Take FLIGHT!

flight-logo.png

“If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.” Gail Sheehy

Change is difficult for everyone, it is especially difficult in the food industry. We change a lot at Native and I know it is for the best in the long term, but it often causes a step back in the short term. Some changes work really well and other fail miserably, but we learn from both outcomes. With that said, we don’t take changes lightly when it comes to sourcing, it needs to feel just right.

After a number of meetings and visits, we are excited to announce our new partnership with Flight Coffee Co in Bedford, NH. Claudia and the Flight crew have an incredible PASSION for coffee. They care deeply about each area of the process including sourcing, roasting, cupping, and freshness. More importantly, they share our focus on the COMMUNITY and GIVING BACK.

Our hope is that this partnership will benefit both Native and Flight beyond just a transactional nature. We are excited to prominently feature Flight on the Seacoast at both of our locations with an expanded coffee offering. I hope this will also be a catalyst for improving our coffee service with better training/education and special events to showcase our shared passion for coffee!

If you haven’t tried Flight coffee, you are in for a treat. I encourage you to read more about Flight via the following link: https://flightcoffeeco.com/pages/about-us.

Lots of other exciting things coming your direction as we end 2018 and take FLIGHT in 2019!🚀🚀

Hampton Falls

38212446_641947239538476_3053346251350212608_n.jpg

As a resident of Hampton, I have always appreciated our neighbors in Hampton Falls.  It is a town with a STRONG community.  As a parent, I have always heard about the quality of education at Lincoln Akerman, shouldn’t every school have a sugar shack?  I  remember fondly the time I was pulled over going past LAS going 29MPH! The police officer was incredibly friendly and genuinely cared about the safety of the students.  Our family also loves Applecrest, who doesn’t?  Whether it be picking fruit, visiting the store, or eating at the bistro, it is such a relaxing environment with such friendly staff.  One thing our family learned at Applecrest is bees REALLY like cider donuts.  On mother’s day 2017, we ate outside at the bistro with the family and ordered donuts, we were suddenly swarmed by bees and my son, Clive ran for his life right into the stone wall surrounding the patio and got a nice egg on his head.  The staff quickly grabbed ice and Clive lived to see another day, just a typical day with the kiddos.

Our new location at 115 Lafayette is perfect for Native.  The restaurant industry is tough, I have a tremendous amount of respect for the owners of the previous establishment and we are committed to caring for the property and being a good neighbor.  Native is focused on the community, when the tourists come and go, the locals keep the lights on.  We hope to be a meeting place where residents of Hampton Falls and neighboring towns can chat over a cup of coffee or grab a quick bite to eat.  Families are welcome, kids will have their own area to play while their parents can hopefully relax and enjoy quality food and carefully prepared beverages.  Everyone and anyone is welcome, accessibility is at the core of Native and our menu and space is designed accordingly.

The property is incredible and we have some great plans.  Initially, we’ll clean it up and add a similar interior to our Rye location, clean and modern.  We will have the same menu at both locations with very few exceptions.  We always seek to be a destination and have some fun ideas for the future including different outdoor seating areas, a fenced in playground, and a large garden with fresh produce.  We try to be flexible and learn based on customer feedback and by experimenting (and making mistakes),  you can count on us to constantly evolve and get better each year as we listen and learn.

Thank you Hampton Falls for the warm welcome and excitement.  We'll work hard to EARN your support and loyalty.  We'll be open in 2 weeks-ish and look forward to meeting you!

 

 

Coffee Around the World

download.jpg

Guest Post by our very own, Maartje Bertens (aka Marge):

“G’day mate, two flat whites and a long mac topped up three quarters, please.” I had just arrived in Australia on a working holiday visa, found a job in a café and customers were throwing coffee slang at me left and right. I had some experience behind the espresso machine from jobs in cafés and restaurants back home (the Netherlands), but here I really didn’t know what to do. Americanos, espressos and the occasional cappuccino or latte were all I needed to know to please the Dutch clientele. Coffee in Australia was a whole new ballpark for me.

