Restaurant Notes extra: Firefly Coffee House mentors Mad Anthonys Children’s Hope House’s cafe at Dupont Hospital
Firefly Coffee House has been mentoring a local nonprofit in the cafe business for about three years. Saturday it was time for a refresher.
Firefly, 3523 N. Anthony Blvd., helped Mad Anthonys Children’s Hope House to add a cafe at Dupont Hospital, where the nonprofit was already operating a gift shop.
Dupont Hospital leases space to Mad Anthonys for $1 a year, said Katherine Knudson, retail operations manager, and profits from the group’s sales there go to its Hope House, which provides meals and rooms to families of children being treated at Dupont and Lutheran hospitals. The group also has a Hope House and gift shop at Lutheran, but not a cafe.
The cafe came about because Dupont Hospital asked the group to consider selling coffee.
“We needed advice and help running a coffee shop since we hadn’t done it,” Knudson said.
Because Mad Anthonys’ executive director Andrew Gritzmaker knew Firefly’s owners, Cindi and Paul Demaree and their daughter Allison Demaree-Coale, the relationship seemed to be a natural fit.
Firefly brought in the equipment and trained the Mad Anthonys crew as baristas.
“We use Firefly’s menu and their methods,” Knudson said. “… When we do training, they’re right there.”
For example, Hope Cafe wanted to create a caramel apple frappe, but it’s not a matter of just throwing together all the ingredients. Firefly staff, who make and serve a caramel apple latte, told them how to prepare the drink to ensure the citric acid didn’t curdle the milk.
On Saturday, Demaree-Coale met with Knudson and five Hope Cafe baristas for two hours of training to go over a variety of things, including how coffee is harvested, proper product storage, drink preparation and dealing with customer requests.
“You guys are baristas,” Demaree-Coale told the group. “In Italy, that’s a career … so you guys should be proud. That’s a trade.”
With Firefly’s name on the products, Demaree-Coale was also ensuring the quality at Hope Cafe.
“Freshness is key,” she told the group. Once beans are roasted, they should be used in 7-10 days.
Knudson said they brew fresh about every 2 hours, and told the baristas not to be afraid to get rid of old coffee.
“It is OK to dump,” she told them. “It’s bean juice.”
With free coffee available down the hallway, Demaree-Coale explained how to respond about the better quality of the Arabica beans used and the labor that goes into handpicking the berries and roasting them that are factored into their drinks’ costs.
As customers came in, the baristas got a chance to show their skills. One customer asked if she could have half decaffeinated.
“One of the nurses came in the other day and asked, ‘Do you have decaf?'” said barista Josiah Doron, 22, proving what Knudson had just said about customers’ knowledge of its availability.
“Consistency is the key,” Demaree-Coale said. “The customer should know they can get the same drink from anyone.”
They soon learned that barista Laura Miller knew how to make a caramel cream macchiato that customers were requesting from other baristas who didn’t know how to make it. So Demaree-Coale asked that Miller write down a recipe to be added to the others available under the counter for staff. They could also offer customers a similar drink that is on the menu, she suggested.
Hope Cafe is open 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday in Dupont Hospital, 2520 E. Dupont Road.
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