Monday, December 22, 2008

Get your Java on!

Specialty coffee drinks are not only the hottest rage in the country, but it is a healthy and socially responsible alternative or addition to serving alcohol. An espresso bar can provide a cosmopolitan touch of elegance as well as a sophisticated flair to the reception.

An espresso bar caterer should be able to provide your event a full menu of espresso beverages made from high quality, fresh coffee and milks, a professional server (referred to as a 'barista') and the equipment and ability to serve your guests quickly and with flair.

Here's our list of what to look for and what to ask for.
What to Look For:
They should have professional commercial espresso machines (not retail, home units)
The barista should be professional having worked or working in an espresso café.
The espresso caterer should provide setup service prior to guest arrival in the area of service.
The menu should offer a variety of espresso drinks such as cappuccinos, lattes, mochas and flavored drinks.

What to Ask For:
Where do you purchase your coffee from?
Is your coffee source a roaster or a wholesale distributor? How fresh is the coffee?
What kind of espresso machine(s) do you have available?
Is your machine mounted on a cart? What does it look like?
If your machine is not on a cart does it require a special table? Do you provide it?
What are your electrical (voltage and amperage) and water requirements?
Will you offer nonfat or low fat milk? Hot chocolate?
What Italian syrups do you provide for making flavored lattes and mochas?
If we require your servers (baristas) to stay longer can that be arranged?
Do you charge by the hour or by the number of guests?
Do you offer all your drinks in decaf?
Do you offer whip cream?
How are your barites dressed?
What does your espresso station look like and how much space does it take up?
Do you charge for setup and delivery?
What is your minimum service time?

Espresso and specialty coffee is not a fad, it is a lifestyle that says quality not quantity. Nonetheless it is still new to many Americans and therefore not everyone will want a cappuccino or mocha, in fact, in some areas of the country where espresso coffee is still very new only a fraction of the guests will order a drink. However those that do will greatly appreciate the service and probably have more than one drink. If there are children and young teens request that hot chocolate, steamers and Italian sodas be available. (Italian soda is a tall drink of soda water with Italian fruit flavor syrups served over ice.) In fact for hot spring and summer weddings request that the menu include iced espresso drinks; they are delicious and extremely refreshing.
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