Specialty Coffee in the restaurants – experience and observations

If not talking about my all time favourite topic of the last months years 

(which is specialty coffee poorly roasted and made – but sold at the high price, so the customer is paying for drinking herbalish sour drink, or smoky and bitter, or sometimes you are “lucky” enough to get both tastes in one cup – and it is called “Specialty” – while could be called “I tricked you, and I am not sorry”

– you must be wondering what else should I be talking about. 

And I have some other thoughts, I do have. 

Last weeks made me think deeply on the topic of Specialty Coffee and restaurants

And there is something that I truly, truly don’t get.

Restaurant, or a cafe with carefully elaborated menu, dishes that are thought through, when everything works perfectly together, and plates represent a symphony of tastes, the way that after eating it you have no words but “Amazing! Wonderful! Wow!” – or no words at all. 

Dishes that make you cry out of their perfection.

Sauces that are elegant.

Desserts that are so beautiful and flavorful that you might swear that they represent heaven on Earth. 

And all that ruined after a nasty, smoky, over roasted, bitter cup of coffee. That represents nothing of what we mentioned above – no balance, no synergy, no perfection, no taste, no pleasure, no complexity. Just some bitter liquid that a guest is destined to drink, because he asked for coffee, and coffee is THIS.


I am wondering why chefs are not tasting the coffee they are serving. I am not talking about traditional restaurants that have nothing interesting in terms of culinary – but those restaurants who are really providing an experience – why do they neglect the coffee they are serving? 

It will be the last taste your guest will savour, he’ll leave your place with the aftertaste of the coffee you gave to him

So doesn’t it worth to serve something tasty?

Doesn’t it worth to serve something that follows your philosophy – be well elaborated, prepared according to some strict recipe, for you to know where the product is coming from, for you to worry about it freshness. 

I am wondering – we have the recipes so strict for the cakes and cookies – but nobody asks what’s the recipe of the coffee. There are no standards. There is no such thing.

It is a pretty strange situation, by the way, because what you start to see is that all the products are treated with a certain technology and recipe behind – but we still make espressos “by eye”. And nobody raises a question. 

While when making a cake you can make a mistake, you have a margin of error +/- 5-10 grams, or more – and even like that we use scales. In making an espresso the margin of error is +/- 0,2 grams in dry dose (just think about it!). And even though it is so crucial to weight and have the recipe for the espresso, most probably you won’t see scales in the bar. Why? 

After all, all of this is already being done for all the other products that are used for cooking. We care about milk and eggs, we choose well who’s gonna deliver our cheese and veggies – so why not coffee? 

I am not proposing anything new, by the way. We  are already treating all the products in the chain with the deserved respect. Everything  but coffee.

We clean our equipment, pans and knives till they are shining – but not the coffee machine. 

By the way, it is not cleaning that machine properly every day that contributes to that famous generic  “coffee” taste – which is nothing more than coffee oils that are being oxidized and getting rancid. 

Yep, so nasty and so common.

Specialty Coffee, if you think about it, it is about knowing your product and knowing how to treat it, at all the levels, as simple as that. Know how to choose it, how to make it, and how to reach the sweet point – and what sweet point means. 

It suits perfectly the restaurant industry, it is a perfect solution for those chefs who are looking for providing an experience with the food they are serving. 


latte art swan

Coffee can be tasty. 

Coffee can be beautifully served.

It can give pleasure, both sensory and estetical

It can provide a “wow” effect, as any well-prepared dish gives.

It just needs your attention. 

And it deserves it. 

It is a part of a dining experience, and it has been neglected for far too long.

Don’t you think it is time for a change?

Don’t you think it is time for a change?

Published by liza maksimova

Q Grader. Roast Master. SCAE certified.

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