Sunday, 28 August 2016

Week beginning August 29th - London Latte Art Smackdown 2016 #smackdown16

It is back again, now for  the fourth year and as per last year, there are a massive 64 places available. The London Latte Art Smackdown, sponsored by Square Mile, Coffee Hit, Victoria Arduino, The London Coffee Festival and Kaffeine, runs over five weeks starting with four rounds of heats from Friday the 9th of September at our new store on Eastcastle street and finishing with the final on Friday the 7th October in the event space at Square Mile Coffee Roasters. Yes, it is now on a Friday, hopefully allowing for a bit more of a sleep in/recovery on the Saturday morning.

It is pretty simple. 64 spaces, £10 entry, maximum of four entries per company, 16 entrants per heat, knock out rounds to get the top 4 to go through to the final, making another 16 competitors for the finals. Kick off is from 7:30 pm sharp each Friday night and we usually finish up about 9:30 pm.

The rules: They get tighter each year, but again we keep it simple.

A Kaffeine barista will be pouring double shots for you into 2 x 5 oz 'flat white' Acme cups.
You steam your milk and split your jugs.
You pour your preferred pattern, but we only allow rosettas, tulips or hearts.
Cup handle must be presented to the right of the judges, with the base of the pattern at 6 o'clock
You choose your best looking and presented drink and put it forward for consideration
You pour your left over milk into a glass to measure your 'wastage'
You remove your second drink.

The barista you are battling against then goes through the same process and the judges will then confer.

The judges, who include some of the complete legends of the London Coffee Scene are looking for:
Consistency
Colour
Symmetry
Dribbles (or lack of)
Milk wastage
Fullness of the cup
Formation of pattern
and many other things that they make up as they go along.

The judges, of which there are three, will then make a decision and on the count of three, point to the winning cup.

The winner goes through to the next round.

The prizes? Well all entry money goes into the pot, so that's £640. The Allegra London Coffee Festival have kindly put in £250, so that is £890 all up in cash. Last year Coffee Hit donated 1 x Baratza Grinder and a Rhino Hand grinder for 2nd and 3rd and Square Mile organised trophies and even more prizes, not to mention the glory and accolades and hopefully a bonus from your employer that comes with it. Along with this, Victoria Arduino will again be helping out with prizes, last year the winner Nico Halliday walked away with a single group espresso machine. NICE!!!

The judges confirmed so far include Dan Fellows (UK Barista Champion) from Origin, James Hoffman from Square Mile, Ben Townsend formerly of Espresso room, James Phillips from Dose, Andrew Tolley (World Barista Judge) from Taylor Street Baristas, former winners James Bailey of Workshop and Nico Halliday from Noble, multiple UK Latte Art Champion Dhan Tamang and lead judge for the fourth year, Glenn Watson.

Spaces are filling fast already, with most spaces on the first three heats already gone. To get involved, the best way is to come into our Eastcastle street and say 'I'm want to compete' and we will help you out.

At the heats, we will have light snacks for free and cheap beers available to purchase if you so desire and Square Mile are already in talks with one of London's iconic beer suppliers for the finals. Guests are welcome to watch and to support you on your way.

Also, it is not just limited to London baristas, anyone can enter. And seriously, every year now someone misses out on entering. Do not be late. Enter today.

Any queries, please email me direct. It's going to be brilliant, we look forward to seeing you.

Peter Dore-Smith
Director
Kaffeine

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Kaffeine - The Guest Espresso Program rides again

Quite a long time ago, we started a guest espresso program on weekends, whereby we would take off decaf on our second grinder and order in and dial in a guest espresso from various roasters across the UK and Europe on a weekly basis. To start with, it worked very, very well and we ran it for approximately two years. However, over that time, we also started to realise that we had a few problems. I have addressed most of these in previous blogs, so I will not go into them here. As I did note in them though, there were certain benefits and certain problems with the entire process.

http://kaffeinelondon.blogspot.co.uk/2015/10/week-beginning-october-19th-menu.html

I am quite open to being told that what we have done now is what we should have done originally or at least a long time ago, in fact a few people already have, but that's okay, as an old boss used to say when he stuffed things up 'well we are where we are we are'. I also admit I am not an expert specialty barista, with loads of knowledge about coffee or new equipment and I cannot keep up with all the many writings and informations on equipment or techniques, just like I am not a superstar chef with loads of knowledge about food, and I am quite comfortable with this too. What I think I do know is a little but about hospitality and a little bit about business operations and a little bit about listening to advice and acting appropriately.

Our current lead baristas Sam and Dan as well as previous baristas in Bianca, Jakub, Shaun etc have been pushing for us to invest in an EK43 for ages. I have been reluctant. The EK made a lot of news, a lot of headlines and a lot of discussions. In fact,  as an example, James Hoffman and Dale Harris wrote extensively on the issue of EK43's.

http://www.jimseven.com/2013/08/21/alright-lets-talk-about-ek43s-then/

In fact, there is lots and lots to read on it, a lot of it captured here by Sprudge.

http://sprudge.com/ek43-pin-up-girl-photospread-43323.html

One of the main points that was easily picked up on here was 'do not rush into this as a silver bullet'. But time has passed, and I feel that the purchase and the use of this grinder has finally justified itself.

Over the past six months or so, we started again at looking into it. We did quite a lot of research, made lists of negatives and positives, consulted with Square Mile coffee and eventually have now invested in an EK43 for each shop. We have taken off our Anfim grinders that we used maybe twenty times a day for decaf and installed the EK in its place. I also watched a very good Tamper Tantrum video on the benefits of the EK43 by Rob Berghmans form Caffenation. I was finally convinced.

http://www.tampertantrum.com/ek43-as-espresso-grinder/

We will now be starting our guest program again, just that this time it will be different. We will run a guest for an entire calendar month. We will have the words 'guest espresso' on our printed menu on the walls, we will be training the FOH staff to be informing the customer when they order a short drink that we have a guest on offer. We will all know the guest characteristics, so when we deliver it or get asked about it we can answer with confidence and we will have retail bags on sale for take home. It is not really designed to be on for milk based drinks, though of course you can try it if you like, but more specifically for espresso or short drinks only. Because we are running it for approximately a month, we will not have to try and 'get rid of it' over the weekend. We will be able to play with it over time, dial in and experiment the flavour profiles and extractions.

