Our experience of working in coffee is that there is always a fine line to be walked between what you set out your principles to be, and how much to bend these to give the best customer service. An example of this is a discussion that we have just had:
Offering tea, hot chocolate, and food in our coffee bar. This is something we have toyed with (and are continuing to toy with) over the last few months. One side of that debate would be that the majority of people expect to be able to get these things in a coffee shop, so we should provide them. The other side of it, for us, would be that we are not 'food guys' - unless you want a bowl of cereal or a chocolate spread sandwich then you're barking up the wrong tree. Is it wrong to say that we don't care about tea? We don't. Same with hot chocolate. Don't care. I suppose the way that we have framed ourselves is as one of the 'sources' of roasted coffee - in the same way that a distillery is the source of whisky. You might not necessarily visit a whisky distillery to get a glass of wine. We want our focus to be on coffee, so what we lose in terms of customers who can't get a poached egg, we gain in being able to constantly improve our batches, processes and coffee offerings. That said, we have found a great bakery - Freedom Bakery who are providing us with a dozen kick-ass cinnamon rolls tomorrow so we can test the waters for our Saturday offering.
Other examples of this sort of compromise include what drink sizes are best, minimum orders for roasting, cut off days and of course whether or not to pre-grind coffee for customers. This is the real reason behind this post: to explain why we don't pre-grind coffee.
Our philosophy is all about things being G O O D, and the truth is that once you grind coffee it starts to lose its flavour. Okay its not a dramatic loss of flavour to begin with, but it's still a depreciation in quality. This starts to happen almost instantly - the science bit would be to do with particle size and how that interacts with the environment. So even if we grind coffee for you in the roastery, send it to you first class and you brew it all the next day - it has still been ground and going stale for 24 hours. Your experience just won't be the same as if you grind it right before you brew.
That's why we keep the coffee as whole beans when we send it out.
Look, the last thing we want to do is place an obstacle between our coffee and you, the consumer. We want you to like this coffee, and we listen to your feedback. But for us we feel like to stick to our principles this is a deal breaker. We hope that you understand.