Environmental branding has never been more important than for the coffee shops engaged in the high street take-over.

Italy, known as a nation of coffee fanatics, is a suitable place to begin my first blog, where coffee is more than ‘just a drink’. It is a passion, a way of life, and a drug that the whole nation is addicted to. A few facts: on average 14 billion espresso coffees are consumed each year in Italy; it’s estimated that more than 270,000 people work as Baristas and over 57% of those Baristas have ten or more years experience. In a land of such coffee lovers it’s considered most strange to turn down a cup, if offered.

Italians have a set of rules regarding the consumption of coffee. For example; a milky coffee is an exclusive morning drink and after meals your coffee should be black. Coffee should be as served, no syrups and cream here! It’s most commonly known as a ‘drink-on-the-go – down in one. Served at the perfect temperature to drink immediately.

A global desire for a daily coffee fix has seen fresh coffee franchise opportunities popping up on every street corner. Coffee is the second most traded commodity on earth, after oil. Grown on trees in the ‘bean belt’, between the tropics of Capricorn and Cancer

The English are well known for their love of a good cup of tea, but habits are changing and levels of coffee consumption, largely driven by American brands such as Starbucks, has in recent years challenged the status quo. Starbucks is the largest coffeehouse company in the world, with 19,555 stores in 58 countries. Incredibly, each year Starbucks uses more than 93 million gallons of milk, enough to fill 155 Olympic-sized swimming pools! They are opening new stores at a rate of five every day. In 1675 Charles II, King of England banned coffee houses, claiming they were places where people met to conspire against him. We are yet to see Brits apply the strict rules of Italy, but the growth of the ‘Coffee Culture’ in the UK is huge. Stationed on every street corner in UK towns is a coffee shop and they’re rarely empty. As many of the traditional UK pubs are going out of business coffee houses look set to stay!

The environmental branding of these coffee shops has become extremely useful and important to us. Free wi-fi, comfy sofas and the wonderful aroma of freshly brewing coffee ensure we desire to meet friends in them and even hold business meetings. So if the product is of a high quality and the market need is so great, then the customer promise to link the two should be quite strait forward. Of course, this is an extremely competitive market space and up until now we haven’t seen market saturation. The interesting large coffee brand wars are still ahead of us. At the same time we see smaller artisan coffee shops making a stand such as Monmouth coffee monmouthcoffee.co.uk

If you work outside of a town, with no close connection to your favorite coffee parlor, you know how difficult it is to guarantee a good coffee. Even though there are a growing number in ‘Barista style’ instant coffee brands appearing on our supermarket shelves, they just don’t seem to cut it anymore. Our experience of good coffee brands has spoiled our acceptance of anything that doesn’t pass muster. Yes you can buy expensive coffee machines to make your coffee at home, but unless your coffee beans are stored in the right conditions and all the other factors of brewing the perfect cup are right, then you’d be best to keep buying the instant coffee you have become used to. Of course the Nespresso machine here at Silver is rarely silent and the proliferation of such machines has further fuelled our changing habits.

Once upon a time I came close to holding the title of Starbucks Best Barista in the UK, so I’ll give you a few tips to creating the perfect cup at home. There are four major factors that come into play…

  1. Coffee-to-water Ratio – It’s crucial that the ratio is right to avoid over brewing the coffee. Too much extraction and the brew tastes bitter and under-extraction will result in a thin, weak, sour cup.
  2. Grind – A finer grind means more surface area of the bean is exposed to the water. For a brewing method that uses a longer brewing time such as French Press, a coarser grind is necessary.
  3. Water – Despite debates I still think that the ideal water temperature is 195-205f, since water is better at extracting when near-boiling point. Also quality of water affects the taste of your perfect cup. Fresh, filtered water is best and do not boil your water more than once.
  4. Time – The time the water and coffee are in contact with each other is another major factor in brewing the perfect cup. Depending on your brewing method this time will vary!

Italian Roast is my favorite by far. This coffee has distinctive sweetness and smoky notes; the dark roasting helps bring these out! It’s a multi-region blend that pairs amazingly well with a slice of ‘Millionaires’ shortbread’.

Levi Cole
Expert Developer and former Barista
Silver Agency