In order to get to this stage, the lead baristas will be responsible to talk amongst their staff about what great roasters we should profile, they will contact them at least a month earlier, request any samples and once received, will cup them and assess them with as many staff as possible to gain feedback and also to train palettes.

We will have decaf available as well of course, pre-portioned into those little metal jewellery containers and also very importantly we will also start to be able to grind coffee for retail sales, something we have never really done before.

In order to track how the program goes, I can look at the past 12 months of sales and be able to compare them in another six or twelve months. For example over the past year at Great Titchfield street, double espresso have made up 2.64% of our total coffee drinks whilst single espresso make up 1.68%. This is only on Square Mile Red Brick. I am looking forward to being able to look back again and see if sales of espressos have increased, decreased or remained static.

What is for certain though, is that it has created great excitement amongst all the staff who work here, which of course was the main problem when we took it off. We will now be further challenged, our palettes will be further enhanced, we will be able to show off our skills and knowledge with even more pride and enthusiasm and really get behind some of the amazing single origin espresso that are available these days.

Of course we will cost our coffees out and work how much extra a double shot of espresso may cost including postage and shipping and we will sell the espresso at 'market price', so they may be an extra 10, 20, 30, 40 or 50 pence per shot. This will allow us to bring in coffees up to £30 a kilo and have a pricing mechanism that works for the business and reflects the price of the coffee fromm the roasters.

We will start with the Koppi Bildiimoo Local Heirloom from the Gora Fone washing station in Nensebo, Ethiopia. It is a fully washed coffee, with tasting notes from Koppi of nectarines, jasmine and rhubarb. We are currently working on our guest calendar and if you are a roaster reading this, we do welcome your contact.

It is something we are all very excited about and we think is a new stage in Kaffeine. We hope you can join us.

In coffee we trust.

Peter Dore-Smith
Director
Kaffeine Ltd









Monday, 1 August 2016

Week beginning August 1st - Should all customers be treated the same, or should all different customers be treated differently?

We are very lucky in that the majority of our customers are regulars, or become regulars, but we also attract other customers, the occasional tourist who is looking for coffee, or the occasional lost tourist, or Antipodeans looking for coffee on their travels, or parents with buggies and little children etc etc. It is easy for a service person to simply to treat all customers the same, and of course it is fair and reasonable to do so, but this cannot and should not be the case.

Recognising the different types of customers and dealing with each one is such an important part of the service provided in any quality hospitality establishment. In our situation, this will most often be the person on service at the front end of the shop, the first person the customer sees in the door. It would be by using their amazing talent of peripheral vision that this person on service would recognise that a customer is approaching the shop, or walking in the door and they would do this often whilst serving other customers already in the queue. In their mind, they would already be breaking down the new customer into a certain category and preparing themselves to be able to assist them,  probably also acknowledging their entrance with a nod of the head, or a quick smile.

Once ready, they will break into the appropriate actions, words, gestures and processes that the specific category of customer requires. This is one of the true signals of a great service person or manager, it is why service people are just as valued as any other staff member in the business, it is why they are as important to your business as the chef, the kitchen hand and the barista. I often feel that a lot of talk within the specialty coffee industry just focusses on baristas. 'What is the career path for a barista' ' How do you look after your barista' What training do you offer your barista'. I get a bit fed up with this. Does any one else work in your cafe?

In Kaffeine, each person is as important as each other, so when these questions are asked, I feel they should be asked to include all the categories of employees that work in specialty cafes. 'What is the career path for a employees' ' How do you look after your employees' What training do you offer your employees'.

In some cases, a barista can go and hide behind the machine if they wish and just pull shots. A service person cannot hide. A service person is in the front line. They need to be talented, fast, clean, efficient, adaptable, empathetic, patient, understanding, helpful, sympathetic, fast, friendly, service focussed, clean, tidy, organised and hospitable. Simply being empathetic is a hard enough. Worst case is that eventually, a person's empathy can run out and it is very hard to replenish.

So treating each customer according to their demographic is another vital component of a great service person or manager, as this will greatly enhance the overall experience of the customer, which is basically what all customers are looking for, a pleasant and enjoyable experience.

We recently did a staff training session to try to focus on this and highlight it.

We broke into four groups of four. Each group was given a category of either regular customers, a family with child in buggy, tourists with limited english skills and first time customers. No-one knew what the other groups had, it was their 'secret'. They had to then talk amongst themselves about how they would deal with their secret, what might be important to think about. When ready, the leader of the group stood behind the counter and the rest of the group role played their secret category in front of everyone else. Then, the other groups had to guess what they were role playing. It was hilarious, great fun, but it also has a point where we really highlighted the differences. I know I certainly treat any customer with a buggy differently these days than I did before children of my own. Empathy big time.

Every customer that takes the time and effort to walk in the door is quiet simply there to have an overall pleasant experience, but as all people are different, they need to be treated differently too. The employees that can recognise this and act appropriately to the customers demographic are extremely valuable employees indeed.

Please enjoy the menu for this week, as we will certainly enjoy bringing it to you.

