The profit potential
Coffee has the potential to turn a great profit if managed correctly. Add to this a booming market which shows no sign of slowing down ( the coffee market has an estimated turnover of £7.9bn, up 10% on 2014) and there has never been a better time to commit to a quality speciality coffee menu.
The significant market growth has been driven by the branded chains and the non specialist operators such as pubs, restaurants, hotels, bars, retailers etc who have been quick to seize the potential of a quality hot beverage offer as a way to increase footfall and loyalty whilst helping to develop an ‘all day’ business.
Third wave speciality verses authentic Italian coffee?
Consumers are becoming more aware of the whole coffee journey, from bean to cup, and look for a quality and a consistency in the beverages they drink. We have also seen a move away from the big, fruity flavours of third wave speciality coffee and a rise in demand for the more traditional, fuller and sweeter espresso that Italy is renowned for.
As a result, we now offer the Portioli range of authentic Italian style coffees alongside our existing speciality coffees which includes Puro Fairtrade, Freehand and Grand Milano brands.
Portioli, a fourth generation traditional coffee roaster based in Milan, is one of Italy’s bestselling brands which is active in the home, HORECA and B&I markets and exported to 100 countries around the world.
Each of the five Portioli blends contain a significant percentage of Robusta beans for an added caffeine kick and the crema boosting properties so highly regarded in traditional Italian espresso bars.
Portioli started out in 1958 as a small artisan roaster and although the business has expanded to include a comprehensive product range, their own range of coffee machines, a thriving export market and a training academy it is still very much a family owned operation. The brand heritage is excellent and nobody is more passionate about coffee than the Portioli family.
The Italian job
The methodology of brewing the perfect espresso remains the same whether creating traditional slow roasted Italian style beverages or a third wave speciality coffee menu. The only point of difference is the amount of coffee beans used; the traditional Italian recipe is 7grams of ground coffee for a single espresso and 14 grams for a double shot. But third wave cafes might use a higher gram throw to enhance taste, sweetness and other flavour characteristics.
Cup sizes too are a point of difference. In Italy, a cappuccino is a small, velvety 5-7 oz beverage which is drunk at the table or bar at breakfast time – never the 16-20oz splash of coffee with scalding milk which is so often drunk on the run in the UK. We are actually seeing the introduction of more regular sizes such as 10/12 oz, as a reflection of the growth in the ‘coffee connoisseur’ market, with consumers moving away from the bucket style, milky, American drinks that were popular to more coffee pure drinks like flat whites, served in the smaller 6-7oz cup. Customers are also reducing the range of cup sizes to two and this allows the barista to focus on quality and consistency without the complication of remembering numerous coffee shots/syrups/milk combos for three different cup sizes. Both these aspects have an impact on staff training.
Shake it up for summer!
It may be a thriving market, but a quick reality check will reveal that there’s a lot of competition out there. Consumers are increasing discerning and can be fickle. In order to grab a slice of this lucrative market it is important to create a point of difference with the speciality coffee menu.
Portioli summer chillers
With summer on the way, why not experiment with some of Italy’s best loved traditional chilled coffee recipes as a way of adding interest to the menu. Italians are known for their laid back attitude but that doesn’t apply when making iced caffè. They wouldn’t dream of using hot coffee which has been left to cool down or of using a cold brew. No, their preferred option is a Shakerato ie hot caffè shaken with ice to chill it quickly.
Combine 3/4 to 1 cup freshly-made Portioli espresso (2 long shots) with sugar to taste (the hot espresso helps dissolve the sugar quickly).
Add 8 to 10 ice cubes and shake the mixture vigorously in a cocktail shaker till the shaker feels cold.
Spoon off and reserve the foam. An Italian would strain the coffee mixture into two glasses (no ice), then pour the drinks and divide the foam between each serving.
Caffè alla Salentina
This recipe is a speciality of the Salentino area of Puglia, Italy.
Make a Caffe Shakerato as above and sweeten with Italian almond syrup which is known in Italy as latte di mandorla and not to be confused with American-style almond milk). Another option would be to use Orgeat syrup which is similar to almond syrup but some versions include a bit of orange or rose essence for an added burst of flavour.
Caffè Freddo alla Vaniglia
Make the same way as Caffè Shakerato above but sweetened with a vanilla syrup or liqueur to taste.
Latte Macchiato Freddo
Think of this as the Italian version of a Frappuccino. Combine ¼ cup freshly made Portioli espresso with 3/4 cup cold milk, 1 to 2 tablespoons maple syrup, or to taste, and 3/4 cup ice cubes. Blend until smooth.