The batch brewer has come a long way since being synonymous with diner coffee.
In fact, the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) now has a selection of certified batch brewers that meet its strict requirements. Only a handful of brewers have this certification as they offer more control over water temperature, dose, and bloom time.
Some coffee shops may use batch brewers as they guarantee consistency for each cup while producing large batches of coffee. This saves time and makes them ideal for high traffic coffee shops, where customers want their orders fast.
As the world continues to grapple with Covid-19, it is important for your coffee shop to keep up with customers’ changing needs. This includes producing consistent, great-tasting coffee and making it readily available for customers on the go.
Your choice in takeaway coffee cups can impact the quality of your coffee, and your ability to meet increased demand for takeaway orders.
To find out more about choosing takeaway cups for batch brew, I spoke with Café Belleville’s head roaster, Mihaela Iordache.
What is batch brew filter coffee?
Batch brew coffee is increasing in popularity. While espresso-based drinks are often preferred in offices and coffee shops, customers are more open to trying batch brew filter coffee.
Mihaela, who is also the quality control manager at Café Belleville, believes the development of the specialty coffee sector is to thank for this change.
“People have discovered how complex and layered filter coffee can be,” she says. “The parallels to drinking tea and wine were obvious and encouraged conversations about taste preference, terroir, and accessibility.”
Essentially, batch brew coffee is pour-over coffee that is prepared mechanically. This allows for consistent extraction that yields large amounts of coffee.
The key difference between filter coffee and espresso is that, in espresso, the water is pushed through the grounds using pressure.
With filter coffee, the water is slowly pulled through the coffee grounds due to gravity.
While the brewing process may be slightly longer, this often results in a clean, clear, consistent cup that can have a milder mouthfeel than espresso. Additionally, this method may draw less acidity and can help highlight the intricate flavours of the coffee.
Serving batch brew filter coffee to customers
“Most coffee shops use batch brew machines equipped with thermoses,” Mihaela explains. “This means the coffee can be stored and served for up to one hour.
“It is an efficient and consistent way of brewing which allows them to serve large groups of customers fast.”
She adds that it is customary to have one type of batch brew filter coffee so it is ready to be served at any time.
While many coffee shops serve coffee in ceramic cups, this will not work for takeaway orders. When choosing takeaway cups, it’s important to note the materials used may impact the customer’s drinking experience.
“Your choice of cup is crucial to the experience of drinking takeaway coffee,” Mihaela says. “This is closely followed by how practical the cup is.”
Plastic has long been a common material for takeaway coffee cups. However, it can trap unpleasant smells or flavours and can be difficult to recycle. Both of these aspects can pose a problem for coffee shop owners.
Ultimately, you want a cup that allows your batch brew coffee’s subtle notes to shine, without compromising on your sustainability efforts.
Selecting the best takeaway cups for your batch brew filter coffee
Clearly, your takeaway coffee cup must have certain qualities so it does not alter the flavours of the batch brew filter coffee. Mihaela recommends that you consider the following points:
Cup material and lining
A common alternative to plastic takeaway coffee cups is paper. These are more eco-friendly and easier to recycle.
“We have all drunk papery filter coffee and probably hesitated to go back for more,” says Mihaela, who co-organises Frog Fight coffee events across France. “The fabric of your cup can impact the taste and mouthfeel of your coffee.”
Many unlined paper cups have an unpleasant taste and can disintegrate quickly when exposed to liquids. Therefore, choosing takeaway cups that are lined with a biodegradable coating, such as polylactic acid (PLA) would be a better choice.
Furthermore, PLA is biodegradable, as it is made from renewable sources such as corn, sugar cane, and sugar beet. It is cost-effective and easy to produce, making it a popular choice for takeaway coffee cups.
First, consider whether your takeaway coffee cup is comfortable to hold. Customers should be able to drink from it without burning themselves.
Second, your cup should be able to retain heat long enough for the coffee to be consumed. This is essential, as temperature has a vital effect on how the coffee’s characteristics will be perceived.
Therefore, to help preserve the subtle flavours of your filter coffee, consider a cup with a double lining.
Essentially, these cups have “double glazing” — they have two layers of material with a thin insulating layer of air between them.
Not only are these cups sturdy, but the double layers help slow the cooling process. This is vital to help preserve the character of the coffee.
Alternatively, you can choose single walled cups and add cardboard sleeves for additional insulation. Made from uncoated paperboard, these are a convenient, lightweight, and cost-effective option.
Furthermore, paperboard is recyclable and compostable as it breaks down within 90 days.
Branding and customisation
An attractive, eye-catching cup that displays your unique logo can increase customer engagement and repeat sales.
“Having delicious takeaway coffee in stunning cups that customers want to photograph and share with friends can create great brand awareness and loyalty,” Mihaela says.
While you may not think so, inks and labels impact a takeaway cup’s carbon footprint. To maintain your eco-friendly practises, consider using sustainable water-based ink for branding.
Additionally, these inks are highly resistant to abrasion, water, and heat. They are also compostable and easy to remove for recycling. This can provide your customers with peace of mind when it comes to recycling their cups.
Ultimately, your choice of takeaway coffee cups can have a direct effect on the taste of your batch brew filter coffee. And therefore, your customer experience.
“Takeaway coffee cups are important vessels for great tasting coffee and a fantastic tool for marketing and showcasing sustainability,” Mihaela concludes. “None of these aspects should be ignored.”
MTPak Coffee offers sustainable takeaway coffee cups that can be made from either kraft paper or PET. Our cups are coated with more eco-friendly alternatives such as PLA. They are strong, lightweight, and compostable, and will not alter the flavours of your coffee.