Wendelboe’s Wendelbog: “Soy No Mi Gusta”

A bold move. And we support it 100%.

We have once again tasted soy milk in our coffees and have come to the conclusion to stop offering soy milk in our drinks.

The main reason for this is that we really don’t like the flavour of it. It is very difficult to get a nice coffee flavour in soy milk and the better ones are too sweet and grainy on the palate.

 

Comments

  1. says

    At Lone Pine Coffee Roasters (Bend, Oregon) we stopped serving soy over a year ago. Why? It didn’t meet our standards for taste and didn’t fit with our other quality products. Soy has to be heavily processed and sweetened to approach an acceptable flavor. We make almond milk in house (just blanched whole almonds and water) and have had an overwhelmingly positive response. It is a much complement to coffee compared to soy and other overly sweet processed “milks” on the market. I agree with previous comments on how to present this to the customer: as a positive.

    thanks for this conversation!

  2. says

    “The issue I have is that I can’t experience any wonderful perfect cappuccino’s at Tim’s cafe because I can’t drink cow’s milk.”
    Kevin, the wonderful perfect cappuccino at Tim’s cafe IS MADE with cow’s milk. And they are wonderful and perfect because they are made with cow’s milk. And if you can’t drink cow’s milk, therefore you will not be able to experience this wonderful perfect cappuccino.
    When soy is used, it will no longer be wonderful and perfect.

    Also, if many years ago, cow’s milk does not exist, and capp were made with soy milk, then cappuccino will not be such a popular drink and we will not be having this debate.

    I’m sure that many of us are not just adhering to tradition in serving capp in cow’s milk. We are in a quest for wonderful tasting coffee beverages. That is why many uses 18g to 20g for double espresso. Sticking to traditions for traditions’ sake is the domain of the Italians.

  3. Brendon says

    Well said, Luke. I feel the same way. Changes like this should just fade, publicizing them makes for strife. The “we don’t do ___” is an approach that stigmatizes, as we’ve seen on this tread, and many others like it. I think that a “we do this instead of that” approach is less egalitarian and less polarizing, while still accomplishing the same the end result that the proprietor desires.

  4. Edwin Martinez says

    Tim commented on his own website earlier this morning that they used to serve less than 2 liters of soy a week. So basically people don’t want it. Not there anyway. That seems a good reason to stop serving it, especially if you don’t like the taste of it and think it is not even healthy.

    A guy named Brendon commented above expressing concern some are cheering on an “anti-consumer” approach. Not pointing the finger, but generally speaking I have the same concern. I’m sure this is not the spirit of TW’s removing soy from the menu. The focus is not to displease the consumer but to please… with something exceptional and free of distraction.

    Today I received a wholesale case of coava coffee for a bar I opened a few months back where we happen to open carrying TW. Brought a smile to my face as I opened up the box and noticed something was missing. Color. How discriminating and anti-consumer of them to boycott such a terrible thing. If you don’t know what I’m talking about you should order a case. Lots of brown bagged in brown, wrapped in brown, padded in brown, taped in brown. (yes, i do know brown is a color)

    And all of this brown will be served at a coffee bar that does not offer soy, any other milk alternative, milk, sugar or sweetener of any kind. Yes, we might go out of business, but first I hope to learn a lot about customer service. We have had some very interesting exchanges and have thought it might be productive to put in a hidden camera so we can continuously evaluate and improve how we do what we do.

  5. says

    We’ve found the best approach for these situations is to make the changes that make sense for your business, and not to over explain or advertise something being taken away. No one cares what your “un-menu” looks like! Tell them what ya got! Offer what you are excited to offer, what your staff is excited to offer, and attract customers that are excited to drink it. If it’s on the menu and a customer orders it, smile and make it. In most cases the customer that was used to getting something that is no longer offered can be encouraged to try something different (tasty black coffee for instance). It’s much easier to handle this encounter in person versus on a blog or on a sign saying what you won’t and can’t do. The internet is the ultimate medium for taking things out of context. It is just coffee after all.

    I’m sure it wasn’t meant this way by TW’s, but coming out and saying hey we’re not doing such and such only earns you brownie points with the people that already don’t order such and such, some industry people reading this site… and irritates the rest. I’d rather quietly let something fade away without any fuss and make a big deal about the great things we are pushing. We successfully did this with flavor shots, large sizes, split doubles, to-go espresso, and some other menu offerings that weren’t in line with our vision.

    I’m not a fan of soy,either, for what it’s worth… :)

  6. Tom Oliver says

    It’s Tim’s obvious passion for great coffee that drives his success. That’s his business model. Keeping a product on the menu that he isn’t passionate about would destroy that model. Superstore coffee shops just breed mediocre quality. If you’re going to serve specialty coffee, I really think it should actually be special.

  7. says

    We here applaud Wedelboe and anyone that makes decisions a takes a stand on what is important to them in their business. Yes we are in an industry that is heavily customer service and we do our very best to provide the best customer service which includes friendly knowledgeable staff. But lets not forget that the business and business owner decide what business model they will create and offer people to choose to either go to their store or buy their products. Not every business will please everyone or offer something for everyone. Then we would all be the same and not stand alone.

