Perfect Coffee: a barista’s guide to selling coffee machines

When it comes to selling coffee machines, it’s easy for retailers to get bogged down in jargon and technical details about bar pressure, extraction rate and thermal blocks. But for the customer walking into an electrical store, there is only really one major motivator: getting a great final cup of coffee.

While every retailer will have a different idea on how best to sell a machine, there is one voice worth listening to in the coffee space – the barista.

David Gee, one of the founders of coffee training business Barista Basics, spoke to Appliance Retailer about what goes into making a perfect coffee and how retailers should sell machines to the customer so they can get the perfect end result every time.

What should retailers focus on when selling a coffee machine?

The number one thing — no matter what machine a retailer is selling — is working with the customer so they understand how to get the best out of the machine they’re buying in their budget range. If the person on the floor can understand all the elements of what makes a great cup of coffee, then they’re able to inform customers on how to get the best out of the machine they’re buying.

Our philosophy is to ask, ‘What machine have you got and how can we get the best coffee possible out of it?’ The people at Harvey Norman also train up their staff. When people come back to the floor and they say, ‘I bought the machine but I’m not getting good crema,’ they’ll say, ‘Let’s go over to the machine and I’ll show you how to get a good crema on it’.

What should a really good coffee look like when it’s made?

Firstly, with the espresso shot, you want that nice crema. Slowly let the water go through the coffee so you are getting as much flavour and as much crema as you can. And then when you pour the milk in, you want to hold that crema on top. You just don’t throw a bunch of milk in, you pour the milk in slowly to hold the crema. And then we like to finish off our coffees with a bit of artwork.

How has coffee culture changed in recent years?

The consumer is quite sophisticated now. That’s where we’re quite different from a decade ago. We’ve got the machines, but the consumer is also different. So if retailers on the shop floor can’t explain what the consumer wants to know then they’re probably in trouble.

What do you love about coffee?

When you’ve got a machine where you can grind your own coffee, you can go on holidays, you can go to Hawaii and buy coffee and bring it back and share the Hawaiian experience with your friends. And certainly having the best machine you can afford at home, when you’ve got friends over, it is all about sharing.

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