Sunday, February 19, 2012

2 Years of Slow Coffee (at the bar)

Of course we discovered the merits of a good filter or press coffee since very long, but it took a while before putting it on the menu in our bar in Hopland.

And that's almost 2 years ago.

And we weren't even the first in Antwerp, since Jens (Barchoq-Normo) launched his Aeropress of the week formula a couple of months before we did.

Why? Why would we serve filter coffee for our clients? That was the question.

For me it's simple : I thought it was a great way to extend the experience. You have a great (slow) coffee and time at the bar and with taking the coffee home and brewing it there you can enjoy it over and over again, and also share it with friends and family.
And that's much more complicated with espresso.

Filter/Press coffee is also a long drink. It's a quality drink to enjoy for 15 minutes or longer. Even better ; it takes minimum 5 minutes before the coffee grows to its peak. Espresso is express. Filter is slow.

I remember philosophizing about this subject with Rick from Espressofabriek Amsterdam. And we thought that offering filters or presses was business wise a tricky thing. We had this magical espresso machine guaranteering a fast top class experience that people almost couldn't copy at home. And now we were playing with the idea offering a coffee that was close by the coffee we drank when visiting granny.

For me there was no discussion. I wanted to reach more people outside my own bar. Distributing coffee to other bars and restaurants was one way. Serving filters and selling the filter beans at the same time is another.
When I chatted with my hero Geoff Watts about this subject, he shared exactely the same opinion and it were the Intelligentsia bars who showed us very well how to serve filter coffee in a bar.

Now 2 years later the volumes didn't go very high. I guess maximum 10% of our turn over is filter/press coffee.
But it brings in a lot of atmosphere and sales of filter beans are probably triple of espresso beans, which means (appr.) X 6 compared to 2 years ago. (By the way : espresso bean sales certainly didn't go lower).
And .... we like to drink it ourselves; over and over again. I think filter coffee is more addictive than espresso coffee.

The slow bar menu : it has been very shaky over those years : From V60's and Aeropress, we switched to Abid Clever Dripper to Trifecta to filtered Trifecta and again I feel it's time for the next step (up).
So keep an eye on my tweets and don't forget to drop on by for the next filter of the week.

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