Sunday, January 24, 2010

Where's decaf on the menu?

I had the opportunity to do an interview with a cafe owner/operator at his cafe this AM. He knew something about what I do, so was prepared when I got there to explain how decaf coffee is a tiny fraction of his business. This is typical of many cafe owners and roasters I talk to.

So I we looked carefully at his menu boards -- (the great chalkboard kind, which I love). I asked, "so it seems no where on the boards does it mention decaf -- not even a mention that you've got the house blend brewed?" He agreed -- not there. As we discussed other parts of his business that have more demand than decaf coffee, it was the cafe owner, not me, that kept coming back to the insight -- "but at least "organic" is listed on the menu". "At least tea is listed as an option on the sign." Not surprisingly, we both agreed it will be worth it to see if modest promotion, such as putting decaf on the menu boards, makes any difference in demand.

The cafe owner, (who by the way, is a wonderful guy), then explained how teas are more convenient than coffee. He can have 100-150 teas in stock. The beverage is brewed one cup at a time, (instead of batch brewed), so there isn't the waste one gets with brewed coffee. Also, no grinding required. The dear little dried tea leaves can be placed directly in hot water for steeping. This got me thinking, are there ways to adopt any of this "convenience" to the coffee world? Imagine having dozens of coffees in one cafe - including decaf, of course.

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