Monday, 2 April 2012

Are you a Coffee Snob ...or just passionate

I had a really interesting chat with someone last week, and they were saying how in their opinion there seemed to be a bit of coffee snobbery going on.  Trying to be impartial I engaged in the discussion.  My thoughts on coffee are that everyone has an opinion on it.. its a hugely subjective topic and I suppose like everything there are people that are really passionate and others that don't care, and just want to get their fix.

I'm no coffee expert, and I never profess to be one.  I do however claim to be somewhat of a cafe expert, I've opened over a dozen directly as a consultant with clients, I've fit out over 100 again as consultant/designer/project based work and I've opened about a dozen of my own projects from cafe's to restaurants, hotels, bars and nightclubs.  So I've been around, lost a few quid, got some scars.

Would I do it all again ? most definately.  I love the catering industry and in the last 10 years I have grown to really like the daytime cafe/coffee shop market.

One thing I feel important to tell people is to keep your product accessible.  The coffee market has changed, single origin beans are 'de rigeur' and there can be some really interesting finds out there.  But if you aim too high and mighty about it all, I fear you will scare off the regular 'cup of jo' drinkers. 

To me, the coffee experience is about educating people, and bringing them on a journey.  Making sure that they are enjoying the offering, your passion and that they can feel like they are learing something new and interesting.  There is no 'one size fits all' when it comes to a coffee offering.  There is skill, patience, learning, and educating..  and as a coffee shop owner - you have to investigate why are you getting (or got) into the business in the first place.  If you are not passionate about food and drink or at least one of them, you'll soon get caught out.. your interest will wain, and your customers will see you don't care.

BUT, if you are passionate your customers will come on that journey, they'll be loyal, they'll stick with you and they'll become your friends.  Don't be a snob, be passionate.

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