    With that said we chose to not offer soy at Coava from day one. Our only dairy alternative had been Almond milk from our opening day last year. Our first attempts were to make it fresh but found it better/easier to buy pre made. Our customers have responded more positively than negatively on our decision. We actually have customers that come to our bar because we are the only place they can get an almond latte and they don’t like soy either. So we believe that it is possible also to not offer soy if a owner or manager decide they don’t want to either.

    Also I think it also be possible to not offer any dairy alternative at all. Will you “loose” business? Sure. We don’t offer tea also and we then don’t get people that only drink tea and cant come in with their friends. But again we chose not to offer everything and that’s what sets us a part from the others.

    So it doesn’t matter if you like or don’t like soy. What is important to you, what type of business will you make and run, what will you offer, all of this is the business owners decision and just because its in a customer service industry does not mean that the customer gets to have everything they desire. The customer chooses where to go based on the offerings of the business and those offerings should be presented with a knowledgeable friendly person with a smile.

    -Kind regards,
    Keith

  8. Jordan Sipp says

    I think a major problem with consumerism is the idea of the customer always being right and “customer rights” in general. Excellent customer service does not equate to doing as your told by everyone who walks through your door.

    It’s damaging to the economy as a large scale entity when consumers are hoodwinked into thinking that having a multitude of choices gives them power. For instance, a cafe chooses to only serve coffees that are in season. A customer wants a Kenyan when Kenyans aren’t in season. To serve that customer what they want would take away from developing mutually beneficial relationships with farmers over a longer period of time.*

    I think soy is gross and I’m glad to see TW be rid of it. Hopefully, the spoiled, arrogant folks who are upset by this will be turned on to something great. If they aren’t, then the terrorists win.

    *talking about relationships with farmers has become coffees equivalent to saying, “God thinks I’m right!”

  9. says

    This is why I’m 100% in favor of people having standards (no espresso to-go, no soy, etc.) but I’m not really in favor of people explaining *why* they set those standards. It almost always becomes a weird debate. Don’t believe me? Google “punch you in the dick.”

    • schooley says

      exactly. if needed, put a simple explanation up in the store or on your site, but generally if you just say “oh, we don’t have any/don’t do that” 9 times out of 10 it’s a non-issue. just stop doing it. stop. just stop.

  10. says

    We got complaints when we dropped sugar-free caramel from the syrup list.

    People already take the time to send us anonymous letters suggesting we go fuck ourselves and that I move far, far away. I imagine if we dropped soy, we’d be fire-bombed.

    WTF is sugar-free caramel anyway?

    FWIW, the chai latte mix we use contains (cow’s) milk fat solids. It’s not vegan by any stretch. And when we get requests for soy chai lattes, we inform the customer that the product is not vegan, nor lactose free. Doesn’t stop anyone. That would indicate a ‘yes’ to trendy.

    The best restaurant in our city offers no menu substitutions. It has a cocktail list of six rotating concoctions that employ seasonal ingredients. While all are made using great booze, the option to enjoy any of that booze straight up does not exist. I’m not a cocktail fan. I enjoy a straight-up anything if it’s made well. I think it’s nuts I can’t order a neat bourbon when the bottle is right in front of me on the shelf. But I go with the flow because that’s what the chef/owner wants. I’ll get wine or beer instead. And an incredible meal.

  11. jake says

    Kevin – If the drink you are trying to experience is not on the menu… yes it is wrong to believe that they should make it for you… Much like the hot dog at Mcdonalds and in all honesty, they will make you a soy latte at McCafe. Thats what they are there for.

  12. James says

    Just a couple of points, and to respond to one of Kevin’s challenges.

    For a variety of reasons I, as a coffee professional, haven’t had milk for nearly two months. (This is more to do with the insulin response to whole milk than being lactose intolerant – which I am too, but that didn’t stop a sensible 5oz capp being consumed).

    I tasted it again today – it was delicious. No great surprise, as we’re pretty hard wired to like the taste of milk and most dairy production these days is exceedingly neutral in flavour. (Yes – some stuff has more flavour – most, in the UK certainly, does not).

    I’m pleased to see soy milk dropped because: It tastes horrible. It feels horrible to drink. I also consider it pretty unhealthy. Soy generally contains high levels of lectins, enzyme inhibitors and worrying levels of plant estrogen. Soy is pretty horrific for you, unless you ferment it.

    Two months without a cappuccino hasn’t been that hard. I’ve enjoyed coffee as much as I ever have, and there is a little more space in my daily caffeine allowance for more variety of drip coffee.

    For those offended by this – TW’s decision to remove soy is not commentary on your decision to keep offering soy. You are all welcome to sell whatever the hell you want, as long as you’re proud of it and it makes you happy.