Peter Dore-Smith
Director
Kaffeine

Great Titchfield Street Menu

Breakfast
Seven Seeded toast with butter and preserves 2.00
Cinnamon and Raisin Toast 2.50
Fruit salad with pineapple, mango, strawberries, grapes, passion fruit 3.90
Traditional bircher muesli with Greek yoghurt and rhubarb and raspberry compote 4.00
Granola muesli with pomegranate molasses, Greek yoghurt and rhubarb and raspberry compote 4.00
Brioche with omelette, pancetta, rocket and tomato salsa 5.00
Brioche with avocado, omelette, rocket and tomato salsa 5.00
Croissant with Italian roast ham, talleggio cheese, spinach and plum tomatoes 5.00
Breakfast Ciabatta - Cotechino sausage, fried egg and gruyere cheese 6.00 (weekends only)

Pastries by Seven Seed bakery
French butter croissant 2.00
Pain au chocolat 2.50
Almond croissant 2.80

Baked Treats
ANZAC cookies 2.00
Portuguese tarts 2.00
Banana bread 2.50
Double chocolate chip and macadamia cookies 2.50
Blueberry with white chocolate muffins 2.50
Butternut squash, rosemary with feta savoury scrolls 2.50
Cherries with milk chocolate friands (gf) 2.70
Super moist chocolate brownies (gf) 2.80
White chocolate blondies 2.80
Raspberry and coconut slice (gf, df) 2.80
Polenta cake with citrus and spices 2.80
Carrot Cake 3.00

Lunch
Own made brioche 5.00
Grilled honey ham, roasted apple, red onion, sweet chilli, brie cheese, rocket 
Buffalo mozzarella, crumbed courgette, plum tomato, lime mayo, baby spinach 

French retro baguettes 5.30
Smokes chorizo, basil pesto, roasted red pepper, gherkins,  gruyere, rocket 
Smoked salmon, wasabi pesto, cucumber, avocado, watercress

Salads: 5.50/7.00
Chicken pad thai salad with cucumber, carrot, bean sprout, cabbage, mixed herb, cashew nut, lime and chilli dressing
Grilled yellow courgette, pea croquette, roasted red onion,  feta, mint and caper dressing, pine nut, rocket  
Green beans, broccoli, sesame seeds, coriander, tahini sauce

Tart: 4.40 or 8.00 with salads
Spinach, new potato, chilli, egg

Eastcastle Street Menu

Breakfast
Sourdough seeded toast with butter and preserves 2.00
Fruit Toast 2.50
Fruit salad with pineapple, mango, strawberries, grapes and passion fruit 3.90
Traditional bircher muesli with Greek yoghurt and rhubarb and raspberry compote 4.00
Paleo granola with Greek yoghurt and rhubarb and raspberry compote 4.00
Brioche with corn fritter, baked egg, chives cream cheese, onion marmalade 5.00
Brioche with treacle smoked back bacon, roasted tomatoes, smashed avocado, rocket and aioli 5.00
Croissant with Italian roast ham, talleggio cheese, spinach and plum tomatoes 5.00
Croissant with smoked salmon, scrambled eggs, tomato and rocket 5.00

Pastries by Seven Seed bakery
French butter croissant  2.00
Pain au chocolat 2.50
Almond croissant 2.80

Baked Treats
ANZACS  2.00
Portuguese tarts 2.00
Lemon curd tarts  2.00
White chocolate, oats and cranberry cookies  2.50
Banana bread 2.50
Passion fruit and cream cheese muffins 2.50
Courgette and feta savoury scrolls 2.50
Strawberry and coconut friands 2.80
Raspberry and coconut slice (gf, df) 2.80
Super moist chocolate brownies (gf) 2.80
Protein bar (gf, df) 2.80
Salted peanut butter and white chocolate bar 2.80

Own made brioche buns 5.00
Meat patties with baked apple, fresh tomato salsa and rocket
Roasted aubergine and tomato with basil pesto, goat's cheese and watercress 

Baguettes 5.30
Italian ham, pear, aioli, Leicester cheese and rocket
Smoked mozzarella, spinach, plum tomato, cucumber and spicy peas pesto 

Salads 5.50 / 7.00
Stir fried pork minced meat salad with pickled cabbage, tomato, mix pepper, cucumber and lime vinaigrette.
Shred raw beetroot and carrot with feta, pomegranate, toasted walnut and molasses dressing
Steam baby potato and carrot with boiled eggs, garden peas, fresh herbs and peri peri aioli

Savoury Tart 4.40 or 8.00 with salad
Cheesy butternut, courgette and leek quiche


Monday, 25 July 2016

Week beginning July 25th - Possibly one of the hardest jobs there is....

No, it's not being a chef, or being a barista, or being on service, though all of these positions are responsible for this, the hardest of jobs, it is not even a kitchen porter, who has probably the hardest job of all.

It is the overall job of keeping all your cafe/restaurant/hotel/work area clean and tidy and neat and free of dust and dirt and well maintained and working and not broken.

It is absolutely endless. Whether it be changing light bulbs that have blown, re-filling the toilet rolls*, cleaning the skirting where the mop heads rub against when you mop the floor and leave smears, in behind the fridges, inside the fridges, inside the bins, outside the bins, the light fittings themselves which attract dust, the retail shelves, finger marks on walls and doors, the shelves under the counter, the storage areas, on and on and on and on and on.

*I once thought it would be a good idea to buy on of those large toilet rolls holders, about as big as a small wheel, for the toilets. It is not. Because when it runs out, someone needs to be able to change it. No-one else can, not least the person using the toilet at the time. Only that someone, who has the key. Ever been there? So now we have normal toilet rolls with three extra rolls on a purpose built shelf in each cubicle. Thanks to one of our superstar staff, we also have this little way of folding the last sheet of paper if it comes loose on the roll, to keep it neat and tidy.

For our front of house service area, we have always had a laminated weekly cleaning sheet, which is split into the seven days of the week and then each day has about 5 different tasks to be completed on that day. Once completed, the person who has completed it signs their name against the task on the sheet. It is an invaluable tool for helping to give people jobs when it might be a bit quiet and also to ensure essential tasks are done.

In the kitchen we do a weekly deep clean where everything gets taken out and scrubbed, as well as complete another weekly cleaning task sheet where we have certain jobs to be done on certain days such as cleaning the ovens. I interviewed a chef recently and showed them the kitchen and said 'so this oven (Blue Seal E31D) is at about five years old'. 'What? It looks brand new!', they said.

