The Evolution of Our Brewed Coffee Offerings

This week’s contributor to the Diesel Brew Blog is one of our co-owners, Jen Park. With nearly 16 years of owning and operating a local business in Somerville, she discusses exciting changes to come in an effort to continue to offer our amazing customers the highest quality products and service.




Over the years, coffee has seen its fair share of evolution. When Diesel opened its doors in 1999, there were still more independent coffee shops in the Cambridge/Somerville area than there were corporate coffee chains. In the past 15 years, we have seen the a couple waves: larger café chains overtaking the smaller shops and another more recent resurgence of independent locales opening.

Coffee still remains a beverage that many of us crave to get started in the morning and to help us get through the post-lunch sleepiness. It remains a central item for many social gatherings that bring groups together to discuss, debate, or consider topics in our lives. Needless to say, it is a crucial commodity in many of our lives.

As business operators, we have made many changes to our coffee program over the years to continually provide our customers with the best possible product we can curate. We work with an incredibly thoughtful and diligent roaster based out of Chicago, Intelligentsia, who has supported our various efforts and helped to train staff over the past 13 years of working together.

Partnering with a roaster who has 11 retail locations across the country in major cities has helped us stay current with the trends and fads of coffee. And right now, we are facing yet another change in our coffee program.

We are excited to announce that Harrison Seiler, previously known to us as the general manager of Bloc in Union Square has taken over as the head drink trainer for all three locations. And he is not one to start off slow. To begin, he has proposed the following program for Diesel. Here is a snippet from his recent coffee proposal:

Our goal: Streamline the current drip coffee program across all three stores by eliminating French roast and selecting blends and single origins with a balanced flavor profile to satisfy customers who prefer milk in there coffee as well as those customers who might be more adventurous and are looking to try something new.




As it currently exists, the drip coffee program at Diesel is structured around the distinction between dark roast and medium roast. In categorizing individual coffees by their roast level, the flavor profile that makes a particular coffee unique and interesting is often overlooked. Intelligentsia’s blends provide the perfect opportunity to begin to think about how coffees from certain parts of the world can be brought together to highlight the flavors that are representative of that region. Keep an eye out for the House Blend and The El Gallo Breakfast blend. These two blends bring together coffees from Latin America to highlight the balanced sweetness that is characteristic of the region. By only serving one well balanced and accessible coffee, staff can engage with customers who want to know more about the coffee they’re drinking by using more specific tasting notes instead of relaying solely on roast level.Through careful and intentional programming, we hope to provide customers and staff with the opportunity to more fully engage with each coffee offering as it becomes available.

We hope to continue to offer two different coffees as part of the expanded drip coffee program, however instead of offering coffees with vastly different roast profiles, we will be working closely with Intelligentsia to offer some of the more exciting single origin coffees alongside the more accessible blends. Each coffee will be served for a longer period of time to ensure that both customers and staff are more fully engaged with each individual offering. Staff will now be able to provide specific tasting notes for each individual offering to ensure that each customer receives the coffee that best suits their tastes and preferences.

Additionally, we are going to streamline our espresso drink sizes by moving to exclusively serving milk based espresso drinks in a 12 oz size or smaller. Our current offering of a 16 oz latte or a cappuccino is a slightly out-dated reflection of espresso drinks that do not balance the espresso to milk ratio as we would like. Again, we go back to the quality and wanting to offer our customers the best version of what we can craft. We will continue to offer customers a 16 oz latte or cappuccino if they desire, but our default size will be a 12 oz. This change will also allow us to streamline our drink production and reduce the number of questions we have to ask at the register. All in all, we will be able to make customer drinks faster and get you through the line more quickly.

We are aware that these changes may be met with opposition and some disapproval. We would love your feedback and if you email us at [email protected], we will answer your questions or comments as soon as we can. Again, thank you for supporting us over the years and we look forward to many more years together!