  13. Daniel says

    @Kevin, not sure TW is even interested in having you as a customer… if you want to destroy beautiful coffee with soy, you might as well throw it in the bin, or pour cold water in it, shake with some chili or whatever crazy idea you have of a great coffee.
    TW is presenting a product in a certain way, the way he thinks is the best and soy apparently isn’t a part of the idea, because it doesn’t compliment the coffee, but destroy the natural flavor of the coffee, not the milk. Where the sweetness and mouthfeel of real cow milk works absolutely great with the coffee the soy just don’t cut it!

  14. Ola Brattås says

    Here follows a list of TWs further crimes against us customers:
    – No decaff for the caffeine intolerant
    – No tea for the tea lovers
    – No artificial sweetener for the artificial sweeteners
    – No free wifi for the twitter-hollics
    – No takeaway espresso for the porcelain intolerant
    – No frappucinos
    – Lattes the size of most other shops cortados
    – Only three seats inside for those inclined towards sitting
    – Outdoor seating WITHOUT cushions (OUCH!)
    – Only light roasts that might give an acid reflux to the average American
    – No Alka Selters to aid said group of people
    – No flavourings for those who really don’t like coffee
    – Only offer coffees roasted at TW
    – No pour over bar for the baristas to flex his pouring muscles
    – No support for flash contents! (No, wait. That was the iPhone/iPad)
    – Big noisy roaster in the middle of the room
    – Australians in the staff…

    The list goes on!

    They only offer beautifully roasted excellent coffees served by skilled baristas.

    Jesus! The man must soon be out of business! ;)

  15. says

    I think a lot of outlets have cornered themselves by calling milkbased drinks coffee. You’ll hear comments like “I’m very fussy with my coffee” from customers, and what they mean by “fussy” is that they want it scorched to hell with three sugars in it, in a 16oz cup (and they still keep their hopes up for strawberry syrup to appear on the shelf).

    This is not coffee, this is a lifestyle beverage for people who don’t really drink coffee, the same way that little girls drink Smirnoff Ice and say they love a good balanced drink on a Friday night.

    Then came the lactos free, the light, the soy and whatever and made its way to “meet demand”. To be blunt, I think using soy for Speciality Coffee is the same waste as pouring luke warm coke and ice in a 18 y o Macallan. Sure if some vulgar riche nouveau wants to do it in a bar, he will be frowned upon. The bartender will tell him this was not the way this very fine drink was made to be consumed.

    If you want to spoil your palate with rubbish, go see outlets that “meet that demand” by using inferior products, or drink it at home. Or even better; dare yourself try something new and a whole world might open up for you… or are you just one of those narcissists who are “very fussy about their coffee”?

  16. schooley says

    I’m all like, just stop offering it and don’t make a big to do about it. Drink sizes, soy milk, whatever, I totally support your decision to choose not to offer it. Just don’t see the reason to make a federal case out of it. I don’t know, I guess I go on about stuff too, but you know: no soy milk = 57 comments, coffee theft = 3, worse rains in Colombia = zilch. scrooged.

  17. Josh Taves says

    Lots and Lots of sillyness.

    Not that anyone really cares about my opinion but I must say:

    interesting choice Tims

    coffee is fun

  18. says

    Two or three things I know about milk and coffee:
    -Whomever said that milk was neutral, or was supposed to be neutral? Ever try non-commodity milk from grass-fed cattle? The flavor is (and should be) seasonal, reflecting the forage of the herd. Clovery in spring. Peppery in fall. Thick or thin depending on the breed. The differences should be embraced as much as the differences between coffees. I only wish we (as a culture here in the US) had enough respect for dairy in this country to allow me access to more seasonal, differentiated milks– to dial in milk flavors to pair with specific coffees.
    -As the Krishnas will tell the vegans complaining about the butter in the cheap vegetarian meals on the UF plaza, milk is Lord Krishna’s gift to man. It is no more or less unnatural for us to consume than crawfish or beer.
    -That Starbucks pushes 87,000 combinations of coffee drink is a marketing wedge. Of course 86,998 of the combinations are crap. Doesn’t matter. They are positioning consumers against _you_ in the independent coffee community. It fosters a false sense of entitlement in which Starbucks is on their side and anyone who doesn’t offer 87,000 variations is the enemy. (See: Kevin, or any Yelp review)
    -Sometimes a little milk fat in the coffee is a good thing. Sometimes not. Its use can and should be mitigated by careful curation and menu design. (See: exactly what TW is doing)

  19. Nathanael Mehrens says

    Two words, Kevin: tough cookies

    your particular and relatively rare dietary restrictions do not and should not dictate to TW what he does with his own shop.

    TW likes cow’s milk
    TW does not like soy milk
    TW can reasonably expect to make good money without having to offer soy milk

    that’s really all there is to it.

    we cheer not because we are anti-customer, but because we are so very happy for TW in being perfectly able to do what he wants. so should you be.

    i am quite incapable of experiencing a meal at a restaurant such as alinea for the simple obstacle of being much too poor, but i am extremely happy that they can do what they want to do and be successful. no reasonable person would expect to demand their spectacular dishes to be made differently and more affordably because they are widely recognized to be one of the best restaurants in the world. TW is also widely recognized to be one of the best places in the world to get coffee. let him do what he wants and be happy you can afford to experience it.

