Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

What would you pay for French Press coffee?


Recommended Posts

A friend of mine who runs a coffee shop is considering expanding his menu to include French press coffee. Currently, he sells esspresso drinks and drip coffee. In drip, he offers house, decaf, and a rotating selection of the day. He would like to offer a choice or 3 or 4 bean selections in a 32oz French press. The French press coffee will be better, but more labor and capital intensive than drip. Coffee would be ground a-la-minute for each French press order, and the presses would have to be cleaned and maintained.

The current prices for drip coffee are $1.27 for 12oz, $1.50 for 16oz, and $1.68 for 20oz. He is trying to decide how to price the 32oz French press. How much would you be willing to pay?

Chief Scientist / Amateur Cook

MadVal, Seattle, WA

Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code

Link to post
Share on other sites

First of all, the current prices are too low. Assuming he's serving a pretty good blend already (which is a safe assumption if he's seriously looking into press-pots) this guy is practically giving coffee away. Those low prices will make it almost impossible to price the press-pot coffee at an internally competitive rate. I can't imagine it being profitable to sell the press-pot coffee for much less than $4, but at significantly more than double the price of the current 20oz coffee -- and remember a 32oz press will not actually yield 32oz of beverage -- the audience will be small. Now, if the 20oz coffee cost $2.05, you might be able to get people to see the value in $3.95 for the press pot coffee . . .

The other issue is, what is the actual service procedure going to be? Is this a coffee shop with waitstaff, or is it a buy-at-the-counter place? Because there's a lot that can go wrong with a press pot when you send it out into the world. Unless you have well-drilled waitstaff available to deal with the press pots, it really has to be held hostage by the barista until the coffee is ready. If you give it to people, they won't plunge in at the right time and they'll otherwise screw it up. Personally, I'd keep all the press pots behind the counter, make the coffee to order, pour it and serve it in a mug. That way there won't be much breakage and wear-and-tear will be minimized, so the stuff can be sold a little cheaper. Plus you can add a second layer of filter to the plungers so you get clearer coffee.

Also, there really needs to be an educational and promotional phase when implementing the press-pot strategy. People need to acquire the taste for this stuff. It's always cloudy compared to drip coffee, and it has more of a "rough" taste in most people's opinions, probably in part because of the difference in the grind. So it would make sense to have little handouts evangelizing the press-pot system, and to give away lots of tastes for a few weeks: anybody comes in and buys coffee, give them a little cup of the better press-pot stuff on the side. If people react pretty well at first, go forward with the program. If they're unenthusiastic, forget about it. Cancel the big press-pot order and stick with what's working. A lot of restaurants in New York have tried selling press-pot coffee, and I don't think they've done very well with it because people are ignorant. They want their coffee to suck a certain way. In a coffee-shop environment there might be better opportunities for education, but I'd take it slowly.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Link to post
Share on other sites

If we're talking those coffee-for-one Bodum Chambord (3 Tasse) 12 ounce or 3-cup pots I'd probably pay 3.50 if it was a decent blend and good roast of coffee. Thats comprable to what Starbucks charges for a 24-32 ounce premium coffee or fancy cappuchino. For an 8-cup press I'd probably pay 6.50 or so.. You always want to give the customer the jumbo or value option even if he ends up wasting most of it.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

Link to post
Share on other sites

Vengroff, this is in DC, yes?

Looking around on Amazon Menus for DC, I see the following: Barolo Restaurant, press pot coffee service for one person $2.95 (I assume this is a 16oz press?), for three people $8.50, for six people $14.50.

Galileo has press pot coffee but you'd have to find out the price, because it's not specified here. But it's owned by the same guy, so the price is probably similar.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, it is DC. Just a few blocks from Barolo, as a matter of fact. But I'm not sure people think the same way about a pot of coffee at the end of a meal ($8.50) as they do about one in a casual coffee shop.

To answer your other questions, it is a counter service place with some tables, couches, comfy chairs and outdoor seating. Aside from coffee, and tea, they offer a selection of locally sourced baked goods.

On the issue of cloudiness, that is, course, part of the charm of this style of coffee. The question is whether consumers are willing to be educated about how it should be, or will demand that it be as they want it.

This whole thing came up this morning when he offered me a sample of pressed coffee he had just made. It was excellent.

