For a fresh infusion of new customers to your cafe, try public tastings. The excitement of a new coffee offering, especially one that the customer can sample for free right beside your other offerings, will bring new interest to your business.
Here are some tips to make it a smooth event:
1. Schedule the coffee tasting on a traditionally slow night.
Having a tasting on a busy night is logistically difficult. Slow nights are better because you will have more opportunity to interact with the new customer who comes to see what you have to offer. Utilize social media to get the word out.
2. Know the coffees you are featuring.
Have information on the coffee varietal, roasting process, drying process, origin, etc. The more informed that you are, the more that your customer will develop confidence in your business.
3. Use the pour-over method.
Whether it is Kalita, Chemex, Hario, or some homemade contraption, this method is more personal and will give you time to describe the features of the coffee while it is being brewed. Be prepared to make a number of pour-overs during the event.
4. Offer up at least three coffees to taste.
Having more than one offering is a good plan because it gets people talking. Offer your most popular coffee alongside your new offering, as well as a coffee that is similar to one of these. This will incite people to make comparisons and ask questions. Be prepared to talk about all of the differences in the coffees.
5. Keep it simple and elegant.
Host the event for an hour or less with a quick introduction for the attendees before you begin brewing. This will attract attention to the brewing method and to the care that you and your baristas put into your work. Use the demitasse cups that you use for espresso. These will cool quicker which allows for a full assessment of the sweetness in the cup. This is also a great way to conserve coffee so that you do not have to brew too many times. No paper cups!
These events are a great way for you to feature new coffees and build excitement around your cafe. This also gives you a chance to engage the community, as well as, meet and educate new potential customers. Do not charge for the tasting though, that will scare people away.