Australia's love affair with coffee has 'bean' put to the test, with a new breed of cafe owners playing Cupid with cappuccinos and chocolate. Kara Irving explains.
WHEN Adam Stevens spots a regular patron walking from the car park adjacent to his cafe, he will have their coffee order sitting on the counter when they step through the door.
"It's not uncommon to remember names, faces and orders," the businessman barista said.
"One of the keys to running a successful business is to always provide a high standard of service."
Six years ago, Adam and wife Kerri were busy crafting the newest coffee craze.
The idea was simple: coffee paired with quality, melted chocolate.
But according to Adam it takes more than one great idea to build a coffee empire.
"We work with the best (coffee) supplier that consistently works to a high standard and we also have a fine chocolatier," Adam said.
Choclatte gets its beans from Axil Coffee Roasters and pairs its brew with award-winning chocolatier Laurent Meric's Cacao Fine Chocolates.
Customers are spoilt for choice with mochas and hot chocolates tailored to their liking. Milk, dark or white hot chocolate or mochas are the most popular.
A range of Laurent's handcrafted chocolates, displayed in a cabinet near the door, tease customers as they enter the cafe.
Another ingredient in Choclatte's success is the equipment the baristas use. The 12-strong Choclatte team has spent its share of time behind the La Marzocca coffee machine.
Adam's daughter and seasoned barista Sacha Stevens admits that while she was in high school she spent most of her afternoons perfecting the technique.
"When we're training someone up, we throw them behind the machine and get them to make a latte or a cappuccino," the 22-year-old said.
"The best training someone will get is through observation."
Adam said equipment and produce aside, the success of Choclatte wouldn't have come easy if it weren't for quality customer service.
"Our staff are encouraged to talk to the customer and get to know them on a first-name basis," he said.
"When we recruit we look for people who have a real passion for coffee and the drive to succeed."
Fun coffee facts:
- Coffee was originally eaten. African tribes mixed coffee beans with fat, which formed edible energy balls.
- The rise of Islam started the world's coffee craze. The religion prohibited drinking alcohol so the masses turned to coffee.
- All coffee beans in the world grow in the 'bean belt'. The bean belt falls between the tropics of Capricorn and Cancer.
- About 70% of the world's population drinks Arabica coffee, which is mild and aromatic. The remaining 30% drink Robusta, which is bitter and 50% higher in caffeine.
- Coffee grows on trees, with the bean extracted from the centre of a red coffee berry.
- Coffee is the second most traded commodity on earth - the first is oil.
- The term Americano coffee originated from US soldiers who ordered espresso coffee with water during combat in the Second World War.
- Drinking coffee could make women's breasts smaller.
- Coffee can be used to fuel a car.
WHAT BREW ARE YOU? Some of the many types of coffee:
Cafe latte. One coffee shot with 10mm of silked milk. Served in a latte glass.
Cappuccino. One coffee shot with 20-30mm of silked milk and a sprinkle of chocolate powder on top. Served in a mug.
Flat white. One coffee shot with 2-3mm of silked milk. Served in a cup.
Long black. One coffee shot and hot water. Served in a tall mug.
Short black. One coffee shot served in an 8oz cup.
Macchiato. One coffee shot and a teaspoon of milk froth.
Mocha. One coffee shot with 20-30mm of silked milk, whisked chocolate powder and a sprinkle of chocolate powder on top. Served in a mug.
SOURCE: Michel's Patisserie
How do you like your coffee?
This poll ended on 21 April 2013.
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