Issue Date: SCR - January 2014, Posted On: 1/14/2014 Staff Training: Serving up Success By Melissa Niksic It doesn’t matter if your coffee shop has an amazing house blend, or the best latte in town. If the service at your location is subpar, your customers will remember that and nothing else. At any establishment, staff members are performing right at the front lines, making an immediate impression on guests. Locations that invest in both initial and ongoing training opportunities are often those whose customers experience the best overall service. Whether you oversee the training process yourself, utilize web-based or other interactive platforms to maximize employee engagement, or bring in an external consulting team to assist, it’s essential that your operation have a strategic training plan in place. Training begins before day one Many retailers assume that staff training starts the first day an employee arrives on the job. However, many industry professionals say that owners and managers should begin thinking about training before they even embark on the hiring process. Consider what types of people are most likely to thrive in your retail environment. Those are the people you want to make sure to hire in the first place: the ones who will fit in and be successful. Louisa Graves is the co-owner of CoffeeTrainers.com, a Los Angeles-based company that offers barista training, one-on-one consultations, store design advice, and general staff training to coffee retailers. She suggests that retailers have staff training in mind during the initial stages of the employee hiring phase. “Make sure you hire engaging people,” Graves says. “You want your staff members to be friendly, welcoming, and able to effectively engage with your customers so those customers turn into repeat customers.” For many coffee [...]
If you're a fan of African coffees - or not - this is the time to check out our new suite of fresh harvest African coffees. Some new ones and notes we have in store: Tanzania Peaberry - peach, butter, chocolate. Ethiopia Ardi - sweet, blueberry Kenya Kia Ora - sweet tomato, lemon, umami. Decaf Ethiopia Sidama - hushed blueberry with a wide chocolate note. Generally speaking, specialty coffees from Africa are rich in bright notes, ranging from in-your-face blueberry to fresh tomato and everything in between. Talk to most craft roasters and you'll find there is a special place in their heart for Africa, and for good reason. Complexity and sweetness are hallmarks, and more than most coffee from other areas of the world, they totally engage the senses that we use to examine and enjoy coffee. The aromatics richly trigger our retronasal receptors in our olfactory system (the experience of smelling while breathing out through your nose). They pop taste buds with complexity, and they shape-shift their feel on the palette. They can look rough on the outside (a lack of farming inputs often contributes to this), but it doesn't betray the delightful experience between sitting down with a fresh cup, and arising with it empty.
This new coffee from the Sidama region of Ethiopia is the stuff dreams are made of. Yes, that sounds hyperbolic, but really, this coffee has me daydreaming of sitting in a Hobbit house on a Spring morning with blueberry scones in the oven and a mug of hot chocolate. And that's not far from the notes in this coffee: blueberry, bakers chocolate and fresh bread. Part of the reason this coffee has such a pleasant sweetness and fruitiness is the Dry Natural process. After the coffee is picked, the red ripe cherries are then gently placed on to raised beds that have a screen or mesh bottom to allow air through for even drying. Then cherries must be carefully turned to get even sunlight and air, all done without piercing the skin of the fruit, which would start a fermentation process, spoiling the flavor of the bean. This coffee is processed by the Aleta Wondo sub-cooperative (part of the larger Sidama Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union). This coop gives direct support to small coffee grower societies through finance, marketing and technical support. The woman-owned exporter has received support and accolades from the former USAID COMPETE program (now USAID East Africa Trade + Investment Hub) which works to build sustainable capacity for competitive regional and international trade and food security in East Africa. The coffee supply chain is long and quality control is paramount in each step. From the coffee cup, to the producer turning the coffee cherries, safeguards have to be taken and attentive and committed supply-chain partners are crucial. Our partners know that the only sustainable coffee is high-quality coffee. Maintaining and exceeding benchmarks, ensure better livelihoods throughout the supply chain. These producers, the processor and [...]
We are passionate about roasting coffee, but we’re equally passionate about sourcing it. Our newest arrivals are some of the best coffees we’ve presented to you – from the best performing lots in Costa Rica, to the newest, greenest technology in decaffeination. The quality of our coffees says a lot about our intent and how we purchase. But these coffees also have a story...
Cupping? A big part of our job here at Swing’s is making sure that you are getting the best coffee possible, and we are producing it consistently. That all sounds fine and well, but how is it done? The answer: cupping
The Going Out Guide by the Washington Post highlights the new Swing's Coffeebar in Del Ray. Click for a great read