The Big Brew
High Volume Servers
We had a long day ahead, and needed a boost for the road. So we stopped for a cup of coffee. We had to wait a few minutes for that cup of joe. Why? It was ready right away, as the girl brought it to the take out pay window to us, but since the people ahead of us in the to go line had to wait on their order to be prepared; and since there was no way to remove our vehicle from the line till they received theirs, we had a few minutes to think about how they could make their customer service better in serving up that better cup of Joe. We were in a hurry right?
Coffee is is everywhere. Not too long ago you could say that the coffeeshop was that little place down the street where you could get a 50-cent cup of joe to go with your morning eggs or midday patty melt. Today, in most cities the local Starbucks stores and McD's have an all-day breakfast menu that includes coffee. Coffee's an all-day drink too, and keeping it fresh all day matters—a lot. As customers we want it fresh.
Did You Realize? Having a coffeeshop on every corner has fueled the demand for coffee. Most consumers now have a taste for or a decision to purchase a wide variety of specialty coffees and different roasts. Now, your regular customer asks for a cup of coffee that has to be good, no matter when it's served, and it must be hot. Maybe you need a special blend for your location.
If you are a restaurant, you may keep a four-burner brewer with three carafes of coffee ready and one with decaf at all times. But that may not be enough in today's discerning market. Everyone wants immediate service for that special brew, and they expect you to keep up with the crowds. That may mean you need something a little larger and more robust to keep up with the crowds as well as their expectations in your facilities. Volume does matter.
If your needs include a Super high-volume operations capability, such as hospitals, hotels and banquet halls may have big urn systems in the back-of-house; your needs may vary. But for medium to high-volume coffee consumption there are a large number of brewers on the market that brew anywhere from one to three gallons per batch, and anywhere from about eight to 36 gallons per hour.
Texas Restaurant Equipment can provide you information and equipment that will help you brew the best coffee, with a product that can meet all your beverage needs. Let's determine what may be important.
- Can You Adjust The Volume - Volume is a good place to start. By figuring out which system or equipment you need you can increase your patrons. A brewer that produces eight gallons per hour gives you the capacity to sell 128 8-oz. cups per hour. But how often do you serve an 8-oz. cup of coffee? A 12-oz. cup is pretty standard fare these days, which means that same brewer can serve about 85 customers.
- Do The Math - A 36-gal. capacity brewer may sound like a lot of coffee until you do the math and see that it equals 384 12-oz. servings per hour. Many venues that do that kind of volume—stadium concessions, super-busy coffeeshops, hotel restaurants and college and corporate serveries are out there. Smaller carafe brewers that make a half-gallon at a time—or 1 gal. in a twin brewer—may produce enough coffee to serve your customers, but employees could end up brewing batches more frequently and having to watch carafes on burners to make sure coffee doesn't sit too long and get scorched.
- Determine Peak Demand Hours - Correct volume estimates need to be during peak demand. Then if you factor in free refills and customers who want larger servings to go, and you know what percentage of your customers will ask for decaffeinated coffee your ready to consider coffee. Will you offer different coffee blends or roasts at the same time—a house blend and a flavored coffee or perhaps a flavored syrup, expresso or latte? What's popular? You may need extra brewing capacity to fill serving containers with different coffees even if you don't go through it all during your peak demand.
- Next Is Brewing Systems - The truth is most systems are different primarily in the degree of sophistication of their controls and the method in which they hold and dispense coffee. In the medium- to high-volume brewer range two hold/serve options predominate—satellite systems and vacuum insulated dispensers.
- Satellite systems and thermal container servers heated or unheated are your next decision to make. Both have pros and cons and depending on your front and back of the house set up should determine your decision making process here. Seeing how much coffee is left in the thermal server is a quick alert to refill of course.
- Something's Brewing - What is important in the coffee brew? Brewing a good cup of coffee depends primarily on the three "Ts"—time, temperature and turbulence. Ideal brewing temperature may vary from one type of coffee and grind to another, but the sweet spot in most cases is in the range of 198°F-202°F. Manufacturers design their spray heads and brew baskets in such a way that the flow of that water through the coffee grounds brews an entire batch in about five minutes. Again, the time may vary depending on the model and the coffee being brewed.
- Deliver The 3 T's - Consistent delivery, virtually all brewing equipment will feature pre-wetting or pre-infusion, pulse brew, and a variable bypass to control strength. The pre-infusion feature is a timed delay that allows the coffee grounds to "bloom" after an initial wetting. Once the brew cycle begins, brewers use a pulse brew feature to control flow of water into the grounds and create some additional turbulence. The bypass feature allows the brewer to add water directly into the serving container instead of the brew basket, letting you control how strong the coffee tastes.If that makes it sound like brewers are pretty much the same, they are in basic respects. Where they differ from one maker to another, and even one manufacturer's model to another, is the degree and type of control you have over the brewer and the brewing process.
- What Will Your Brewing Program Look Like - If you know what you want and have the statistics to back up your decision; that's great. If you are not sure and want some recommendations on products then you have come to the right place. Main Auction Services has both new brewing equipment and used brewing equipment for your review.
- Vive La Difference! Beverage service is critical to your success. Water, iced tea, hot tea, coffee, cappuccino, juices, and so on are very important to your dining patrons. Supply chain products, like mixes, grinders, types of brewer supplies for replacement are all considerations you need to think about before you purchase your brewers. Also just introduced is a WiFi add-on to thermal servers that let you access information on how much coffee is left in each of your servers and how long it's been held through an app on your smartphone Really? Yes it's true.
Whatever your need, Texas Restaurant Equipment can help. A simple review of products in our weekly auctions is an option, or perhaps a visit to one of our 3 showrooms will be your best bet. The important thing to remember is the quality of your beverage options should never be in question. And, remember water is another issue you need to review. If you live in a city where the water tastes bad, has too many minerals, or is just plain in question for making ice as well, then we have other water treatment equipment options you may need help with.
Maintenance contracts, filtration and auto cleaning as well as possible new equipment options out there can be easily discussed. It makes no difference if you have high quality equipment, state of the art technology being that equipment if the end product simply tastes bad due to the water.
Call us today at any of our 3 locations in Texas: 1718 West Main Street • Grand Prairie, Texas 75050 • 972-642-0513,
12922 Hempstead Hwy • Houston, Texas 77040 • 713-690-1231,
2100 E Union Bower Road • Irving, Texas 75061 • 972-579-4612.
Whether you need to buy or sell one piece, or the contents of an entire restaurant Texas Restaurant Equipment is your resource for late-model restaurant, bakery and bar equipment. Call today to speak with a restaurant equipment specialists.