Occasionally, it is important to stop the world for a moment just to take stock. What is important?
There are a million large and small details that go into running a bed and breakfast. You don’t want to know. But whittle away all the other stuff and it boils down to this: people want a good mattress and they want to smell great coffee in the morning. We took care of the mattresses when we bought the place. The numerous positive comments on our website and Trip Advisor support that decision.
So let’s talk about coffee. We have prepared breakfasts on more than 3,000 mornings for about 35,000 guests. We have had ample opportunity to get feedback on our coffee and we have ended up with Single Origin Hawaiian Kauai. It is imported and roasted locally by Barrington Coffee Roasters. You can tell it is great when you first snip open the air-tight bag. The aroma of the ground beans alone can overwhelm the room. Amazing. "Delicate and Refined" is the description on the bag. We make it strong.
Just like our Sealy Posturpedic mattresses, it is an investment. This coffee costs us about $20/pound….compared to about $7/pound for average grocery store brands. Over the years we have tried alternates. Consumer Reports likes "8 O’Clock" brand. It is much cheaper, but did not make the cut. Breakfast Blend from Dunkin Donuts is passable but not memorable. Starbuck’s tastes burned. We have gotten good feedback on Peet’s. Not as good as the Hawaiian.
Last Spring we were lucky to be able to spend a week in Kona, where the Kona Coffee is as plentiful as water. Literally free samples everywhere and hundreds of choices. It was great. So when we came back to Lenox we inquired with Barrington Coffee Roasters if they also imported Kona. They do. It is private reserve and they do not serve it in their local coffee shops but will roast it to order. Instead of $20/pound, it costs about $30. So we bought a 5 pound bag and alternated Kona and Kauai, querying our guests whether they could tell the difference. It was fun….kind of like a wine tasting event each morning. Bottom line, they liked both equally and could not identify one over the other. So Kauai it is. Why pay 5 times as much when you can pay 3 times as much?
But I make too big of a deal about the price. In context, the Hawaiian coffee costs us about a quarter a cup. Maxwell House might be a dime per cup. Our guests are paying between $175 and $345/night to stay at Hampton Terrace. Give the people some good coffee! Jeez. That is what I mean about boiling things down to what is important.