How can we educate the customers who just want coffee? How can we move the industry foward when there is still so many customers reluctant to read the menu and ask what this and that is?

How can we educate the customers who just want coffee? How do we move the industry foward when there is still so many customers reluctant to read the menu and ask what this and that is?

 

Even with our theatrics of espresso and latte art we still struggle to draw peoples interest to broaden their flavour pallets. Many people still want "a normal coffee"; i ask you what is a normal coffee? It could be anything the barista decides; an americano, a cappuccino, a latte the list goes on. Once people allow themselves to be drawn in they try a few drinks and pick a favourite which becomes their own "normal coffee".

 

How depressing is it when you lay down a swan on somebody's latte and get no reaction? As a barista i love being noticed for my skill and flare in my profession, the sad thing is that many people still do not see that this is a profession; many still think its a poor job "making coffee for a living" but i love it and i am proud of my trade and what i achieve every day. If only some people would recognize that instead of looking down their nose.  

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Simplify. Educate. Deliver beyond expectations.

 

The customers that come long term will be those who recognize your skill, but come for what you deliver in terms of taste and quality in the cup. Often those drawn by "flash" are really not interested in recognizing quality. Learn to how to attract those who appreciate the quality that you bring... substance over style, and that is the same principle that is shared with those who are seeking more than "regular" coffee.

 

Show why coffee can be exceptional.

I've thought about this one a lot.
After sifting through hopes, ideas, inspirations, and witnessing trends...I do not believe the "normal coffee" crowd can be changed, which is fine.

You're absolutely correct too. Even if you succeed in showing someone(s) a drink beyond the norm, or something you they have never tried before (i.e. an avid drip coffee regular falls in love with your americano) it will most likely evolve into their regular coffee routine.

To be honest, I have been guilty of this topic for years. But I do alternate or try something out of my routine occasionally.

I believe 100% in what John says too. Presentation is a cosmetic; important,yes, but still a cosmetic of the drink.

I had times of the day where I allowed myself to educate, get people to try different drinks, or suggest something rarely served or made.
The inevitable morning rush that coffee bars will always see are hard to crack. Too many people at once that really just want something that will wake them up and ease the addiction. I've always just let this crowd be and hope they keep coming back.

The afternoon I could get me hands dirty. You have your addicts that come in, but now, people will be staying for lunch or longer than 5 minutes which gives me time to talk to them and get them where we want them to be: willing and intrigued.

The 5 o'clock jam: (see morning rush)

The evenings are when the bigger fans come out. Of course you have your students and such but that's the time of day where the regular coffee person will not drink coffee in fear of being too buzzed. People who really love the stuff come out when the sun is going down. This is the time where I've had the most success at the long-term, more interested, more willing, and more adventurous type of crowd.

Unless you build an innovative shop, or choose not to market to the regular coffee people, or addicts...I'm afraid it will always be like this until we reach everyone...one sip at a time.

Graeme, hi!  for the simpler part of your question, i would suggest that you give samples.  i have pushed my ice coffee recipes with 1 oz samples and people love it.

 

On the broader issue of people not being adventorous enough, that is a problem everywhere.  i operate in Costa Rica, where you would expect people to go for coffee like there is no end to it but we still get people who are set on their ways and that has nothing to do with what i offer.  Some of my recipes include figs, pineapple, banana/chocolate and that is outside of the normal offer available. what i have found is that giving people the option of sending it back if they dont like it is a good way to get them to try.

 

The most complicated issue is to make people value the artistry that you put into preparing the drink.  You need people who are sensitive to art, and that is not easy to find.  I know the feeling that you expect: i have seen people take pictures of my coffees and ask me to get their picture while posing with my drinks and that is very rewarding.  My only advise is to keep doing your work as best as you could and you will build a clientele that will learn to appreciate your art.

 

Keep up the good work!

How do you educate customers who do NOT want to be educated? Simple: you dont. 
I hold Sacramento (my city) to a standard: while we do have a few companies doing awesome results with their product, Sacramento is still the birthplace of Java City. We (Temple), and Im sure other places of note, have plenty of people who are "regular coffee" people. You know what we do with that person? Make them a french press or V60 of something relatively "safe" in flavor, say, our Brasil Chapadäo de Ferro. I save my breath for the customer who actually is interested. 
Both of our stores see in excess of 300 tickets/day. Awesomely good coffee is always served. Knowledge is readily available when its wanted, always free of charge and attitude. I just dont waste mine or the customers time if they dont want it. 
Thanks for the comment I'd love to get over to costa rica to visit a farm one day and when I eventually do I'll check out your place for some exotic recipes

Matias Zeledon said:

Graeme, hi!  for the simpler part of your question, i would suggest that you give samples.  i have pushed my ice coffee recipes with 1 oz samples and people love it.

