La Marzocco Linea

The Analytics Of Autumn: The 2019 Build-Outs Of Summer By The Numbers

By Analytics of Autumn, Beachcomber, Build-Outs Of Summer, Cafes, cartel coffee, curtis, Featured, Fetco, intelligentsia, K30, KB90, La Marzocco Linea, Mahlkonig EK43, Mazzer Major, modbar av, Nuova Simonelli Mythos, Peak, Pilot, Prototype, Slayer Steam, Synesso MVP Hydra, The Meteor, Virgin Islands Coffee

The Build-Outs of Summer Season Seven is officially behind us. But even still, the Thrill of the Build shines brightly in the rearview, reflecting a small glimmer of warmth as we head full steam into the colder months. And so too do we reflect upon all that transpired, crunching numbers and finding trends for the Analytics of Autumn, our yearly wrap-up of our summer series.

This is our fourth year of making competely-justified-but-not-at-all-justified statements about the state of specialty coffee as told by the Build-Outs of Summer. And while it’s ostensibly difficult to claim that 40 cafes who didn’t even exist until a few months ago represent the totality of a global industry, there is nonetheless a lot of truth to be gleaned from them. As we’ve stated previously, the Build-Outs of Summer is an opportunity for owners to give an unfiltered account of what they want their cafes to be, regardless of how well they are able to live up to the standard they are trying to achieve. These are the cafes at their most aspirational. We are given a direct line to the Platonic ideal of the specialty coffee shop in 2019; the Greek philosophers would be green with envy.

What we’ve found this year bolsters claims from previous years. It’s as if there’s a trend or something. So let’s take a deep dive into the numbers and see what we can glean from the 2019 Analytics of Autumn: A Brief Reprise For The Build-Outs Of Summer, Who Went Away, But For Very Good Seasons.

Who’s Building Out

We saw a total of 40 entries in the 2019 Build-Outs of Summer, but unlike previous seasons, this year’s participants came solely from North America (come on, Europe, Asia, and Central and South America, what gives?!). Only four—Beachcomber, Prototype, Pilot, and Virgin Islands Coffee—came from outside the continental United States. Entries this year have a fairly even geographical spread, with 16 shops in the East, 13 in the center part of the continent, and 11 in the West.

Whereas previous years have told the story of good coffee happening anywhere—which it can and still very much does—this year’s Build-Outs is all about the big cities, the established players continuing their coffee dominance. For every Albuquerque or Cranston, there’s a New York City or Houston; in fact, exactly half of the 40 entries this year came from top 20 US cities by population (this includes Toronto, whose population would put them in the top five were they an American city).

But despite the ever-so-slight western bent this year, the cities with the most entries into the Build-Outs of Summer this year are Los Angeles (again) with four and Austin with three. These two cities share a similar arc in their coffee scene’s evolution; both are places coffee brands want to be. Of the three Austin cafes featured, two—Cartel Coffee and The Meteor—are from already existing brands making a move into the Texas state capitol (to say nothing of Intelligentsia’s recent cafe opening in ATX).

The Roasting Boom

Following last year’s trend of everyone wanting to roast, it turns out everyone still wants to roast. 28 out of the 40 coffee companies featured this year, a whopping 70%, roast their own coffee. Using even the most lenient definition of “multi-roaster”—having more than one roaster at a given time—only four of the remaining 12 cafes could rightfully fall under that moniker, all of them coffee companies opening their first location.

While the rise of the roaster accompanied by the continued decline of the multi-roaster follows what we have seen coming over the past few seasons of Build-Outs, what’s new for this year exactly how these roasters are plotting their growth. The roasting ilk breaks down evenly between those opening their first cafe and those now with locations, plural, and of the 14 first-timers, eight have been operating as wholesale-only accounts long before finally deciding to open a storefront of their own. The overwhelming theme we are seeing this year is companies focusing on steady growth over ambitious expansion.

The Year In Gear

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but the La Marzocco Linea tops the list as most used espresso machine for the Builders this year. 14 of the 37 cafes using espresso machines opted for the Linea, 10 more than the machines tied for second, the KB90 and the Modbar AV (both members of the LM family). Including Modbar cafes, a total 25 shops use some model of La Marzocco espresso machine. The Synesso MVP Hydra and Slayer Steam were the two most used non-LM machines with three and two, respectively.

And if you want some more not-at-all breaking news, the Mahlkönig EK43 is still everyone’s favorite grinder. 18 of the 53 total grinders named, a total of 34%, are EKs. Like with La Marzocco in the espresso machine category, the second most used grinders are also Mahlkönig products, the K30 and PEAK, both of which had seven. 64% of the grinders mentioned in the 2019 Build-Outs of Summer were made by Mahlkönig. The most used non-King of Grinders were the Nuova Simonelli Mythos (both One and Two) and the Mazzer Major, both with five.

