What is your take on the flavored bean?

Javamom

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May 19, 2005
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SW Florida
Hey all,

I have been reading this forum for a couple of months now and getting tons of ideas. I love this board! We are planning on opening a coffee cafe in Florida within the year.

I have question on flavored coffee beans.
Do you think people prefer the bean to be flavored or do they prefer to have the flavor added?
Do you think it can make or break a business?

I always thought a pre flavored bean was best. The coffee company I want to use does not have pre flavored beans.
Before Starbucks I would not order a coffee with a flavor added to it. But now it seems common. Now I know we can ask the barista not to add so much of the flavor.

I guess I worry about picky people like me.
OK that was two questions! Any imput would great :)

Thanks!
Java
 

CCafe

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Aug 11, 2004
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Des Moines, Iowa
I don't quite understand you point on flavoring. Are you asking about flavored coffee beans, aka hazelnut, and pumpkin, chocolate raspberry or are you talking about adding flavoring to your lattes and caps?

Flavoring coffee is a whole can of worms in itself. Read my last reply here on flavoring coffee. I think this will answer only part of your question.

http://www.coffeeforums.com/viewtopic.p ... highlight=
 

topher

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Aug 14, 2003
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Boca Raton
I personally do not like flavored coffee...that is I do not like to drink it..is it profitable...heck yeah!! I look at it as a door way drug...people usually do not drink coffee might be more apt to try something like Irish cream(just an example) after a bit they will start to drink the straight coffees....This is just my opinion and what I have noticed over the years....50 % of my roasting consist of flavored coffee...so is there a market for it...yup yup! Where in Florida are you going to be? We are currently in Jacksonville FL but we are moving the company back to the Boca area...oh well good luck!!
 

mcohveca

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Aug 21, 2005
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PA
I agree with Topher, flavored coffee is like an introduction to the world of specialty coffee. Once you have established an appreciation for it, the shift to unflavored coffee is not far down the road.
I don't understand what you meant by pre-flavored and post flavored. Do you mean beans that are flavored after roasting, and coffee drinks that are flavored with syrup?
 

rmb

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Jun 14, 2005
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Wisconsin
Flavored coffees.

Flavors are big sellers and as far as I am concerned, if you can get a customer away from drinking canned coffee to drinking good coffee with a flavoring then the transition away from the flavoring will be easier. As for pre and post flavorings, can't help you there. We sell the flavorings you add to roasted coffees and they are a hit with home roasting newbies and during the holiday seasons. It makes it easier for people who don't like the taste of coffee to have a nice cup. Before I started home roasting I have to admit though that I would splurge every once in a while on a good old vanilla latte!
 

spindoc

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Sep 16, 2005
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Sebring, Florida
Flavored beans vs adding flavors

Flavored beans contaminate a grinder and your equipment.

Why not use flavored syrups, added after the coffee is brewed? It allows for more or less flavor to taste and you need not dedicate a grinder to a single flavor.
 
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Javamom

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SW Florida
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Heya,

Thanks for answering. I have been away so I have not been able to check in a while.

I am wondering if a flavored bean is better to have in a cafe rather than just the syrups.

I totally understand keeping the flavored beans seperated as far as storage, grinding and brewing.
 

spindoc

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Sep 16, 2005
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Sebring, Florida
And I am wondering what you feel the advantage might be over making a good coffee and flavoring it after brewing?

You need keep many fewer varieties of beans and grinders (unless you planned to have only one flavor of flavored coffee), and it is not usually the highest quality beans you will find having been chosen for flavoring. After all, why would the supplier flavor a high quality bean, the taste of which will be covered by Irish cream or whatever flavoring is ordered.

My suggestion is that it is less expensive for you, while putting out a higher quality product, if you make a decent brewed coffee and then flavor it to taste with whatever syrup you need to use for the individual customer.

I am unable to see any advantage to purchasing flavored coffee beans.
 

topher

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Aug 14, 2003
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Boca Raton
Hey spindoc...I use only the highest quaility coffee.....and we sell flavored coffee...flavored coffee still has to have a coffee flavor! As to why not just use syrup...some people do not want the sugar...I know what you are going to say...sugar free...have you tasted these? YUCK! Anyway as I said before I do not drink flavored coffee but I do not put people down for drinking it.
 

ElPugDiablo

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Jul 16, 2004
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Hartford and New Haven, CT
spindoc said:
And I am wondering what you feel the advantage might be over making a good coffee and flavoring it after brewing?

You need keep many fewer varieties of beans and grinders (unless you planned to have only one flavor of flavored coffee), and it is not usually the highest quality beans you will find having been chosen for flavoring. After all, why would the supplier flavor a high quality bean, the taste of which will be covered by Irish cream or whatever flavoring is ordered.

