Tag Archive for: business

by Jessica Tanski

& Sleeves — Coffee Shop Must-Haves!">Cups, Lids, & Sleeves — Coffee Shop Must-Haves!

Categories: 2013, MarchTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

It is inevitable that dis­pos­able cups, lids, sleeves, and other prod­ucts are an essen­tial tool for all cof­fee shops. Nowadays, the con­sumer cares about more than just their cof­fee, it is about the entire expe­ri­ence. Yes, cups, lids, sleeves, and other dis­pos­able prod­ucts are apart of that cof­fee shop experience.

According to, “Americans throw away 25 bil­lion Styrofoam cof­fee cups each year.” The dis­pos­able cup has become a part of cof­fee con­sumers’ every­day lives. In fact, dis­pos­able cups have more uses than just being a ves­sel to carry your cof­fee in. With san­i­ta­tion being a high pri­or­ity for all food facil­i­ties, the uti­liza­tion of dis­pos­able cups lessens the chances of being exposed to bac­te­ria. No one else has used that cup before you.

Cups and sleeves can be cus­tomized to spread your shop’s brand. Logos and cus­tom design can all be accom­mo­dated to what you want your shop being por­trayed as. Not to men­tion, dis­pos­able cups are less expen­sive than glass or ceramic cups. It costs far less to order a sin­gle paper cup than it would be to replace a bro­ken glass mug.

Below are a few com­pa­nies that you can uti­lize to bring your con­sumers an excel­lent cof­fee shop experience.

arthritisliduVu Technologies
uVu Technologies uti­lizes its tal­ents and ana­lyt­ics’ team skill set to cre­ate food and bev­er­age pack­ag­ing solu­tions. This results in far supe­rior, safer cup lids and dis­pos­able prod­ucts, while rev­o­lu­tion­iz­ing the man­u­fac­tur­ing method­olo­gies in which many dis­pos­able prod­ucts are actu­ally formed. Therefore result­ing in incred­i­ble mate­r­ial sav­ing, cost sav­ing, and reduc­tion in the pro­duc­tion of defec­tive final parts.

Stefan Ebert, Marketing and Sales Manager of uVu Technologies says, “If a shop isn’t con­cerned about its employee and cus­tomer safety, then the uVu lid may not be right for it.”

Stalk Market LogoStalkmarket (Asean Corporation)
This com­pany sells a com­plete line of sin­gle and dou­ble wall insu­lated cups, lids, and jack­ets, all of which are 100 per­cent com­postable, BPI cer­ti­fied, and all made from renew­able plant materials.

Shops uti­liz­ing Stalkmarket prod­ucts are able to demon­strate to their cus­tomers that they are mak­ing the effort towards sus­tain­abil­ity and being more pro-active in their sus­tain­abil­ity efforts than some of the large chains.

President of Stalkmarket, Buzz Chandler, gives a piece of advice, “Local neigh­bor­hood shops are the back­bone of the cof­fee roast­ing indus­try.   Be a leader in your own way.   Don’t worry about the Mega Coffee chains.   Big is not a syn­onym for bet­ter.  Follow your own path.”

Versalite Ad_Coffee Talk_FinalBerry Plastics Corporation
Berry Plastics sells a full line of cups, lids, and pack­ag­ing to meet the needs of their food­ser­vice cus­tomers. They man­u­fac­ture both dis­pos­able and sou­venir drink­ing cups. Their cups are sold into con­ve­nience store, QSR, casual din­ing dis­tri­b­u­tion, and sta­dium and arena markets.

Our lat­est inno­va­tion, Versalite™, pro­vides advanced, durable hot and cold pack­ag­ing solu­tions that have the poten­tial to increase cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion and oper­a­tional effi­cien­cies,” says Foodservice Product Line Manager, Lauren Piekos.

Java Jacket 2Java Jacket
Java Jacket aims to bring the best sleeves at afford­able prices. The com­pany takes pride in their envi­ron­men­tally con­scious ways. They attempt to elim­i­nate exces­sive paper waste and dou­ble cup­ping. Not to men­tion, they empha­size using recy­clable and com­postable, post-consumer paper.

Their cup sleeves are avail­able in two dif­fer­ent sizes and the waf­fle tex­ture of the sleeve pro­vides “grip abil­ity.” While they do offer stock prints, Java Jacket also offers cus­tom print­ing on both white or nat­ural kraft paper in up to six col­ors. Water-based inks are used in their print­ing techniques.

PBFYFlexiblePackaging0314Plastic Bags For You
PBFY car­ries a wide array of dis­pos­able cof­fee pack­ag­ing from foil bags, flat pouches, stand up pouches, and pouches with side gus­sets. Stand up pouches are offered in an assort­ment of col­ors, sizes, mate­ri­als, and styles. These include foil and poly, met­al­ized, win­dowed, and rice paper pouches.

According to their web­site, “The inno­v­a­tive design of these bags max­i­mizes how your prod­ucts are dis­played, while effi­ciently tak­ing up less space.”

These dis­pos­able cof­fee bags are also infused with a one-way degassing valve. The valve is a neces­sity for all pack­aged cof­fee beans. It keeps the cof­fee fresh, and it keeps the pack­age sealed tight and not allows air back into the package.

High-Definition and full-color prints on Visstun’s dis­pos­able paper cups allows for the addi­tion of ALL of your shop’s mar­ket­ing needs. You can print far beyond just your logo. The cups are printed on heavy-duty paper­board to ensure your cups remain sturdy when filled with cof­fee or tea.

They say, “With a dis­pos­able cup, it is crit­i­cal that the pro­mo­tion makes a great first impres­sion.” Make an impres­sion with these cups at your shop, for events, meet­ings, and other events!

Visstun also offers paper cups for your shops snacks as well. You can brand var­i­ous size cups and fill them with your customer’s favorite snacks!

Reach your tar­get mar­ket with a unique and cre­ative way to adver­tise. BriteVision offers not only café own­ers a way to pro­mote their busi­ness even after con­sumers leave the shop, but allows adver­tis­ers to print their mar­ket­ing buzz upon cof­fee sleeves. Their capa­bil­i­ties enable your cup sleeve mes­sage to stay fresh and keep a last­ing impact through­out the year.

BriteVision is a lead­ing media com­pany that invented cup sleeve adver­tis­ing. With mag­a­zine qual­ity print­ing, low min­i­mum orders, fast pro­duc­tion times, and eco-friendly sleeves, there is some­thing for every shop!

Disposable cups, lids, sleeves, and other prod­ucts are all items that all cof­fee shops uti­lize. They are a great way to brand your shop, and by uti­liz­ing the newest tech­nolo­gies, you can keep your cus­tomers safe and happy. Many com­pa­nies now are offer­ing envi­ron­men­tally friendly prod­ucts to meet the needs of var­i­ous consumers

With these prod­ucts being such a big part of the cof­fee shop atmos­phere, why not make them more valu­able and use­ful by cus­tomiz­ing them to empha­size your shop? Brand your shop and make your dis­pos­able prod­ucts stand out from the rest.