Hand-brew coffee continues its steady decline for Build-Outs cafes. This is not to say pour-over coffee it losing favor, but actual manually brewed coffee may be going the way of the multi-roaster. Overall, 16 of the 27 shops that discussed their filter options (13 didn’t even mention anything; take that for what it’s worth) have some pour-over option on their menu, but only five make any mention of actual, brewed-by-hand coffee. In general, we found folks more eager to discuss which model of FETCO or Curtis batch brewer they were using than any particulars about pour-over brew methods.

What Does It All Mean?

If there’s one grand theme that prevailed in the 2019 Build-Outs of Summer, it is how close it hewed to what we saw in 2018. Cafe owners want their spaces to be approachable and community focused. Respondents would much rather talk about how they want to be inclusive and a place for all than they would about how they are chockablock with the freshest gear. As we saw last year—and can now say more conclusively—the gear arms race is over. At least for now.

How folks talk about their new projects seems to signify a shift in how cafes want to identify themselves as amongst the ranks of the specialty world. Folks used to signal their bona fides by talking about what gear they had or how many different roasters they would be bringing in; now being a specialty cafe by and large means having a more social focus. The shift makes sense, especially when you consider the current political environment much of the world currently finds itself in. It wasn’t but five or six years ago when you could walk into a shop, see a Linea, an EK, or five different roasters, and know that place was “legit”. Of course, those things don’t actually necessitate that the cafe was in fact any good, only that they were aware of this broadly nascent thing called “specialty coffee.” But with the democratization of information, specialty coffee’s secret handshake became the formula for those looking to “cash in” on the hot new trend (only to realize any cashing in would be purely figurative).

And as specialty coffee evolved, a rejection of the old schema became the new calling card. What’s old is new again. Whereas coffee shops once wanted to be science labs where you waxed academic about a beverage you’ve consumed everyday of your life but are just now truly tasting for the first time, coffee shops are returning to the hangout spots, the place where everybody knows your name and your drink order.

In 2019, it’s deeply uncool to only drink espresso or consume exclusively hand-brewed v60s of fresh crop Kenya AAs. What’s cool now is broadening the pool of specialty coffee drinkers. What’s cool is espousing the virtues of the peoples’ drinks. It’s expressing unabashed and unironic love for the best damn iced vanilla oat milk latte you’ve ever had. In 2019, specialty coffee has, in a lot of ways, gotten over itself.

Zac Cadwalader is the managing editor at Sprudge Media Network and a staff writer based in Dallas. Read more Zac Cadwalader on Sprudge.

The post The Analytics Of Autumn: The 2019 Build-Outs Of Summer By The Numbers appeared first on Sprudge.

Source: Coffee News

Build-Outs Of Summer: Taproom Coffee & Beer/Ground Floor Coffee In Atlanta, GA

By acaia, atlanta, Build-Outs Of Summer, Cafes, East Pole Coffee Co., Featured, Fetco, Flags of Origin, Flik Independent School Dining, georgia, ground floor coffee co, La Marzocco Linea, Mahlkonig EK43, MJO Studios, mount vernon, North America, Nuova Simonelli Mythos One Clima-Pro, Places, puqpress, taproom coffee & beer, USA, View Dynamic Glass

ground floor coffee atlanta georgia

We’ve seen cafes in just about everywhere here on the Build-Outs of Summer, or at least we thought we had until today. In Atlanta, Taproom Coffee & Beer has teamed up with Mount Vernon Presbyterian School to put a coffee shop INSIDE THE SCHOOL. It’s called Ground Floor Coffee and it’s my dream come true, if but a few decades too late.

After working with Mount Vernon for various class projects, Taproom Coffee had the opportunity to pitch the administration on the idea of installing a full-service coffee bar, an idea that was “student-initiated;” even the name Ground Floor was created by one of the students. In the end, Mount Vernon agreed and now they are definitely the coolest high school around, at least based on any coffee-based metrics. At Ground Floor, they are creating the next generation of coffee consumer, and making me extremely jealous in the process.

The 2019 Build-Outs of Summer is presented by Pacific Barista SeriesnotNeutralKeepCup, and Mill City Roasters.

As told to Sprudge by Jonathan Pascual.

For those who aren’t familiar, will you tell us about your company?

We’ve had the original location of Taproom Coffee & Beer since 2014. Like a lot of other coffee companies, we strive for excellence in coffee quality and customer service. We are proud to have been there at the start of East Pole Coffee Co. (their founder, Jared Karr, was one of our baristas for our first two years of operation), and they have been our core coffee roasting partner ever since. Our main location juggles the identity of both coffee bar and draft beer bar (the draft tower is an old four-group Linea shell!) and now we’ve opened a new store with a completely different concept.

ground floor coffee atlanta georgia

Can you tell us a bit about the new space?

