We’re writing today’s coffee blog post on Friday 27th September, officially the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning, thanks to MacMillan’s fine fundraising idea and the efforts of thousands of coffee-lovers across the UK. Perhaps you’re providing the venue for a Coffee Morning event yourself – great decision and we hope it’s a roaring success. Because it’s not just workplaces and sitting rooms around the country where people are coming together over coffee and cake; coffee shops and pubs are playing host to fundraisers too. Which brings us to some rather interesting research results released this week. With International Coffee Day coming up next week, we’re asking if your pub serves great coffee and, if so, whether you’re publicising the day and showcasing your coffee.
Every 1st October is designated as International Coffee Day: a day that celebrates the growers, roasters, servers and tastes of coffee, but one also designed to raise awareness. Awareness of the adversity faced by those coffee growers who tend the crops which feed your daily habit. And this year, it’s all about making a #coffeepledge to commit to a living wage for coffee farmers. Coffee bean prices are at their lowest in 15 years, with around 0.3% of the price you charge for the coffee in your coffee shop, pub or restaurant actually making its way to the typical small grower. Find out more at www.internationalcoffeeday.org, sign the petition to campaign for a living wage for farmers, and set up an event to celebrate International Coffee Day. You’ll find guidance, ideas and a competition on the website. Make sure you use the hashtags #coffeepledge and #internationalcoffeeday in your social media posts in the build-up to the day and on the day itself.
Back to that research… Allegra Strategies surveyed 1000 British coffee drinks to talk about their out-of-home coffee drinking habits. There are now around four times as many coffee shops on our high streets as there were 20 years ago, and we drink a staggering 95 million cups of coffee a day in the UK. According to the survey, 9% of those responding rated coffee served in the pub as better than coffee served by the big chains. 48% would rather be able to grab their morning java in their local pub than in a high street chain. That’s extremely encouraging news for any pub looking to up their coffee game. What’s more, around a quarter of consumers would be more likely to buy a coffee in a pub if it was offered as part of a meal deal, and loyalty schemes would go down a treat.
Going back to that iffy figure of under 10% of consumers preferring pub coffee to high street chain coffee (we don’t know if the question was asked, but we’re willing to bet that independent specialist coffee shops rank highest for taste by some margin), it’s a clear sign that pubs typically aren’t serving good enough coffee for a discerning public. It’s very affordable to lease espresso machines and buying ethically sourced, delicious coffee doesn’t cost the earth, so we think it comes down to one thing: insufficient coffee-making training for pub staff. Pouring the perfect coffee is something of an art form – which is why there are international championships for baristas! – but pouring a consistently good coffee should be achievable for anyone who can pull a pint. Most coffee machine suppliers offer initial coffee training, and more advanced barista training is widely available.
Since 50% of regular pub visitors would buy a coffee from your pub if you were open earlier, why wouldn’t you invest in the skills which can diversify and strengthen your offering?