Safety is in the Seal
by Stefan Ebert

As more and more indi­vid­u­als are becom­ing injured by unin­tended spills of hot cof­fee due to the cup’s lid, the indus­try called for a safer lid. uVu Technologies aimed to do just that. The uVu lid with pro­pri­etary seal­ing fea­ture is both intu­itive and secure. By pro­vid­ing con­sumers with safer lids, they know that their bev­er­age will stay inside the cup, instead of on their hands or on their lap. This is a huge con­cern for many cof­fee shops, as it could result in dis­sat­is­fied cus­tomers or even lawsuits.

Tony Cervini, COO of Big Apple Bagels/My Duet/My Favorite Muffin (158 stores world-wide), calls it the “best lid in the whole world” and cites com­plete cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion with the user experience.

As we firmly believe, and Tony con­firms, to the cus­tomer a cup is a cup, but ask any cus­tomer about their expe­ri­ence with today’s state of the art lids and you will get a moun­tain of bad (and some­times angry) retorts con­cern­ing the over­whelm­ingly neg­a­tive expe­ri­ences redound across the industry:

The lid pops off all the time!”

The lid spilled all over my laptop!”

The lid ruined my work clothes.”

I was burned when the lid popped off.”  (This story was related to our team by a barista who had to be hos­pi­tal­ized for a week in upstate Michigan).

The cus­tomer wears their cof­fee all over them.”  (This story was told to our team by a store man­ager who, on a daily basis, watched her cus­tomers walk out of the store car­ry­ing a cup of cof­fee while wear­ing gloves, only to see the lid pop off and cof­fee splat­ter all over the customer’s win­ter coat.”).

Just as seri­ous are the litany of civil actions mounted on the basis of hot cof­fee spills, most recently in the mat­ter of Cary v. McDonalds (BC-53250)(Los Angeles Superior Court, Jan. 7, 2014). The Plaintiff alleged per­sonal injury when she was handed a cup of cof­fee at the drive-thru con­tain­ing a lid that was “neg­li­gently placed on the cup in such a way that the lid did not stay on the cup and came off, allow­ing hot cof­fee to spill on Ms. Cary caus­ing her severe per­sonal injury.”    A sim­ple “Google search” will reveal scores of other sim­i­lar per­sonal injury complaints.

We have deter­mined that the inher­ent defect in most hot bev­er­age lids today lies in the fail­ure to cor­rect the method in which a lid seals to a cup.  We have solved this prob­lem and, as the mar­ket shows, our prod­uct is meet­ing rave reviews.  We are com­pletely con­fi­dent that our prod­uct is safer than any other lid and can be a huge asset for any busi­ness as both a mes­sage that they truly care for their customer’s safety, but also as a brand­ing tool for their own business.


NAMA Emerging Leaders">NAMA Emerging Leaders

Categories: 2014, MarchTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

Michael Kelley
Territory Account Manager
Quality Brokerage, Inc.

Completed NAMA’S Executive Development Program
Tri-State Vending Association Board of Director
Emerging Leaders Network

1. What are the skills you use most in your career?
The skill I use most would be com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Effective com­mu­ni­ca­tion is one of the most impor­tant and uti­lized skills in busi­ness. As a Brokerage Firm we have mul­ti­ple points of con­tact, from the man­u­fac­turer, to the dis­trib­u­tor, to the cus­tomer. A key role is to estab­lish direct com­mu­ni­ca­tion between all chan­nels. Additional skills I rou­tinely use would be flex­i­bil­ity, adapt­abil­ity, and man­ag­ing mul­ti­ple pri­or­i­ties. Having the abil­ity to man­age mul­ti­ple assign­ments and tasks and set pri­or­i­ties has proven to be a key skill set impor­tant in an indus­try that is always adapt­ing and changing.

2. How did you get into the vend­ing and refresh­ment ser­vices busi­ness?
In my teenage years, Lou Pace, who is the owner of Quality Brokerage, was then the man­ager of my base­ball team. There I was intro­duced to his son, Lou Pace Jr., who is now more of a brother than a friend. As Louie and I grew up we began work­ing in his father’s busi­ness, pack­ing sam­ple bags, order­ing sam­ples, assist­ing with order place­ment and help­ing pre­pare for trade shows. As Louie and I devel­oped a great work­ing rela­tion­ship, an Account Manager posi­tion opened at Quality Brokerage. Lou Jr. sug­gested to his father to give me the oppor­tu­nity to fill it. I have grate­fully been a part of the Quality Brokerage team for seven years.

3. Give us an idea of your role and key respon­si­bil­i­ties
My role at Quality Brokerage is to man­age sales and busi­ness devel­op­ment. As a Territory Account Manager in the states of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware, I have the respon­si­bil­ity to meet with the vend­ing and OCS oper­a­tors and con­nect them with the prod­ucts and ser­vices of the man­u­fac­tur­ers we rep­re­sent. As a man­u­fac­tur­ers’ part­ner, we are respon­si­ble for hav­ing con­sis­tent and effi­cient call cov­er­age in our ter­ri­tory while pro­vid­ing the oper­a­tors with cat­e­gory man­age­ment infor­ma­tion, Plan-o-Gram assis­tance, as well as rebate and pro­mo­tional pro­grams to max­i­mize sales. Also new item intro­duc­tions and fol­low up are key responsibilities.

4. What does an aver­age day for you include?
Every day brings new oppor­tu­ni­ties and chal­lenges, so again I must be ready to adapt and change to make sure I am pro­vid­ing my cus­tomers with the ser­vices they require. Similar to an oper­a­tor, my day also revolves around my clients. Saturday is my day to pack all of my sam­ple bags, run my cus­tomer reports, and to make sure I have all of my rebates, pro­mo­tions, and pre-book order sheets in order to review with the oper­a­tors dur­ing the week. Once my week begins I travel by car to intro­duce my prod­ucts in face-to-face meet­ings with the key deci­sion makers.

5. What are the biggest chal­lenges you face in your busi­ness?
Legislation and reg­u­la­tions are the biggest chal­lenges we face as an indus­try. It impacts all of our busi­nesses. That is why it is so impor­tant to sup­port your local State Council and NAMA, who both con­tinue to bat­tle these issues on a daily basis.

6. Moving for­ward, what are your personal/professional goals?
Moving for­ward, my per­sonal and pro­fes­sional goals coin­cide. I aim to pro­vide the excel­lent ser­vice and atten­tion my cus­tomers have become accus­tomed to, while exceed­ing our company’s goals and high stan­dards. I would also like to con­tinue to be an asset to my local State Council to ensure the growth and suc­cess of our industry.