  20. Kat says

    As someone who recently discovered that gluten must henceforth be banned from my diet, I feel the need to chime in with two things:

    First, Chipotle is actually great for a gluten free diet, Greg. Just get the burrito bowl and you are golden. ;)

    Second, and more on topic, I can totally relate to Kevin’s feeling of frustration at not being able to enjoy tasty things you love. It happens all the time to people with food allergies, and it makes you feel like someone is drinking your milkshake. Kind of literally…

    However, Kev, I don’t share your views on the obligation of a store to its customers. I don’t think Tim or any other business owner has any obligation to accommodate special diets, though I will vote with my dollars and my profuse gratitude when they do.

    To me personally, the best thing in the world is when a pro can steer you from what you are missing (milk, bread) to something new and exciting that you never new you loved (like black coffee…or those mindblowing little macarons at Intelli Mil Park. Hello! Gluten free!). Isn’t that really the goal of a well curated menu and knowledgable staff, when you get down to it? Educating consumers and helping us grow our tastes?

    …And for when we crave comfort food or a soy latte, heck, there’s always Starbucks or Chipotle!

  21. says

    Customers don’t have rights so much as they have privileges. I applaud the TW’s decision. The world of coffee would be quite bleak if owners perpetually kowtow to the customer instead of actually offering genuine service. Coffee shops should not be the general public’s sycophant.

  22. says

    Tim’s doesn’t sell instant coffee either. Nor mobile phones. Nor lottery tickets. He’s limiting my choices!

    And I’m a consumer, dammit. How dare you, Chipotle, for not accommodating my gluten-free diet.

    Torches to the castle!

    • Kevin says

      I didn’t ask for anything other then to consider that some people have no choice but to drink soy milk. That’s it, nothing else on the menu, no sugar no syrup, venti size drinks that drown the coffee.

      Simple cafe menu, espresso, macchiato, cappa 6 oz, latte 8 oz, brewed coffee in 6, 8 and 12 oz sizes. Milk choices are local full fat milk and good quality soy milk. That’s it, oh and iced coffee in the summer.

      So where is the destruction of coffee quality with that?

      • says

        ….. from the fact that the soy tastes bad. Is it fair that you don’t get to have milk anymore because you’re allergic or intolerant or whatever? No, but it’s also not fair to say that TW’s decision is “sad” for customers. It is entirely fair to hold firm on flavor principles if flavor quality is your calling card!
        I can’t drink milk, but I absolutely have a choice to not drink soy.

    • says

      Come to think of it, I’m outraged that Chipotle won’t sell me a roast pork burrito with chipotle in it! I’m an American consumer, damn it, and I demand that they sell me smokey dried chiles with my pork. How dare they name themselves for an ingredient that I want, and then refuse to sell it to me?

  23. casey says

    I support this move as well, for the reasons that Ryan states above, but even beyond that because it is working toward a more intentional business model, one that isn’t a slave to market signals. Kevin is right, you will lose customers over this, but where he is wrong is putting the greater good in quotation marks to devalue it. There IS a greater good, and that greater good is running a business in accordance with what you believe instead of pandering to the whole customer is king bullshit. There is more to business than profits and there is more to business than pleasing everyone who may walk into your shop because “they pay the bills.” (more appropriate use of quote, I think…) This spits in the face of neoliberalism and I love it.

    • Neil Oney says

      Despite the fact that TW is making a public statement about soy, he is far from the first to ever refuse to sell soy milk. In fact, Starbucks’ first iteration, Il Giornale, did not sell soy, didn’t have skim or 2%, and had no to-go cups. Of course, the concept changed to grow into the company we all know and love today, but the point is the same.

      I have worked in several shops that have not sold soy, and when asked about it, have rarely had any issues. The customer either ended up ordering black coffee or left. And those that stayed were generally happy with the product and the service they received.

  24. Salt says

    Kevin, just as the vegan cafe is ‘preaching’ the ‘gospel’ of vegan (without infringing on your ‘rights’); my humble opinion is that TW is doing the same, ‘preaching’ the ‘gospel’ of good coffee.

  25. Brendon says

    My problem with this post isn’t that soy is no longer offered due to the proprietor’s choice, it’s that others are cheerleading the move as Tim “taking a stand” against customers’ desires regardless of the (likely small) potential for some loss of patronage. I respect the right of the business owner to control his or her offering, but the response on this thread reads as anti-customer, as if choosing to discontinue soy is sticking it to the man. I don’t think such a sentiment was the intent of the decision.

    With the likes of eliminating soy milk as an option as a coffee additive, what’s the stance on sweeteners (especially non-sugar sweeteners)? A sweetener is definitely an additive that harms the overall flavor of the coffee, at a very minimum, covering up the natural sweetness found in the coffee. I have yet to come across a sugar that made the coffee taste more true to its carefully developed flavors.