It's incredible how quickly things can get dirty and also dusty in a busy cafe in central London. Our Eastcastle street store is slightly easier as it is a concrete structure and is a newer building, whilst Great Titchfield street is a much older building, with wooden floor boards, so therefore requires more work. There is so much to do, especially when you get into the smaller details of cleaning tasks, the ones that not everyone sees.

It is something I always look for in any establishment that I go into, how clean it is. The old classic is to always check the toilets, which of course you always should, but there are so many other areas that can require cleaning too, or dusting. One good thing to check in the toilets is the toilet brush, yes seriously. I have seen some awful ones. Gives me the shivers..

Every day your establishment should be clean, clean, clean. Ready for use by the people who spend their time and also as a pleasant place for your employees and yourself to work in. No junk, no stuff lying around not being used. I am still guilty of some of these actions, just a little bit, but I try hard not to be. It is hard sometimes to take the plunge to 'just chuck old stuff away' or try to sell it on and make a bit of cash if you can.

Both stores have five star food hygiene reviews from Westminster Council, Great Titchfield street has had five stars since the second inspection we ever had back in 2010 and keeping things clean certainly helps with this. It is also something that we can all be very proud of.

Keep it clean, keep it real. It's real hard, but it has absolute benefits for all.

Please enjoy the menu for this week, as we will enjoy bringing it to you.

Peter Dore-Smith
Director
Kaffeine


Great Titchfield Street Menu

Breakfast
Seven Seeded toast with butter and preserves 2.00
Cinnamon and Raisin Toast 2.50
Fruit salad with pineapple, mango, strawberries, grapes, passion fruit 3.90
Traditional bircher muesli with Greek yoghurt and rhubarb and raspberry compote 4.00
Granola muesli with pomegranate molasses, Greek yoghurt and rhubarb and raspberry compote 4.00
Ciabatta roll with omelette, pancetta, rocket and tomato salsa 5.00
Ciabatta roll with avocado, omelette, rocket and tomato salsa 5.00
Croissant with Italian roast ham, talleggio cheese, spinach and plum tomatoes 5.00
Breakfast Foccacia - Cotechino sausage, fried egg and gruyere cheese 6.50 (weekends only)

Pastries by Seven Seed bakery
French butter croissant 2.00
Pain au chocolat 2.50
Almond croissant 2.80

Baked Treats
ANZAC cookies 2.00
Portuguese tarts 2.00
Banana bread 2.50
Double chocolate chip and macadamia cookies 2.50
Peach and  apricot muffins 2.50
Ricotta pesto and spinach savoury scrolls 2.50
Mixed berry with white chocolate friands (gf) 2.70
Super moist chocolate brownies (gf) 2.80
White chocolate blondies 2.80
Raspberry and coconut slice (gf, df) 2.80
Polenta cake with citrus and spices 2.80
Carrot Cake 3.00

Lunch
Own made brioche 5.00
Salami,  roasted red pepper, avocado, gruyere, aioli, rocket 
Grilled halloumi, aubergine, tomato ketchup, fried onion, baby spinach 

French retro baguettes 5.30
Ham, sauté mushroom, leek, cheese sauce, baby spinach
Grilled courgette, spicy pea, feta, lemon capers sauce, rocket 

Salads: 5.50/7.00
Grilled salmon salad with blanch broccoli, edamame, fried hash brown, sesame seeds, watercress and chilli bean sauce
Buffalo mozzarella salad with plum tomato, avocado, roasted yellow pepper, green olive pesto and mixed leaves
Red cabbage, cucumber, carrot, tomato pesto, parsley 

Tart: 4.40 or 8.00 with salads
Tenderstem broccoli, bacon, chilli, manchego quiche

Eastcastle Street Menu

Breakfast
Sourdough seeded toast with butter and preserves 2.00
Gluten free bagel with butter and preserves 2.00
Fruit salad with pineapple, mango, strawberries, grapes and passion fruit 3.90
Traditional bircher muesli with Greek yoghurt and rhubarb and raspberry compote 4.00
Paleo granola with Greek yoghurt and rhubarb and raspberry compote 4.00
Brioche with corn fritter, baked egg, chives cream cheese, onion marmalade 5.00
Brioche with treacle smoked back bacon, roasted tomatoes, smashed avocado, rocket and aioli 5.00
Croissant with Italian roast ham, talleggio cheese, spinach and plum tomatoes 5.00
Croissant with smoked salmon, scrambled eggs, tomato and rocket 5.00

Pastries by Seven Seed bakery
French butter croissant  2.00
Pain au chocolat 2.50
Almond croissant 2.80

Baked Treats
ANZACS  2.00
Portuguese tarts 2.00
Lemon curd tarts  2.00
White chocolate, oats and cranberry cookies  2.50
Banana bread 2.50
Strawberry and coconut friands 2.80
Strawberry & white chocolate muffins 2.50
Spinach, ricotta, pine-nut savoury scrolls 2.50
Raspberry and coconut slice (gf, df) 2.80
Super moist chocolate brownies (gf) 2.80
Protein bar (gf, df) 2.80
Salted peanut butter and white chocolate bar 2.80

Own made brioche buns 5.00
Treacle smoked bacon, slow roast tomato, red onion chutney, cream cheese, baby spinach.
Roasted butternut squash, grilled courgette, red leicester, hummus, rocket.

Baguettes 5.30
Smashed avocado, caramelised onion, brie cheese, roasted red pepper, baby spinach.
Shaved ham, plum tomato, grilled halloumi, pommery aioli, rocket .

Salads 5.50 / 7.00
Turkey meat ball salad, roasted red onion, roasted peppers, cranberries, apple chutney, blue cheese, walnuts, raddichio.
Quinoa salad with halloumi, pearl barley, spring onion, parsley, mint, lemon, courgette, cherry tomatoes and green pesto.
Green fine beans, mixed sprouts, edamame, peas, shallot, chilli and ginger pickle.

Savoury Tart 4.40 or 8.00 with salad
Broccoli and spinach quiche with chive cream cheese.