7. In your own words, what is the value of par­tic­i­pat­ing in the ELN?
The value of par­tic­i­pat­ing in the Emerging Leaders Network is that it pro­vides an oppor­tu­nity and launch­ing pad for the industry’s up and com­ing and to make their mark and help shape our indus­try for the future! The ELN is a hub for young lead­ers with sim­i­lar goals seek­ing best prac­tices, pro­fes­sional devel­op­ment, and peer net­work­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties, while hav­ing the knowl­edge and expe­ri­ence of trusted men­tors. Being part of a tech-savvy gen­er­a­tion dri­ven by pas­sion, com­mit­ment, and inno­va­tion, I am excited for where our indus­try is headed, and I am look­ing for­ward to being part of an orga­ni­za­tion that is mak­ing the nec­es­sary steps to uti­lize the com­mon­al­i­ties between the mul­ti­ple generations.

8. What is your advice for young peo­ple start­ing their careers in the indus­try?
Get involved with NAMA and your local State Organizations. Network, build rela­tion­ships, be con­fi­dent, and show your pas­sion. Continue your edu­ca­tion through NAMA’s var­i­ous sem­i­nars and pro­grams, such as the Executive Development Program.

As pre­vi­ously pub­lished in NAMA’s InTouch Magazine.

Retailer/Roaster Profile

Categories: 2014, MarchTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

Hi! I am in my home coun­try of Russia in beau­ti­ful Saint Petersburg. Yay! It is still quite hard to find a good cup of cof­fee around here; you usu­ally have to travel across the city for it. It isn’t Seattle with inde­pen­dent cof­fee shops on every cor­ner and hip­sters paint­ing the scene, but very slowly it is get­ting there. There is one place you can count on to get a good fix – Bolshe Coffee! “Bolshe” means “more” in Russian, so More Coffee! Nice sim­ple name, ah? It is also located in a grot. How cool is that? I had a chat with the owner – Nicholas Gotko. Listen up:

V. Please tell us about the cof­fee scene in Saint Petersburg. I have noticed lots of cof­fee shop chains, but not so many inde­pen­dent cof­fee shops around.
G. I believe this year to be the best so far for inde­pen­dent cof­fee shops in Saint Petersburg, and I think that this inter­est will only keep grow­ing until we have enough neigh­bor­hood cof­fee shops to serve all of the locals on every street and cor­ner. Right now, many have to travel far to get a good qual­ity cup in a friendly, relaxed envi­ron­ment. Just in the past year, my team, which includes me, my wife Zoya, and Nicholas and Tatyana Yarlanskie, man­aged to open five inde­pen­dent cof­fee shops. All of these shops have dif­fer­ent names, themes, and carry a local char­ac­ter. Meaning, they are meant pri­mar­ily for clients study­ing and work­ing nearby.

V. I am sure that many of our read­ers are very inter­ested to know more about the specifics of doing busi­ness in Russia. I know that west­ern­ers have that idea that the mafia still rules the streets here, and you also have to have a sig­nif­i­cant startup cap­i­tal to do any kind of busi­ness. Is it so?
G. The mafia isn’t really here any­more, at least not in small busi­ness. It is eas­ier to open your own busi­ness now; no one helps, but at the same time no one inter­feres too much. We didn’t have sig­nif­i­cant startup cap­i­tals; nei­ther did we have rich par­ent spon­sors. We got together with my part­ners, took out some loans, and started work­ing. We real­ized that it would be naïve to com­pete with giant fran­chises. So we decided to play by our own rules. We decided to sell a high qual­ity prod­uct for a lower than mar­ket price, even though we have a dif­fer­ent stan­dard of prepa­ra­tion. For our cof­fee we use a por­tion of 18 – 20 grams instead of the reg­u­lar six to nine grams. In addi­tion to that, our lever cof­fee machines intro­duce a com­pletely dif­fer­ent level for the Russian market.

V. Your spot is cool! A grot sounds like a great fit for a cof­fee shop. Did you have to intro­duce sig­nif­i­cant changes to the place’s archi­tec­ture before you opened?
G. A search for the per­fect place took almost six months. In the end, we got the grot! Until we got the place, the grot was empty for about three years. There were some ques­tion­able beer places here pre­vi­ously, and that is why when we got here, every­thing was pretty beaten up. We had to redo many things using our own hands. We got help for very chal­leng­ing tasks only; break­ing some walls, chang­ing electrics, and prepar­ing every­thing for a paint job. Overall, con­struc­tion and prepa­ra­tion to open took us about a month, so every­thing went pretty quickly. We didn’t change place’s archi­tec­ture, we decided to work with what we had and fit in organ­i­cally. Many believe that a major­ity of your busi­ness expenses should be spent on the inte­rior, but we believe that equip­ment and prod­uct are more impor­tant than fancy walls.

V. Did you get into cof­fee busi­ness right from the begin­ning of your pro­fes­sional career?
G. Before I opened my shops, for almost 10 years I worked as an engi­neer in big cof­fee com­pany, and my part­ner Nicholas was a vice pres­i­dent in a roast­ing com­pany. In the mean time, we also par­tic­i­pated in barista cham­pi­onships and even judged some of them. We are still judges in cham­pi­onships orga­nized by the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe (SCAE). It is a very pres­ti­gious title in cof­fee world. To become a judge, one must take up a really hard exam that lasts four days, and only if passed prop­erly, you would receive an offi­cial cer­tifi­cate. Plus, you have to recon­firm that cer­tifi­cate every two years.
The idea of open­ing our own shops was in our heads for a long time before we started to act on it. The first talk about it was about three or four years ago, but we were too busy with cur­rent work at a time, until finally about a year ago, we started Bolshe Coffee!

V. So what is your secret, why peo­ple love you so much?
G. When we first thought about open­ing up a shop, we had dif­fer­ent vari­ants of what the final result would be. We decided not to play by the rules: we decided to offer excel­lent, some­times even rare cof­fee for an afford­able price. Basically, instead of mak­ing an uptight place with high prices (of which there are many in Russia), we waned to cre­ate a space where every­one has the oppor­tu­nity to drink great cof­fee for a com­fort­able price.

We suc­ceeded in our orig­i­nal task of not to cre­ate a flash that would appear and then blow out. Rather, we cre­ated a place that would become a part of the city’s leg­end that every­one would know about. Our places have con­stant move­ment, action, and life in them. It is really impor­tant for our clients to feel our pres­ence and that we care once inside our shops. We have the envi­ron­ment where one can be com­fort­able and you don’t have to pre­tend that you are some­one else. We com­mu­ni­cate this mes­sage to our clients very clearly. We have peo­ple in expen­sive suites next to sporty clients in shorts. We have mates with dogs and lit­tle chil­dren roam­ing around freely. Our envi­ron­ment is so easy­go­ing. “I want cof­fee and I go get it at Bolshe!” We made it sim­ple as that in Saint Petersburg.

V. Any advice to other busi­ness own­ers like you in both Russia and other coun­tries?
G. I would say learn to con­trol your fears. Our biggest fear was that we weren’t sure if the Russian men­tal­ity would halt our progress – “if some­thing is cheap, then it must be bad.” However, every­thing actu­ally turned out to be great! It was more of a pleas­ant shock for our clients, they were con­fused, “Why is every­thing is so good and why does it cost so lit­tle?!” We love our cus­tomers, and we try to show it in the ways I described ear­lier.
Since we men­tioned fear though, I would say that fear is a good thing! However, it has to be the kind of fear that is moti­va­tional, the one that makes you want to keep going fur­ther, even though you are scared. This kind of fear makes you more care­ful about the qual­ity of your job. Lastly, I would like to add my most impor­tant advice: “Do your job well, and you won’t run away from success!