    • casey says

      I don’t think its as much sticking it to the man or anti-customer as much as it is refusing to provide a product you don’t believe in simply because it is profitable. Its saying there is something more important about the art of good coffee than how much revenue it can generate. Maybe that wasn’t the intention of the move, but you can’t deny then sentiment is there, which I think is really radical and awesome. And a direction I would like to see more independent businesses move in.

  26. Kevin says

    Interesting way of looking at things, but then what happens if you aren’t adhering to the strict Italian rules for espresso production and cappa proportions? What is it then as I suspect that most of the coffee pro’s commenting on this thread are using 18-20 grams of espresso in basket to less then two ounces of espresso in the cup. That the milk to foam to espresso ratio is not 1/3 each, so what is it? You could go the way of Prufrock and use just sizes.

    As for milk being neutral or the traditional ingredient, I suspect that milk was used simply because it was what was available. What if cow’s milk had not been available widely when that drink was invented? Maybe they would have used some other “milk”. Just like espresso has evolved from the original Italian version to what you serve today so too can the drinks ratio’s and ingredient’s evolve.

  27. Chris K says

    Kevin,

    I don’t understand why you keep restating that milk isn’t neutral in flavour. I can’t speak for all the “lactarians” here, but where is this idea that milk should be/is considered to be neutral coming from?

    Cow’s milk is The Original Ingredient in espresso based milk drinks, it is not part of the newer crop of milk substitutes. It doesn’t have to be neutral or emulate anything other than itself. And being cow’s milk, it comes from a cow, and so tastes a little like cow.

    That you can’t drink it because of your taste preference or any allergy you have is not the fault of the milk. There is no fault anywhere in this matter, actually.

    The constituent of a cappuccino are, from largest to smallest amount: milk, water, coffee. If you don’t like the majority of the drink, you don’t like cappuccinos. If you replace most of a cappuccino with something else, it is no longer a cappuccino. Let’s keep it real: it’s more a milk drink than it is a coffee drink, anyway, so if there’s no actual milk in it…?

    To me, a cappuccino is differentiated from other random, named combinations of espresso and milk by one thing in particular: texture. The texture is due, almost completely, to the aeration of the milk.

    A soy “cappuccino” doesn’t taste or feel like a cappuccino. It doesn’t, by volume, contain anything close to what is in a cappuccino. It simply is not a cappuccino, or even close to one.

    It is the crab stick of the coffee world (overlooking for a moment that soy bean juice is further away from milk than powdered white fish is from actual crab).

    Why are we even calling it a cappuccino, guys?

  28. ThePete says

    I believe the relevant responses have been made here. I am a fan of only carrying a product that I am willing to stand behind, and bravo to TW for doing it. In my opinion a drink made with soy water tastes like soy water. The decision to eliminate this option is one that most of us are not able to make (or not willing to make).

    Here is a fun comparison for anyone who thinks as Kevin does:
    -A coffee shop owner chooses fewer specific types of milk (or in this case, soy water) to carry to lower his overhead. (this is for comparison, we all know why Tim has made this choice)
    -Another coffee shop owner chooses to carry cheap coffee from a “bulk” roaster down the street in order to keep overhead lower, while still offering the 10,000 flavors of syrup he keeps in stock.

    Both owners have made business decisions that they feel is in their best interest, and they are WELL within their rights to do so. Your way of voting is to frequent, or avoid, that shop as a consumer.

    Just my thoughts

  29. Kevin says

    Ryan – Nope no need to throw a fit, they are preaching the gospel of vegan and therefore serving a niche market in a niche market. I completely understand trying to do coffee best and completely buy into that argument. The issue I have is that I can’t experience any wonderful perfect cappuccino’s at Tim’s cafe because I can’t drink cow’s milk. Not because I made a choice to, but because when I do the havoc it wreaks on my body is unbelievable. It saddens me that I don’t get a choice in the matter.

    Jake – I’m not asking for a Venti Caramel choco chip half decaf half foam 132degree latte. I’m asking to experience your drink the only way that I can. Is that wrong? Is that an unreal expectation? If you believe in your product and yourself that strongly then find an alternative for people like me. Lactaid milk is not the answer either. My allergy is severe enough that consume Lactaid and milk will actually progressively make it worse.

    So what is my option in your cafe if this is the quality driven choice that you make? My option is to leave.

    I’m again going to state that cow’s milk is not neutral in flavor profile in any way. Every morning when I steam milk for my wife’s drink the smell is horrible, like baby puke. If you consume the same thing day in and day out over and over again your brain starts to filter out the negative. I challenge you all to stop consuming milk in any form for at least a month and then try drinking it straight again, you’ll be shocked. As culinary professionals whether it be as a chef or a barista you all need to reset your palates as they get tied and dull, same with cupping.