 

On the broader issue of people not being adventorous enough, that is a problem everywhere.  i operate in Costa Rica, where you would expect people to go for coffee like there is no end to it but we still get people who are set on their ways and that has nothing to do with what i offer.  Some of my recipes include figs, pineapple, banana/chocolate and that is outside of the normal offer available. what i have found is that giving people the option of sending it back if they dont like it is a good way to get them to try.

 

The most complicated issue is to make people value the artistry that you put into preparing the drink.  You need people who are sensitive to art, and that is not easy to find.  I know the feeling that you expect: i have seen people take pictures of my coffees and ask me to get their picture while posing with my drinks and that is very rewarding.  My only advise is to keep doing your work as best as you could and you will build a clientele that will learn to appreciate your art.

 

Keep up the good work!

If you have not already, pickup the book

 

http://www.amazon.com/How-Win-Friends-Influence-People/dp/0671723650

 

or 

 

http://www.amazon.com/Little-Green-Book-Getting-Your/dp/0131576070/...

 

or other books along these lines.

 

They talk about customer service and how to come across to your customers in a manner that they will listen. If you are serious about working in a field that has sales involved in it these books are priceless!

Cool, that will be awesome...maybe we can exchange recipes.  By the way, we have a course in our farm, to help you go full circle and learn the part from seed to green bean.  If you give me your email i will send you my outline.

 

Matias
Graeme Duhamel said:

Thanks for the comment I'd love to get over to costa rica to visit a farm one day and when I eventually do I'll check out your place for some exotic recipes

Matias Zeledon said:

Graeme, hi!  for the simpler part of your question, i would suggest that you give samples.  i have pushed my ice coffee recipes with 1 oz samples and people love it.

 

On the broader issue of people not being adventorous enough, that is a problem everywhere.  i operate in Costa Rica, where you would expect people to go for coffee like there is no end to it but we still get people who are set on their ways and that has nothing to do with what i offer.  Some of my recipes include figs, pineapple, banana/chocolate and that is outside of the normal offer available. what i have found is that giving people the option of sending it back if they dont like it is a good way to get them to try.

 

The most complicated issue is to make people value the artistry that you put into preparing the drink.  You need people who are sensitive to art, and that is not easy to find.  I know the feeling that you expect: i have seen people take pictures of my coffees and ask me to get their picture while posing with my drinks and that is very rewarding.  My only advise is to keep doing your work as best as you could and you will build a clientele that will learn to appreciate your art.

 

Keep up the good work!

"How can we educate the customers who just want coffee?"

Quite simply, you just do.  When designing the service levels for Spro Hampden, pondered the very same question and decided that it would just happen - through trust and relationship building.  We're not here to ram education down your throat, you have to want it and be open to engagement.  At that point, we have to be ready to answer those questions and fill that void.  We presume that everyone wants and deserves great coffee and do our best to offer each and every guest that great cup in an environment of warm hospitality.

 

Our menu can be quite diverse and complex to read.  For each coffee, we offer tasting notes and a paired brewing method but some people don't want to read and peruse.  They want our recommendation for something terrific (if they have a relationship with us based on trust) but for the newcomer who's worried about trying the "new" place and having a bad experience, we do what we can to lessen the blow.  Our menu is and can be very intimidating to the uninitiated, so when a customer comes in and asks us for a "regular coffee" we have one already chosen for them as our "go to" coffee, and we brew that for them.  No further discussion, no further questions, no muss and no fuss.  Just coffee.

 

The idea is that over time, that customer will discover that we're giving him something tasty to drink.  So compelling that first time that he returns again and again.  Over time, that guest begins to feel comfortable and then starts asking questions.  That's when the education and exchange begins.

 

"How depressing is it when you lay down a swan on somebody's latte and get no reaction? As a barista i love being noticed for my skill and flare in my profession, the sad thing is that many people still do not see that this is a profession;"

 

Bear in mind that what you describe here is not a condition of society, but rather a condition of your ego.  The desire to be noticed for skill and flare is egotism and nothing more.  I urge you to purge that from your thinking for that is the way of the Third Wave: self love and self importance.  Craft is one that you pursue because you want perfection and excellence, not because you want others to laud you.  People notice the craft.  They may not express it, but they do notice.  And then there are those who really notice the details - those are the people you really want to impress because they know their game and they know a player when they see one.  Focus on excellence and the details.  Forget that 3W celebrity mindset.

 

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