Barista Magazine

APR-MAR 2014

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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Lorca café, for instance, offers a dazzling but limited menu of Span- ish-inspired bites like a paprika-spiked hummus sandwich and cho- rizo grilled cheese along with its famous churro-and-coffee combo; San Francisco Bay Area spot Trouble Coffee & Coconut Co. is known for its simple offerings of great coffee and mindblowing toast. Knowing your limitations—spatially as well as resource- and skill-wise—can help narrow your menu to a list of reasonable high-quality offerings that can be re-created consistently and suc- cessfully, day in and day out. "We started our shop three years ago with that exact mindset," says Andrew Cash, owner of Jubala Coffee in Raleigh, North Caro- lina. "We worked closely with our roaster, Counter Culture Coffee, and created a menu that focused on our coffees with the addition of made-to-order Liege Waffles, using a waffle maker bought from a street vendor in the town of Liege. No other food was on the menu, just coffee and waffles." Executing both coffee and something as simple as waffles so well, however, Andrew and his team soon real- ized they had the room to grow—but they took it one step at a time, to protect their quality investment. "We quickly noticed that our customers loved our menu, but many wanted more options in terms of food," he says. "I struggled with this because I feared that our food would water down our cof- fee program, and the shop would turn more into a breakfast and lunch destination instead of a place to grab great espressos and sin- gle-origin coffees. I decided that if I were to introduce more food options then it would have to be sourced and prepared with the same dedication and commitment that we had made with our coffee program. We created a new menu, making everything from scratch and to-order, yet keeping it simple enough that it would comple- ment the coffee menu." Meanwhile, spots like Seattle's Arabica Lounge come about the whole thing from the opposite direction: "When I initially started working on Arabica's business plan, the question was: Which coffee will be as high quality as our food and baked goods, which are the main focus of our café," says founder Jojo Corväiá. "Great food for me is a cultural factor. I don't know how to live without good food, or, as a matter of fact, good art, good music, good manners, good feelings. I can't even consider opening a business without excellent food products. That's my culture, my heritage as an French/Italian descendant, that's how I live my life." Nolan Hirte of Proud Mary—that Melbourne café that blew me away during 2013's WBC—has a mouthful to offer about this topic, too. "I always wanted to serve great food and show people it could be done. Plenty of people told me food was too hard and so com- plicated. I don't think it has to be, it's the same as good coffee," he says. "When you start with a really good product and you take care of it every step of the way, the product itself will stand up. I love the idea of not trying to reinvent the wheel, just do the things we all love but do them better, take care with them and make them special that way." At Proud Mary, Nolan was interested in creating a relaxed envi- ronment that reflected his love of comfort, quality, and, well, break- fast: "When I make myself a coffee at home it would be just after I had finished eating a yummy breakfast," he says. "I want my cus- tomers to be able to get the same experience, like they are stepping into my home." No frills, but all fantastic. PHOTO BY SHANNY SENA, WIDE OPEN ROAD, MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA 76 barista magazine B o o k 5 5 - 8 8 . i n d d 7 6 Book 55-88.indd 76 3 / 1 9 / 1 4 1 0 : 0 9 P M 3/19/14 10:09 PM

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