Thursday, December 23, 2010

Working with local media

- Let your customers know about what's happening in your business through local media.
- If you have an interesting event happening at your cafe, let local media outlets know.

Our espresso bar Mug Shots was in the local paper today, celebrating our first year up and running.
The article was an update on an ongoing series in the Northside Chronicle about trading conditions in our local suburb.

Some local businesses have noticed that since a large supermarket moved out of its previous location into a new shopping centre, foot traffic has gone down. While we haven't been open as long (and so haven't been able to compare), we were definitely told by many that our suburb just didn't have the local interest in coffee to remain viable. And that was before we'd opened our doors.

From the start, we've believed that we can serve a consistently excellent coffee; from the beans we source, to roasting our own, to serving up every cup. That's 55,000 this year.

Our aim every day is to give our customers excellent customer service, and we back it with a money-back guarantee. We may not get it right every time, but we encourage feedback, and appreciate it when we receive it.

At the end of the day, our customers have repaid us with their ongoing support, which allows us to work with the local community, to provide employment in our business, and our suppliers' businesses.

For that, we thank them.

Kerri & Nathan

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Why is coffee in Paris so bad?


  • Old beans, over-roasted beans, second-rate machines
  • Milk out of a UHT carton
  • NY Times gives scathing assessment of everything wrong with the French coffee scene.

So this is a controversial viewpoint. Most people when they think of coffee talk of the great history of French and Italian coffee. Indeed both have types of coffee roasting (more accurately, degrees of roasting) named after them.

But European coffee is not all its cracked up to be. Don't get me wrong, sitting in a European cafe, among the locals, savouring the sights and sounds of the Continent, is on many people's bucket list. But it's for the totality of the experience, the Edith Piaf playing on the stereo, the people watching out the window, not the coffee itself, that makes it so good.

This scathing New York Times travel piece examines the reasons why, with blunt assessments including: "the French have a taste for robusta, a low-cost, low-quality bean that gives good crema but can taste thin and harsh" and "But the coffee? It sucks so bad."

It's an interesting piece. Read the full article here and tell us your thoughts:

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Our espresso bar has chalked up one year - and impressive figures

Today is the one year anniversary of our espresso bar, Mug Shots Espresso. After starting during the Global Financial Crisis we're chuffed with our progress.

Since opening, our hole-in-the-wall has served up more than 2.5 tonnes of coffee, 55,000 drinks, and more than a tonne in cakes and muffins.
Barista Alison Bourne and Kerri Scholz, celebrate
one year of our espresso bar
When we started, a few people questioned whether there was enough of a taste for coffee in our suburb to sustain a business, but not only have we developed a group of loyal customers, we’ve been able to give back to the local community.

Mug Shots hires local people, plus our sandwiches and muffins are sourced locally, which all helps the local community.

We’ve also received a lot of requests for prizes and gifts for fundraisers for schools and community groups, and we are always keen to support them, to be able to give back and help their efforts.”

We are looking forward to a big year ahead, with the launch of our new website Budan Beans, and an increased focus on partnering with people who are starting a cafe.

Thank you to the local community who have made this possible.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Types of coffee - and why it makes a difference

