Monday, May 10, 2004

Cupping Results 

We cupped three coffees from three different roasters: Raven Brew's Dead Man's Reach, Three Peckered Billy Goat, and Wicked Wolf; Intelligentsia's Nepenthe, Cajun Blend, and Viennese Blend; and Martinez's Monsooned Malabar, Santo Domingo's Ocoa #1, and Costa Rica's San Gabriel.

So far, the coffee that seems closest to yet is better than the primary coffee available here is Organic Coffees, Inc.'s Stellar Brew. This one may become our "House Coffee", the coffee we serve when someone asks for a plain cup of coffee.

Because there are so very many good coffees out there, we decided we would tie the coffee flavors to the "continental specials".

In other words, each month we will offer special breads from specific continents. We will match the coffees to the breads and pastries of each continent, either by what grows there, or by what is popularly imbibed - including the favored roasts.

We will keep our "dailies", but offer exciting forays into other flavors.

And, this gives us an opportunity to fine tune what flavors and roasts are most popular with our customers.

Yes, it means greater bookkeeping, and more frequent, smaller orders of coffees, and probably higher shipping charges - especially as we settle on the best complements to the breads and pastries, soups and pies.

But, I think it will pay off in the long run with extremely loyal customers.

And - the lovely little shop on the edge of the Paseo? It has no parking. None. Not one single parking space.

All of it belongs to the law offices next door. All that's available is the shop.

I ask you, what good is a bakery/coffeeshop if our customers have to walk a block or more to get there?

In Oklahoma, where nobody walks if they can avoid it - none. So, we have reluctantly released the thoughts of that particular shop.

There are still quite a few to choose from, though, so don't despair. We hope to have found our location by the end of this month.

In the meantime, we can savor such a world of coffees.

You know, when we started this odyssey, our first thought was a coffee shop. Just a coffee shop. But the person knowledgeable about coffee moved out of state. We turned to what we knew best - baking.

There is a nice soup and salad restaurant in town, and they are quite successful. They expanded their soup line up from 3 to 5, which tells us soup is popular. Practiclly every restaurant offers a soup or stew because there is enough demand for it.

We liked the thought of baking exotic breads - Ingrid's German Bakery has a loyal following of people who love German breads, and La Baguette has a loyal following of French bread and pastry lovers. Panera's offers sourdoughs. But there isn't an Italian bread bakery, or Portuguese one, or South American, or British, or Australian. Grocery store white breads, French or German breads, or Panera's. Those are the local choices.

It was a simple step to start planning a bread bakery with pastries and pies. And the soups to make them into meals to catch that segment of the dining market.

And of course, we would offer beverages.

The quest for coffee has become a journey that is taking us places we never imagined, and will give us a competitive edge that is lacking in Oklahoma at this time.

And all for little extra effort on our part.

And this, from the person, who a decade ago, confused espresso with a drip grind!

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