Bolshe Coffee!

Alexandrovsky Park 3-G,
Saint Petersburg, 197101
Nicholas Gotko

Marketing Miracles

Categories: 2014, FebruaryTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

The term “mar­ket­ing mir­a­cles” is mirac­u­lous for mar­ket­ing pur­poses. I get it. And for those who are not aware of it, the best sell­ing book, Marketing Miracles, by Dan S. Kennedy is full of prac­ti­cal ideas, espe­cially for those in sales.

But, there is noth­ing mirac­u­lous about mar­ket­ing, or to be more pre­cise, mar­ket­ing mir­a­cles. That term is just an odd oxy­moron for me.

Why? Because while mar­ket­ing can result in an amaz­ing or unusual event, the word “mir­a­cle” implies that super­nat­ural forces out­side of our mor­tal con­trol gen­er­ate mir­a­cles. Or, per­haps the word sig­nals that an unex­pected and sur­pris­ing result occurred, pos­si­bly exceed­ing our expec­ta­tions because of some­thing not planned.

Marketing that achieves goals and ful­fills the needs of the cus­tomer is thought­ful and delib­er­ate, or at least it should be. As the English author, Sir Terry Pratchett, wrote, “Just because you can explain it doesn’t mean it’s not still a miracle.”

In this inau­gural arti­cle I want to put forth the prin­ci­ples that guide how mar­ket­ing mir­a­cles hap­pen. Because even if some­one just by chance stum­bled into a mar­ket­ing mir­a­cle and can’t explain how it hap­pened, my money is on the fact that one of the fol­low­ing five prin­ci­ples was in play.

1. Our deci­sions as humans have both ratio­nal and emo­tional com­po­nents. Coffee is not just a prod­uct with its attrib­utes of taste, smell, smooth­ness, caf­feine, etc.; it deliv­ers an expe­ri­ence. We con­sume cof­fee because of its prod­uct ben­e­fits, and these ben­e­fits ful­fill pow­er­ful emo­tional needs such as social­iz­ing, being pro­duc­tive, reduc­ing stress, and even ful­fill­ing the desire for rou­tine.
Application: Align the ben­e­fits of your prod­uct with con­sumer ben­e­fits; per­suade by rea­son, moti­vate by emotion.

2. Perceptions and expe­ri­ences with prod­ucts, ser­vices, or brands have both pos­i­tive and neg­a­tive dimen­sions. These per­cep­tions will vary by your audi­ence and by loy­alty. A few years ago research was con­ducted on a national cof­fee­house brand, and it revealed a strongly neg­a­tive per­cep­tion among infre­quent cof­fee drinkers that its prod­uct had a bit­ter taste because of its roast pro­file. Despite hav­ing a wide selec­tion of other choices and a strong, core loyal audi­ence, the learn­ing led to this com­pany launch­ing a blonde roast in order to con­vince these per­suad­able con­sumers to try a cup.
Application: Leverage your pos­i­tives and neu­tral­ize your neg­a­tives; know your loy­alty continuüm.

3. The choices we make are affected by the con­text in which they are made. Everyday we make deci­sions and we are pre­sented with choices. In the cof­fee cat­e­gory, these choices and deci­sions are made within day parts, occa­sions, loca­tions, our per­sonal needs, influ­ences from oth­ers, and a host of other fac­tors.
Application: Market your brand to match the con­text or sit­u­a­tion in which it is used or could be used.

4. Marketing and how we think about prod­ucts is not lin­ear. A con­sumer can go from being aware of your prod­uct to being loyal, even if they are not famil­iar with it. For exam­ple, how many peo­ple do you know always vote Democrat or Republican, but can they really explain why they are so loyal to these “brands”? Perhaps not all of them can do so, which demon­strates that they do not lin­early move along some mag­i­cal fun­nel from aware­ness to com­mit­ment. We see this often in cof­fee as well, where because of taste pro­files or geo­graphic pride, many peo­ple are loyal to cer­tain brands despite not know­ing that much about them.
Application: Brands must quickly engage across mul­ti­ple touch points and channels.

5. A mar­ket­ing strat­egy is only as good as its results. Marketing should ful­fill some larger objec­tive and goal. Not all mar­ket­ing cam­paigns are geared toward sales. Rather, some­times the objec­tive is to raise aware­ness. But even­tu­ally, that aware­ness should land sales and ulti­mately drive the busi­ness goal.
Application: Measure results to con­firm suc­cess and guide future efforts.

I believe in mir­a­cles. After 45 years of dis­ci­pline, reg­i­men­ta­tion, and edu­ca­tion from Jesuit priests, Holy Cross broth­ers, and St. Joseph sis­ters, you can trust that I believe in mir­a­cles. But even mir­a­cles, and mar­ket­ing mir­a­cles, hap­pen for a rea­son. The prin­ci­ples detailed in this arti­cle shed light on how you the reader can cause a mir­a­cle in marketing.

In future arti­cles, we’ll use these prin­ci­ples and this frame­work to go in depth and illu­mi­nate how peo­ple, prod­ucts, ser­vices, and brands made mar­ket­ing mir­a­cles happen.

Mike Dabadie is the founder of Heart+Mind Strategies, LLC, a research con­sul­tancy that con­tin­ues to pio­neer the use of personal-values insights and mar­ket­ing. He can be reached at

The Last Mile

Categories: 2014, FebruaryTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

As cliché as it may sound, cof­fee is in my blood.   Some of my ear­li­est and warmest mem­o­ries are of my grandmother’s kitchen, a well-worn moka pot gen­tly bub­bling (which I would later dis­cover isn’t a good thing!) on the stove, fill­ing the room with rich and famil­iar aro­mas.  My mother Silva worked her entire career in qual­ity con­trol at illy Caffé’s head­quar­ters in Trieste, the Adriatic port city in north­east­ern Italy where cof­fee first entered Europe in the 16th cen­tury.  Coffee was all around me, and I loved it.  Therefore, becom­ing a barista was the nat­ural thing to do, and a deci­sion that pays rewards every sin­gle day; with every stu­dent who learns to cre­ate that per­fect espresso, rich crema beau­ti­fully intact, and every smile on the faces of cof­fee lovers, their tongues painted with a lit­tle some­thing that brings pure pleasure.

I was hon­ored when the owner of CoffeeTalk invited me to con­tribute a recur­ring col­umn that gives the barista’s point of view on our indus­try.   This kind of reg­u­lar voice is vital in America; where baris­tas don’t enjoy the pro­fes­sional stand­ing that baristi do in my home coun­try, even though they have become a part of every­day life, every­where, from cut­ting edge down­towns to sub­ur­ban malls.

