These are our current coffee offerings, along with the adjectives I've printed on the menu to describe them. I cupped them all and picked two basic adjectives plus one specific taste to describe each coffee.
sumatra mandheling DP gr. 1: deep, loamy, peppery
ethiopia natural sidama guji gr. 4: sweet, heavy, pb&j
kenya gaturine estate: winey, clean, lime citrus
nicaragua san juan del rio coco: bready, bold, salted caramel
ethiopia sidama bonko wet process: clean, sweet, orange blossom
my dilemma is that i feel that these adjectives (or whatever we use to describe coffee) hold too much power over my consumer's buying patterns. for instance, Starbucks has made "Sumatra" so ubiquitous that customers have made it my best selling coffee, even though personally I think it's best suited as an espresso base and not a pourover (it's not bad at all, it's just a bit...plain.). I could put "stale, astringent, llama dung" as the adjectives and we'd still sell tons of the sumatra. the nicaragua has moved really well in the couple weeks we've carried it as well. my suspicion is that the "salted caramel" is what moves that particular coffee, even though I felt that term best incorporated the sweet and savory elements I tasted.
i think most people on bX would immediately look at our list and think the bonko or kenya would be the most appealing. granted, most of us like fruit bombs, but still. i stand by the other coffees but I don't want people to pick them based on country name or never try anything with a fruity adjective.
my question is: what kind of methods are y'all using to describe your offerings to your customers, and what kind of success have you had getting customers to try various options instead of sticking with the tried and true "coffee-tasting" ones?
We don't necessarily have a full on pour over program in place (though we do offer different brewing methods, work in progress type of thing, lot's training needed to properly execute in three stores)...but I think this may be the best organization of basic taste profiles for the everyday coffee drinker I've seen.
btw, my friend was asking me the other night if I had "ever been to that white house in west asheville for coffee because he had the best coffee ever there!"