             

The situation described above took place in 2012 in Byron Bay, a hippie surf town on the east coast of Australia. I fell in love with the beauty of this place, the waves, but also the amazing coffee and hip restaurants serving colorful, organic food. Australia was far ahead when it came to the coffee and food trends we now see everywhere in Europe and the United States. In the Netherlands I would hardly ever drink coffee, but Australia’s enthusiasm about coffee was contagious and soon I found myself ordering flat whites with the confidence of your typical Australian coffee snob.

 After a year in Australia I moved on to Indonesia, where I planned to stay until my money ran out, which turned out to be five months. In order to stay as long as possible, I spent a lot of time on the less touristy islands, meaning cheap accommodation and food. Once every month, however, I returned to Bali to visit friends, book flights, eat something else than rice and have a real cappuccino or flat white. Indonesia grows amazing coffee, but most Indonesians drink instant coffee with an ungodly amount of sugar and instant milk. “Luckily”, Australians have started opening hip coffee shops on Bali, so people like me can enjoy espresso coffee worth 40.000 Rupiah (2.85 US dollar) a cup. For the average Indonesian, whose monthly income is about 1.6 million Rupiah, this is obviously unaffordable. One flat white or 15 portions of fried rice in a local warung; it’s an easy choice, “crazy white people”.

             

A year in New Zealand, another year in Australia - this time on the west coast - and a year back in the Netherlands, where specialty coffee finally had taken off, led me to the New Hampshire seacoast. Working at Native has given me a little peek in American coffee habits, and I would like to share some of the differences in coffee-drinking-behavior between the countries that I have lived in. First of all, Americans drink drip coffee. Dutch people do the same, but only at home. When they’re in a restaurant or café, it will always be a coffee from an espresso machine. Americans and the Dutch drink it black, or with a little bit of milk or cream. Australians don’t do black coffee. It always has to be with a lot of milk. Same with their tea: always with milk. Another - surprising - difference is that iced coffee seems way more popular here than in Australia, where it is significantly warmer than in New Hampshire. Flavor shots are also an American phenomenon; hardly any Australian or Dutch coffee drinker would ask for a vanilla or caramel latte. Let alone a pumpkin spice flavored coffee. Lastly, Australians are a lot more serious about their coffee than the rest of the world. This coffee-snobbism has led to some cool-sounding espresso drinks, like the “long mac topped up all the way”, a very popular coffee drink in Western Australia.

I will conclude this blog post by explaining what Australians expect to get when they order a ‘long mac’. I will do that within this list of most common espresso drinks, arranged from very milky drinks (latte macchiato) to drinks without milk (espresso).

 

Latte macchiato

A big glass cup of steamed milk with a decent amount of foam (comparable to that from a latte) with the espresso poured in from the top, staining the milk (‘macchiato’ means ‘marked’ or ‘stained’ in Italian). This drink has more milk than a latte and usually the same amount of espresso, making it a weaker tasting coffee.

 

Latte

The classic. Served in a glass or ceramic cup. Has more steamed milk, but a smaller layer of foam than a cappuccino. Has the same amount of espresso as a cappuccino, but tastes weaker because of the larger amount of steamed milk.

 

Mocha

A latte with chocolate syrup added to the mix. Served in a latte glass or ceramic cup.

 

Cappuccino

Another classic. Always served in the ceramic cup, usually smaller than the latte cup, making it a stronger tasting coffee. Has a larger amount of foam than all the other espresso drinks. In Australia a cappuccino is served with cocoa powder sprinkled on top.

 

Americano

No milk in this one; just hot water and espresso. Hot water is put in a ceramic cup the size of a latte or a cappuccino cup (depending on the café) and the espresso is poured on top. How strong the coffee tastes depends on the size of the cup and the amount of hot water that is used.

 

Flat White

An Australian invention. A flat white could be multiple things: a coffee similar to a cappuccino but with less foam (number 1. in illustration), a cappuccino without foam, just steamed milk (2.) or a latte without foam (3.). How strong the coffee tastes depends on the café. In most cafés though, a flat white will be stronger tasting than a latte, and only have a miniscule layer of foam. Always served in a ceramic cup.

 

Piccolo

Just the smaller version of a latte. Half the amount of espresso, half the amount of steamed milk and foam. Almost always served in a little glass cup.

 

Cortado

Like the piccolo, but with an extra shot of espresso. Strong tasting coffee.