    If you want to be completely quality coffee driven as you say this choice is then don’t serve any milk drinks at all. Brewed coffee and espresso only, that is letting the coffee speak for itself.

    Tim – Your right, it’s your business and your cafe and you are free to do as you choose but as a consumer I am free to make choices as well.

    I’m not a world champion barista or a coffee pro, I’m your customer who owns some decent gear, who spends far too much time and money reading about and explorer different coffees. I look to the pro’s to enlighten me and educate me, this is doing neither. I am working towards one day opening my own cafe. When that happens I will constantly work to bring the balance of respect to the coffee, educating my customers and serving there requests as that is customer service.

    As for the McCafe Kev remark, grow up you troll. My email address is on every single one of these posts and anyone including either Tim wishing to directly contact me and continue this discussion in a respectful manor is free to do so. I certainly meant no disrespect to either of the Tim’s I simply meant to get them to consider their decision from an angle that they not have.

  30. jake says

    I just went to Mcdonalds and ordered a hot dog. They didn’t give me one… I’m offended. (Mcafe Kev… They’ll make you whatever you want.)

  31. says

    There’s a vegan cafe here in Portland, OR. They only offer soy and almond milk. Should I throw a fit and be offended that I can’t get a dairy-based capp there?

    I seek out small culinary experiences. I hate large menus. If I’m at your business and you assemble the menu, then I trust that you know best. I don’t even want to order… I want you to tell me what I should want to have… Because I respect the professional behind the counter.

    This only continues to add to why I respect TW so much. It’s not a chain of cafes throughout all of Norway. It’s one store/Roastery attempting to do coffee best. Champions work behind the bar. It’s the kind of a cafe I want to seek out and experience… And when I get there, I’m going to trust the person behind bar…

    Tim, aren’t you the guys who held the legendary “Black Week?” No milk of any kind for a week to celebrate the release of new coffees?

    • says

      Yes, we had black week on two occations. It was to promote black coffee. Nowdays we actually sell more black coffee than any other drink in our bar, so I guess there is little need for more black weeks.

  32. says

    It is my store!
    I will serve what ever I want to serve.
    If you don’t like it, that is my loss, but I am willing to take that risk.
    Tim Wendelboe was made to broaden your horizon, not to please your habits.

    • Ben Kaminsky says

      “…was made to broaden your horizon, not to please your habits.”

      What an ender.

      There are always going to be a thousand places where you can get a dairy alternative. Some of them will be good bars. The funny thing is, if any of us thought it was a viable business decision, we might not have any dairy in our coffeebars either, or at least we wouldn’t serve lattes… Would you chastise them then because you couldn’t get an absurd amount of milk flavored with espresso? These condiments have nothing to do with our work and goals as coffee professionals.

      In San Francisco (and I would be quick to extend this to much of the USA), I would say about 75% of drinks ordered with soy are not ordered for any dietary reason whatsoever. It’s purely superficial and trendy. All the more reason to get rid of it…

      No person actually concerned with quality should be able to justify getting down on the Wendels for maintaining the integrity of their product. They’re making a calculated, quality driven business decision that believe will be sustainable while compromising their coffee a little less than before. We should all be jealous.

  33. says

    I love this conversation. And, I as well am so glad that Wendelboe has decided to do what it’s done.

    For those who would gripe and whine about not having the option of soy milk, that’s just plain silly. To walk into one establishment and then another, no matter what the business is, and expect or demand a product you received at another establishment, is just bonkers. To expect/demand that every shop must carry soy if they’re a coffee shop, is bonkers. This expectation is where consumerism becomes customer tyranny. A sense of entitlement overwhelms us in a way that when we don’t get exactly what we want we become irate. We’ve all seen it. That anger towards a business, unfortunately nowadays, gets blasted all over the internet. I wish we would all see how silly this is, that I don’t get my way = do everything in my power to destroy someone’s business and reputation.

    At some point, with the bastardization of food products, customers stopped trusting those who prepared it for them. “They don’t know what they’re doing, so I’ve got to alter it.” Which was sadly true. Now we’re getting back to things made with care, science, and art. Customers feel their newly acquired power slipping, and are fighting and saying pretty nasty things.

    I don’t think that they are in any way estranging any consumer, since all types are afforded something, and something done well. I fully agree that if someone just wants soy for reasons outside of health (in which like trish said, lactose free milk can be fully organic and yummy, and steams up super delicious for a cappuccino between 145-150), they have the option of black coffee and espresso. Hopefully, this black coffee and/or espresso would be mind blowing, and I’d leave happy. Soy or no soy.

    This is actually caring more for the consumer. It is saying, we know our product intimately, have gone over it time and time again, and believe we know how to serve it the way you’ll enjoy it best. As a consumer, I put my full trust in those people, and I care more about their business, because they care more about the product I’m about to consume. If they say that soy doesn’t go well with their coffee (or any coffee at all, ever, for that matter), then I fully trust their judgment, and even being vegan, or lactose intolerant, to wish their demise would be unprecedented indeed.

