Changing Trends

Jan 11, 2015

At Carvetii Coffee Roasters we have set up a variety of systems to help manage our business on a day to day business.  These systems invariably throw up a lot of data.  We use some of this data to manage the business on a day to day, and month to month basis, but some if it just sits there waiting to be analysed.  Such is the case with the trends in our coffee sales over the past couple of years.

The default brewing method for the majority of coffee shops in Cumbria is an espresso machine, and therefore our sales mix is dominated by our Seasonal Espresso Blend.  However, since setting up our business we have been advocates for serving filter coffee and have been encouraging our customers to include a filter offering on their menu (and for the sake of simplicity I will include the coffee press, or cafetiere, in this).  We are often met by a degree of resistance in this respect, primarily because of the negative image many have of filter coffee, particularly when brewed in bulk.

We are very used to seeing jugs of filter coffee sitting in hot plates in cafes and hotels.  These have likely been brewed using a pre-ground, pre-portioned sachet of coffee and will sit on the hot plate, stewing and oxidising, until the last drop of coffee is sold.

There is an alternative approach: grind each batch of filter coffee fresh to order1 and brew immediately into thermos flasks.  To maintain freshness of the product, discard any unused coffee after around 40 minutes.

It would be wonderful to see more freshly ground and brewed filter coffee on offer across Cumbria and we sense a change in trends, at least amongs our wholesale customers:

In December 2012, sales of our single origin coffees (which are used for filter brewing) made up only 11% of our sales mix, with our espresso blend contributing 89% to this total.

In December 2013, sales of single origin coffees increased to account for 22% of the total sales mix.

By December 2014, single origin coffees made up one third of our overall sales mix2.

This is also reflected in online sales to retail customers: in December 2012 our single origin coffees accounted for just 30% of sales, but by December 2014, this had grown to 80%.

Serving single origin coffees either as a bulk brewed filter, a single serve option or through a coffee press is great way to extend a coffee menu beyond the obligatory espresso/milk combinations. Bulk brewing filter coffee, in particular, is easier to teach than extracting espresso, and offers much more consistency both within each batch and across batches. In a busy environment bulk brewed filter coffee also offers a quick option, thus taking some of the pressure off an espresso machine.

  1.  There are commercial filter coffee grinders on the market which can grind a pre-determined amount of coffee straight into a filter basket in around 30 seconds.  They are very similar in cost to grinders for espresso machines. 
  2. While this change in emphasis could be due simply to an increase in the number of hotels using our coffee, this is not actually the case.