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Jack Merriman

Content Marketing Manager

Ordering coffee at a service station: One of those few instances where the pure need for caffeine makes even the most refined coffee taster buy a commercial grade coffee.

The motorway drivers’ coffee options are limited, with the most convenient service station options supplied by the large chains of the food and beverage industry; StarbucksCostaMcDonaldsGreggs etc.

The high street specialty coffee shop, known for high quality coffee drinks and customer service, is yet to successfully challenge these global brands when it comes to the motorway pit stop coffee offering, and likely never will. But one newcomer on the service station coffee scene looks to be venturing further towards the realm of tasty coffee: LEON.

This weekend, I was making my usual trip along the M4 Motorway to visit my parents when I spotted a sign for LEON just a few miles ahead at Magor Services. I had skipped breakfast in order to head off first thing that morning, so I was pretty hungry and deprived of caffeine. I had heard good things about LEON’s breakfast muffins, so went in to give them a try.

Along with a sausage and egg sourdough muffin and a side of hash browns, I also ordered a flat white and expected it to taste burnt, over extracted and with poor milk texture.

What did I receive? Just a pretty decent flat white, surprisingly.

So, here’s why I think…

You Should Try the Coffee from LEON When You’re at a Service Station

There’s two clear reasons in my mind as to why the coffee on that day was pretty tasty. Firstly, the coffee itself:

What Coffee does LEON Use?

LEON are known for their ‘triple-certified’ coffee.

The coffee is a dark-roasted, 100% arabica blend with a makeup of 25% coffee from Peru, 75% Honduras, produced by wholesale coffee bean supplier Miko Coffee.

The coffee certainly offers a friendly and approachable drinking experience when used as the base for a milk drink.

I can at least speak for the flat white, which was highly enjoyable.

The term ‘triple-certified’ refers to the fact that it is fairtrade, Organic, and in support of the World Land Trust through donations from every bag and cup of coffee sold.

Now, whilst coffee certifications are a tricky topic and don’t solely indicate a higher quality coffee for the customer, it does at least show LEON as being willing to pay a premium for ethically conscious coffee.

Want to learn more about coffee certifications? Check out this fantastic video from James Hoffmann -> Coffee Certifications Explained

Secondly, the coffee machine…

What Coffee Machine Does LEON Use?

Now, I can’t speak for every LEON location when it comes to the coffee they are using. However, on this occasion, the coffee machine in question was an Eversys Shotmaster.

This is a coffee machine that is relatively new to the market, produced by the Swiss coffee manufacturer Eversys in 2015.

It is slowly growing in popularity within hospitality due to its unique features that eliminate a number of the issues stemming from inconsistency and human error, and is seemingly becoming a dominant machine in LEON’s coffee brewing line-up.

How Does LEON Make their Coffee?

Now, the staff at this particular LEON were pretty busy with a lot of orders to cover between the two of them. It would be easy for even the best specialty coffee shops to let coffee quality slip in these moments.

The beauty of the Eversys Shotmaster is that it completely automated the brewing process for them. With its Extraction Time Control [ETC] system, the machine handles the measuring and calibrating of all brew parameters including grind size, boiler temperature, tamp pressure, coffee volume and milk texture.

This meant that the staff were able to, at the press of a button and with little effort, produce barista-quality coffees that were finely tuned by the machine to a predetermined recipe.

Now, to be up front about it, I’m pretty familiar with the Eversys Shotmaster. I work at a coffee roastery that supplies Eversys machines for its customers so I wasn’t completely surprised at the quality of the coffee. However, this experience really highlighted for me why Eversys coffee machines can be a great investment in the right circumstances.

I can’t be sure that every LEON location are now using Eversys machines, but this particular experience proved that service station coffee doesn’t always have to be a bad experience.

There definitely seems to be a general industry trend towards the highly capable automatic machines that mimic the quality of a trained barista. Whether this is a good move is still up for debate.

Continue reading:

Learn More about the Eversys Shotmaster.

How to Choose a Coffee Machine for your Business


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