Brewed coffee at Brew Lab
When we first talked about opening a coffee shop 4 years ago, we had no idea what a big deal brewed coffee was going to be. Espresso has been such a huge force in the coffee world for so long. As relative new-comers to the coffee industry, we would hopefully be forgiven for saying that, up until a couple of years ago, if you wanted a black coffee in the UK (aside from a strong, dark, bitter cup of ‘Pike Place Roast’ in a certain North American chain), an Americano was the only way to go.
Things are most definitely changing.
We’ve been open for a month today, and we’re well into our fifth single origin brewed coffee. We started with Has Bean’s incredible Ethiopian Kebel Kercha Sidamo Guji Natural brewed on Clever Dripper, and their well rounded El Salvador Finca La Fany brewed on V60. The Guji is not a cheap coffee. It’s also a bit of a curve-ball of a coffee. For a start, it’s a natural. Natural coffees stand aside from washed coffees in that the cherries are picked, and then left to dry out naturally. This brings out a very distinctive flavour set (sometimes this is described, rather oddly as ‘funk’!). Anyway, the Guji was as Steve from Has Bean describes, a ‘truly amazing’ coffee. The tasting notes for it are blueberry muffin, effervescent, zingy and sweet. It is really not your average coffee and because of that, we thought it was the perfect coffee to open with. We wanted something that was going to be bowl people over, and it truly did. The feedback from customers who tried it was better than we could have ever expected. One Yelp review from Jenny Lovatt sums it up perfectly:
‘what just happened to my mouth? To my tastebuds?…I could smell sweetness and chocolate and fruit. It was dark red, without milk. And then how it tasted. Oh, how it tasted. I can’t even begin to describe the taste, so I won’t. But let’s just say this was coffee like no other I’ve ever tasted.’
Our aim has always been to get people to appreciate that coffee isn’t just a drink to wake you up in the morning. It is so much more than that. Just as wine or beer is so much more than something that just makes you drunk.
From what we had learned from our research we expected 10% or less of customers to be trying our brewed coffee. That was our target. Straight away, and consistently for the duration that we had the Guji on the brew bar, it was our fourth best selling coffee after flat white, latte and cappuccino (the Finca La Fany was not far behind). We think it’s amazing how our customers have embraced brewed coffee. And not just trying it; we’re finding that customers that usually have milk, or sugar in their coffee are happy to try brewed coffee black and then are turned into regular no milk or sugar coffee drinkers!
The Guji and Finca La Fany lasted two weeks, and since then we’ve had Workshop Coffee’s awesome Kiawamururu AB and Has Bean’s Costa Rica Herbazu Honey Process on the brew bar. Yesterday we put Square Mile’s Wote Yirgacheffe on, and it’s already flying out. We have some amazing Has Bean Finca Limoncillo coffees coming next. We’ll continue to rotate our brewed coffees frequently. We will always have a Has Bean coffee on, because they buy and roast incredible coffees.
In our first month, brewed coffee has accounted for 25% of our coffee sales, which we think is outstanding. Thank you Edinburgh for giving us a punt and for being interested in trying something different.