Business and Operations
The Final Proof: December 2012
By Jane Dummer RD
By Jane Dummer RD
Pair coffee with baked goods for a winning combination and an opportunity to expand your menu
Pair coffee with baked goods for a winning combination and an opportunity to expand your menu.
In September, I was invited to be a judge at the Coffee and Tea Cocktail Competition as part of the Canadian Coffee and Tea Show in Mississauga, Ont. What a fun experience! Nadya Khoja, the winner in the coffee category, created a delicious Gingerbread Coffee (http://coffeeteashow.ca/2012-coffee-tea-cocktail-competition-winner-recipes/). The winning coffee recipe reconfirmed the connection between coffee and bakeries, and inspired me to write this column.
Our coffee culture is thriving. One of the reasons is the demand from the consumer with a more discerning palate. Another factor is that a younger generation, which grew up with changing attitudes about quality, wants an entire coffee experience, not just a drive-thru coffee. The numbers confirm this: Statistics Canada reports that, after water, the second most popular drink for Canadians is coffee. According to the Coffee Association of Canada, Canada is the world’s eighth largest coffee market, and with annual sales growth in 2010 of 8.9 per cent, it’s outperforming nearly every other country. Canadians drink six kilograms per capita per year, and our away-from-home consumption is second only to that of the Italians.
Following the competition, I walked the exhibit floor at the show and I met Ray Williamson, president of FindMeCoffee (his company has created an app that locates coffee shops throughout the world). “Since 2008, more than 100 new independently operated coffee shops have opened in Toronto. This coffee-hungry marketplace is overwhelmed by options and is in need of some way to find the right coffee shop for the occasion, be it a first date, a business meeting or just the perfect cup of coffee while travelling,” Williams explains. “FindMeCoffee does that, and assists the tucked-away, independent bakery in spreading the word about its comfortable seating and special espresso blend to the audience that’s searching for that exact place.”
After chatting with Ray, I rounded the corner and I met the staff at Alfa Cappuccino. It turns out that Alfa Cappuccino supplies Vincenzo’s, my favourite independent grocer in Waterloo, Ont. Ross Cammalleri, president of Alfa Cappuccino, agrees that the coffee culture has exploded in the past decade in Canada. Television shows in the 1990s, such as Friends, started the momentum of a coffee shop as a meeting place and an experience, not just a place to purchase a beverage.
North Americans are becoming more educated about how to pair coffee with food. A large percentage of Alfa Cappuccino’s customers are bakeries. Some of their clients roast the beans on site, which not only adds freshness to the coffees, but also generates a specific ambience. Cammalleri assures bakeries considering adding coffee drinks to their menu that the economics make sense, giving this example: “Considering the price of the coffee bean today, it costs about $0.20 to make a $2.00 espresso.”
Now for a slight diversion from coffee, to something that goes well with the baked goods – a brewed cocoa drink. I met Eric Durtschi, owner and co-founder of Crio Bru, at the show and found out he is a fellow health professional, a practising chiropractor in the United States. We discussed the variety of research that has demonstrated the positive health benefits of the cocoa. Durtschi’s company has patented a special grinder for the cocoa beans, as they are 50 to 54 per cent fat. If you use a regular coffee grinder, you will end up with a paste due to the fat content. When I tasted brewed cocoa, it reminded me of a drink I had in Madrid in 2003. It was delicious, but I have to warn you, it is a different drink from the processed hot chocolate we buy at the grocery store. Durtschi explained they decided their first exposure to selling to coffee shops would be at the Canadian Coffee and Tea Show. He said the response has been very positive and they expect that by the end of 2012, there will be about 225 coffee shops in the United States alone offering the product.
The competition brought excitement and innovation to the coffee category. There are no signs of coffee exhaustion, as cafés, bakeries and shops continue to add new drinks, implement customer reward programs and clubs. As the economics present, this is a chance for bakeries to expand and develop their offerings, which include specialty blends, signature drinks and customer-focused amenities, to cash in on this brewing opportunity.
For more information, check out these great online resources.
Jane Dummer, RD, is a leading dietitian for the Canadian food and nutrition industry. Jane offers services specializing in agri-food, functional foods and food safety. For more information, visit www.janedummer.com .