Tourism and dishwater

Dany Marquis

It is difficult for me to fully understand the influence that Brûlerie du Quai has had in the region, say eastern Quebec and northern New Brunswick, in terms of coffee culture in the last 5 years. We can see that the number of restaurants, cafes and hotels with a decent espresso machine has increased in recent years. It would perhaps be giving too much importance to the educational work that we have been doing for several years, but I feel that the bar has risen.

And yet, I am surprised, with the 2011 tourist season coming to an end, by the number of customers who were delighted to come across Brûlerie du Quai and who told us horror stories about drinking coffee on their journey around the peninsula. . From coffee heated in the microwave, to lattes with a taste of metal and burnt milk, to espressos in different formats at each location, in short, we hear all the colors.

On the other hand, I heard in the media some local traders complaining about the drop in tourist numbers in their establishment. Making the link between the quality of the coffee served and the number of tourists would be dubious, but it gives me a critical look at the search for extreme profitability in a very short period of time, which corresponds to the tourist season. In my opinion, there is a limit to raising the price of the “club sandwich” during the xyz festival, investing at least in your coffee equipment or having it lent to you by the guy who sells Kraft Canada coffee.

Serving good coffee is not rocket science, especially when you can count on your coffee supplier to improve the quality of the product offered to customers. But now, few restaurateurs buy from a specialized roaster, and too often those who buy do not respect the quality standards for making coffee (dosage, grinding, milk/coffee ratio, etc.) And the tourist arrives in a BDQ saying: “In such a place, it was your coffee, but it was bad, is it the same coffee here? Why is he good here and not there? » And the discussion falls on the 4M theory (mixture, machine, grinding, method), I explain that although it is the same coffee, the other parameters must be taken into account.

But here it is, I'm asking you. Instead of coming to tell me that the coffee at this place was terrible, tell the waiter, barista, owner. We must say it, denounce it, not accept being served dishwater (especially if it is BDQ coffee). Then I dream that my customer calls me and says, "Dan, do something, people are complaining that my coffee is bad." » We will then fall into solving the problem.

A few years ago, the SCAA developed a standard called “Golden cup” which sets the parameters for a well-prepared filter coffee. The roaster can support his client in achieving “Golden Cup” standards and proudly display it in his restaurant. In Quebec, this seems little known, and yet it's simple: A good machine ($700), a dosing grinder ($400), good coffee, well dosed, that's it! You can set the machine for pre-infusion, the right temperature, extraction time and quantity of water. You can adjust the dosing grinder to grind the right quantity of coffee directly in the filter holder (100-110g per flint).

I don't know if it would increase traffic in certain restaurants, or even increase the number of tourists in Gaspésie, but it wouldn't hurt. Because while some people complain about the reduction in tourists in their establishment, our cafes and some of our customers have had an extraordinary season.

Once again, we can make the connection. This may be a far-fetched conclusion, but it's my blog and what's more, it's my birthday...

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