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Defining Recipe Ranges

Recipe management is an essential part of any successful coffee business. In a cafe, recipes might be managed by multiple people across multiple locations (e.g. owners and managers, barista trainers, or from a centralized lab or roastery). With this in mind, let’s take a look at recipe management in the cafe.

What is a Brew Recipe?

Brew recipes are a cornerstone of a coffee retail business. A brew recipe tells the team ‘how to’ brew a certain coffee for a certain brew method. It is the guideline for a given coffee and brew method specifying coffee to water ratio, grind size, temperature, extraction time, and more. Essentially, this is the instructional foundation for your team to brew coffee consistently.

While much has been published in various magazines and across social media, a certain fact about brew recipes is that each recipe results in a specific flavor profile that can be consistently achieved given certain factors and parameters. In a previous article, we go into greater depths on recipes and brew logging to achieve consistency.

Recipe Ranges vs Reference

A recipe range provides a range of parameters, or a 'global' guideline, that your cafes should loosely follow. This helps establish a starting point that your Cafe Managers and Head Baristas can follow when dialing-in. Having recipe ranges is especially helpful when you have multiple cafes,different machines, and unique water in each location, all requiring a unique dial-in for grind, dose, extraction time and yield, etc., depending on the location. Recipe ranges are guidelines so that your team isn’t left wondering or wasting coffee on multiple dial-ins just to find the right brew.

A reference is a 'local' dial-in that is location specific. Each location can make these small adjustments during each dial-in to make the coffee taste awesome. As mentioned above, when creating recipes for a coffee that is dispersed across multiple locations and brewed in different machines, whether it’s the same brand/model or not, requires a local dial-in that is specific to factors at each specific location.

Here is an example. You operate 2 cafes and both will serve a single origin Colombia on espresso. You set a recipe range of 17-20g in and 34-40g out, knowing that with these variables your team is likely to produce a shot with brown sugar sweetness, dark chocolate, and notes of candied orange. However, cafe 1 uses a La Marzocco GB5 and cafe 2 uses a San Remo Cafe Racer. With these differences, cafe 1 might find that a dial-in of 18g in and 36g out is the right reference but cafe 2 might find that a dial-in of 17g in and 34g out is the right reference for them to achieve the target flavor profile.

Managing Recipes in Cropster Cafe

With the  complexity around recipe creation and management, the importance of providing your customers with consistent coffee, and providing your staff with easy-to-use tools for their day to day work, we have a solution with Recipe Ranges in Cropster Cafe.

In Cropster Cafe, a recipe itself contains the key ‘global’ guidelines (eg. parameters or range of params) and the locations which govern its appearance on the dashboard (rather than through a current reference). Essentially, users define the range of parameters that each coffee’s recipe should fall within, no matter which location.

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A reference remains the 'local' dial-ins, aka, the small adjustments that each location has to make to make the coffee taste awesome. However, a reference is only set per location not across multiple ones as a reference is meant to be specific to each location, and, sometimes, each shift.

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For a more in-depth overview of what this looks like in Cropster Cafe, check out this video of how to create and manage recipes with Cropster Cafe.

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