What time do you open in the morning?
What is complete (phase 1) and what will phase 2 bring when it opens, doubling the size of the operation?
What have you learned about Amherst Street?
Phil: Personally, I don't remember how I first heard about Stumptown. Just being in the industry, I knew of a few great roasters and they were one with a great reputation. Also, they were featured in the book God in a Cup, which is where I learned a bit more about them.
How did you land the account when the brand is not even in the area?
What makes Stumptown so different?
Does the coffee have a following in Buffalo?
If not, it will! Honestly, I am always surprised when I find out how many people have heard of them, wherever I go. Their Head Roaster is also from Buffalo, and he was very excited when he heard that I was moving here and bringing Stumptown with me!
What does it take to land the brand?
Commitment to quality. The Stumptown brand is so good because they require so much training in order to work them. They aren't the only roasters doing this. There is Intelligentsia out of Chicago, Counter Culture from N.C., and many others. Roasters realize that constant training and a commitment to quality is essential to the reputation of their brand.
Tell us about that system that you purchased. What does it do? Who has been trained to use it and where does the training take place?
By system, I assume you mean espresso machine. The machine, in the most basic response, sends water under 9 bars of pressure through a filter packed tightly with 20 grams of coffee to produce espresso. As far as training goes, anybody can use it. It is sort of like painting. Anybody can paint, we all did it in school. But depending on how you manipulate your brush, colors, and other variables, some are much better and more consistent at it. It's the same with espresso. We are committed not to just pulling shots of espresso on it, we are committed to adjusting the grinder throughout the day, training on flawless technique, and tasting to produce consistently great shots. and that's just the start of a great drink at Delish! From there, we train for hours on proper milk steaming to highlight the natural sweetness in the milk and texture it with fine microfoam in order to pour beautiful lattes at the perfect temperature. Some people might notice that our drinks a slightly cooler than other cafe's. That's because milk is such a delicate thing. When you steam it, you want to heat it to bring out the sweetness and texture it, but above a certain point it negatively affects the experience when combined with espresso. After we have trained on consistent milk preparation, we train latte art. This is something most cafes don't offer, and if they do, the baristas haven't had proper training on it. We critique every drink we make in order to pour a better heart, tulip, or rosetta the next time. While there is often a lot of attention given to latte art, that should just be the visual indicator of a properly steamed milk. All of the other training that goes into each drink will be discovered at the first sip!
Serving Stumptown sounds like an art. I've seen what a barista can do with a cup of coffee... of course the flavor is important... so what's up with the design phase of the process?
Latte art is something that has not been presented very strongly in Buffalo. My simple answer is because the baristas have not been properly trained. I can say that with confidence because I, too, was not properly trained at one point. Once I experience a latte with a beautiful rosetta on top, I knew it was something I needed to be doing. From that point, I sought out training. I eventually started competing in competitions and winning them. To create great latte art, you really need to understand the dynamics of milk and foam, flow rate, and gravity. At some point, everything slows down for the barista where they are able to manipulate all of the elements through the entire pour to create something beautiful. For a beginner, everything is just happening so fast, they just sort of panic and start waving their arms around, trying to create something. Latte art training, just as training as a barista and the whole coffee education process is something that will never end. If it did, I'm afraid I would have to move on to a new career.
414 Amherst St,
Buffalo, NY 14207, USA