    Wendelboe get’s to create their menu, simply because it’s their place. What they decide to do, and do well, should be applauded. It’s those places who do everything for everyone, and sacrifice quality to make all happy, that need to re-evaluate.

    I have many thoughts on this, because we are in development of a shop, and this is a hot topic of discussion.

    Here’s my applause.

  34. says

    I do not know what a “non-lactarian” is. I am lactose intolerant, and I enjoy aged cheeses as well…whether the raw material was originally intended by your god for baby goats, or cows, or sheep…I still like dairy and humans use dairy and dairy is not evil….but now we are on a tangent.
    Go Tim Whosyerdaddy!

    • says

      The problem with Norwegians is that they overvalue young cheeses. They also smoke cigarettes while riding bikes uphill. I’ve seen it.

    • mpw says

      I shouldn’t lump you into the non-lactarian category. No doubt milk is delicious! I’ve changed my ways, I’m a lactoconvert and this morning I actually enjoyed some home-made yogurt! I don’t think dairy is evil (I think pasteurization is bad) but I think it’s important to acknowledge that cow’s milk is a product that the human species adapts to.

  35. mpw says

    I applaud you guys for stepping up, and I wish more companies had the balls to put their money where their mouth is and stand behind the quality of their beverages. I share the opinion that soy has no place in coffee. It just doesn’t taste good! I think it is only the clever marketing and consequent ubiquity of industrial bean waste (soy “milk”) that has made it the standard alternative to milk.

    For the non-lactarians (sorry, Trish), there is plenty reason to avoid milk: it’s the food for a baby cow, during childhood. It’s a wonder that humans have adapted to tolerate an interspecies milk into adulthood.

    As I hinted at above, I think it’s silly that soy “milk” is the preferred alternative to milk. I’m also of the mind that soy is just not good for you in any form.

    “Hi, I’d like a cappuccino.”

    “Great, we have the food for a baby cow that has been pasteurized to destroy any beneficial enzymes, and we have the product of a grossly subsidized monocrop that has been processed under high temperature, pressure, and alkalinity so it’s nutritionally useless, not to mention how estrogenic it is.”

    “Yeah, whichever. They’re both the same, right?”

    The mistake of consumerism is the idea that your dollar (or krone) buys you precisely what you want, wherever you want. Any business built on this notion that you have to please everyone cannot truly be quality focused.

  36. says

    I totally understand retaining culinary integrity at your shop and ridding soy of your options and have nothing against it. I don’t think I wouldn’t offer a milk alternative, but I support any respectful culinarian’s choices on their menu as it should reflect a certain level of higher quality throughout the menu. Just as I don’t want to serve 20oz coffee drinks.
    I do, however, hope that this sparks discussion on milk alternatives. I hate soy capps. I don’t like the texture of soy (especially steamed) and every time someone orders it, I think of how they could have liked it so much more if I made it with whole milk. But I think a really tasty and texturally pleasing milk alternative should be looked at.
    Let’s think outside the box: not just soy, not just almond, maybe a blend of something…a formula of sorts. I’m sure I’ll always prefer whole milk in a capp. However, I would love to proudly offer a delicious milk alternative if it’s available. Let’s think outside the box and think of a way we can make a milk alternative that is all-natural, dairy-free, steams well, and tastes good.
    I love nothing more than a fat juicy hamburger. Most veggie burgers are utter crap. But I respect someone who can make a bitchin veggie burger among the bad ones.

  37. Kevin says

    Arrogance breeds contempt, humility opens the doors to positive relationship building discussion.

  38. says

    You know how a splash of water can open up a nice scotch? I’m just offering here, that milk and sugar are not an enemy to good coffee.
    That said, we recently served coffee at a fair/festival thing and offered no dairy or sugar…in San Francisco, no less, where people don’t like fancy coffee ideas. We only had two complaints and one person refusing their purchase. It was totally worth that tiny bit of grief. Our argument to them? “this coffee will be great, trust us. you don’t need the other stuff”.
    I’m split on this about 70/30…on account of cappuccinos, which, when made correctly, are a unique, and beautifully balanced instance of coffee mixology.
    Go Lactaid! Go Tim Woozlesnap!

  39. says

    it’s like asking for Dr. Pepper in your whiskey and coke. If they don’t have Dr. Pepper (for whatever reason) they are not discriminating against people who don’t like (or can’t drink) coke.

    If you don’t like it, order something else or drink somewhere else.

    I happen to like drinking IPAs. Bars that don’t serve good IPAs are not discriminating against me, and though I think it is a shame, there is no shame on them.

  40. Kevin says

    I do drink my coffee black, I do drink straight espresso no sugar but I also enjoy traditional cappuccino. So let me repeat myself as you seemed to not understand what I said. I can’t drink cow’s milk so you have just told me that in your coffee bar I can only drink espresso if I want something made with espresso. I understand that you are trying to put your best foot forward and present the coffee in the best way that you can with the most respect paid to all the people involved in it’s production along the way. Problem is you have just disrespected me, the customer, the person who pays your bills at your shop.