My suggestion is that it is less expensive for you, while putting out a higher quality product, if you make a decent brewed coffee and then flavor it to taste with whatever syrup you need to use for the individual customer.

I am unable to see any advantage to purchasing flavored coffee beans.
syrup's advantages: 50 cents extra for shop owner. Your shop does not smell like French Pumpkin Bailey Raspberry Pecan. Less beans/grinders/pots on hand, faster beans turn over.
syrup's disadvantage: You will lose sales to other shops that have flavored.
 

beefybean

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Sep 20, 2005
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Austin, TX therabouts
Natural flavor concentrates are available. You can add these to the coffee, achieving essentially the same thing as a flavored bean, yet you can have the orange mocha baileys rasberry Kenya AA, or Costa Rican Tres Rios.

There are a few flavor varieties, oil (for beans), extracts (in alcohol) or concentrates (in glycerin). I'll bet you a dollar to a donut that it is these concentrates plus simple sugar and food coloring that you are paying up to $6 bucks a bottle for.

Concentrates are available in natrual and organic as well. I have also seen a site that sells a concentrate that has coloring. natural colors are also available.

You can find the end product you are looking for, natural sugar free flavored coffees with the best single origin bean...DONE.

Grinders free of anoying insipid flavors...DONE

Coffee shop free of anoying insipid aromas....DONE

Full menu of coffees including profitable flavors for ALL of your customers...DONE

Extra work, management etc, of flavors to be sure, but the option is out there.
 

spindoc

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Sep 16, 2005
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Sebring, Florida
beefybean said:
You can find the end product you are looking for, natural sugar free flavored coffees with the best single origin bean...DONE.

Grinders free of anoying insipid flavors...DONE

Coffee shop free of anoying insipid aromas....DONE

Full menu of coffees including profitable flavors for ALL of your customers...DONE

Extra work, management etc, of flavors to be sure, but the option is out there.

Extra work -- perhaps; but since a brewed pot is only good for 20-30 minutes and a thermal carafe for only about an hour, brewing pots of flavored coffee means throwing away and brewing LOTs of pots of flavored coffee unless your shop does a landslide business. I would think that flavoring already-brewed and fresh coffee would yield a better cup and, in fact, be less work in the long run.
 

Sabranie

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Jan 5, 2006
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Seattle, WA
Syrup vs flavored beans

I was one of the original employees at a now very successful micro roaster in Washington State. In the beginning we would brew three varieties of coffee per day for our airpots. One regular, one decaf, and one flavored. Without a doubt, the flavored coffee would be 99% full when it was time to re-brew. The regular was continually running out ahead of schedule and the decaf closeley behing. I've never understood why anyone would purchase flavored coffee beans although I love vanilla lattes. In my opinion, skip the flavored beans, but make sure you have a high quality syrup to offer your customers. There are so many shops that just ruin everything buy offering generic syrups. ~Just my two cents.
 
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Javamom

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May 19, 2005
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SW Florida
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Hi

I forgot I had posted this question. Great opnions here. I did work in shop with the beans and they never took those precautions. One air pot for flavored. One grinder for flavored. I guess it stunk! People went for it.

I think I will stick with the syrups. I watch people now and see that customers are fine with the added syrup.

Thanks
 
A lot of the question about flavored beans or syrups come down to making money. As has been noted before, there is a lot of money to be made in flavored coffees.

If you are doing flavored espressos, you'll probably want syrups. In Europe I once saw a beautiful setup were they had 12 whole bean espressos each feeding into its own grinder. They had a selection of regular espresso beans as well as flavored. They also had an espresso machine for flavoreds and one for regular. I've only seen one place like it, so I'd be hesitant about recommending you give it a try.

If you are brewing into airpots, flavored coffees cost less than syrups. You'll need to be careful with flavor contamination as others have noted. If you have the syrups for espresso, it might make sense to have them for drip coffee. The issue then is whether you have self service or require interaction with someone behind the counter. Then you have to start layering in service costs with that of the syrups to get fully loaded costs. More important that the pennies of labor is time itself. If you slow you customers down by making them wait for an employee or take the extra steps of putting in their own syrups, you'll lose some.

One of the most important aspects of brewing flavored coffees is the aromatics. If you have a good flavored coffee - not one of the cheap ones that smells like chemicals - you can sell more coffee. This is especially true if you've got something like a bakery instead of a coffee bar. You can sell more per customer with good aromatics. You don't get those with syrups.

Coffee drinkers are like a pyramid - most people are at the base. Those are the flavored drinkers, those who put in milk and sugar. That is where the volume and dollars are. There are progressively fewer people who will drink an espresso straight up. I usually surprise baristas when I do - and then they are shocked I can tell they need to clean their portafilter (most of them do). The point is you probably can't build a business around the top of the coffee pyramid unless you live in a very unique (or Italian) community. The most money is in the middle and base.
 
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