I’ve spent almost four years as illy’s Master Barista for North America. The expe­ri­ence has been ener­giz­ing.  For one, I’ve gained immense appre­ci­a­tion and respect for the pas­sion­ate com­mu­nity of baris­tas, café own­ers, hos­pi­tal­ity exec­u­tives, and oth­ers who make up the cof­fee pro­fes­sion in this coun­try.  There is an incred­i­ble desire to learn, inno­vate, delight, and take the craft of cof­fee to a higher place.  It is a spirit that is last felt in my coun­try in the 1930s and 1940s, when Italian-engineered refine­ments to espresso mak­ing (some pio­neered by my company’s founder, Francesco Illy) gave rise to an era of rapid inno­va­tion and growth.  You can find excel­lent cof­fee through­out much of Italy, a kind of birthright, like great burg­ers here in the United States, but you don’t find the energy that comes with, what might be called, the “young adult­hood” phase that cof­fee in the U.S. is in today.

Illy brought me to the U.S. for rea­sons that explain this column’s title: mak­ing sure that our coffee’s very last, most crit­i­cal, trans­for­ma­tional steps are han­dled prop­erly.   My com­pany is mani­a­cal (in the best of ways) about opti­miz­ing qual­ity at every link along the cof­fee chain.  We pur­chase beans directly from farm­ers on four con­ti­nents who meet our high stan­dards for qual­ity, many of whom we edu­cate on sus­tain­able agro­nom­i­cal and busi­ness prac­tices; teach and finan­cially sup­port ecologically-responsible pro­cess­ing, like the semi-washed method that we helped revive; roast and per­form more than 100 qual­ity checks at our one plant in Trieste; and pack­age our cof­fee with inert gas to pro­long its freshness.

But none of it is any good if prepa­ra­tion is sub­par, if that last mile isn’t walked in the right shoes.  My main mis­sion is to spread barista best prac­tices, if you will, to make sure that every whole bean ground, every shot pulled, every Chemex poured, and every cof­fee drink cre­ated does jus­tice to every step that came before and cre­ates plea­sure in the cup.  I spend about half of my days on the road, vis­it­ing illy accounts of all vari­eties, from major resorts to cor­ner cafes, diag­nos­ing equip­ment, gaug­ing knowl­edge, con­duct­ing on-site train­ing, and teach­ing cof­fee bev­er­age cre­ation that con­nects the dots from what hap­pens at the farm to the cup right in front of us.  The idea is to pro­vide a big­ger pic­ture of the under­stand­ing of cof­fee that puts into con­text every detail and action behind the bar, and indeed help baris­tas, man­agers, and own­ers see why no detail is too small.

My goal is to bring that phi­los­o­phy to life in ways that mat­ter for loyal read­ers of CoffeeTalk.  Whether you are a roaster, an equip­ment man­u­fac­turer, logis­ti­cian, dis­trib­u­tor, or café owner, I hope that see­ing the world through a barista’s eye can help inform deci­sion mak­ing, inspire inno­va­tion, or sim­ply pro­vide an occa­sional thought worth clip­ping and keeping.

Topics will be as wide-ranging as cof­fee itself.   One issue may bring prac­ti­cal advice on prin­ci­ples of bev­er­age cre­ation; the next, could be a bigger-picture take on the indus­try itself.   I’ll write about dynamic baris­tas and other pro­fes­sion­als that I meet on the road and at home in New York, with inspir­ing sto­ries to share.  And I won’t shy away from tak­ing a stand.  (Sneak pre­view: play­ing around with the clas­sic for­mula for espresso prepa­ra­tion: not always a good idea!)

I look for­ward to your com­ments and opin­ions, and I invite you to fol­low me on Twitter (@Giorgio_Milos) and at

Giorgio Milos is illy’s award-winning Master Barista and illy’s North American Barista in Residence who reg­u­larly ven­tures beyond the cup to study the biol­ogy and chem­istry of the cof­fee bean, con­tin­u­ally striv­ing to mas­ter the bev­er­age that is his pas­sion and profession.

On the Shoulders of Giants

Categories: 2014, FebruaryTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

How do you com­pete with giants in the super­mar­ket cof­fee aisle?
Phil Johnson learned that les­son early on in his career.  In doing so, he brought gourmet cof­fee into the nation’s gro­cery stores and turned a loss leader item into a qual­ity profit producer.

The Early Years
Johnson grew up the old­est of three chil­dren in Everett, Washington.  After high school, he went to work at the nearby Scott Paper Company in the ship­ping depart­ment.  “I couldn’t afford col­lege at the time,” Johnson said, “So the Army made sense. The Army taught me dis­ci­pline, lead­er­ship, respon­si­bil­ity, and con­vinced me that I had inner reserves.”

After ser­vice, First Lieutenant Johnson moved back to Everett and started work­ing for The Boeing Company on the first 747.  While he rec­og­nized the high qual­ity prod­uct that they were pro­duc­ing, he was not sat­is­fied with the lack of oppor­tu­nity to be rewarded for indi­vid­ual achieve­ment in the work­place.  With a strong work ethic, he felt that if he worked smarter and harder than the oth­ers, then he should be rewarded in kind.

From this real­iza­tion, he knew he wanted some­thing more. Johnson’s cousin told him to con­sider sales.  “Phil,” he said, “you look good, and you’ve got the gift of gab.  In sales, you can get an expense account and car allowance.”

Getting a Start
Johnson started his con­sumer prod­uct sales career with Scott Paper and stayed with them for four years.  He then went to work for Liggett & Myers Tobacco in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, but he was asked to move fre­quently and longed to return to Everett.

Johnson explained that his cousin, who talked him into sales in the first place, then hired him into the gro­cery whole­sale busi­ness.  He worked for his cousin and then later decided to open his own food bro­ker­age business.

The busi­ness did not work, but fail­ing became a great teacher,” Johnson said.  “When the busi­ness fal­tered, one of my clients, Good Host Foods, offered me a job sell­ing cof­fee to restau­rants.”  Johnson’s life moved in a new direction.

A New Opportunity
Back in the late 70’s when Johnson started work­ing for Good Host Foods, there was vir­tu­ally no gourmet cof­fee at the super­mar­ket level.  Good Host’s main busi­ness was insti­tu­tional cof­fee.   Johnson wanted to get back involved in con­sumer prod­uct sales at the retail level by tak­ing Good Host prod­ucts and putting them into the retail stores; but how could he com­pete with the major national brands and the strong west coast regional brands?

Our com­pany offered spe­cialty cof­fees and sold it to spe­cialty stores in 100 pound bags, so I asked myself, ‘How can gourmet brands com­pete in a pre-packaged mar­ket­place?’” Johnson said.

While research­ing the cof­fee aisle, he phys­i­cally ran into a Hoodie nut dis­play unit and the light bulb went off.  Coffee could flow through grav­ity fed dis­penser bins, the con­sumer could see the prod­uct, smell the prod­uct, and if the dis­play unit was built prop­erly, they could grind the prod­uct in the store to take home.

