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Comments

Silvia

I turn my nose up at creamy guacamole, don't even give Starbucks the time of day and why can't a decent crusty loaf of real authentic Italian bread be found in Pittsburgh! Must I always have my parents bring it in from New Jersey. Rich and Melanie, thanks for bringing authenticity to my coffee!

Dan

You must be kidding or don't get out much to say quality bread can't be found in Pittsbrugh.

Planet Art's Linda

I'll leave coffee knowledge to you Rich, but as an almost vegetarian I'll let everyone in on this -- I order organic locally grown produce from this farm: kretschmannfarm.com. Highly recommend it, split it with someone, it's a lot.
Once you order it you'll have so many vegetables you can make your own sauces, soups, applesauce -- you'll never buy processed food again!!
Well, almost never.

Rich

Dan,
Just want to confirm you were replying to Sylvia and not us since we didn't say that... I can name four bakeries off the top of my head. But many folks around here people still like soft crusts like those on Mancini bread.

Sylvia... there's Mediterra, Allegro Hearth, Cafe Richard, Sunseri's bread in the Strip... probably more, but we stopped looking after finding Mediterra, which is who we use here.

Byron

As a company, the most important thing is to be true to your values. Starbucks isn't really about coffee, it's about making the "coffee shop" experience available to anyone, even people who don't like coffee that much.

I'm not a great coffee lover, in the sense that I don't have the same appreciation for great, untainted coffee that many aficionados celebrate. I like additives--sugar, honey, milk, cream, chocolate, or flavours. So the Starbucks beverages are really my cup of tea (Chai), or mocha, or...

But if I walk into a store where they tell me, "oh, I understand that you might be used to drinking coffee this way, but we find that this detracts from the taste of the drink. I recommend you try XYZ instead..." - then I can tell instantly that these people know about, and care about, coffee.

You'll never turn everyone into a coffee expert, but you can certainly succeed in converting the true coffee lovers to your offerings. And if they tell their friends what a "real coffee" should taste like, it will get the word out!

It all depends on your market. With a refined clientele, the customer isn't always right--and expects to be corrected. If people can come to you to *learn* about good coffee, this will help you in the end.

Cheers!

Dan

Rich,
I was replying to Syliva she was the one that made the bread comment. I know you use Mediterra at your shop.

One of our region's worst attributes is failing to recognize our region's best attributes. With Breadworks and Mediterra alone the state of Pittsburgh bread is just fine. And like you pointed out there are many more.

In that spirit, Rich let me point you to Parma Sausage in the strip, though I'm sure you're well aware. If you are still looking for a prosciutto supplier their own brand is close to that of the Italian imports, yet is a good bit less expensive and supports a local food maker.

Rich

Dan,
I've used both Parma's hot and sweet capicola (sold at Restaurant Depot), but not their prosciutto. Will look into it, but it would have to be at least as good - our best prosciutto panini customers are the orthodontists next door. They can tell a San Daniele from a Daniele, so I wouldn't be surprised if they can tell a "Parma brand" from a true "di Parma".

Silvia

To Dan and others who were offended by my comment about Italian bread in Pittsburgh. Yes, Mediterra and Breadworks is very good and I do enjoy it, but it still doesn't measure up to the wonderful semolina and flour bread that my dad brought home every day from DiPaolo's bakery in Newark, NJ. I'm sorry if I offended anyone, but even Frank Sinatra had his bread flown in from Giordano's in Hackensack, NJ.

Dan

Rich,
In my opinion the Parma is by far the best domestic prosciutto I've had. Haven't tried the one from Iowa that you wrote about though.

Sylvia,
I wasn't offended, but your post said a decent loaf of bread can't be found here. I can understand you prefer bread from somewhere else, but there are plenty of good bakers here as well. Didn't mean to come across too strong. I'll pick up some Parma prosciutto to go along with that New Jersey bread as a peace offering!

Jaime

Great post rich. Really good piece.

Jason Haeger

I've told many customers that I will not burn their milk, but that I will get as close as I feel like I comfortably can to make their drink as hot as it can be while maintaining my own personal quality standards.

Although, milk doesn't scald at 155. it's closer to 165-170. I never take it past 165, but the standard is usually right around 150-155.

140 just feels lukewarm to me, and I believe most customers who order a hot drink would prefer their hot drink to be hot.

Rich

Jason,
Good point on the temp - I should have been more specific in that we stop steaming at 150 as the temp will increase another 5-10 degrees to between 155-160. At any rate, we won't go beyond that and at least with the Turner milk we use, even 165 is pushing it as it does seem to taste a bit scalded.

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