Even if a retailer has gone to great lengths to source a top roaster and develop the perfect recipe, all that effort goes to waste if coffee is brewed at a bad temperature, held too long or made with inferior tap water.
The good news: Newer technologies on the market take the guesswork out of good coffee management. Here’s a look at some of those steps and the technologies to support them.
Prep and brew on-demand
Though it’s tempting to pre-stage coffee in filters—meaning grind and set up coffee beans ahead of time —Jim Phillips, BUNN’s vice president of sales for central zone, strongly discourages this. “Coffee is very sensitive. Ground coffee exposed to air will start to stale almost immediately, and will pick up odors from inside the store,” he says. Instead, retailers should prepare coffee right before serving.
In addition, avoid brewing too much coffee. “Manage your daypart business and brew what is needed,” Phillips says. “The more often you brew, the fresher and better tasting your coffee will be.”
Watch hold times
Coffee tastes best when it’s held for no longer than 20 minutes in an open top decanter and 60 minutes in a closed container. Any longer can impact the flavor, resulting in a bitter or burnt taste, Phillips says.
Investing in a thermal or insulated, closed container and a soft heat or heat-free holding system such as BUNN’s Infusion Series® Thermal Fresh or Soft Heat® system not only helps maintain freshness, but also cuts down on wasted coffee and energy. Gentler programmable heating methods prevent scorching and temperature fluctuations that would otherwise require more frequent coffee dumping.
Maintain ideal temperatures
The ideal water temperature for brewing is between 195-205 degrees, and the ideal holding temperature is 175-185 degrees, according to Phillips.
Higher temperatures may result in over-extraction, causing a bitter flavor, while lower temperatures can lead to under-extraction and a weak, watered-down flavor.
In addition to multi-dimensional coffee recipe programming, the BUNN Infusion series comes equipped with a Peak Extraction Sprayhead to improve the uniformity of extraction and achieve optimum coffee flavor.
Start with the best water
Start out using fresh, great-tasting water with proper water filtration, as water makes up over 98% of a cup of coffee.
The amount of sediment, chlorine, chloramines, sulfates, alkalinity and total hardness minerals varies widely by state and city, of course, but also from block to block within a city.
“Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for c-stores, even though companies would prefer to use the same system in all of their locations,” Philip Fralix says, a master water specialist and director of water technology for BUNN.
Fralix recommends at least using a basic filtration system using activated carbon to remove sediment and bad-tasting chlorine. In addition to better tasting coffee, filtration also helps with equipment cleanliness.
Clean and maintain coffee equipment regularly
Fralix recommends routinely cleaning the coffee servers, sprayhead, funnel and other parts on a daily basis.
Thinking back to filtration, water hardness impacts taste, but it also affects the equipment. Without proper filtration, a retailer could have to de-scale as often as once a week.
Any deviations in performance will, in turn affect the taste. Regular preventative maintenance, he says, though, “will take care of 90% of coffee brewing problems.”
Investing in top-of-the-line coffee equipment that uses new technologies helps ensure the freshness, quality and taste of your store’s signature brew—day-by-day, cup-by-cup.
Learn more about BUNN Infusion Series at www.bunn.com/infusion-series
This post is sponsored by BUNN