No, it's not an 8oz paper takeaway cup.........close, but in fact something a bit more interesting than the size of a Australian standard coffee takeway beverage.
A blend of specialty grade coffee beans.......designed to be the best damn 8oz sized coffee you have ever tasted.
It's interesting that studies have shown the optimal sized cup for most beverages is close to 8 ounces (well, to be honest, it's closer to 7 ounces).
We think this blend is superbly balanced in milk - high flavour, complex layers of toffee and caramel with a sweet, clean finish.
What can you expect from our new 8 ounces coffee ?
8 ounces is not going to be the strongest or most intense coffee in our portfolio - simply because it is not designed to be a coffee that competes with say the likes of Centre Way.
8 ounces is a sophisticated and classy coffee with many layers of toffee and caramel as the primary flavours.
Rich and rewarding with a defined start and finish - not just a thump between the eyeballs.
8 ounces is designed for milk-based espresso with a target customer for this blend being your typical coffee lover - something sweet, clean and always refreshing with a fruit element.
The Story behind his coffee blend
Every coffee blend we have created has been the result of a collaboration, a realization or an experience.
Just like when you building something completely new, there has to be a vision........a goal and in this case the new 8 Ounces blend had to hit a very precise, albeit small target.
8 Ounces was born out of a struggle with a cafe owner so obsessed with creating a perfect 8 ounce takeaway cup - they had a highly competitive environment with more than 100+ outlets all within walking distance to this cafe.
This coffee blend was developed to help cafes win the battle in this competitive arena - to stand out from the crowd with a great product.
Customers are fickle ?
Are customers really fickle or is it more a case of outlets not getting their recipes correct ?
More importantly, outlets are simple not taking time to adapt their recipes to cater for customer preferences or the constantly changing landscape of volatile coffee variables.
If there is one specific aspect of the coffee beverage that proves to be a formidable challenge to almost every coffee outlet - it has to be the humble 8oz cup, a.k.a. the small takeaway. (let's put aside the epic failure rates of producing drinkable espresso for the moment).
Before you fall off your seat laughing, take a moment to think about this.......the cafe industry generally gets the 8oz cup wrong in so many ways.
Some do get it right, but there are so few you can count the fingers on your own hands.
Cafe outlets wanting to cut costs and save money + time, they do what is referred to as the "split" shot - placing 2x cups under the espresso machine group and allow the spout to dispense the coffee across 2x orders.
For some people, this might be completely acceptable and normal - it's what we have traditionally been used to consuming in the past.
So, what exactly do you get in that split 8oz takeaway cup ?
At most places, it's pretty much nothing but a warm milky fluid with a hint of coffee taste - a.k.a. the coffee flavoured milkshake.
Basically, what you have here is a cup lacking flavour and missing all the wonderful complexity from sparkling acids and essential "goodness" - because it's been halved.
Quite frankly it's just disappointing when you have handed over up to $4 for this type of experience and yet another 50 cents may have got you the full experience. It's a bummer
There are other styles of producing the 8oz cup - a popular method in specialty cafes uses a double-ristretto technique to extract high volumes of solids over a shorter duration.
The "double rizzy" can produce a rich, rewarding cup.........but......the problem here is that it can often be "too much" in that cup for customers......too intense and appealing only to a smaller percentage of the cafe outlet's clients.
When strong is "too much"
Many people now drink coffee in the morning and afternoon, so that intense cup from the double-shot in morning is putting them off from enjoying their afternoon cuppa - their body simply does not need any extra caffiene.
Around 90% of coffee drinkers struggle to consume a beverage from a full 20+ grams of coffee brewed using exceptionally high efficiency ratios that is typical of many specialty cafes.
Yet a split shot 8oz from the same place may leave you wanting more or vaguely disappointed.
One thing is for sure that I've noticed over more than 20 years now - cafe owners are obsessed with catering for that small 10% of their customer base, often referred to as the "strong" coffee drinker.
This is a dangerous spiral to manage as strong can sometimes be confused with bitter or rough by the customer placing the order at the cafe.
That same customer vocalising "strong" often walks off with cup in hand to deposit one or many sugars in that "strong" cup they ordered - it is really strong, or are they just needing bitter-sweet.
The sacred middle ground we so desire is a balanced cup - a cup that makes us want another after we have just finished.
A place where it seems so effortless to drink as levels of sweetness, body and finish work in harmony without overwhelming.
With all the sophisticated equipment these days sitting on cafe counters - on-demand grinders, purging stale grinds, scales to weigh shot grams, refractometers to measure the total dissolved solids, independent group head temperatures, pressure profiling, etc. it's a struggle to get the basic principles of balanced 8oz cup correct.
Even the places with ridiculously big reputations make a mash out of their 8oz cup.
The 5th law - Recipe
We often hear the mantra - farmer (bean), roaster, equipment, barista as the 4 key stages that must each work perfectly to create that revered cup.
If any of those stages is less than optimal, the resultant cup can degrade - there are no possibilities to improve, rectify or enhance.
A 5th law has been lurking around the fringes of high-end coffee for a few years now - recipe.
The ratio of coffee grams in, volume of liquid out (measured in mls) and quantity of milk. Together these create a symmetry in the cup and those outlets managing the metrics for their recipes are being the most successful.
As coffee roasters we need to be engaged and take some responsibility for the brew ratios (recipes) used in cafes.
Coffee roasters get pulled towards stronger, richer and cleaner coffee profiles from cafe outlet owners thinking that "strong" = best and that splitting coffee shots is a fact of cafe life.
Unfortunately, these styles persist in stark contrast to the needs of a typical coffee drinker - it's called the Recipe Precision Gap - the difference between what the typical cafe patron needs versus what the barista or cafe owner thinks their customer need.
If you are feeling a bit confused right now.......then I don't blame you.
A 6th law emerges - balance
When engineering our focused coffees like Redemption of the Spro and Centre Way, the primary lessons from these exercises were the way in which balance can be so difficult to achieve.
Stronger does not always equal better or more successful in the marketplace of a wide spectrum of tastes.
Cafes by default want strong flavours without consideration of their drinking customers who desire something less "in your face".
We created the 8 ounces coffee blend to cater for the specialty cafe market in preparing something that stands out from the competition - a rewarding 8oz cup with balance.
8 ounces coffee blend will produce a wonderful coffee experience - delicious combinations of clean flavours, chocolate, fruit and a touch of sparkling acid.
8 ounces is far more agile than a seasonal coffee - it's a constant work in progress.
Every customer who uses this coffee will have feedback and constructive views on how to improve the blend.
We will remain extremely flexible with the blend components of this coffee and at any time it will reflect what we believe is the the current and most up to date trends and directions from successful specialty cafes in Melbourne.
A remarkable journey for this coffee that has at times really tested my patience and perseverence levels to the extreme.
I am quite chuffed with the result - a very rewarding cup of coffee in milk - balance, flavor, body, sweetness, texture, fruit and finish - it ticks most of the boxes.
Creamy and rich, you will be surprised by the complexity in this coffee.