The type of coffee-making equipment used in a foodservice determines the method of preparation and the grind of coffee. Urns or modular brewers are used when large quantities of coffee are required, as on a rapidly moving cafeteria line or for a large catered function. Where the service is spread over a longer period, coffee may be prepared in small batches in a drip coffee maker, or for single servings in an espresso machine.
The equipment selected should make a clear, rich brew, hold the coffee at a consistent temperature, and provide the quantity needed at an appropriate speed with minimal labor. Regardless of the method used, certain guidelines should be observed:
- Select a blend of coffee that is appropriate to the clientele and type of event. High-altitude
beans from Central and South America produce lively, light-bodied coffee with high concentrations of natural acids. Coffees made from Central or South American beans pair well with cheeses, vegetables, and hot and spicy foods, and are good for breakfast service. Beans grown in Africa are robust, with fewer natural acids. They are good served with desserts, full-flavored foods, chocolates, rich desserts, and as an after-dinner coffee. Pacific beans feature moderate acidity and rich, mellow overtones. Pacific beans are good served with Asian foods, rich, creamy foods, or breakfast.
Light/pale and medium/city roast are all-purpose roasts. French/dark and Italian/espresso roasts are especially suited for after-dinner coffee and with desserts and chocolate. The roast style should suit the kind of bean being used.
- Select a grind that is designed for the brewing equipment. Fine or vacuum grind is suitable
for equipment that brews in 1–4 minutes (espresso machines), medium grind for drip makers that brew in 4–6 minutes, and coarse grind for urns that brew in 6–8 minutes.
- Use fresh coffee. Coffee loses its strength and flavor rapidly after it is ground and exposed to
air. Large amounts should not be stored. To maintain good coffee flavor, store ground coffee or whole beans in an airtight container at cool room temperature. To keep coffee for more than 2–3 weeks, store in the freezer in an airtight container.
- Use a proportion of fresh, cold water to coffee that makes a brew of the strength preferred
by the clientele. A proportion of 21 ⁄2 gal of water per pound of coffee (20 oz of water to 1 oz of coffee) makes a commonly accepted brew. For a stronger brew, use 1 lb of coffee per 2 gal of water.
- Have the water cold, freshly drawn, accurately measured, and brought to a temperature of
195°–200°F. Water that is too hot will extract bitter solids. Water that is too cold will not extract enough color or flavor. Bottled or filtered water may be used to brew coffee.
- Hold brewed coffee at 185°F. Urn coffee can be held for up to 1 hour. Coffee brewed in small pots and kept warm by a heat source under the pot should be served within 20 minutes of brewing. Carafes that hold brewed coffee in an insulated serving decanter will hold the coffee for 2 hours or more. Reheating coffee results in a bitter brew.
- Clean the coffee-making equipment after each use, following instructions that come with the equipment.
Specialty coffee refers to coffee made from flavored beans, espresso and espresso-based drinks, or coffee flavored with syrups or other post-brew flavorings. Flavored syrups are added to individual servings in a proportion of approximately 1 ounce per cup. Popular syrup flavorings include almond, caramel, chocolate, hazelnut, raspberry, and vanilla. Shakers for dry flavorings such as allspice, chocolate, cinnamon, malt, nutmeg, and vanilla may be provided for self-service. Other condiments for coffee include brown sugar, chocolate sprinkles or shavings, cinnamon sticks, citrus peel, and whipped cream.
Three main types of tea are available, produced by variations in processing. Black tea derives its color from a special processing treatment that allows the leaves to oxidize. This turns the leaves black and produces a rich brew. English Breakfast and Orange Pekoe are familiar black teas. Oolong tea is semi oxidized. Its leaves are brown and green, and it brews light in color. Green tea is made from leaves that are dried without fermenting. The brew is pale green in color. Flavored and other specialty teas are also available. Tea is packaged in bulk as loose tea and in tea bags of various sizes.
Tea is brewed by the process of infusion, in which boiling water is poured over tea leaves or bags. The following brewing guidelines should be followed.
- Start with fresh, high-quality tea.
- Start with fresh, cold water and bring it to a rolling boil. Do not boil the water for a long period of time.
- Use a stainless steel, earthenware, or porcelainlike pot that has been preheated with a small amount of hot water.
- Add tea bags or loose tea (in a strainer or infuser) to the pot. A generally acceptable brew is made by using 1 Tbsp of loose tea or one tea bag per cup of water.
- Pour boiling water directly over the tea and allow to steep 3–5 minutes. Remove the tea bag or leaves from the water after the tea has steeped or it becomes bitter.
For iced tea, make the brew stronger than for hot tea to compensate for the ice that melts. Pour tea over ice just before serving.
A suggested selection of teas includes a black, green, and Oolong variety, and a specialty or flavored tea such as black currant or raspberry. Caffeine-free and herbal tea selections also should be available.
Punch may be made easily from frozen or canned juices in various combinations. Lemonade or Basic Fruit Punch make good bases for many other fruit drinks when combined with fresh, frozen, canned, or powdered juices of the desired flavor.
The amount of sugar needed varies with the sugar concentration of the juices and individual preference. A recipe for Simple Syrup for sweetening punch is given on. If time does not allow making the syrup, the sugar may be added directly to the punch and stirred until the sugar is dissolved.
For punch that is to be served iced, the ingredients should be refrigerated. The chilled ingredients may be combined several hours in advance of service.
If ginger ale or another carbonated beverage is to be used, however, it should be chilled and added just before serving. Hot punch should be served at 180°F.
If wine or other liquor is an ingredient in hot punch recipes, the temperature should not exceed 180°F.
Punch may be served from a bowl and kept cold by adding ice cubes, or it may be poured over an ice mold. It may also be served as a nonalcoholic cocktail in appropriate glassware and garnished. Hot punch may be served from a punch bowl or hot-holding equipment. Preheat a glass punch bowl with a small amount of hot water before filling with hot punch.
The amount of punch or iced beverage to prepare depends on the size of the punch cup or glass, the number of guests to be served, and whether second servings will be offered. Service from a punch bowl requires slightly more punch than if it is to be poured from a pitcher for individual service. It is always desirable to have extra chilled, unopened cans of the main punch ingredients to facilitate serving a larger crowd than anticipated.
Pairing wine with food is a matter of individual preference and usually requires some experimentation. The amount of wine to serve depends on glass size and the type of meal or event.