 

(Long) Macchiato

Often confused with the latte macchiato, but very different. A ‘long mac’ is a double (long) shot of espresso with a tiny amount (‘stain’) of milk foam. Very strong tasting coffee. Served in a small ceramic or glass cup.

Australians started “topping up” their macchiatos with steamed milk to make it a slightly less strong tasting coffee. This got a little out of hand, to the point that people for example started ordering “a long mac topped up all the way in your biggest size to-go cup”, meaning the coffee drink would be more like a latte than anything else.

 

(Short) Macchiato

The ‘Short Mac’ is a single (short) shot of espresso with a tiny dollop of milk foam on top. Australians tend to not top up this drink.

 

Doppio

A double shot of espresso served in a small ceramic cup. No milk involved. For the die-hards.

 

Espresso

A single shot of espresso served in a small ceramic cup. Again, no milk.

Help Wanted

20120426_help-wanted.png

Is it really hard to find good employees on the Seacoast?  Well, it can certainly feel that way.  It seems like every business sign on Rt1 references help wanted, especially in the hospitality arena.  In the online world, there are 20-40 restaurant postings per day in the help wanted of NH Craigslist.  I would call this a seller’s market for job hunters, lots of folks hiring with a very limited supply.

I have spoken to other restaurant owners and they often feel the pressure from the job market.  Pay is going up and employees are often jumping ship for better (albeit potentially short term gigs).  I also hear that often managers/owners are not willing to hold underperforming employees accountable for the fear of losing them without a viable replacement. 

I consider labor to be just one of the many challenges in this industry especially as an independent restaurant.  Over the last few months at Native, we have started to make some changes that are really helping our staffing and overall operation:

1.       POSITIVE ATTITUDE>EXPERIENCE – We have distilled our job descriptions to 3 key requirements: Respect, Professional, and Dependable.  Ultimately, you can teach a person with the right attitude how to perform customer service, operate our espresso machine, or even prep/cook in the kitchen.  It can be much more challenging to teach an experienced chef to be an effective leader or communicator.  Investing in your employees is the recipe for success, teaching new employees valuable skills, including them in decision making, and providing a development plan.

2.       CROSS TRAINING – Versatility is an incredible asset at a restaurant.  We love to hire folks who have diverse experience.   The chef who can work the line but also shares a passion for baking and pastries.  The barista who has also worked in a deli and shares a passion for food.  In terms of training, our kitchen staff often attends our coffee classes.  Our FOH staff is spending more time in the kitchen and even starting to work shifts on the line.  Not only does this breakdown inevitable communication barriers between the FOH & BOH, but it builds a much more VERSATILE and STRONG team.  The other result is a much more efficient and productive team, we can execute with a smaller labor force which allows for higher pay and better tips.

3.       CULTURE – Create a place that people WANT to work at.  This is really more than just the look and feel of the restaurant.  It is about treating your employees like family, understanding and supporting their needs, and nourishing them with tasty food and drinks.  Supporting their development and growth, celebrating success and learning from failure.  This process can be time consuming and challenging, but it is absolutely critical to improve the longevity of your staff.  As an owner, I can honestly say that it isn’t the owner or concept that will make us successful, it ultimately comes down to the team.  My favorite part of business is building a high performing team and watching them execute, incredibly rewarding and ultimately a testament to the importance of a STRONG team.

Although the job market creates challenges for the business owner it also creates opportunity.  To improve the way we hire, train, and compensate.  We can hopefully pay employees a living wage and they can reward the business owner with increased productivity and loyalty.  Labor can certainly feel like a constraint to running a healthy and profitable business, but like any other challenge, it is an incredible opportunity to improve your operation by changing your tactics and strategy.

PS- We are still looking for Rock Stars to join our team!!!

Jack of all Trades, Master of None!

At Native, we strive to provide an excellent experience in all areas including hospitality, food, and prepared beverages.  I keep this phrase in mind to avoid complacency, if we are mediocre in any of these areas we have failed ourselves and our customers.  Although it often feels we are taking one step backwards and 2 steps forward, we are evolving and overall trend is positive, we are getting better.  We are very appreciative to our loyal customers who have joined us on this journey!