Johnson thought it was the only way he could com­pete and at the same time offer con­sumers a gourmet cof­fee prod­uct that hereto­fore was only avail­able in spe­cialty stores.

Millstone Coffee was Born
After a cou­ple of years, Good Host elected to sell their only US branch, giv­ing Johnson the oppor­tu­nity to acquire from them the retail gourmet cof­fee busi­ness that he suc­cess­fully devel­oped for them.  In 1981 he acquired the busi­ness, renamed it Millstone Coffee, and a new busi­ness was born.

Johnson was sure there was a cer­tain por­tion of the pop­u­la­tion that, if a gourmet cof­fee prod­uct were offered in a super­mar­ket set­ting, sales would increase for the retailer and pro­vide them with a profit mar­gin that they weren’t receiv­ing on national branded cof­fees, a prod­uct that had pre­vi­ously been a loss-leaders.

The premise was that Millstone would sup­ply and main­tain the equip­ment at the store level, deliver the prod­uct at the store level, mer­chan­dise the prod­uct, keep the dis­play unit clean, and ensure that the prod­uct was fresh.  The only thing the retailer had to do was check the prod­uct in at the back door and check the prod­uct out to the con­sumer at the front door at a healthy profit.

From Millstone Coffee to Cascade Coffee
Millstone Coffee rode the spe­cialty cof­fee wave from 1981 to 1995 when Johnson sold the com­pany to Proctor & Gamble.  At that time, the com­pany was national in scope and was grow­ing at about 30 per­cent per year.  Upon sell­ing the busi­ness to P&G, Johnson cre­ated Cascade Coffee and sold por­tions of it to his employ­ees, who then ran the com­pany.  They signed a con­tract with P&G to pro­duce prod­uct for them, and today, Cascade Coffee employs approx­i­mately 200 peo­ple and roasts cof­fee for some of the largest cof­fee com­pa­nies in the United States.

In the early years of Cascade’s devel­op­ment, Johnson stepped away from the busi­ness, learned how to grow cof­fee in Kona, and in the last few years, Johnson has rejoined the busi­ness, reunit­ing with the tal­ented core team he attrib­utes to the suc­cess of Millstone Coffee. Much to his delight, his son and his wife have joined the group in mak­ing Cascade Coffee one of the pre­mière con­tract man­u­fac­tur­ers in the country.

Johnson’s entry into the gourmet cof­fee busi­ness at the retail level led many con­sumers to dis­cover the won­der­ful bev­er­age of gourmet cof­fee.  The cat­e­gory has changed dra­mat­i­cally since the incep­tion of Johnson’s idea back in 1979.  The con­sumer is now used to gourmet cof­fee and accepts it in a ground, pre-pack form that is read­ily avail­able in super­mar­kets, in many vari­eties from many dif­fer­ent man­u­fac­tur­ers.  Where in the early and mid-90’s, a super­mar­ket would have eight to 16 feet of bulk dis­penser units, they now have eight to 16 feet of pre-packed gourmet cof­fee.  The busi­ness con­tin­ues to evolve with the advent of sin­gle serve cof­fee that is still in its infancy.

Through it all, Cascade Coffee’s com­mit­ment to qual­ity and ser­vice keep them on the lead­ing edge of a still grow­ing industry.

Phil Johnson, Founder Millstone Coffee, CEO, Cascade Coffee, Inc.

Start-up Strategies

Categories: 2014, FebruaryTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

Think­ing of open­ing a cof­fee shop? As in any busi­ness, care­ful plan­ning is vital to suc­cess. Here are some strate­gies to ensure that your cof­fee shop gets off to a sen­sa­tional and prof­itable start.

Lead with loca­tion. As in most retail ven­tures, loca­tion can make or break your cof­fee shop. Search for a highly vis­i­ble spot on the way to, or near, an area where prospec­tive cus­tomers work, go to school, shop, or travel. This is because at least 60 per­cent of spe­cialty cof­fee pur­chases occur in the morn­ing. The best loca­tions are on the side of the road because of morn­ing traf­fic and the high traf­fic vol­ume dur­ing morn­ing rush hour. A large vol­ume of pedes­trian traf­fic is another pos­i­tive loca­tion factor.

Good loca­tions often can be found in or near:
•    Downtown office build­ings
•    Colleges and Universities
•    Tourist areas with a high vol­ume of pedes­trian traf­fic
•    Strip malls with high-volume traf­fic
•    Airports

Location is so impor­tant that you may need to wait for the right spot to open up. The rent of your loca­tion should take up no more than 15 per­cent of your oper­at­ing expenses in the first year.

Think effi­ciency when arrang­ing your shop. By speed­ing up the drink prepa­ra­tion and cus­tomer ser­vice, the ideal cof­fee bar lay­out can boost prof­its by 20 per­cent or more. People hate to wait, espe­cially when they haven’t had their morn­ing jolt of java yet. Set up equip­ment and ingre­di­ents within easy reach of the barista. Locate the cash reg­is­ter within two steps of the espresso machine. Your cus­tomers will mar­vel at how speed­ily and grace­fully your baris­tas and cashiers fill their orders.

Buy the best. Specialty cof­fee cus­tomers are pas­sion­ate about the qual­ity and ori­gin of their cof­fee. One strat­egy to attract and keep cus­tomers is to gain a rep­u­ta­tion for serv­ing the best drinks in town. So don’t skimp on prod­ucts or equip­ment. Any money saved by buy­ing lower-grade beans or used equip­ment in the begin­ning will be lost sev­eral times over as cus­tomers leave your shop and don’t come back.

The espresso machine is the heart of any cof­fee shop. Buy the best machine and learn how to main­tain it prop­erly. Remember, if the espresso machine goes down, so does your business!

Top-quality cof­fee beans, syrups, milk, and other ingre­di­ents are essen­tial to your suc­cess. Rigorously taste-test the cof­fee you plan to serve and only order from roast­ers that guar­an­tee qual­ity and fresh­ness. To keep inven­tory costs low, find sup­pli­ers who can deliver top-notch ingre­di­ents as you need them.

Make mar­ket­ing a pri­or­ity. Too many coffee-shop own­ers think cus­tomers will appear as if by magic once they open their doors. In real­ity, mar­ket­ing must be an ongo­ing pri­or­ity. Marketing begins with promi­nent out­door sig­nage, your in-store menu, and point-of-purchase dis­plays. You also need an online pres­ence, such as a web­site or Facebook page that is updated reg­u­larly. You need to reach out to poten­tial cus­tomers who will be dri­ving or walk­ing past your store. I dis­cussed mar­ket­ing tech­niques in the March and April 2013 issues of CoffeeTalk.

Get hands-on train­ing. Thorough train­ing for both own­ers and baris­tas is one of the most crit­i­cal fac­tors in start­ing and run­ning a suc­cess­ful cof­fee house. You’ll need in-depth instruc­tion from experts cov­er­ing every­thing from oper­at­ing your equip­ment, to prepar­ing drinks, and more. I reviewed train­ing essen­tials in the June 2013 issue of CoffeeTalk.