    If you owned a bar and I ordered a Manhattan and you hate them you wouldn’t serve me one? Shame on you for your short sightedness, shame on you for discriminating against me and my inability to drink cow milk.

    Thankfully you don’t run a cafe in my city and I will never be in your cafe, but also sadly you have turned me off from wanting to try your coffee and that is the biggest thing that you can do to disrespect the farmer you are trying to pay respect to. Prevent me from purchasing his coffee.

    Shame

    • says

      Kevin,

      Disrespected you? Discrimination? That is pathetic. You have a very antiquated notion of what a ‘customer’ actually is. You don’t get everything you want everywhere.

      And so, according to you, in our ‘discrimination/disrespect’ towards you we have therefore disrespected the farmer? Wow. The way your mind works is amazing.

      I’m not spending anymore time on this idiotic argument.

      • Kevin says

        No, your right I have no understanding of that, I have spent 20 years of my life in sales, marketing and customer service. Your arrogance is incredibly foul tasting.

        Your customers will decide and even though you may not know it, this will cost you customers. But you don’t care as it’s all “for the greater good”.

    • says

      Kevin,

      I would have thought only serving milk drinks with no “no milk” option would maybe be grounds for cries of discrimination – failure to provide an “alternative” to milk is not discriminatory. It’s simply a choice. This is like getting angry at chocolate shops for not carrying carob.

      “Shame on you for your short sightedness, shame on you for discriminating against me and my inability to drink cow milk.”

      And this bar scenario is equally bizarre. You’re not walking into a bar and ordering something on the menu, you’re asking a business to add an additional product to their menu for your benefit that you can get elsewhere. That would seem to be entirely their choice.

    • RealityMonster says

      I feel more discriminated against by Starbucks serving bad coffee. Where are my rights as a discerning customer? WHY DO THEY HATE MY TASTEBUDS?

      It’s not discrimination to not sell you something. It’s not even discriminatory to sell shoddy products, much to my chagrin.

  41. says

    I’m sorry, but I am so happy to see the last of soy juice. It is without question the one of the most horrible tasting products that have ever come anywhere near coffee. If you like the taste of sweet pancake batter, i’d prefer not to serve you our coffee.

    DRINK BLACK COFFEE if you are lactose intolerant or allergic to dairy.

    Almond (all-man milk I’ve not tried… mmm sexy) milk is even worse.

    I also call ‘bollocks’ on the choice argument & the health argument. If you want soy juice, then there are a million other places who will happily serve it to you. Go for a run if you are feeling unhealthy. Eat vegetables.

    “If I walked into your bar and ordered a drink that you as the owner didn’t like would you not sell it to me?”

    No. No, I wouldn’t. We have a menu that we work very hard on, and we are not going to pander to all the whims and desires of every customer. René Redzepi has all the ingredients to make you a hamburger, but he’s not going to make it for you is he?

    Loss for consumer choice? Rubbish. One of the biggest problems in coffee, and food for that matter, is being spoilt with consumer choice. Bananas out of season are vile. Past crop Guatemalans are vile. And soy juice is most certainly vile.

  42. Kevin says

    I have tried using almond milk, coconut milk and hemp milk all with horrible results. They all seem to scorch almost instantly and tasted very bad. I have tried honestly at least 10 different brands of Soy and two are hands down the best. Silk organic and Pacific Foods barista series. I usually use Silk as the Pacific Foods stuff is really hard for me to get where I live. Silk just doesn’t create really great microfoam but taste wise is very neutral

  43. says

    As a lactose intolerant gal, myself, I can attest to the horrible taste of soy cappas and machs. Just bad bad bad.
    I had all but given up hope, but stumbled upon lactose-free milk at the grocery store. Why the hell haven’t any cafes started offering that? It can’t be any more expensive than soy…which sucks on all levels.
    We love those damn Scandis for just telling it like it is. Big ups and gratuerer, Tim Wiseacre!

  44. Brendon says

    Another loss for consumer choice. At least this one’s not likely to trickle down, especially on the West Coast.

  45. says

    Agree with everything Kevin says above, cow milk isn’t any less overpowering, it’s just what people are used to which is unfortunate for a number of health reasons. I wish more shops would adopt alternatives to soy though, Almond milk is especially good.

  46. Kevin says

    As much as I may agree that the taste of a lot of soy milk can be very strong there are some that are far more neutral then others. Being someone who is allergic to dairy if I want a cappa I have no other option but to drink soy milk. If you think that cow’s milk is neutral in flavor your sadly mistaken. Your brain is so used to drinking it that it automatically filters out the flavor of it in a big way. Stop drinking cow’s milk for a couple of months and then try drinking some straight, you’ll be very surprised. So, this disappoints me greatly, for people turning to soy for it’s health benefits I could understand but I have no other choice and you are now telling me what I can and can not drink in your cafe. If I walked into your bar and ordered a drink that you as the owner didn’t like would you not sell it to me?

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