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  1. #1
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    Service choices signal your confidence level in the quality of what you do.

    This post is primarily for other coffee shop owners or managers with decision making authority. It's strictly regarding coffee that is craft-brewed by hand.

    When you go into a coffee shop, and they tell you about their house roasted, single-origin coffee that they brew for you by hand... And they ask "Is that to stay or to go?" And while talking, they hold up a ceramic/china cup and a paper cup -- What would you choose? And should it even be a choice?

    Psychologically, what goes through your mind when those are the two options? This simple, but profound choice -- by the owner, not by the customer -- is very telling.

    Let me squash any complete nonsense about "convenience" right off the bat. Craft-brewed coffee by the hand is not about convenience. It's about a certain standard of quality and service.

    So for those who have "to go" as an option for coffees that are craft-brewed by hand, this is what is being projected: The ceramic/china is an invitation. It says, "Come join me, I will make you something beautiful" And as the barista, you know that at some point you have to look them in the eye as they taste the coffee you just made. This shows an absolute confidence in what you are doing, because every sip can be a "Thank you!" or it can be a "F*<# you!" ... but as the barista/owner/roaster etc., you know, you know, or you wouldn't do it.

    Now, conversely, with the same craft-brewed coffee, the "to go" cup is a rejection. It says, "Thanks! I have your money. Now go so you don't notice how average this coffee is until you are outside my door." It shows a lack of confidence in your ability as a roaster, barista, etc. Because if you knew you could only serve it in-house in ceramic/china, you would.

    When you treat (what should be) an expression of your product's quality as a product of convenience, it's reveals everything. The manner with which you treat your highest quality offering, be it a shot of espresso or craft-brewed coffee by hand, says everything about how you think about your quality and the respect it deserves.

    If you improve the quality of what you offer, then you will improve your level of service as well - because at some point, your coffee/espresso deserves it.
    John Piquet
    caffe d'bolla
    Salt Lake City, UT
    caffedbolla.com

  2. #2
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    I am a coffee shop owner in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. Having a so-called "Specialty" coffee shop in 3rd world country, specially another 3rd level city (compared to Guatemala city and Antigua), we run into a lot of difficulties of "being a specialty coffee shop" in my city.

    1. beans : we can not serve "export standard beans". they are not even sorted to separate bad beans from good beans. (which only can be done in a big milling company in Guatemala city)

    2. cups : regular to-go cups. Ceramic cups are too expensive and tend to get lost...

    3. Specialty coffee methods : we have AeroPress, V60, Pour Over, Chemex...etc (but no cold brew or nitro brew because no one drinks that)
    however, again, beans are not up to standards, so they do not come out as good as....mmm... your coffee in caffe d'bolla (I am guessing here :+)

    Any suggestions? to be like your coffee shop?

  3. #3
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    ensoluna,

    A few questions:

    If you go to a restaurant locally, do they serve on paper plates or ceramic/pottery?
    If you go to a bar, do they serve in paper cups or glass?

    Do people there drink coffee at home? If yes, then would they prepare their coffee in a paper cup or a ceramic cup of some sort?

    These are the first questions to pose to yourself when you are thinking about what if you want to consider raising your service standards.

    I understand the reality of different countries, but I also know that if you continue to treat coffee as a product of convenience, then the customer will see it as only that. While I personally believe all by the cup should be in-house only, I also wouldn't do multiple brewing methods, I would pick one and master it. If you enjoy doing multiple brew methods, it's still a solid choice if it works for you. I understand the realities of other environments so perhaps you can pick one method to highlight... like Chemex (as an example) and have that be your premier brewing method. Anything brewed with that method you would then charge a little more for and serve in ceramic only. You have to start somewhere.

    It's up to the shop owners to take the lead and meet basic service standards for coffee that have existed in the food and beverage industries for years. The customer will follow your lead, and they will be happy about it.
    John Piquet
    caffe d'bolla
    Salt Lake City, UT
    caffedbolla.com

  4. #4
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    One of the things I have learned working in Guatemala is to have an open minded mindset, specially about coffee and people/culture/county behind it.
    Having said that, it did not lead me to 100% of understanding of the people/culture that I am working with, however, after few years of working with them, still I am trying to understand and trying to act and be like them because I realize that I can not really insist what I know and what I believe is right to others who have different principles and beliefs.

    One simple fact is that there is greater chance of me being wrong within the culture that coffee has been their livelihood for centuries.

    I am still learning to observe, analyse and discern, and understand the true essence that basic principle of coffee industry and business that I am in.
    Just because I know how to make better Chemex or be able to sell Green coffee to overseas buyers do not mean that I know more or better than a coffee farm worker who has dedicated his entire life picking the perfect beans for us to enjoy.

    Now, I am free of illusions and trying to embrace being wrong.
    Last edited by ensoluna; 06-14-2017 at 05:22 PM.

 

 

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