When selecting a green coffee, it’s best to begin with the end in mind. Will this coffee be a single origin or part of a blend? A filter coffee or espresso for the cafe, or a retail-only offering? Here are a few considerations to keep in mind when planning which coffees to use for which parts of your menu.
The brewing process takes longer with higher volumes of water and tends to showcase a coffee’s delicacy as it allows time for the coffee to mellow as it cools. Among filter coffees there are a range of preparation options: batch brew, pourover, French press. At the customer’s discretion, the coffee may be paired with milk or sugar or drunk black. A crowd-pleasing batch brew option might be different than a featured single origin for a pourover bar.
Filter Coffee allows a roaster to showcase more subtle and complex elements that a coffee might exhibit that would be lost in a quick, compressed shot. It also allows time for a coffee to change; it just takes longer to drink a cup of brewed coffee than it does to drink a shot of espresso. Choosing a coffee that changes subtly over this time period lets the customer enjoy the entire experience.
In the case of espresso, brewing takes place quickly and coffee is ready in less than a minute. Espresso is concentrated and intense; it is less commonly served by itself usually paired with dairy or alternative milk in varying volumes to create popular drinks like lattes, cappuccinos, cortados, flat whites, macchiatos, and other recipes crafted by cafes.
Espresso typically rewards balance in its preparation. The compression of dissolved solids, together with the small size of the beverage, means the experience for most espresso drinkers is a singular punch of flavor rather than the subtle flavor changes experiences in filter coffee.
Similarly, all the flavors of a coffee are enhanced due to their compression, certain aspects that didn’t take center stage before might become star players. As espresso is often paired with milk in varying amounts, the result is a beverage in which coffee is an ingredient rather than the total. Care must be taken when selecting espresso because the coffee needs enough sweetness and balance to hold its own if necessary, while also being able to take on enhancements like sugar and syrups in its final preparation.
Another aspect to green coffee selection is the volumes you’ll need to roast. If you have blend components, what are the ratios? How fast do you move through filter versus espresso offerings? Do you have wholesale clients who order in large volumes, or do you adjust your retail offerings every month to keep customers curious?
Keeping track of how much coffee you roast and how much coffee you sell will help you know the rates at which you move through the different coffees that make up your menu. The same coffee can often be used as part of a blend (or two) and as a single origin. The more coffees you taste, the more you’ll get a feel for how coffees can complement each other and shine on their own. With a menu of only three coffees, a roaster can have upwards of seven offerings by dialing in blends and understanding the potential of each offering.
The most important part of production planning when purchasing coffee, though, is availability. Coffee is a seasonal, agricultural product, and there’s only so much available at any given time. Regular purchasing and forecasting, paying attention to what’s in season, and understanding the flavor profiles your customers are looking for will help prevent you from running low on a coffee right when you need it.
Explore the green coffee offerings on Ally Open.
We’re Here to Help!
If you still feel like you’re at a loss as to which coffee to choose, never hesitate to reach out to us via our Contact form. We take great pride in knowing our coffees, and being able to connect roasters with the perfect coffee is one of our greatest joys. Please ask us your questions and start the conversation about which coffees are right for you.