturday. The pretty ivy clad walls a striking contrast to the multi-storied building next door. On a gorgeous summer day when the sun warms the paved terrace or sidewalk, grab a stool and sit, chat and relax.

It’s a cool autumn day so inside tables beckon.  Mid afternoon, expecting the place to be bustling and tables crowded, it was surprisingly deserted.  The welcoming staff told me the lunch crowd had just gone but the kitchen was still open – until 2:30pm each day.

Enjoying the tranquillity after weeks of hustle and bustle (that’s a whole different topic) I ordered a haloumi and caramelised peach salad.  A delightfully refreshing salad of pan-fried haloumi, pear and orange (no peach today) topped a bed of pickled red onions, macadamias, mint and rocket. With a light dressing, crunchy nuts and crisp greens it was the perfect balance of textures.

The silence didn’t last. People arrived not long after for afternoon tea and coffee.  The place was buzzing again, just like I remembered.

With all the talk about the latest cafe opening and must see or be seen places to go, sometimes it is fun to visit an old favourite.  Next time, I might just be tempted by one of those meringues too.

For menu, opening hours and location visit: Queenies

Michelle

Charlie & George Cafe - Stonefields

Local cafes thrive when locals tell their friends and keep coming back for more themselves.  It definitely looks like the Stonefields’ community find their local cafe, Charlie & George somewhat irresistible.

After the lunch rush, before the coffee crowd 

After the lunch rush, before the coffee crowd 

Frequenting this cheerful neighbourhood cafe twice last week, the smiling staff were extremely welcoming. Cheerful and efficient service, the superb coffee delighted us too.

The outside courtyard was a little too chilly given the autumnal breeze; we grabbed a table inside in the sun, the floor to ceiling glass trapping the warmth inside.  The school holidays brought a mixed crowd: retirees; groups of mums and kids; and even a couple of laid-back business lunches underway. The place was humming as we left, little did I realise how soon I’d be back.

Melt in the mouth date and orange scone

Melt in the mouth date and orange scone

A few days later, on Saturday afternoon we were heading home and in need of a caffeine fix. Other than my local coffee haunt I frequent way too often, I’m always keen to try somewhere new but my friend who lives nearby hadn’t been to Charlie & George. As fate would have it there was one empty table in the sun.  The waiter reset it without a fuss; there were plenty of other empty clean tables in the shade.

Another shot or two of coffee and another tempting scone.  This time a potato, cheese and dill one devoured, the moreish date and orange scones long gone.

Long black with cream

Long black with cream

Charlie & George is driving not walking distance from home but I will definitely pop in again soon. Check it out yourself – Charlie & George

 Michelle

Coffee Addiction

Every day, without fail my day starts with herbal tea or if there are home grown ones, a lemon squeezed into a glass of hot water.  It happens most days, usually by ten - this urge for something dark, strong and smooth. 

Long black & jaffas.jpg

It beckons. Heading off in the car to a meeting, coming home from a spinalates class or simply it’s just that time of the day.  It’s not the aroma that sells houses.  It’s not the hiss of the machine or the banter of the barista.  It’s not even the caffeine hit, which never seems to kick in.  It’s simply a ritual. Something I do, almost without thinking.

And most days it’s only the one, sometimes none. But today, I lost count. Focused, working on a new project, the very act of making coffee provided a reward.  It’s a welcome distraction.  It’s an excuse to move.  Any excuse, to get up from my desk. 

Given today’s coffee intake was more than the usual one, I'm seriously wondering whether a daily coffee creates a caffeine addiction.  I stop for migraines, head colds and waxing - yes it does make a difference to the pain. So I could stop tomorrow but I rather like it.  I like it strong, stand up spoon strength. I detest instant and would rather go without so maybe I’m not really addicted after all.

Michelle

ps I hope I sleep tonight...

Jandals Café, Whitianga

Jandals Café is a welcoming, beachside café in the picturesque seaside town of Whitianga, Coromandel.  Established in 2010 by Lawrence and Paula MacKenzie, Jandals is a firm favourite with the locals offering delicious home-made food and they also run a successful catering business.

As you step into Jandals you are greeted by friendly staff who enjoy a chat, making you feel like you are home away from home.  Jandals definitely provides the best coffee in town, creating their coffees from award winning Celcius Coffee, a full-bodied pick me up right down to the last drop.  To accompany your coffee there is an array of homemade treats, both savoury and sweet.  I enjoyed the lemon posset tart with fresh cream and on a second occasion, the gluten free plum and vanilla cheesecake.  There were also portions of lasagne which looked perfect for dinner, but unfortunately I was heading back on the road home.

Spoilt for choice - sweet treats at Jandals Cafe

Spoilt for choice - sweet treats at Jandals Cafe

Along with great coffee and great food there is a lovely long outdoor courtyard to enjoy and relax.  On leaving Jandals Café check out the smattering of local art work which would brighten any room in the home. 

Local artwork at Jandals Cafe, Whitianga

Local artwork at Jandals Cafe, Whitianga

Right next door to Jandals Café is the Buffalo Takeaways which has the best fish and chips I have had in a long time.  Crumbed John Dory so delicious you could imagine yourself sitting in a five star restaurant. Both establishments are a stones-throw from the beach, the perfect spot for coffee and treat or fish and chips.

If you are travelling to the Coromandel I highly recommend a coffee and sustenance break at Jandals Café.  Whitianga itself is a lovely relaxing spot with a multitude of surrounding activities to choose from up and down the coast.  Or if you would rather just sit back and relax; enjoy the views, peacefulness and fine coffee from Jandals Café. 

Boats moored in Whitianga Harbour

Boats moored in Whitianga Harbour

Enjoy your travels with fabulous food.

Deborah – February's Guest Contributor

Deborah FitzPatrick | LinkedIn

For more information: Jandals Café & Catering Whitianga

Best barista found at sleepy seaside locale

Melbourne is renowned for being the coffee capital, so I’m spoilt for choice when I want my morning pick-me-up! Yet, every day I go to my local coffee haunt in the seaside town of Parkdale. “Why”, you ask. Well the answer is simple – no one makes coffee like Wael.

Coffee served with a smile

Wael, referred to by many as the Mayor of Parkdale, knows all his customers by name and coffee blend. And he often has your coffee ready to go before you walk in the door. Now that is service, especially when he serves over 500 customers every morning.

No wonder that Wael has been nominated for Piazza D’Oro’s Best Barista of the Year competition being held in Sydney on 26 November.

Click for Piazza D'Oro best barista competition

Click for Piazza D'Oro best barista competition

Click image for Station Stop Cafe Facebook page

Click image for Station Stop Cafe Facebook page

Location is everything

As well as the great service, you can’t beat the location. Directly opposite the busy Parkdale station and close to major highways, the Station Stop Café is conveniently situated. It is so easy to grab your morning caffeine fix before you rush into your busy day.

PS - don’t forget those sticky treats!

I almost forgot to mention the tempting array of freshly baked cakes and biscuits begging to accompany you and your coffee. That is the other reason I love this coffee shop!

So next time you visit Melbourne remember to check out coffee shops away from the hustle and bustle of the city. You will be pleasantly surprised.

Lizz - November's Guest Contributor

http://www.linkedin.com/in/lizzmceneaney

For more great cafes in Melbourne check out:

http://www.visitvictoria.com/Regions/Melbourne/Things-to-do/Food-and-wine/Cafes/Coffee