Coffee arabica vs coffee robusta
  • There are two common types of coffee, arabica and robusta.
  • Robusta is cheaper, but it lacks the complex flavours of arabica.
  • Arabica is more difficult to grow, but is the premium coffee used by coffee gourmets around the world because of its rich varieties and flavours.
When you buy coffee from Budan Beans, you only receive the finest Arabica beans.
Coffee arabica (unroasted) (Photo from
It’s not just the country the coffee comes from, but there are actually different coffee bushes, and it makes a difference.
In short, there are two main species of coffee; coffee arabica and coffee canephora (often known as robusta).
Not surprisingly given its name, arabica is the coffee of Arabia, probably the oldest coffee ever cultivated.
It takes years to mature and is usually grown at high altitudes. Unfortunately, like most high quality products, it is not as easy to grow and produce as its cheaper cousin.
Coffee robusta
Note the rounded beans compared to the flatter profile
of arabica  (Photo from
Robusta on the other hand is easier to grow, has a higher yield, and is more resistant to pests. On the downside, it is usually more bitter and often carries a dull, musty taste, which when blended can drown out the complex flavours of arabica beans.
So why would anyone sell it to you?
Well, it’s cheaper and it’s higher in caffeine. For instant coffee, that’s pretty much all that matters.
But a persistent claim from proponents of robusta coffee is that it is the only way to guarantee lots of crema, the concentrated foam of coffee which forms on the top of an espresso. But they’re wrong.
The truth is, adding robusta beans is the only way of guaranteeing crema, but only if the rest of the beans are getting stale after sitting on the shelf of the supermarket or coffee shop for weeks or months.
Australia’s freshest coffee is our aim, and with the high quality beans that we source we don’t need cheap robusta beans to boost the crema.
And if other coffee sellers didn’t try to convince their customers that coffee is okay to sit on the shelf for months at a time, they wouldn’t need robusta beans either.

The image below shows our Brazilian Gourmet Blend, on our home machine, a Unic Diva. We keep ourcoffee in the same zip lock, valved bags which we sell to you, and the bag had been sitting on our kitchen bench for a few days. The result is a shot glass full of the good oil; creamy coffee goodness that is bursting with all of the complex flavours these beans can offer, and a smell to match.
If you’re having difficulty replicating it, why not try our tips section to get the best out of your beans.
If you want to try 100 per cent arabica, gourmet coffee, have a look at Budan Beans' freshly roasted coffee beans or try a sample pack.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Are your beans strong? Or just over roasted?

When you drink your favourite coffee, what stands out for you?
Is it the flavour that makes you take notice, does it remind you of a mellow wine, or a nutty chocolate bar?

Or does it dry your mouth, and the overwhelming flavour remind you of a smoky barbecue?
You see, something we've noticed from the start is that when our friends, workmates and new customers tell us they like 'strong' coffee, they usually point to coffee bought from a major chain, and it doesn't matter which store they buy the coffee from.

That's part of the problem. To get consistency from store to store, from batch to batch, at Budan Beans we've noticed a lot of mass produced coffee is, in our opinion, over roasted.
Put simply (very, very simply), roasting coffee is the application of heat to coffee beans. How long you roast the beans, how hot they get, makes a difference to their flavour. Keep roasting and the flavours keep changing and the beans get darker. Roast too long, or too hot, and the coffee beans are over roasted.

Here's a simple test. When you're next at your favourite cafe, have a look at the beans in the hopper at the top of their grinder. Take a close look. Are they a golden brown, or so dark they are almost black. Do they look dry, or can you see what looks like droplets or even a film of oil across them and the hopper?

We're willing to wager that most of the beans you see in a coffee shop are dark brown, almost black, with drops of oil forming on the beans.
So? That oil, is the flavour. It's what should be coming out into your cup, as a rich crema that contains the very essence of the bean you are drinking.

Instead, by roasting the beans for too long that flavour is replaced by the smoky flavour of the roast. To our mind, that's not coffee as it should be.

Here are two samples to show you the difference. The first is roasted as we believe it should be, you'll taste the unique flavours we rave about every month when we offer a new bean; the hints of chocolate and caramel, nuts and spices. The second is how you will find coffee from many major chains. The oil is only just starting to appear, but over the next few days it will closely resemble the beans you'll find in most shops.

So why do they do it? It's simple; consistency. It means customers can be supplied almost any bean, no matter which region or quality, and by over roasting the individual characteristics (including some flaws) will be roasted out. It's mediocre, but it's consistent.

With Budan Beans' coffee, you'll taste differences between each bean we offer, between the different coffee regions of the world, and even individual beans from the one coffee growing region. We're sure you'll enjoy them, and by the nature of their different flavours, you'll like some more than others. But that's part of the experience.

Try the Budan Beans difference today, sample ours side by side with coffee from a major chain. We're so confident that you will prefer ours we offer a money back guarantee. That's not something you'll find in a major coffee chain.