Barista Bitching: The Fancy Restaurant Edition

Dear luxury restaurant owners, master mixologists, fancy chefs and everyone else I forgot to mention: please stop selling shitty coffee in your establishments.

If I had a dollar for every time I went to a critically-acclaimed restaurant and was served the equivalent of a Budweiser cup of coffee alongside a painstakingly hand-crafted meal, I’d probably have enough funds to comfortably afford spending money on your tiny plate of food.

Your restaurant serve bottles of wine that cost (literally!) hundreds of dollars, but your waitstaff makes your coffee in a gas station coffee-maker. You have a garden where you grow heirloom herbs to use as garnishes, but you source your coffee from a corporate giant that is known for selling poor-quality beans. You most likely know the name of the cow that was butchered to make your filet mignon, but you can’t recall the roaster that you purchased your coffee from. Stop the madness. (In case you were wondering: I didn’t make a single. one. of these examples up. They’re all painfully, terribly real.)

Making excellent coffee can be as much a craft as mixology is. It requires as much care and attention to detail as high-end baking does. It is a form of art and a science. Baristas require extensive training. And a knowledgable, supported barista can create delicacies as tantalizing and as interesting as your best chef. Invest in us! We can help contribute to the growth of your business!

Please know and understand that coffee is a food product. Roasted coffee has a shelf life (and a rather short one, at that). There are good coffee crops and poor coffee crops, and a whole lot of variances in between. Coffee grows in seasons, just like other plants. There is not a standard “coffee” flavor because the nuances of flavor in the beans is contingent on the plant variety, region of growth, type of process and level of roasting that it has gone through. Are you catching on here? There’s so much to learn about this amazing plant! But first and foremost: coffee is a food product and it deserves as much attention as the rest of the food products in your business.

This is my plea: stop serving me bitter, awful sludge and calling it coffee. If you’d rather not invest in a good coffee program it would be best if you didn’t serve coffee at all. Trust me: in the long run you’ll be doing us all a favor.

Warmest regards,

PS: If you’d like to get in touch with some great coffee professionals in the area about improving your coffee program, give me a holler. I’ll give you the hook up, and I promise to be super-nice about it.


5 Comments Add yours

  1. Joshua Lawson says:

    Bad, bitter, coffee is enough for me to significantly lower my rating for their establishment. Coffee quality should never be an afterthought!


  2. Wade says:

    Agreed! I almost never order coffee in restaurants for this reason – too many bad experiences, and I don’t want to change my opinion of the place. However, I’ll give credit where it’s due – Mimosa Grill in uptown serves up Counter Culture’s #46 (at least they did at one point)… It also kills me when restaurants don’t (appear to) have trained baristas on staff, but are charging ~$4 for espresso. c’mon, really?


    1. dianavmn says:

      So real. Fortunately when a business carries their coffee, Counter Culture offers free barista training courses for the staff. There’s no guarantee that the staff will take those courses, but it’s an excellent program for places that want to have a quality coffee service but don’t know where to begin in training. Yay Counter Culture!


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