Alternate Brewing Methods Could Mean Extra Revenue for Coffee Shops

Whether you are just starting a coffee shop business or have been in the business for a while, we all know the brewed coffee made from a typical drip coffee maker.  However others are experiencing rising sales and increasing popularity of single serve and specialty brewed coffees.  Typically the ‘fashion brew’ as I like to call it is made from single origin varietal coffee beans that score an 85 or higher during cupping.  The reasoning is that with these brewing methods, one can taste the best nuances of every cup.  With that, one can also taste the defects therefore a score of 85 or higher is recommended.  However, it has been my experience that even good blends taste much better brewed single serve or pour-over than regular drip so I say, enjoy what you like.  And when I say single-serve please, for all sanity know I do not mean a single-serve coffee machine!  Take a look:

French Press

In your coffee shop business, a French press coffee offers a flavor you will not experience using brew machines.  In French press, you do not use any paper filters that can trap a lot of the essential oils detrimental for optimum coffee flavor in the cup.  To make coffee in a French press first boil the correct amount of water and grind the beans fresh on a coarse setting.  Remove the plunger and put the coffee grounds at the bottom of the glass.  Next, add the hot water and stir with a spoon to saturate all of the grounds.   After about 4 mins, press the plunger down.  This separates the grounds from the extracted coffee.  Next, pour and enjoy!

Vacuum Coffee Pot

This is similar in taste to the French press.  To brew from whole bean coffee in a vacuum pot, add the proper amount of filtered water to the bottom bulb.  This should be near boiling water.  Insert the filter to the upper glass half and fit the tube tightly into the bottom glass bulb as the directions explain.  Some models are slightly different.  Some are designed to brew on a stove top and some over a separate butane or alcohol burner.  Set up whichever burner method is being used.  Add the correct coarse grounds to the top half of the pot and set the flame.

Leave it burn as the water starts moving up the tube to the top half.  This will take about 2-3 mins.  As the top half is filling, stir the grounds to allow them to fully saturate.  You do not want the water up top to boil, just to brew the coffee.  You will see it working.  After about 60-90 seconds steep time, remove the flame.  As it cools, a vacuum will occur and pull the brewed coffee through the filter back to the bottom glass bulb leaving the grounds on top.  Genius!  Remove the top half carefully (it may be hot!) and place in the holder it came with.  Pour your brew from the bottom half and enjoy!  Vacuum coffee is not for everyone starting or opening a coffee shop.  It will be catchier in some areas but education of your customers in the coffee purist lifestyle is key here.

Single Serve


If you are going to offer single serve pour-over, the grind of your coffee beans should be slightly between auto-drip and coarse.  This would be for a Melitta or Clever type maker.  Use the unbleached (brown) cone filters.  They also make a wire mesh screen and that is fine to use as well.  Also, heat the water in a kettle, electric or stove top is fine.  Heat the water between 195-205°F, pour about 1/3 of it onto the grounds and count to about 20-30, then pour the rest in.  It should take about 2 mins to brew through.  Enjoy!


Again the coffee is brewed to order in low quantities.  This is kind of a hybrid between a French press and Melitta because you would use a filter product to hold the coffee grounds on top while the coffee is brewed into a carafe beneath.  You can choose from 3, 6, 8 or 10 cups with the Chemex classic series.  Follow the same temperature instructions as the Melitta method above.

So there are a few different brewing methods to try.  It may take a while to catch on in your shop and your area.  Educating the public is never easy to what is a new concept to them but the results will leave them wanting more.  Be sure to charge a premium for single serve coffees as they are labor intensive and special.  I know shops that charge up to $5 per cup for single serve pour over and up to $30 per brew for siphon coffee depending on the coffee varietal used.

So even if you are starting or opening a coffee shop, try it.  If you already have a shop you would know your customers; I guarantee you will have some that will love these methods.  You may just strike gold with one of these methods!

My name is Tony DiCorpo, and I am a coffee roaster, coffee shop business consultant and barista trainer.  I can help you open a coffee shop with my eBook.  You can also buy coffee beans via my website.


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