Our new location is housed in the Upper School building of Mount Vernon, a private educational institution in the Atlanta area with over 1,000 students from 700+ families. The coffee bar is in the same building where high schoolers go to class, and right next to the cafeteria where students and faculty eat lunch. The coffee bar serves the campus community, so only students, parents, and Mount Vernon employees are able to purchase drinks at the coffee bar.

I had the opportunity to work with a handful of Mount Vernon students on a class project where they explored the idea of placing a full espresso bar in their new high school building. Over two years, I periodically visited their class and did mini-lessons on the coffee industry, cost of goods, profit/loss, and what equipment works best in an espresso bar. Those students also came to Taproom to see a specialty coffee shop in operation, and to talk through how they could apply the concept to their school. They ended up pitching the idea to the school administration, and when it came time for their new school building to break ground, they pulled the trigger and put the espresso bar in the official plans! So this was student-initiated, and is ultimately for the benefit of Mount Vernon students. They named it “Ground Floor Coffee Co.” because students were in on the project “from the ground floor” and because of where the coffee bar is in the building.

We realize this is a unique thing to have in a high school, and we’re really excited to explore possibilities of leveraging Taproom’s presence for really creative educational experiences. Students could do work internships with us, we could be a testing ground for graphic design projects, and we could help fund student scholarships or at least contribute annual financial donations to the school. The doors are really wide open!

What’s your approach to coffee?

Just like with Taproom, we want customers at Ground Floor to experience approachable, consistent, high-quality specialty coffee. Even though students will probably order more smoothies than cappuccinos, we’re still maintaining our company standards of espresso training and technique, and we will happily engage in conversations about sourcing, process, roasting, and brewing. When you think about it, we’re actively cultivating the next generation of coffee consumers—the high school students we serve are forming habits and concepts of specialty coffee that will carry through to their college years and the rest of adulthood. With an on-campus espresso bar and daily interaction with our baristas, they’re getting four years of indirect specialty coffee education.

ground floor coffee atlanta georgia

Any machines, coffees, special equipment lined up?

From our pop-up test run that we did last year, we knew that students would swarm a coffee bar before school and during lunch. To handle the volume, we installed a three-group La Marzocco Linea AV. We’ve also got a Nuova Simonelli Mythos One Clima Pro, Puqpress, Mahlkönig EK43, FETCO brewer, and Acaia scales, which is all the same setup we have running at Taproom. We have a sizable kegerator and are kegging and pouring “Nitro Flash” (our flash-brewed nitro iced coffee) alongside “Nitropical” (our nitro-infused tropical hibiscus iced tea). We’re still partnering with East Pole Coffee Co. for all of our coffee used in espresso, bulk drip, and nitro iced coffee.

How is your project considering sustainability?

Our open area of the Mount Vernon Upper School building is surrounded by intelligent smart View Dynamic Glass. This glass monitors outdoor temperature, seasons, and cloud cover to tint to the most favorable environment for learning and sustainability. All of our hot cups are made from recycled paper through Georgette Packaging. Our straws for cold drinks are 100% compostable corn plastic. Mount Vernon students have reimagined the School’s sustainability efforts during the construction of the new building launching a new campaign around the words Reclaim, Restore, and Recover.

ground floor coffee atlanta georgia

What’s your hopeful target opening date/month?

The opening of our new location coincided with the start of the new school year on August 13.

Are you working with craftspeople, architects, and/or creatives that you’d like to mention?

Mount Vernon has partnered with many innovative companies including View Dynamic Glass in Silicon Valley, the creative and talented makers and carvers from MJO Studios in Asheville, North Carolina, and Flik Independent School Dining. Joshua Charles, Creative Director at Flags of Origin, crafted the interior design of the entire building, furnishing the spaces with pieces from Hay, Bend Goods, Industry West, VS America, and West Elm. There are large-scale murals hand-painted by Chris Sturdivant. This new and unique Upper School building pushes all the limits of what school can look like.

Thank you!

You’re welcome!

ground floor coffee atlanta georgia

Taproom Coffee & Beer/Ground Floor Coffee Co. is located at 510 Mount Vernon Highway, Sandy Springs. Visit their official website and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

The Build-Outs Of Summer is an annual series on Sprudge. Live the thrill of the build all summer long in our Build-Outs feature hub.

Photos by Rikki Hagerty and Sarah Eaves

The post Build-Outs Of Summer: Taproom Coffee & Beer/Ground Floor Coffee In Atlanta, GA appeared first on Sprudge.

Source: Coffee News