September 12, 2019

Coffee Disaster of 2019

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JSP has launched. And yum. I had one today. So we got that right.

And Just Mayo is back. Rejoice! Clover had nothing to do with it going away nor did we make it come back but vegans and friends of vegans are very happy.

Want to know something we’ve been screwing up? Coffee!!!! Turns out in some cases really really badly. And it’s my fault. Or at least due to a failure of imagination.

I’ve been noticing issues here and there the past few weeks. But didn’t know why. I called George Howell the other day and Monday he met me at one of the restaurants and we talked about the Monte Carlos. He found some opportunities to get to a better place with the roasting (they were using the Probat to roast and he prefers a different machine for this coffee). But the big ah ha had nothing to do with his roasting.

I tasted the Monte Carlos the other day at Harvard Square. It tasted weak to me. I mentioned to Zae who was working that station. We pulled out a scale and found it was 20.7g of coffee. Our recipe is for 23g of coffee. That might not seem like a big deal but it is.

The grinders we use are really special. The amount of coffee is really important to us because we grind to order and pour by the cup. Standard coffee grinders have static in the chute. For a batch brew you’re making up 1-200g of coffee. So if you lose a few grams in to static in the chute it doesn’t really matter. But for us we’re grinding 21-23g. So losing or gaining 2-3g per cup is a really big deal. We found these grinders from Baratza a while back. They were pre-production. But they dropped the grinds onto a scale. And they stopped grinding when the scale hit the desired weight. So every single cup would be at the exact weight we want. It transformed out coffee overnight. We had them make us a pre-production Frankenstein: they added Ditting grinding plates (which we love for their consistency), and a beefy electric motor to handle our heavy use. We loved that prototype and worked with them to move our entire company over to these grinders. The Forte, as they ended up naming it, is now commercially available. And it’s great…

…EXCEPT for the fact that you can *very very* easily change the “tare” on the scale. Why does that matter? Because then the screen on the machine says you’re grinding 23g. You push the button. You pour the cup. But you might have only poured 20.7g. Or you might have poured 30g (as I found the Speedwell machine at CloverDTX!!!). Yikes!!!

So to everybody who loves coffee, I’m sorry. I didn’t really we had this issue. We’re running around calibrating our machines today. Everything will be perfect by tomorrow breakfast. And we’re setting up procedures to regularly check the “tare” on the machines so that this doesn’t happen again. In the meantime, sorry!

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