Bad coffee can break a foodservice operation, but good coffee beats the competition. These days, coffee — like beer, wine and cocktails — is going craft.
It’s time to take this beverage category much more seriously. Restaurants nationwide, from fast food to full service, are waking up to coffee’s potential to perk up profits. McDonald’s stores with McCafé add-ons have been known to generate an extra 15 percent in revenue than units without the beverage line. Last summer Chick-fil-A debuted its own line of specialty-grade coffee to help boost sales.
Q&A with Jose Estorino, founder and CEO of Javatino, a small-batch coffee company based in Orlando, Fla.
FE&S: Why and how did you get into small-batch roasting?
J.E.: Small-batch roasting was the perfect blend of my love for great coffee and exotic, worldly flavors. After visiting more than 75 countries, I realized the restaurant and foodservice industry was missing out on a real opportunity, not only to offer its customers an incredibly unique experience, but also to increase bottom-line revenue. After researching specialty coffees, I was fascinated by the process — choosing certain beans, blending them at different temperatures and creating a craft coffee that satisfies even the most robust palates.
FE&S: Can you explain what small-batch roasting is?
J.E.: Small-batch roasting typically indicates roasting batches from 5 to 12 kilograms. Artisan roasters have more control over the coffee when using smaller quantities and can manipulate the beans to the customers’ liking. By controlling the time and temperature of a roast, it allows the extraction of the beans’ natural qualities to ensure exceptional coffee to the roaster’s delight.
FE&S: Where do you get the beans, and what is your roasting process?
J.E.: Javatino selects a wide range of specialty-grade, 100 percent Arabica coffees from every coffee-growing region around the world, including fair trade, organically grown and limited coffees like 100 percent Jamaica Blue Mountain and 100 percent Hawaiian. We also use U.S.-based specialty coffee importers that have established relationships with growers in different parts of the world. The importers not only assist growing the coffee with the farmers but also improve their daily lives. When it comes to the roasting process, I look at myself as a coffee chemist. I hand select the beans and determine appropriate proportions for the flavor profile required. The beans are then transported into the roasting machine, which is connected to a precise computer that directly regulates roasting time and temperature. It’s a process that can take a lot of trial and error before mastering the perfect combination.
FE&S: Who are your buyers?
J.E.: The majority of sales are from commercial businesses, but we also sell to individual consumers online, in stores and at events.
FE&S: What equipment is needed for roasting and brewing?
J.E.: The primary piece of equipment is the roaster. Javatino uses a roaster manufactured in the U.S. that provides an even roast with its two thermal-heat panels running on each side of the rotating drum. There are many ways to brew coffee, and it depends on preference and business model. For efficiency, most restaurants use large-drip brewers, but there is an increasing number of establishments looking to provide customers with a better brew using a siphon brew, French press at the table or a filter pour-over.
Millennials and Coffee: Quality Over Brand
Raised on Starbucks coffee, craft beer and the local and organic food and drink movement, American adults currently aged 21 to 34 are willing to explore. They seek out complex flavors and value authenticity, whether in the ingredients, production method or backstory of a product. While Millennials may embrace a brand or product that possesses these attributes, their willingness to explore can prove challenging to the development of brand loyalty that drives repeat purchases. Technomic, Millennial Consumer Insights Report