Chief Scientist / Amateur Cook

MadVal, Seattle, WA

Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code

Link to post
Share on other sites
This whole thing came up this morning when he offered me a sample of pressed coffee he had just made.  It was excellent.

Well that has to be the entry strategy. If enough people react the way you're reacting, it makes sense to make the investment and deal with all the bullshit involved in bringing press-pot coffee into a production environment. If, however, you represent a tiny minority of connoisseurs, it's going to be one of these prolonged sinking-ship efforts and in the end all that will be left is a nice collection of used press-pots.

How much, by the way, do you think you'd be willing to pay. And what exactly is the yield on a 32oz pot?

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Link to post
Share on other sites
If, however, you represent a tiny minority of connoisseurs, it's going to be one of these prolonged sinking-ship efforts and in the end all that will be left is a nice collection of used press-pots.

How much, by the way, do you think you'd be willing to pay. And what exactly is the yield on a 32oz pot?

The yield appears to be about 27 fl. oz. for a 32 oz. Bodum presspot.

Our purpose in planning to offer french press coffee is simply because it is the (arguably) best way to extract drip-style coffee. Our shop is small, only 750-ish sq. ft., and we have three unbroken Bodum presses now (one with broken glass... your reference to the fragility of these things is duly noted).

Our motto here at murky coffee is "Totally committed to serving the people of Washington the best damn coffee there is. Yes, we said 'Damn'." Offering french press to those who can appreciate it is a result of our core philosophy.

Your feedback regarding the prices of my drip coffee are also duly noted. I'll think about that one.

However, still interested in feedback about "What would you pay?" What would you pay for a 32-oz (27 oz yield) presspot of (objectively speaking) kick-ass coffee? What Michelin rated restaurants charge for coffee doesn't really apply. I'll put my "real" cappuccino against any of those $8 autofrothed abominations any day.

Nick

http://www.murkycoffee.com

Link to post
Share on other sites

If I'm paying for coffee, I want espresso. I guess I'm not the target audience.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd gladly pay you Tuesday for a French press coffee today (up to $4.50 for a 32-oz. pot).

"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."  -George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, Act 1

 

Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

Link to post
Share on other sites
However, still interested in feedback about "What would you pay?"  What would you pay for a 32-oz (27 oz yield) presspot of (objectively speaking) kick-ass coffee?

Hmmm... the real barrier for me would be the size of the drink. Who wants to drink 27 ounces of coffee all in one go? Staryucks largest drink is, I think, only 20 ounces -- and that's too big for many people.

How do your prices stack up against the local Starbucks? Since I assume you offer better quality, if you can slightly undercut their prices I'd say you're offering a very good value. How much to they charge for a 20 oz drip coffee?

--

Link to post
Share on other sites
If you give it to people, they won't plunge in at the right time and they'll otherwise screw it up.

Would you elaborate about when is the right time to plunge and how to otherwise not screw it up? I'm about to buy a French Press and I'd like to know the procedure for making the best possible cup of coffee.

Thank you!

Gustatory illiterati in an illuminati land.
Link to post
Share on other sites
Would you elaborate about when is the right time to plunge and how to otherwise not screw it up?  I'm about to buy a French Press and I'd like to know the procedure for making the best possible cup of coffee.

Coffee has 4 major components to proper extraction. Here's my list for french press (the only variables, dependent on "style" of preparation, will be time and grind):

1) Time: 5 mins.

2) Water temp: 195* F. This is pretty much a constant no matter which way coffee is prepared (please... no posts about cold-extraction coffee!)

3) Grind: Coarse. Similar to coarse sugar

4) Bean freshness: no less than 2 days from roasting, no more than 10-14 days. The coffee should be ground immediately before beverage prep for best results too.

So to answer your question... 5 mins, and plunge away!!!

Nick

Link to post
Share on other sites

Personally, I'd pay no more--or maybe a smidgen more--than I'd pay for the same amount of drip coffee at any other comparable cafe. I like French Press coffee, but I think of it as the same as drip coffee only made in a superior manner. When I think of espresso, I think of it as almost a different drink altogether so I'm willing to pay the extra premium.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The other advice I'd add, for good press-pot results, is to agitate (stir) the coffee when you first add the water to it. Personally, I do 4 minutes, and I shoot for 200-degrees on the water because the water temperature drops so quickly in a press pot. Also, quantity is important: 7-10 grams of ground coffee per 6 ounces of water.