Friday, 1 July 2016

Week beginning June 20th - Claire 'Brice' Brice - Kaffeine Legend

It's taken me a long while to write this, for which I can only apologise to the subject of the post who I hope is reading this one day while she sips beers on the beach in Lennox Head, NSW Australia to be exact, which is basically down the road from Byron Bay.

Claire Brice started on service back in June 2011, coming into a very strong team and what we may be able to say was the middle of our major growth period. Claire finished up in February 2016 in the position of Manager of Great Titchfield street, after a four and half year tenure. To say that Claire had a bit of impact on Kaffeine and the London coffee scene is basically an understatement.

She was very typical, in a good way, of many staff who have applied and some who have worked for Kaffeine. "I want to open my own coffee shop one day...' Claire had been in London since she was 18 years old, so about 8 years, and had been working in bars but had never worked in a coffee shop before. That's okay, let's put you on service. And she excelled.

As is normal process, we promote those who excel and Claire quickly became a senior service person, then an Assistant Manager as that position became available, all in the space of six months. Claire tells me the story of how she worked with me for the first few weeks and in her first three days did 12 hours straight 7 am to 7 pm every day and 'had never been so tired before'. Another story I love is how in the early days she took it upon herself to learn as much as she could about the coffee we served and the retail equipment we sold so that when she was being asked questions by customers she did not 'feel like a donkey'.

In November 2011, we set up a concession inside the Lend Lease building on Marylebone road and Claire went up there to manage it with some of other Kaffeine legends, Niall, Ashlea and her Assistant Manager Karolina. Set up as a sort of staff canteen for up to 500 people, the Lend Lease operation was five days per week and we made the food at GTS and sent it up twice a day. Unfortunately, it did not work out how we wanted, and with huge regret we had to take advantage of a break clause in the lease that allowed us to pull out after six months. It just was not right for us, however it was Claire and her team who made it as much of a success as it could ever be. It was also over these six months that Claire was able to hone her barista skills under the watchful eyes of Niall and Ashlea.

As we wound up Lend Lease in June 2012, the manager of Great Titchfield street, yet another superstar Amy, finished up her visa and went back to Australia. At this time, Kaffeine was booming we were at our peak levels of business and Claire stepped up to take over and in her own words, 'to fill very big shoes'.

So much happened over the next three and a half years, but it was not until February of 2016 when Claire finished up that I realised how quickly this time had gone by. Oh we had some funny times, so so funny, but there were also tears. Kaffeine can be, if I may say, a fairly high pressure environment. But Claire smashed it. Properly. From being on service, to being in the kitchen, to being a very, very good barista, to being a 'mother' to all the staff that worked for her and quite simply, being an amazing support to me and my family and the business to being an ambassador for the coffee industry on London.

So many of our customers knew Claire, when you are there 50 hours a week, every week for over four years, that is a lot of people looked after and hospitality provided to. So many of our staff also knew Claire and I know that some of her best friends were made at Kaffeine. I also remember at one stage a nice young man who started to hang out a lot at the shop. He worked locally and it seemed that he was coming in quite a lot. Our coffee sales increased. It took about six months, but eventually a relationship formed and Claire has now found the 'love of her life' in Kyle.

Around August 2014, Claire came to me to ask if there was any possibility that she could have a sabbatical to go back to Australia and also to Canada where her partner Kyle is from, to travel, but could she return to her job. It would be a three month holiday. Yes of course. Travelling and experiencing the world is so, so important and I fully encourage it. Claire came back in February 2015 just in time to help us open Eastcastle street and to also allow me to be pretty much full time there whilst it settled in. If there is one thing you need when you open a second store, it is a very strong, dedicated manager who can maintain and keep the standards and processes of the business together.

It was in 2015 that we were able to nominate Claire through Allegra Coffee Events to be an ambassador for the London coffee scene at the New York Coffee Festival. Up against some of the best in the London coffee scene, she won. A fully paid trip to New York for the inaugural New York Coffee festival, VIP tickets, black tie ball and access to all the sights and experiences of New York and the festival.

Often in the industry there is talk about how boys dominate it, but in the time that Kaffeine has been open we are now onto our fourth female manager. Catherine, Amy, Claire and now Holly. At Eastcastle street we have had Gina and now Alicja. If you want a great example of how females dominate the scene and make an impact, then you cannot go any further than both Kaffeine stores and Claire in particular.

Claire is what is very well known as a Kaffeine legend. On her last day we made a speech in front of about 50 customers in the shop and played the live concert version of Guns and Roses 'November Rain' as she took off her apron and walked downstairs for the last time.  Once again, there were tears.

I sincerely wish Claire and Kyle all the very best for their future in Australia or wherever they may end up. They fully deserve the best.

Peter Dore-Smith
Director
Kaffeine


Great Titchfield Street Menu

Breakfast
Seven Seeded toast with butter and preserves 2.00
Cinnamon and Raisin Toast 2.50
Fruit salad with pineapple, mango, strawberries, grapes, passion fruit 3.90
Traditional bircher muesli with Greek yoghurt and rhubarb and raspberry compote 4.00
Granola muesli with pomegranate molasses, Greek yoghurt and rhubarb and raspberry compote 4.00
Ciabatta roll with omelette, pancetta, rocket and tomato salsa 5.00
Ciabatta roll with avocado, omelette, rocket and tomato salsa 5.00
Croissant with Italian roast ham, talleggio cheese, spinach and plum tomatoes 5.00
Breakfast Foccacia - Cotechino sausage, fried egg and gruyere cheese 6.50 (weekends only)

Pastries by Seven Seed bakery
French butter croissant 2.00
Pain au chocolat 2.50
Almond croissant 2.80

Baked Treats
ANZAC cookies 2.00
Portuguese tarts 2.00
Banana bread 2.50
Double chocolate chip and macadamia cookies 2.50
Blueberry and white chocolate muffins 2.50
Green pesto, tomato, spinach savoury scrolls 2.50
Tiramisu friands (gf) 2.70
Super moist chocolate brownies (gf) 2.80
White chocolate blondies 2.80
Raspberry and coconut slice (gf, df) 2.80
Polenta cake with citrus and spices 2.80
Carrot Cake 3.00