After roughly 6 months+ in Rye Circle, we have a good sense for our identity and more importantly, our potential.  Recently, we came up with the tagline #notjustacafe, which seems very fitting.  I find it difficult to describe Native, are we a coffee shop, bakery, café, or restaurant?  So, I prefer to focus on our customers, it is community gathering place for locals, transients, and tourists alike. Our buzz words are accessible and approachable.  Native was designed to create a comfortable environment for all of our customers (especially the kiddos) and staff, a happy place.

As we ramp up heading into spring and summer, we are excited to launch our new menu.  The focus is to find a balance between truly unique and creative dishes and our “elevated” traditional options. Our new menu focuses on sandwiches, toasts, and bowls.  There is a better balance of vegan, vegetarian, and meat options. We’ll also be actively sharing more information about our local partners, they are the key to our success.  Our bakery operation will expand including a variety of fresh bread and new baked goods such as croissants and the infamous kimchi bagel. 

At Native, we encourage are employees to follow their passion.  In this industry, it means we need to say goodbye to employees and welcome new additions.  I strongly believe this makes us better as we need new ideas, experiences, and perspectives to keep improving.  In the coming weeks we will have new faces in the front of house and kitchen, but the same great food, drinks, and service.

To support this transition, we will be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays for the remainder of February and March.  This 5-day winter schedule will ensure our new employees grow into a high performing team especially as we ramp up our staff for our busy season.  This experiment is also a test of this reduced schedule for next winter as we believe it may be in the best interest of the business and our employees.  We apologize in advance to our loyal guests who visit us on a daily basis, but we hope you understand.

Thanks for your continued support, smiles, and kind words.  We are grateful for our community and excited for the future.

IMG_3102.JPG

The Power of Pickling

2017-09-16_17-05-23.jpg

Written by :  Ben Cole, Lead Line Cook @ Native Coffee + Kitchen

Growing up in New England with a passion for food, I quickly learned to appreciate the abundance of local produce in the warmer months.  As a chef, it is inspiring and refreshing when the deliveries from local farms begin in the spring.  Our walk-in coolers are filled with vibrant colors and we can infuse these fresh flavors into our menu.

A common saying in New England is if you don't like the weather, wait a minute. The climate and changing seasons require cooking techniques to use the bountiful harvest without waste.  A great option is to whip up a few gallons of brine and fill the mason jars to preserve the ingredients.

Pickling is an age old technique (est. 2030 BC) to hold on to our hard earned harvests.  To preserve fresh ingredients for use during the colder months allows a chef to keep interesting flavors on the menu year-round.  A common misconception is that pickling is only for creating sour pickles using cucumbers.  In reality, the technique can be applied to a variety of ingredients and has infinite amount of possibilities.  One of my first experiments with pickling involved daikon radish.  With only a limited breadth of knowledge, the result was so pungent that it couldn't even be served on the menu.  Thankfully, I had the pleasure of learning from a person who was passionate about pickling.  He knew how to control sourness and incorporate aromatics.  After many late night conversations about fermentation, brining recipes, ingredients, and storage options, I started my own journey experimenting with pickling.  I discovered the importance of ratio, time, and heat.  In order to save cash on food, I was quick pickling food scraps like watermelon rinds and purple cauliflower.  Eventually, even the infamous pickled daikon was making customers smile.

The many late nights and hours of practice allowed me to truly appreciated the versatility of this technique.  Cutting up vegetables and locking them away in meticulously flavored brines, carrying forward the fresh and flavorful seasonal ingredients.  At Native, we are all about local and seasonal ingredients combined with sustainable cooking methods.  We pickle cukes, carrots, daikon, kale, chard, beets, green beans, and peppers.  Although the pickling options are endless, we are still proud to offer those good old sour pickles on our Native Burger.

