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.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Health Benefits of Coffee

I heard somewhere last fall that the National Coffee Assoc. (NCA) had recognized that it should be pushing the health benefits of coffee more effectively in the press. I think they're executing pretty well now. I've seen articles popping up all over, including the Wall Street Journal on Dec. 30, 2009. ("Good News on the Daily Grind", Health Journal, Dec. 30, 2009,

The interesting thing to me is that the articles mention that many of the good qualities do not seem to be related to the caffeine and many of the NOT good qualities of coffee are related to the caffeine. But so far, I have not seen an article evaluate whether decaffeinated coffee is practically a health boost drink. The crumbs are leading that direction, though...