Lunch
Own made brioche 5.00
Crispy bacon, artichoke sauce, slow roasted tomato, chedder cheese, rocket 
Crusted pumpkin, fried onion, buffalo mozzarella, spicy salsa, baby spinach 

French retro baguettes 5.30
Ham, grilled artichoke, basil pesto, roasted red pepper, chedder cheese, rocket
Grilled asparagus, roasted red onion, spicy pea, buffalo mozzarella, baby spinach

Salads: 5.50/7.00
Pan fried tuna salad with soba noodle, cucumber, carrot, edamame bean, sesame seeds and wasabi pesto 
Wild rice, pomegranate, cherry tomato, pistachio nut, feta cheese, lemon dressing, parsley,  rocket
Roasted aubergine, red pepper, cannellini bean, smoked hummus, spring onion, baby spinach

Tart: 4.40 or 8.00 with salads
Quinoa, sweet potato, courgette plum tomato, cheddar cheese pie

Eastcastle Street Menu

Breakfast
Sourdough seeded toast with butter and preserves 2.00
Gluten free bagel with butter and preserves 2.00
Fruit salad with pineapple, mango, strawberries, grapes and passion fruit 3.90
Traditional bircher muesli with Greek yoghurt and rhubarb and raspberry compote 4.00
Paleo granola with Greek yoghurt and rhubarb and raspberry compote 4.00
Brioche with courgette omelette, spinach, gruyere cheese, mushrooms and tomato salsa 5.00
Brioche with treacle smoked back bacon, roasted tomatoes, smashed avocado, rocket and aioli 5.00
Croissant with Italian roast ham, talleggio cheese, spinach and plum tomatoes 5.00
Croissant with smoked salmon, scrambled eggs, tomato and rocket 5.00

Pastries by Seven Seed bakery
French butter croissant  2.00
Pain au chocolat 2.50
Almond croissant 2.80

Baked Treats
ANZACS  2.00
White chocolate, oats and cranberry cookies  2.00
Portuguese tarts 2.00
Banana bread 2.50
Blueberry, banana and nut cake with vanilla icing  2.50
Strawberry, apricot and flaked almonds muffins 2.50
Tomato, basil and cream cheese savoury scrolls 2.50
Blueberry, banana and nut cake with vanilla icing  2.50
Raspberry and coconut slice 2.80
Gluten free super moist chocolate brownies 2.80
Gluten free and dairy free protein bar 2.80
Salted peanut butter and white chocolate bar 2.80
Lemon brûlée tarts  2.90

Own made brioche buns 5.00
Courgette fritter, roasted aubergine, aioli, slaw.
Cumberland sausage, pea puree, roast onion, english mustard, spinach.

Baguettes 5.30
Curried egg, red onion, cucumber, alfalfa, rocket.
Shaved ham, pickles, plum tomato, cream cheese, spinach.

Salads 5.50 / 7.00
Shredded tender beef, roasted peppers, black lentils, roast onion, cherry tomatoes, avocado dressing, raddicchio.
Steamed broccoli, glazed beetroots, roasted sweet potato, asparagus, marinated feta cheese, baby spinach.
Raw kale slaw, carrots, cabbage, garden peas, sweet corn, parsley, lemon and cashew nuts.

Savoury Tart 4.40 or 8.00 with salad
Crispy pancetta, spring onion and garden pea quiche


Monday, 13 June 2016

Week beginning June 13th - Back to writing (and the menus for this week)

It's been a while. Back in November I wrote about balance and in a way, this is/was a very relevant post.

Balance was written to highlight the importance and relevance of the word. Balance in our lives, in our diets, on our palates, in our businesses and with our families.

Have things been out of balance? Not really, but other priorities have taken over, so therefore writing a blog has taken a back step for a short while. I also have bene putting off writing a farewell post to one of the legends of Kaffeine, manager Claire 'Brice/Old Mate/Mate' Brice, who finished up after four and a half years back in February to move back to Australia, then in May the Eastcastle Street manager Gina 'G' Daubaraite moved on after a full on year to pursue a career in recruitment.

So things get busy, things are prioritised and focus is on other areas and all of a sudden it is June. the good thing is, there is so much more now to write about and here is a list of upcoming posts in no particular order in my head starting next week...

  • Claire 'Brice' Brice - Legend of Kaffeine
  • Gina 'G' Daubariate - How to open a coffee shop as a manager
  • The referendum - we want to stay in - please
  • Estate Dairy Milk - The new milk in town
  • Recruiting staff - where have all the Australians and New Zealanders gone?
  • James Hoffman and the newsletter
  • Barista Hustle facebook group
  • The World Barista Championships in Dublin
  • The new coffee boys book - Wake up and sell more coffee
  • Colin Harmons new book - What I know about running coffee shops
  • The importance of correct and very particualr HR practices
  • Crowdfunding - My personal view
  • What is it like to run two coffee shops 
  • Lords Cricket Ground
  • Priorities of service
  • I can't get no sleep 
  • Differnet customer profiles and how to react to them
  • Social media and Instagram
  • etc etc etc

Thank you for being patient and understanding with us. In the meantime, please enjoy the menus for both stores below. Our lead chefs Khan at Great Titchfield with support from Silvio, Gaston and Kirsten while Emily at Eastcastle with support from Win and Tamara are doing a fabulous job, the food and the produce has never been better.

