HOW COFFEE GROWS
Coffee is a fruit that grows on a tree not unlike our apple trees. One big difference is that coffee trees can have blossoms, green cherries and ripe red cherries all at the same time!! This is one reason why most coffee is hand picked rather than mass harvested. Almost all coffee in the world is one of two varieties, Arabica and Robusta. Arabica trees typically grow at 2500 feet up to 6500 feet. Kelly's Mountain in Cape Breton is less than 1000 feet high and it is very steep, yet the world's best coffees grow at elevations more than six times this high! Now you can appreciate another reason why mountain grown coffee is hand picked. The slopes are too steep and irregular for equipment to be used. Higher altitude Arabica coffees benefit from rich volcanic soil, more sunlight and cooler air. As a result they are the better coffees to buy. Robusta trees are usually grown at elevations less than 2500 feet and are often harvested using large combine harvesters. Robusta beans do not produce a smooth cup of coffee like Arabica and are sold primarily in Europe for espresso blends and in North America as filler for popular but inexpensive retail blends. This fruit of the coffee tree is called a coffee cherry. After the flesh is removed the green beans are washed (usually), dried and packed in 130-150 pound bags for the world market. Each coffee tree produces approximately one pound of beans per year!
In the marketplace today there are many price levels and they reflect the quality of the product being sold. The lowest priced coffee you can buy is typically the 1kg tin available at Wal-Mart, Costco and grocery stores. Popular brands are Folgers, Maxwell House and Nabob. These coffees are labelled as 100% pure coffee. Unfortunately a large percentage of the content is Robusta coffee that is very low quality and very cheap (see How Coffee Grows, above). We do not sell any Robusta coffee. Good quality coffee will have on the label, 100% Arabica, which are higher grown and more flavourful beans. At Nova Coffee we only sell 100% Arabica beans either pre-ground portion packaged or in whole bean form. Our highest quality is our selection of Mills Mountain specialty roasted coffees. We roast these in Lower Sackville in small batches for optimum flavour. We control the process from the purchase of the green coffee (only high grown Arabica beans) to the roasting, blending and packaging. These coffees represent the finest quality and flavour we can provide and this is reflected in the price we charge. Our pre-ground portion packed coffees are also high grown and top quality. They are commercially prepared by roasting in large batches to take advantage of a fully automated process.
WHAT YOU SHOULD BE BUYING
The difference between the most expensive and the least expensive coffees is .10-.20 per cup. This is comparing a 3.95 per pound tin of 1kg coffee and a high quality organic certified, fair trade certified Arabica like our specialty roasted coffees averaging 9.95 per pound wholesale. The 6.00 difference divided by an average of 40 cups per pound is .15 per cup. If you want to be a leader amidst your competition you must position yourself with a higher quality coffee and focus on keeping the ten rules we outline on page 11. There are ways to keep your costs down rather than skimping on the amount of coffee you put in the brew basket. Curb your waste by not having more brewed coffee on hand than you will sell in a short time period. A smaller selection of 2-3 high quality coffees is more preferable than 4-5 coffees that are not all fresh. The advantage of buying higher quality is consistency and flavour in the cup. This means repeat business. Follow the lead of the successful franchise stores. Serve a great coffee, serve it fresh and serve it in attractive glassware or take out cups. When you decide to make coffee a priority rather than another item on the menu, you are giving value and will begin to establish a loyal customer following.
WHAT'S WITH TEA?
The tea we drink is usually orange pekoe black tea and is sold by major retailers under names like Red Rose, Tetley and Mother Parker's. At Nova Coffee we offer one of the largest foodservice tea selections in Atlantic Canada. We sell a lot of tea and our selections are divided between traditional orange pekoe teas and higher quality gourmet and premium teas. Many of you sell only one orange pekoe black tea blend. Others, especially dining rooms and coffee shops, are offering additional choices from the higher quality teas and are increasing their sales as a result.
Good quality orange pekoe teas are available in 2 cup bags either loose, or tagged and wrapped. The tea is usually served to the customer with a pot of steaming hot water, a porcelain cup or mug and a small pitcher of milk. A loose teabag can be placed directly into the teapot of hot water or a tagged and wrapped teabag can be served on a plate alongside the teapot. More of our dining room and coffee shop accounts are buying their teabags individually wrapped. We carry several orange pekoe teas in loose 2 cup teabags and tagged and wrapped 2 cup teabags. As well we carry the full line of Higgins and Burke gourmet teas, NUMI premium teas and Pixie Mate Yerba Mate teas, all tagged and wrapped teabags. These are higher quality teas and offer more choices including black tea, green tea, white tea and herbal blends. NUMI and Pixie Mate are the highest quality teas we sell. The complete NUMI line is now 100% organic with several teas Fair Trade Certified as well. Pixie Mate teas are also organic. These wrapped teabags are intended for one to two cups and the preferred serving method is alongside a teapot of very hot water.
Green tea contains a high level of antioxidants and all herbal tea is caffeine free. Some of the herbal teas are naturopathic and report many health benefits. While these have not been endorsed by Health Canada there seems to be evidence to support them. Our new matcha green tea for lattes and frozen green tea smoothies has more antioxidants than regular green tea. And the herb, Yerba Mate, found in our new line of Pixie Mate tea blends and Original Mate Latte has ten times the antioxidants of green tea! So drink tea for health and don't miss out on this incredible opportunity to grow your sales by expanding your tea offerings. We will help you choose the teas you should carry and discuss the available ways to display and serve them to your customers. Because we sell in broken cases you only need to buy small inventories. Watch for our introduction in January 2007 of Numi's hand tied FLOWERING ARTISAN TEAS! These beautiful high quality teas unfurl in a clear glass teapot to delight and amaze your customers. Flowering teas can be re-infused 3-4 times. So, think tea and increase your profits!