Murky, what I keep hearing from the people who know a lot about coffee is that the vac pot is a great system. I wonder if there might be an opportunity to innovate there: I've never heard of a coffee shop selling vac pot coffee.

It sounds as though you have the luxury of a small shop, which is great and allows for a lot of experimentation without a lot of capital outlay and risk. I hope your effort to educate customers about the press pot is successful. But I'd still recommend phasing it in very slowly, and laying a lot of groundwork, so you always have the opportunity to change course with minimum cost.

One marketing tool that might be interesting would be a special "press-pot blend." The press-pot, in my experience, is best for full-bodied coffees.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've given some thought to the economics and logistics involved with press pot coffee and here's how I would do it:

1. Only offer press-pot coffee during limited hours. It increases it's exclusivity. Plus, who wants to have to deal with it during the morning rush?

2. With the breakage issues and labor involved, I would have to charge at least $8.00 for a 32 oz. pot.

3. To control the quality and add panache, have the waitstaff deliver the pot just as it is ready and press it down right there at the table.

I don't think that press pot coffee will work in really casual coffee shops, the price point is just too high. However, in a high-end place with trained waitstaff, it can be that little "something" that other establishments don't have.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Coffee has 4 major components to proper extraction.  Here's my list for french press (the only variables, dependent on "style" of preparation, will be time and grind):

1) Time: 5 mins.

2) Water temp: 195* F.  This is pretty much a constant no matter which way coffee is prepared (please... no posts about cold-extraction coffee!)

3) Grind: Coarse.  Similar to coarse sugar

4) Bean freshness: no less than 2 days from roasting, no more than 10-14 days.  The coffee should be ground immediately before beverage prep for best results too.

Personally, I do 4 minutes, and I shoot for 200-degrees on the water because the water temperature drops so quickly in a press pot. Also, quantity is important: 7-10 grams of ground coffee per 6 ounces of water.

Thank you both for the advice.

Pardon my ignorance, but are you literally measuring the temperature of the water before you pour it? If so how?

Also, since I don't have the wherewithal to be buying and grinding super-fresh beans such as you mention I am trying to make the best possible cup of coffee I can from what I can purchase at the local supermarkets (or is "good coffee" and "supermarket" an utter oxymoron?) Do you have any recommendations about what's best of what is available in a supermarket? I've been buying brands that say they are 100% Arabica, but I still find that the coffee is usually bitter, my biggest complaint with mediocre coffee (which is why I thought I'd try the French Press, I heard that it makes better tasting coffee.)

Out of curisosity, I'd like to know why the ideal is to wait two days after roasting beans, rather than using them immediately.

Also, since your shop is named Murky Coffee, I thought you'd appreciate that my local coffee shop is called the Muddy Cup. I can't attest to the relative quality of their coffee, all that I know is that it is much better than what I make (i.e. not bitter!)

Edited by hillbill (log)
Gustatory illiterati in an illuminati land.
Link to post
Share on other sites
Pardon my ignorance, but are you literally measuring the temperature of the water before you pour it?  If so how?

He probably has special equipment. Me, as a regular consumer, I just use a time-estimate. I did, a couple of years ago, measure how the temperature of water declined in my kettle. Now I know that if I wait 1 minute after the water boils, and I always boil roughly the same amount, it will be between 200 and 205 degrees, which works well for me with the press pot.

Also, since I don't have the wherewithal to be buying and grinding super-fresh beans such as you mention I am trying to make the best possible cup of coffee I can from what I can purchase at the local supermarkets (or is "good coffee" and "supermarket" an utter oxymoron?)  Do you have any recommendations about what's best of what is available in a supermarket?  I've been buying brands that say they are 100% Arabica, but I still find that the coffee is usually bitter, my biggest complaint with mediocre coffee (which is why I thought I'd try the French Press, I heard that it makes better tasting coffee.)

When you say you don't have the wherewithal, what do you mean? Is the issue that you live somewhere with no good resources? If so you can order all kinds of great stuff by mail. Is it a money issue? Unless you live in Alaska, the shipping charges won't be prohibitive. You may even save money if you can find a really good source -- I'd have to crunch some numbers and get back to you.

Out of curisosity, I'd like to know why the ideal is to wait two days after roasting beans, rather than using them immediately.

