I can't believe how many times we get asked this question. Clearly the implication is that there are still so many cafes that don't. For the life of me...why wouldn't you? Is it out of laziness? Is it because the almighty barista sees it as sacrilegious to serve or consume decaf coffee? Is stroking the ego of the self indulgent barista more important than offering an alternative to a paying customer?
When my wife Jackie was pregnant with our 2 beautiful children she chose to forfeit alcohol and caffeine for the entire term of both pregnancies. That was her choice and I supported her all the way. In fact I was thrilled at her decision. Each to their own of course. There were times, however, that she simply craved the taste and experience of drinking coffee. On those occasions she drank decaf. Sure it didn't give her the hit of caffeine that she sometimes enjoys but it gave her the opportunity to enjoy the experience of coffee and, as she puts it, feel like part of society again. Even if just for a moment.
There are some people who simply don't enjoy the high that they experience from caffeine. They love drinking coffee and love the experience of coffee but the caffeine buzz is just too much. For them, decaf is perfect.
There are some beautiful decaf coffees around and, when extracted with the same care as is taken with the caffeinated variety, can taste magnificent. We use a Colombian Swiss Water Decaf and have often had it sent back because it tastes like 'regular coffee' and of course, couldn't possibly be decaf. We take that as a compliment.
There are baristas out there who will go to extraordinary lengths to show you their newest ways of extracting coffee. They'll offer regular milk. They'll offer skinny milk. They'll offer soy and almond milk. Batch brew coffee is now on offer as well as cold filtered coffee. They'll offer the pour over, the Aeropress and so on. They'll show off their latest science experiments with their latest coffee making apparatus. Yet they won't offer the simplest of all. A decaf flat white.
There are so many reason why people choose to drink decaf. There are also reasons why certain people have no option but to drink it. Just ask Mrs Black Velvet.
So don't be scared to ask. One shouldn't be made to feel like a 2nd class citizen for having to ask and then consume the decaf variety.
As cafe owners we could spend our time complaining and getting bogged down in the ways the coronavirus restrictions are hurting our business or we could put our energy into finding our way to a brighter future. I choose a pro-active approach. What can we do, as Melbourne cafe owners to re-invigorate our businesses?
How many times have you looked to give the gift of a hamper or gift box, only to find that every hamper you see has certain things you want and other things that you don’t? It’s ok. I’ll answer it for you. The answer is...every time.
One of the things we’ve been looking at during the last few months is adding products to our range. I’m a firm believer that having a limited range is almost as detrimental as having too large a range.