I should just face it, this will sooner or later become a website about coffee, or heavily influenced by it. The start of this article will be very coffee-focused, but I’ll abstract the topic at the end and make it applicable to everyday interactions. The job has taught me invaluable lessons about communication and that’s part of what I’m trying to expand on.
For my readers who are unfamiliar with the coffee scene, the industry is currently in a very interesting spot. On the one hand, there’s a big push toward specialty-grade products, sustainable farming practices and a fairer treatment of farmers. On the other hand, we face it day in and day out that coffee is still for many people a drug. It’s a necessity, they can’t think before having the first cup.
This puts us in an awkward spot. There are tons of cafes popping up everywhere, the vast majority isn’t doing anything special and have no intention of considering themselves part of the specialty movement.
The specialty movement, meanwhile, is filled with snobbery. It’s filled with baristas and owners turning their noses up at customers who insist on drinking coffee with sugar and milk. There are horror stories of cafés refusing to service guests who order such things.
Here’s the thing: the specialty industry is working with a very delicate product. We know how much work has gone from seed to cup, knowing at the very least the roaster by name. We see our colleagues and bosses filled with passion for the craft. We see a constant push to reach more and provide a better product.
And often we forget the (arguably) most important element of this chain: our customer.