Wow cus­tomers with incred­i­ble ser­vice. Happy cus­tomers become loyal cus­tomers. These indi­vid­u­als make word-of-mouth rec­om­men­da­tions that bring in new cus­tomers. Set the stage for out­stand­ing ser­vice by hir­ing friendly and out­go­ing baris­tas and cashiers. Make sure you greet every­one who comes into your shop with a smile and a friendly wave or “hello.” One key to repeat busi­ness is to know what your cus­tomers want as they walk in the door. This makes cus­tomers feel spe­cial and increases the speed with which you can serve them. Of course, great cus­tomer ser­vice doesn’t occur in a vac­uum. It’s inte­grally tied to all other facets of your cof­fee house, from store lay­out to equip­ment to staff training.

Turn clean­li­ness into a com­pet­i­tive edge. You only get one chance to make a first impres­sion, so make sure your cof­fee shop remains first-date-ready through­out the day. Set up clean­ing rou­tines so that the park­ing lot remains litter-free, your glass win­dows sparkle, tables are quickly cleared and cleaned, and the restrooms are spot­less. In many areas, your busi­ness may be sub­ject to unan­nounced health inspec­tions. Make sure you’re always prepared!

Greg Ubert, founder and pres­i­dent of Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea, has been roast­ing cof­fee in small batches since 1991 and has taught hun­dreds of busi­ness own­ers how to run suc­cess­ful inde­pen­dent cof­fee houses. Greg can be reached at

Retailer/Roaster Profile

Categories: 2014, FebruaryTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

Hello every­one! Lets hear from the owner of Booskerdoo Coffee Company, James Cavelry! This super suc­cess­ful and super pos­i­tive busi­ness­man is here with us today:

V. Great to be here with you James! How did the idea for Booskerdoo Coffee Company come along, and how did it develop? Was spe­cialty cof­fee your first seri­ous pro­fes­sion, or did you do some­thing else before?
C. Booskerdoo Fresh Roasted Coffee Company offi­cially started in 2011 with our shop and roast­ery in Monmouth Beach, NJ. However, it really started in a tiny New York City apart­ment in 2009. I was 27 years old, and I was a free­lance copy­writer for a vari­ety of adver­tis­ing and mar­ket­ing agen­cies. I had never liked cof­fee, even though I worked at Starbucks in col­lege, until some­one gave me good qual­ity fresh roasted cof­fee. I drank it black and fell in love with it. I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I started to obsess over find­ing fan­tas­tic cof­fee, but even in New York City, fresh roasted cof­fee was hard to find.

I had read online that you could roast your own cof­fee in a basic oven with a pizza sheet. So I tried it. I had read it would be smoky. I cooked it into the sec­ond crack, and oh my good­ness, black smoke filled the tiny apart­ment as if we had caught the whole build­ing on fire. Luckily, my wife Amelia found it as hilar­i­ous as I did. We tried the cof­fee the next day and it was the best cof­fee we had ever had. It was a Colombia Supremo, noth­ing fancy. I real­ized then that a niche needed to be filled; fresh cof­fee made eas­ily acces­si­ble to every­day cof­fee drinkers. I was not happy work­ing in offices, the pol­i­tics and the flu­o­res­cent light­ing was melt­ing my brain. So my wife and I scrounged up our sav­ings and started a cof­fee com­pany. I drank thou­sands of cups of cof­fee, researched like crazy, and roasted on a home roaster for a year. I had some friends of fam­ily who roasted pro­fes­sion­ally, so I drove to Brooklyn to learn from them. The best advice I received was to always taste what you roast and when it tastes great, do what­ever you did again. My obses­sion con­tin­ues today.

V. What chal­lenges did you face and how did you deal with them?
C. Our biggest chal­lenge is that we essen­tially oper­ate three busi­nesses: two cafes, whole­sale, and online sales. It feels like we are herd­ing cats some­times. My to-do lists every­day are very long with a lot of lit­tle things to do. My head spins quite a lot. There are two things that I do to keep things mov­ing smoothly: 1. I trust my employ­ees. I give them respon­si­bil­ity and allow them to learn from mis­takes to make the respon­si­bil­ity their own. 2. I will for­ever main­tain the rule, that myself and our employ­ees must focus on each cus­tomer, one at a time. No mat­ter how much stuff I have to do, I must always take the time to give each cus­tomer the atten­tion they need. No mat­ter how large our com­pany grows, this rule must never change.

V. I love your awe­some name, Booskerdoo! How did you come up with it?
C. We wanted a name that had no def­i­n­i­tion because we wanted to give the name mean­ing. My wife was a Latin teacher in Harlem, so I had planned to sit down with her and find pre­fix and suf­fix options that had the emo­tional brand ele­ments that we wanted to dis­play. It didn’t end up being that com­pli­cated. It ended up going like this: Amelia started call­ing me Boo, then Boosker, and then finally Booskerdoo. She ran­domly said one morn­ing at break­fast, “You should call the cof­fee com­pany Booskerdoo.” I laughed at her, “Yeah right, that is kind of stu­pid,” I said. About ten min­utes later I brought the topic back up. “I can’t get the name Booskerdoo out of my head… that is a really good name, lets use it.” Our brand is about energy, pos­i­tiv­ity, and not tak­ing our­selves too seri­ously. The pre­fix “boo” has energy, the suf­fix “doo” is very pos­i­tive, and the name as a whole is a lot of fun and a bit silly. Amelia is a genius.

V. What kind of advice/secrets would you give to those start­ing this kind of busi­ness now (both roast­ing and retail)?
C. In retail, we focus on the idea that we don’t sell cof­fee; we are in the busi­ness of mak­ing peo­ple happy. Coffee is just the con­duit. My advice is to fol­low that belief. If you have great cof­fee, but your baris­tas are snobs, you will lose a lot of cus­tomers. If you have nice employ­ees and great cof­fee, but your park­ing sit­u­a­tion will piss cus­tomers off, you won’t have a lot of busi­ness either. Any busi­ness is all about the root of human exis­tence… hap­pi­ness. As for roast­ing, I would sug­gest to any­one start­ing out to not believe every­thing that you read on the Internet. Read blogs and mes­sage boards, but try out what you read, and lis­ten to the taste buds of your­self, employ­ees, and cus­tomers. For exam­ple, to today’s cof­fee con­nois­seurs and in all of their talk on the Internet, it says that light roasted cof­fee is the only cof­fee worth drink­ing. However, our two cafes and whole­sale clients sell and pur­chase more dark roast than light roast cof­fee. To me, that dis­con­nect says a lot.

V. What is unique about you? What sep­a­rates you from oth­ers?
C. There are two points of dif­fer­ence that we focus on. One is lit­eral and the other is emo­tional. Our lit­eral point of dif­fer­ence is our focus on fresh cof­fee. We roast the same day that we mail it out, and we deliver to our whole­sale clients in the same man­ner. In our cafes, we never sell any­thing that has been roasted more than 7 days old. We roast twice a week, so most of our cof­fee is between only one to four days young. We donate all expired cof­fee to our local Red Cross chapter.

