Adventures of a Coffee Trainer by Emma Haines
When you’re running a cafe, bar, or hotel there are so many different things to think about.
Chances are you’ve paid close attention to your coffee offer: You’ve done your research, bought a decent coffee machine, chosen a great supplier, checked the provenance of the beans, made sure all of your baristas a well trained for banging out great flat whites. Coffee is the important thing; coffee is on trend, it’s tricky to get right and needs to be done properly. Correct.
On the other hand tea is much simpler. It’s quick and easy to choose a tea supplier, no staff training is required because, let’s be honest, how hard is it to put a teabag in a pot and fill with hot water? Tea is easy, people are less fussy with tea than coffee. Correct?
Sadly the above attitude is something I see all the time. Frankly, it’s not good enough. If your tea offering doesn’t match up to your coffee; something is out of balance. Why even bother to spend time on one if the other is an afterthought?
Despite the recent surge in popularity for specialty coffee shops, at heart, the UK is a tea drinking nation with 165 million cups per day consumed. Compare that to the average of 70 million cups per day of coffee and you’ll suddenly want to pay closer attention to just how that brew is being served in your establishment.
Not only is there a huge market currently for tea; research suggests that it’s the younger generations that are leading the charge. The average consumption of coffee for the under 37s is 0.9 cups per day. Yet this generation are much more receptive to ‘health teas’ and botanical infusions. It’s well worth getting on board with this growing trend.
I will always be a champion for a great cup of coffee. It is my dedication to my favourite drink which has lead me to be more aware of the rest of the market. As a firm believer in creating an ethical coffee offer, I can’t understand the logic that means that the same focus on sustainability, provenance and conscience would not also be carried over to tea. After all, a lot of coffee-growing countries also produce tea. Why ensure fair treatment for one group of growers and ignore the other?
Consumers are much more focused on these issues now than they ever were. More and more we are facing questions regarding the ‘story’ of the coffee and you can be absolutely certain that if they’re asking about the coffee, it won’t be long until tea is also in the spotlight. How many people can honestly say they know the answers? I think it’s time to raise our game.
- Emma has worked in hospitality and catering training for the last 10 years. For the last five years, she has focused on coffee training, in particular specialty coffee training, and how to incorporate specialty elements into commercial environments. She works all over Europe and beyond, and is a resident trainer at London School of Coffee.