Anyone who knows us and our shops, knows that we are incredibly obsessive about coffee. I’m not sure it’s healthy or that it makes much financial sense, for we spend too many countless hours tasting and trying to get it right. But that’s what we do.
Over the years, we have made many improvements, both in terms of process and taste. We’ve also moved to a Fairtrade bean and lately organic milk. Those are steps that we feel very good about, but the trick is to keep the coffees tasting good and coming out consistent.
I have written here about the difficulties of milk in the winter – how the lack of protein makes it harder to get good foam. The bubbles are too large (see photo), and the foam collapses easily. This seems to be compounded with organic milk, although some days it seems that it works better than others. Customers have noticed, and they are complaining.
The bottom line is this – using fresh and natural products is not always, by any means, the easiest thing to do. There are many reasons to go with the easy way – there is milk designed for frothing that is controlled for protein and froths perfectly every time. That’s really appealing because consistency is probably the most important part of keeping happy customers. The only problem is that we don’t like the taste.
I think the benefits of using organic milk, both in terms of how it tastes and for feeling good about it, make it worthwhile to stick with it and work on a solution. There’s a Chinese proverb, “The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor people perfected without trials.”
Let’s hope the last bit applies to cappuccinos!