Peter Dore-Smith
Director
Kaffeine

Great Titchfield Street Menu

Breakfast
Seven Seeded toast with butter and preserves 2.00
Cinnamon and Raisin Toast 2.50
Fruit salad with pineapple, mango, strawberries, grapes, passion fruit 3.90
Traditional bircher muesli with Greek yoghurt and rhubarb and raspberry compote 4.00
Granola muesli with pomegranate molasses, Greek yoghurt and rhubarb and raspberry compote 4.00
Ciabatta roll with omelette, pancetta, rocket and tomato salsa 5.00
Ciabatta roll with avocado, omelette, rocket and tomato salsa 5.00
Croissant with Italian roast ham, talleggio cheese, spinach and plum tomatoes 5.00
Breakfast Foccacia - Cotechino sausage, fried egg and gruyere cheese 6.50 (weekends only)

Pastries by Seven Seed bakery
French butter croissant 2.00
Pain au chocolat 2.50
Almond croissant 2.80

Baked Treats
ANZAC cookies 2.00
Portuguese tarts 2.00
Banana bread 2.50
Double chocolate chip and macadamia cookies 2.50
Apricot and almond  muffins 2.50
Asparagus, dijon, gruyere savoury scrolls 2.50
Tiramisu friands (gf) 2.70
Gluten free super moist chocolate brownies  2.80
White chocolate blondies 2.80
Raspberry and coconut slice 2.80
Polenta cake with citrus and spices 2.80
Almond and custard slice 2.80
Lamingtons - 3.50 - Thurs, Fri, Sat only

Lunch
French retro baguettes 5.30
Ham, grilled artichoke, basil pesto, roasted red pepper, chedder cheese, rocket
Grilled asparagus, roasted red onion, spicy pea, buffalo mozzarella, baby spinach

Foccacias 5.50
Crispy bacon, fried egg, plum tomato, gruyere, aioli, gem lettuce
Slow roasted tomato, grilled aubergine, halloumi, chilli mayo, rocket

Salads: 5.50/7.00
Grilled salmon salad with mixed rice, blanch green vegetable, chilli flakes, chive and avocado dressing 
Grilled peach salad with plum tomato, slice fennel, buffalo mozzarella, balsamic pesto, pine nut and mixed leave 
Purple carrot salad with red pepper, parsley and chilli pesto 

Tart: 4.40 or 8.00 with salads
Chicken and vegetable sausage roll with peri peri sauce 

Eastcastle Street Menu

Breakfast
Sourdough seeded toast with butter and preserves 2.00
Gluten free bagel with butter and preserves 2.00
Fruit salad with pineapple, mango, strawberries, grapes and passion fruit 3.90
Traditional bircher muesli with Greek yoghurt and rhubarb and raspberry compote 4.00
Paleo granola with Greek yoghurt and rhubarb and raspberry compote 4.00
Brioche with courgette omelette, spinach, gruyere cheese, mushrooms and tomato salsa 5.00
Brioche with treacle smoked back bacon, roasted tomatoes, smashed avocado, rocket and aioli 5.00
Croissant with Italian roast ham, talleggio cheese, spinach and plum tomatoes 5.00
Croissant with smoked salmon, scrambled eggs, tomato and rocket 5.00

Pastries by Seven Seed bakery
French butter croissant  2.00
Pain au chocolat 2.50
Almond croissant 2.80

Baked Treats
ANZACS  2.00
White chocolate, oats and cranberry cookies  2.00
Portuguese tarts 2.00
Banana bread 2.50
Blueberry, banana and nut cake with vanilla icing  2.50
Strawberry and white chocolate muffins 2.50
Carrot and courgette savoury scrolls 2.50
Blueberry, banana and nut cake with vanilla icing  2.50
Raspberry and coconut slice 2.80
Gluten free super moist chocolate brownies 2.80
Gluten free and dairy free protein bar 2.80
Salted peanut butter and white chocolate bar 2.80
Lemon brûlée tarts  2.90

Own made brioche buns 5.00
Smashed chickpeas, roasted red onion, red peppers, tahini, baby spinach.
Shaved ham, roasted artichokes, smoked mozzarella, tomato salsa, rocket.

Baguettes 5.30
Roasted sweet potato, roast courgette, smashed avocado, basil cashew spread, rocket.
Crispy pancetta, cucumber, plum tomatoes, pommery aioli, mixed leaves.

Salads 5.50 / 7.00
Slow braised lamb, herbed chickpeas, plum tomatoes, green fine beans, roasted carrot, peas, mixed leaves.
Papaya, mixed peppers, spring onion, sugar snap peas, cucumber, bean sprouts, honey tahini dressing, raddichio.
Roasted cauliflower and potato Alu Gobi, ginger, pomegranate, coriander yoghurt, baby spinach.

Savoury Tart 4.40 or 8.00 with salad
Curried beef, pea, potato and spinach triangles, tomato salsa.







Monday, 30 November 2015

Week beginning November 30th - The importance of balance

This is what I remember. It was perhaps early 2009 (but I cannot be sure), it was at Gwilym Davies' coffee cart at Columbia Road Flower Market and one of the baristas was making coffee, again my memory fades on who it was, but they were talking about coffee to a customer and the importance of flavours and extractions and the palette and Gwilym over heard and said in a loud, happy voice 'but does it have balance!? It must have balance!'.

That is all I remember, that little snippet of information for the person who went onto become, or perhaps already was, the World Barista Champion, in the setting of an outdoor coffee cart in East London.

Balance. It is such a great word and descriptor for everything, because when you have balance, you can probably also say it is perfect.

Then I read the Coffee Boys book '52 guaranteed ways to make a profit'. One of the stand out items in there for me was outline of the five senses; touch, hearing, taste, sound and feel and how this affects, or disaffects, your business. Because if all the five senses are stimulated in the same way, evenly, with balance, then the experience of the guest will be perfect. That is the music is just right for the time of day, the food looks great, the decor is pleasing to the eye, the smells from the kitchen and the coffee machine are stimulating and delicious, the feel of the tables, chairs, the counter top brings pleasure. Everything is balanced.

Then we also talk about the staff who work there, but do not forget the employer or owner too, and having a balanced work/personal lifestyle. Too much work is too much, too little and you go crazy, having some home time, some escape time, but also being stimulated and challenged in the workplace, but not challenged too much. Quite simply having a balanced working environment that fits in with their (your) balanced lifestyle.

I don't think I need to further talk about a balanced diet, but as we all know, a balanced diet is a balanced lifestyle.