Our Review of the Rocket R9 Espresso Machine

blanca razzo 4.jpg

Written by :  Meghann Louie-Heintel, Lead Barista @ Native Coffee + Kitchen

On the approach, the Rocket R9 is sleek and modern in appearance.  It's eye-catching in much the same way that a foreign car is eye-catching. There's something familiar about it, for those baristas who are used to Nuova Simonelli Aurelias and La Marzocco Lineas, from the straight lines, chrome finish, and lever-style steam wand valves. The construction is clean and straight-forward, and the R9 boasts a moderate height from group head to drip tray, allowing for a 12oz paper cup to be placed under the portafilters without the shot having to fall too far.  Individual PIDs for each group head and pressure sensors allows one to pull consistent consecutive shots during high volume times with reduced recovery times.  Temperature and shot timers display on a clear, digital readout.  The steam wands are cool-touch at the joint and have considerable pressure when fully engaged, meaning that milk frothing will never lag behind the pulling of a shot.  For baristas who are good at timing their drink queue, every second in sync counts, and the levers, though they require some playing with and getting used to, give quite a lot of control over how quickly one wants to bring their milk to temperature.  Everything about the Rocket R9's operation has been streamlined, as Italian design is so good at doing, without being dumbed-down. La Marzocco has long been industry standard for workhorse machines, and the R9 keeps pace with some of the sturdiest models I have used at high volume stores in the past. To keep with the car analogy, I'm at the level of comfort in using this commercial Rocket that I am with using my Audi (a 2016 A3).  What I require from both machines is reliability and handling. Getting used to the automatic features does have a learning curve, but therein lies the beauty of making the machine yours.  I can set when and how my automatic functions kick in, or I can take control back entirely and ride in a manual mode.  In regards to getting me from point A to point B, both machines do so quite handily and with plenty of power, but they get me there in style, and with features designed to assist me in efficiency.  Perhaps the best thing, in my opinion, about the Rocket is how easily it can be put into stand-by mode. When cleaning the machine, each group head can be turned off and back on with a single touch, allowing for ease of break down at the end of the day. Holding the program (P) buttons for 20 seconds turns the machine to stand-by mode without having to turn off the power switch, saving energy and making start up the next morning extremely quick (about 10-15 minutes, at the push of a button).  

The drawbacks of the R9 are few, and mostly cosmetic. The first is that the control panel of the machine can get quite hot to the touch. Resting one's hands there is ill advised. The second issue, which may not be an issue for some, is that chrome is notoriously magnetic to fingerprints, dust, lint, and coffee residue.  To keep the machine looking its best, Rocket graciously provided a polishing cloth, and believe me, you will use it a lot. The last issue is that the R9 steam wands are not quite as free in their range of motion as a La Marzocco, though this is more a matter of getting used to the particular angles of the machine.  In observing several baristas play around with the R9, all have said the steam wands were the most challenging aspect of the machine.  

All in all, the Rocket R9 is a great addition to the cafe and one that I have grown to love using on a daily basis. Its automatic features make it accessible, reliable, and consistent for baristas of all levels of experience, while preserving manual functions for more skilled baristas to custom tailor their product, if they so choose. My experience with the R9 makes me quite excited to see Rocket release more commercial machines and see what else they'll be able to do in the future. Grazie mille per l'opportunità!

What is Scrapple?

What is Scrapple?

This is the million-dollar question that we receive from our guests on a daily basis.  Some people seem perplexed with the option of Scrapple alongside traditional favorites like sausage and bacon.  Our guests may anticipate a complex explanation for this dish, but in reality, Scrapple’s origin and purpose was one of simplicity and necessity.

Scrapple, also known by the Pennsylvania Dutch name panhass or ‘Pan Rabbit’, is traditionally a terrine of pork scraps and trimmings, combined with cornmeal, buckwheat flour and spices. At Native, we use the same technique to create the delicious, savory, crispy, creamy pork cake.

You can’t have Scrapple without pigs feet. The pigs feet give Scrapple a wonderful rich flavor, and the bone collagen helps bind the whole terrine together. We also add in pork shoulder which adds savoriness and a familiarity to the dish. It’s really quite a thing of beauty (for meat lovers).

We simmer the pork for hours on the stove and then shred the meat. Next we add aromatics, like onion and garlic, and marry the flavors together over a low and slow heat. Then we add the pork stock back into the mix, and whisk in flint cornmeal from Maine Grain and Canadian buckwheat until we’ve made what we refer to as ‘God’s polenta’. We pour the mixture into molds and let it chill overnight. The next day it is cut and fried to perfection for our Work n’ Class bowl or breakfast sandwiches.

We encourage you to try our Scrapple and see why it remains a simple necessity!