For years, consumers have received takeaway coffees, assuming their order matches the same volume of liquid had they had time for a sit-down experience, but it doesn’t.
According to Veneziano’s Craig Simon, there has been no way for café owners to ensure consistency between dine-in and take away cups, with most disposable coffee cups larger than the volume advertised, resulting in a completely different taste experience for the customer.
“The coffee industry has spent the past 10 years making water more accurate, measuring total dissolved solids, water flow, and extraction yields, but nobody has bothered to look at something as simple as the volume of takeaway coffees,” Craig says. “When we looked deeper, it seemed an utterly obvious question: why don’t takeaway cups match the in-store cup size? And the truth is, nobody actually knows.”
Veneziano’s Craig Dickson suspects the change could have resulted when coffee cups moved away from ounces to millilitres and some manufactures decided to “go bigger.” But for whatever reason, there has been no cross reference to the serving size in cafés, and the gap is noticeable.
“It’s frustrating. Eight ounce is not eight ounce, and 12 ounce is not actually 12 ounce. An eight-ounce cup is more like 9.3-ounce, which is 270 millilitres, and with one shot of coffee and the rest milk, you end up with a milky coffee. The worst part is that customers haven’t joined the dots, and in most cases they’re drinking far more milk than what they need or should,” Craig says.
The majority of existing specialty market takeaway products are sold as six-ounce, eight-ounce, and 12-ounce, but Veneziano’s own tests showed varying volumes, typically out by at least 10 per cent over the asumed capacity. Additionally, takeaway cups seldom matched dine in cup sizes, placing additional pressure on the barista to replicate a recipe in different volumes.
Voicing its frustration on cup sizes, Veneziano got in discussions with Detpak, an Australia-owned specialty paper board packaging manufacturer, to make some permanent changes.
After months of trials and tests, Detpak has launched its Precision Series cup range to duplicate the in-store coffee experience. The cups come in 160-millilitre, 200-millilitre, 240-millilitre, and 320-millilitre volumes to match the most common cup sizes supplied by the industry’s most popular ceramic cup manufacturers, including Inker, Acme, and d’Ancap.
Veneziano-owned and partnered cafés will be the first to exclusively distribute the Precision Series range from January. From mid-2018, the range will be made with Detpak’s recyclable technology, RecycleMe. However, Craig Dickson says the challenging part for consumers will be size perception.
“Consumers have come to associate their coffee volumes in particular sizes, and what we’re presenting appears smaller, but it’s accurate. The hardest part will be convincing people to spend their dollars with a sense of value attached,” he says.
Craig expects customers to do a double take when they first see the 160-millilitre Precision Series cup. On first apperarance it looks smaller in volume, but Craig says it’s actually the exact same size customers are served when they dine in.
“Some customers think that a cup has to be filled to the top to be worth their dollar spend, but it doesn’t mean the milk-to-coffee ratio is right. I’m convinced people have been drinking way more milk and not having the proper coffee experience they’re entitled to,” Craig says. “If you got 40 to 50 millilitres less milk and it tasted better, would you care? It’s about achieving better balance and having a better taste experience.”
Craig Simon says the new cups are a “win-win” for consumers, baristas and café owners.
“For the consumer, your coffee tastes better, for the barista, your brewing recipes are the same as dine-in and takeaway, and for the café owner, you’re saving money on milk usage and delivering a consistent experience for your customers,” he says.
Besides getting proper takeaway cup volumes back on track, Veneziano’s Craig Dickson says it’s also an opportunity to educate customers on specialty coffee.
“If people question the cup size, we can use it as an opportunity to educate customers that coffee isn’t just a functional beverage but there’s effort in roasting, processing, and brewing. A good coffee is worth more than a value proposition but should be valued on experience,” he says.
“Coffee lovers no longer have to compromise on taste when they take their coffee away.”