Like many other things, they need a little time to "mellow." Freshly roasted beans are too "bright" and acidic. They get really good 24-48 hours after they're roasted. Then they're in tip-top shape for about a week and then they take a nosedive and turn into supermarket coffee.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Link to post
Share on other sites

For those posters addressing the factor of equipment replacement costs, Bodum does make an 8-cup, all-plastic pot called Thermia, which has the added benefit of an insulating layer, keeping the coffee hotter for longer. I bought it after breaking my upteenth glass beaker, and I have been using it for more than six months with no detectable leaching of plastic flavors into the coffee. I have also dropped it on a couple of occasions, and I can vouch for the plastic's strength.

Bodum products

Kriss Reed

Long Beach, CA

Link to post
Share on other sites

I know that Tully's serves a press-pot and it was fairly affordable. You might check their prices/model for info.

Another possibility is in how you market the sizes. You could sell a larger press pot as 'Pressed coffee for two' and smaller pots as 'Pressed coffee for one'.

If you wanted some free PR, you could call it a 'Freedom Press' :wacko:

Ben

Gimme what cha got for a pork chop!

-Freakmaster

I have two words for America... Meat Crust.

-Mario

Link to post
Share on other sites
First of all, the current prices are too low. Assuming he's serving a pretty good blend already (which is a safe assumption if he's seriously looking into press-pots) this guy is practically giving coffee away.

In SF, a 20 oz chain store coffee goes for $1.65.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Hmmm...  the real barrier for me would be the size of the drink.  Who wants to drink 27 ounces of coffee all in one go?

I can introduce you to some people I know.... :wacko:

"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."  -George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, Act 1

 

Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

Link to post
Share on other sites
Murky, what I keep hearing from the people who know a lot about coffee is that the vac pot is a great system. I wonder if there might be an opportunity to innovate there: I've never heard of a coffee shop selling vac pot coffee.

FYI, Ray's Cafe in Philadelphia's Chinatown neighborhood serves vacuum-brewed coffee. It's a lot of fun to watch -- they have a special setup of gas burners and globe holders right at the bar and you get to watch your coffee magically gurgle around. They offer a wide selection of blends and roasts ranging up to $9 or $10, if I recall correctly, for a cup of Jamaica Blue Mountain. The quality is excellent, but you would have a hard time getting me, a coffee lover and avid home french-presser, to shell out that much on any regular basis for coffee. It's more of an occasional special thing for me.

What would I pay for french press coffee? I can easily see splitting a 32 oz. press with a friend for $6.00. I'd pay that. But I don't think you'll get a lot of individuals paying for a 32 oz. press of coffee themselves, since it's very difficult to drink all the coffee oneself before it goes cold. (I know you could decant it into a thermos, but that's adding even more dishes to wash and insulated cups to buy.) I'd pay $3 for a 16 oz. press of coffee, though, and I know Bodum makes presses in that size. I also had a plastic "travel" press once that was 16 oz. and had a neoprene insulating sleeve around it. Don't know whether that would be feasible.

Link to post
Share on other sites
For those posters addressing the factor of equipment replacement costs, Bodum does make an 8-cup, all-plastic pot called Thermia, which has the added benefit of an insulating layer, keeping the coffee hotter for longer.  I bought it after breaking my upteenth glass beaker, and I have been using it for more than six months with no detectable leaching of plastic flavors into the coffee.  I have also dropped it on a couple of occasions, and I can vouch for the plastic's strength.

Bodum products

Another alternative in the realm of unbreakable french presses can be found at your local Target. In the sporting goods section, next to the travel mugs and thermoses, you will find a one quart insulated stainless steel french press made by Eddie Bauer. If I recall correctly, it sells for around $ 25.

It works well for me and keeps the coffee hot for some time. After having broken many Bodum presses over the years, I now use this as my primary press, although I still have some Bodums out in the garage.

Regards,

Michael Lloyd

Mill Creek, Washington USA

Link to post
Share on other sites

Of course, one of the fine characteristics of French-press coffee is the beauty of the apparatus itself at work. A nice French press pot is a thing of great aesthetic value --

Insulated presses are about as sexy as a percolator pot.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Similar Content

    • By Objective Foodie
      During the past year, our coffee consumption at home has increased substantially. We have tried beans from different roasteries from the UK and Europe, but we are constantly in the search of new ones. The speciality coffee market has been rapidly increasing in past years and it is becoming easier to find high quality beans.
       