We could go on and on about it. But for me it still goes back to that those two small sentences that a World Barista Champion shouted out on a cold Sunday morning and leads into everything that I try and do.

It was also the realisation at that moment, that all we are looking for in a cup of coffee (and therefore life in general), the most simple and perfect description of all when you are trying to describe the way a coffee tastes, or makes you feel is- 'but does it have balance?!"

Incredible really isn't it?

Please enjoy the menu this week, for the next three weeks in the lead up to Christmas we have our Mince Pies back on in both shops. This year each Chef has come up with their own recipe. Chef Khan in Great Titchfield and Chef Flavio in Eastcastle.

Please also remember, we close for renovations from 6 pm on the 23rd December and re-open on the 18th January. Eastcastle street will open for business on December 28, 29, 30 then from January 4th onwards.

Peter Dore-Smith
Director
Kaffeine


Great Titchfield Street Menu

Breakfast
Seven Seeded toast with butter and preserves 2.00
Cinnamon and Raisin Toast 2.50
Traditional bircher muesli with Greek yoghurt and rhubarb and raspberry compote 4.00
Granola muesli with pomegranate molasses, Greek yoghurt and rhubarb and raspberry compote 4.00
Fruit salad with pineapple, mango, strawberries, grapes, passion fruit 3.90
Ciabatta roll with omelette, pancetta, rocket and tomato salsa 5.00
Ciabatta roll with avocado, omelette, rocket and tomato salsa 5.00
Croissant with Italian roast ham, talleggio cheese, spinach and plum tomatoes 5.00
Breakfast Foccacia - Cotechino sausage, fried egg and gruyere cheese 6.50 (weekends only)
Porridge with condiments - golden syrup, honey, dried fruit, chopped nuts 3.00

Pastries by Seven Seed bakery
French butter croissant 2.00
Pain au chocolat 2.50
Almond croissant 2.80

Baked Treats
Mince Pies - Kaffeines' own mix - only 12 made per day 2.50
Sweet muffin: Dried apricot soaked in sherry and dark chocolate  2.50
Savoury Scones: Roasted red pepper and cream cheese 2.50
Friand: Raspberry and peanut butter (gf) 2.70
Super moist chocolate brownies (gf) 2.80
White chocolate blondies 2.80
Portuguese tarts 2.00
ANZAC cookies 2.00
Double chocolate chip and macadamia cookies 2.50
Raspberry and coconut slice 2.50
Almond and custard slice 2.80
Banana bread 2.50
Lamingtons 3.50 (last Thurs, Fri and Sat of the month only)

Lunch
Soup 4.50
Thai butternut squash with ginger and coconut milk

French retro baguettes 5.30
Ham, cranberry jam, avocado, gruyere cheese, baby spinach 
Grilled courgette, roasted red pepper, goat's cheese, coriander pesto, rocket

Foccacias 5.50
Crispy pancetta, roasted artichoke, aioli, camembert cheese, rocket 
Roasted aubergine, red onion, cheese fondue, tomato salsa, baby spinach 

Salads: 5.50/6.90
Roasted chicken salad with blanched green bean, savoy cabbage, roasted carrot, three mustard sauce and mushroom, chives
Heritage tomatoes salad with buffalo mozzarella, thyme and lemon dressing, rocket 
Roasted cauliflower with fresh peas and green pesto 

Tart: 4.40 or 8.00 with salads
Leek and mushroom with pecorino cheese 


Eastcastle Street Menu

Breakfast
Sourdough Seeded Toast with butter and preserves 2.00
Gluten free bagel with butter and preserves 2.00
Traditional bircher muesli with Greek yoghurt and rhubarb and raspberry compote 4.00
Paleo granola with Greek yoghurt and rhubarb and raspberry compote 4.00
Fruit salad with pineapple, mango, strawberries, grapes and passion fruit 3.90
Poppy seed brioche with courgette omelette, spinach, gruyere cheese, mushrooms and tomato salsa 5.00
Poppy seed brioche with treacle smoked back bacon, roasted tomatoes, avocado, rocket and aioli 5.00
Croissant with Italian roast ham, talleggio cheese, spinach and plum tomatoes 5.00
Croissant with smoked salmon, scrambled egg, tomato, rocket 5.00
Porridge with a selection of condiments (dried fruit, chopped nuts, honey, golden syrup) 3.00

Pastries by Seven Seed bakery
French butter croissant  2.00
Pain au chocolat 2.50
Almond croissant 2.80

Baked Treats
Mince Pies - Kaffeines' own mix - only 12 made per day 2.50
Muffins - Blueberry  2.50
Savoury - Courgette, pecorino and honey 2.50
Super moist chocolate brownies (gf) 2.80
Blueberry, banana and nut cake with vanilla icing  2.50
Gluten free and dairy free protein bar 2.80
Vanilla, popcorn and caramel tarts  2.90
Banana bread 2.50
ANZACS  2.00
White chocolate, oats and cranberry cookies  2.00
Portuguese tarts 2.00
Raspberry and coconut slice 2.50

Lunch
Soup - Roasted ham in honey & spices and Jerusalem artichokes served with Gruyere cheese bun

Brioche 5.00
Poppy seeds Brioche with Italian roast ham, chilli cream cheese, spinach, tomato and red onion.

Baguettes 5.30
Aubergine and mushrooms, Dijon , Gruyere, rocket and thyme red pepper sauce.
Plum tomato, mozzarella, roasted courgette, spinach & basil pesto.

Salads 5.50 / 7.00
Grilled chicken, spinach, cherry tomatoes, white wine crackers, pancetta, scallions & parmesan peppered dressing.
Blanched purple sprout broccoli, baby carrots, red onions, sesame seeds & kale nutmeg sauce.
Roasted mix peppers with spiced olives tapenade, red pesto and sour cream

Savoury Tart 4.40 or 8.00 with salads
Savoury tart with roasted aubergine, sun dried tomatoes, peppers and pecorino cream pastry