Analogies and T-shirts.

I’ve come to the realization that I’m in a new stage of my career. Priorities come and go from time to time and I’m acknowledging a big change in my ‘coffee doctrine’ and belief. The part of me that is growing up is the boy who started in coffee. He’s the guy  you could run into in many coffee shops… The outward signs say he’s probably some sort of punk (i.e. the piercings, tattoos, band t-shirts, and so on). He’s got keen eyes and they always tell what he’s thinking… about you, your order, and the things that are coming out of your mouth. He’s constantly judging people and scrutinizing their daily coffee shop repertoire. He’s the kid who’s passionate about coffee in all the wrong ways. Espresso to go, fuck off. Nonfat, fat chance. Decaf, go to hell.

The difference is that my focus has changed. I’m finding that I’m less concerned with what people are drinking at the coffee bar and I’m more concerned with what they’re drinking at home. If any of the punk-teenager still leaks out on bar, it’s probably because someone is asking me to grind a pound of coffee for them. You could call it my ‘new’ espresso on ice. More than ever, I’m excited to push more and more people into making better coffee at home.

I want a series of t-shirts. Want is the key word because they’re probably a bit too passive aggressive for my customers to take them the right way. My first t-shirt would probably have a picture of a home grinder in the center… Orbiting around it, I would have silhouettes of brew methods (i.e. table top siphon, chemex, french press, eva solo)… The caption on top or on the back would say something like “It all starts with grinding fresh” or something relatively cheesy. Baratza, if you’re out there, I’m practically writing your new marketing campaign for you!

This also brings up a question I’ve been pondering for awhile… Which is the way to go? Do you only sell coffee equipment that is ideal or do you bend on a couple points for the greater good? To be specific, I was wandering through good ol’ Costco the other day and stumbled down the home appliance aisle (One of my favorite). What did I find? Well, a Capresso home coffee grinder. flat burrs (Not great ones either). Selling for a mere $29.99. Now, in our retail store, we sell the Capresso Infinity. We pimp that shit hard at $100. Still the price is a bit high for some of our customers who are a bit ‘concerned with the times.’ Do you sell the flat burr grinder that isn’t ideal for $30, or do you stick to your guns and only sell the quality stuff… while grinding dozen of pounds of coffee for people a day?

For me, the result is in the cup. I think I lean toward freshly (inconsistently) ground coffee as opposed to the stale (even) ground coffee.

Intelligentsia is working on a home brew kit, or something like that… I’m excited to see what comes out of it. Think of how much easier every baristas life would get if people were making good coffee at home! Okay, maybe it’ll make some baristas lives more complicated, but if that’s the case, then maybe they should pursue a different career path. Either way, how much easier is it going to be to sell high end coffee if people can appreciate it. I think anyone who is in this industry can attest to the fact that most people who get hooked on a good sweetened latte can easily get that person drinking stellar 5 oz. capps if the barista just does their job well and builds a strong customer relationship. How much further can it go if you can get that customer drinking amazing siphon coffee on their Sunday mornings! It’s worth working toward and getting excited about.

I hope you can follow that and it make sense. With all that ranted, I’ll go now.

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2 thoughts on “Analogies and T-shirts.

  1. I think the biggest problem is convincing people that something they can do at home in a french press or chemex can result in a quality cup. Most people have tried with terrible results so they think thats it, dont try again. If they see baristas making and appreciating non-espresso based coffees then maybe they’ll follow our lead. Maybe…

  2. I have committed some of these sins, you so speak of – SEND ME TO THE DEPTHS! but I shall quantify myself, as these heinous acts were spent in pursuit of betterment.

    how can one one know bad, without good – where are these limits that are set, and Who defines them? the answer to me lies not in differences of opinion, but in difference in experiece.

    my CHALLENGE to you: widen someones experiece – – without them knowing.

    You, then, define said limits.

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