Picking the right coffee-brewing method is one of the first challenges of opening a coffee shop. The way you brew your coffee changes its flavor and texture. When choosing the coffee-brewing method you'll have to first decide your priorities: do you want it to be easy to make? Do you want it to brew quickly? Do you want it to have a smooth flavor? Do you want to make a variety of drinks? These are all important things to consider.
What are Your Options?
When opening a coffee shop, you need to decide what to serve. There are four main coffee-brewing methods you could use: drip, French press, espresso, and cold brew.
Here are their pros and cons:
Easiest to Make
Pros: This is by far the easiest coffee-brewing method. The machine heats the water for you and keeps your pot warm. All you have to do is fill it with water and ground coffee beans and it does the rest of the work. Most restaurants use this method.
Cons: Because of how imprecise this brewing method is, it's hard to keep the integrity of the coffee flavor. It can make nice roasts very bitter. You also need to use a paper filter for every batch, creating waste.
What You Can Make: This makes classic coffee that you can drink hot or iced but you can also make cafe au lait. This is a drink that's 2/3 coffee, 1/3 steamed milk.
Fastest to Make
Pros: French press coffee takes less than five minutes to make. There's no disposable filter so you aren't creating waste. This kind of coffee also has a very rich flavor, similar to espresso.
Cons: It's more work to make French press coffee, you need to heat the water separately. The biggest French press you can buy is about 50 ounces, so you can only make small batches.
What You Can Make: French press coffee has a rich flavor that doesn't need to hide behind creamers or flavorings. However, you can make very smooth lattes with this.
Biggest Variety of Drinks
Pros: Espresso is a common Italian coffee known for its strong flavor and high caffeine content. It's made by sending pressurized hot water through finely-ground coffee beans. This gives it a rich texture perfect for many different drinks.
Cons: To make espresso, you have to have an espresso machine. These can cost upwards of $1000 and they're incredibly hard to clean. This results in more work for you.
What You Can Make: Espresso is called-for in almost every coffee drink. Add steamed milk and foam to make a cappuccino, add ice cream and for an affogato, or add foam for a macchiato. When making drinks with foam, try using these lids made for sipping foam. With these, your customers won't miss the foam while drinking their coffee.
Pros: Cold brew is a newer method of brewing coffee that's become popular within the last decade. It has a rich, smooth flavor with no bitterness. This coffee has a sharp flavor with very high caffeine content.
Cons: This takes 10-24 hours to make, it isn't a fast process. It needs a special filter and coarsely ground coffee beans. Along with the extra time to make it, cold brew coffee also takes a lot of effort to make, you have to use freshly-ground beans and very precise measurements.
What You Can Make: Cold brew is very strong, it has more caffeine than most other coffee. It's best drunk by itself but it also works well in lattes. Try it with a scoop of ice cream to make it a sweeter treat. This scoop would work well because it makes incredibly smooth scoops of ice cream: perfect for taking pictures for your social media!
Opening a coffee shop means you need to find the right coffee for your business. When asking yourself which coffee-brewing method is best for your coffee shop, you should first recognize what your priorities are. If your priority is coffee that's easy to make, drip coffee is your best option. If your priority is making coffee quickly, the French press will work for you. If your priority is making a large variety of drinks, espresso is for you. If your priority is having the smoothest flavor, cold brew is your best option. Every coffee-brewing method has pros and cons. Your best option is to try making different varieties and deciding your favorite. That's the best way to find the coffee-brewing method most suitable for your coffee shop.