      The best roasteries we have tried so far:
      UK based: Round Hill Roastery, Square Mile, Monmouth,  Pharmacie, New Ground, Workshop, James Gourmet, Ozone. Europe based: The Barn (Germany), Gardelli (Italy), Hard Beans (Poland), Calendar (Ireland), Roasted Brown (Ireland), Right Side (Spain), Coffee Collective (Denmark).  
      Have you had any exciting coffee beans lately? Do you have any other recommendations?
    • By Kasia
      INSTEAD OF COFFEE? - MORNING GREEN COCKTAIL
       
      After waking up, most of us head towards the kitchen for the most welcome morning drink. Coffee opens our eyes, gets us up and motivates us to act. Today I would like to offer you a healthy alternative to daily morning coffee. I don't want to turn you off coffee completely. After all, it has an excellent aroma and fantastic flavor. There isn't anything more relaxing during a busy day than a coffee break with friends.

      In spite of the weather outside, change your kitchen for a while and try something new. My green cocktail is also an excellent way to wake up and restore energy. Add to it a pinch of curcuma powder, which brings comfort and acts as a buffer against autumn depression.

      Ingredients (for 2 people):
      200ml of green tea
      4 new kale leaves
      1 green cucumber
      half an avocado
      1 pear
      1 banana
      pinch of salt
      pinch of curcuma

      Peel the avocado, pear and banana. Remove the core from the pear. Blend every ingredient very thoroughly. If the drink is too thick, add some green tea. Drink at once.

      Enjoy your drink!
       
       

    • By Kasia
      My Irish Coffee  
      Today the children will have to forgive me, but adults also sometimes want a little pleasure. This is a recipe for people who don't have to drive a car or work, i.e. for lucky people or those who can rest at the weekend. Irish coffee is a drink made with strong coffee, Irish Whiskey, whipped cream and brown sugar. It is excellent on cold days. I recommend it after an autumn walk or when the lack of sun really gets you down. Basically, you can spike the coffee with any whiskey, but in my opinion Jameson Irish Whiskey is the best for this drink.

      If you don't like whiskey, instead you can prepare another kind of spiked coffee: French coffee with brandy, Spanish coffee with sherry, or Jamaican coffee with dark rum.
      Ingredients (for 2 drinks)
      300ml of strong, hot coffee
      40ml of Jameson Irish Whiskey
      150ml of 30% sweet cream
      4 teaspoons of coarse brown sugar
      1 teaspoon of caster sugar
      4 drops of vanilla essence
      Put two teaspoons of brown sugar into the bottom of two glasses. Brew some strong black coffee and pour it into the glasses. Warm the whiskey and add it to the coffee. Whisk the sweet cream with the caster sugar and vanilla essence. Put it gently on top so that it doesn't mix with the coffee.

      Enjoy your drink!
       
       

    • By Kasia
      Today I would like to share with you the recipe for swift autumn cookies with French pastry and a sweet ginger-cinnamon-pear stuffing. Served with afternoon coffee they warm us up brilliantly and dispel the foul autumn weather.

      Ingredients (8 cookies)
      1 pack of chilled French pastry
      1 big pear
      1 flat teaspoon of cinnamon
      1 teaspoon of fresh grated ginger
      2 tablespoons of brown sugar
      1 teaspoon of vanilla sugar
      2 tablespoons of milk

      Heat the oven up to 190C. Cover a baking sheet with some baking paper.
      Wash the pear, peel and cube it. Add the grated ginger, cinnamon, vanilla sugar and one tablespoon of the brown sugar. Mix them in. Cut 8 circles out of the French pastry. Cut half of every circle into parallel strips. Put the pear stuffing onto the other half of each circle. Roll up the cookies starting from the edges with the stuffing. Put them onto the baking paper and make them into cones. Smooth the top of the pastry with the milk and sprinkle with brown sugar. bake for 20-22 minutes.

      Enjoy your meal!
       
       
       

    • By Johnhouse
      Hello everyone!
       
      I have been working in food and beverage industry for almost 10 years in different countries. I am looking forward to learn new things on this forum to expand my food and beverage knowledge as well as sharing my experiences that I gained in my journey!
       
      Have a good day! ☺️ 
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...