The emo­tional point of dif­fer­ence is best described in what reads on our crest, “fresh roasted cof­fee for all.” We focus on inclu­siv­ity. We don’t sneer at café cus­tomers who drink decaf or who have never heard of a mac­chi­ato. Like I men­tioned before, we focus on mak­ing peo­ple happy, and that includes every­one. We work very hard to bring excep­tion­ally good cof­fee to the every­day cof­fee drinker. We don’t focus pri­mar­ily on the cof­fee con­nois­seur, although they love our cof­fee too. We take a lot of pride when we turn the 7/11, Starbucks, or Dunkin Donuts drinkers into cof­fee lovers who can’t drink any­thing else but Booskerdoo.

V. What is your roaster’s brand and its capac­ity?
C. We use a Diedrich IR-12. We love it. Diedrich claims you can roast up to 25 pounds at a time. However, for qual­ity, we have found that we can’t put more than 22 pounds into the machine. But that is our only com­plaint of the IR-12. As we look for a sec­ond roaster, we’ll be buy­ing Diedrich again.

V.  Anything else to say to our cof­fee com­mu­nity?
C. I have just one thing left to say, “Coffee Rules.”

Maxim Vershinin has been a colum­nist for CoffeeTalk for the last few years high­light­ing var­i­ous roast­ers and retail­ers in the indus­try. He has lived in Peru for the last few years and is now fur­ther­ing his edu­ca­tion at Columbia University seek­ing a B.A. in economics.

Booskerdoo Coffee Company

36 Beach Road, Suite 9,
Monmouth Beach, NJ 07750
(732) 222‑0729
James Caverly

Four Opportunities

Categories: 2013, DecemberTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

Healthy Opportunity: The dri­ving force behind the health and well­ness move­ment is Opportunity. Opportunities exist across the board, across America. The sur­veys are show­ing the trend. The mar­ket demand is clear. Your busi­ness can thrive among a clus­ter of com­pe­ti­tion seek­ing to out­per­form you in the health and well­ness arena. Reach for the fresh fruit, the nat­ural and organic choices, energy boosts, less sugar and carbs, the more menu inno­va­tion that dif­fer­en­ti­ates you, can put you a step ahead.

America is Primed and Ready. America is already run­ning to a greater con­scious­ness about calorie-intake, organic foods and sup­ple­ments, and disease-prevention via good nutri­tion. They might stop for a sugar-glazed donut once in a while, but they’ll take the health­ful, vitamin-rich choices at every other oppor­tu­nity; new oppor­tu­ni­ties arrive every day.

Would you Like Repeat Customers? Give them what they’re look­ing for: a menu board cen­tered on healthy choices. You’ve got a guar­an­teed four-opportunities a day: break­fast, lunch, din­ner, and the snacks in-between. Make each oppor­tu­nity count. Your cus­tomer base will come in look­ing at options. Give them sweets, they’ll take one and see you again maybe next month. Give them the option of adding a mul­ti­vi­t­a­min boost to their frappé, smoothie, or iced cof­fee, and as the trends show, they will visit you more often. Most peo­ple are in a rush, and they’re look­ing for con­ve­nience. They eat every day, and they visit a cof­fee con­cept every day. Offer them a quick, healthy option, and you’ve got your­self a reg­u­lar customer.

Marketing Healthy Menu Items is Easy. Most man­u­fac­tur­ers of frappé mixes, chai mixes, and smoothie mixes have fol­lowed Starbucks’ lead and reduced the amount of sugar, trans fats, and high fruc­tose corn syrups. So, if you are buy­ing from the same drink mix man­u­fac­tur­ers that you were using even two or three years ago, you have already begun to serve health­ier drinks! If your refrig­er­ated drink case con­tains Functional RTD Beverages such as Vitamin Water, Energy Drinks, Arizona Iced tea with gin­seng, Horizon Organic milk for­ti­fied with Calcium and Vitamin D, then you are cur­rently pro­vid­ing what your cus­tomers want– healthy menu items.

Example: Starbucks Buys Evolution Juice. “This is the first of many things we’re going to do around health and well­ness. We’re not only acquir­ing a juice com­pany, but we’re using this acqui­si­tion to build a broad-based, multi-million dol­lar health and well­ness busi­ness over time.”- Howard Schultz, chair­man and CEO, Starbucks Corporation

What the Leaders in the Coffee Industry are Doing. Because the lead­ers are the ones who have the where­withal to study con­sumer trends, you should apply their tac­tics to your shop as well.  When they make changes, those changes are a reflec­tion of con­sumer research.

There’s No Way to Miss the National Health & Wellness Movement. The con­sumer is demand­ing health­ier menu items. You can cap­i­tal­ize on that, and here’s how to do it: Healthier menu items with less fat and sug­ars; Drinks with added vit­a­mins and boosts; Packaged grab-and-go snacks and sand­wiches with reduced fat and higher pro­tein contents.

Research Shows It. “Fresh fruit is not only the top snack food con­sumed in America, it is also one of the fastest grow­ing,” accord­ing to the sum­ma­tion of research con­ducted by National Purchase Dairy. “Taking the who, what, when, and where of fresh fruit con­sump­tion into account, the point to be made is that fresh fruit is a top-of-mind snack with most con­sumers,” says Darren Seifer, National Purchase Diary.

Health: Who’s con­cerned about health? Your cus­tomers, most impor­tantly. The major play­ers are show­ing their con­cern for meet­ing that demand: Starbucks, PepsiCo Brands, the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, The Partnership for a Healthier America, the American con­sumer … and you too, right?

Innovation. Consumer trends indi­cate a need for more than just a cup of cof­fee, and they’re look­ing for more than just a banana on a tray. The big com­pa­nies are step­ping up inno­va­tion, intro­duc­ing unique prod­ucts, and build­ing a menu board that is directed towards Health and Wellness. If it is just cof­fee you’re offer­ing your cus­tomers will still be attracted to inno­va­tion. The demand is there for sup­ple­ment boosts added into the bev­er­ages. They’re look­ing for nutri­tional boosts in the refrig­er­ated bev­er­age case as well, like Vitamin Water, Energy drinks, and bot­tled teas with boosts in them.

Originally, the cof­fee shop served cof­fee and pas­tries. Next came the frappé and the smooth­ies. Now, boosts are being added to the blended bev­er­ages, pas­tries are get­ting their sugar con­tent dropped, and the ready-to-drink bev­er­ages have gone from sim­ple bot­tled water, to choices includ­ing bot­tled nutri­tion and energy drinks.

Get Noticed by Telling Your Customers. Make your­self known. If you’re using the same prod­ucts you were using sev­eral years ago, chances are that you are already sell­ing lower sugar-content bev­er­ages. The man­u­fac­tur­ers have already done most of the work by chang­ing their ingre­di­ent base. The dif­fer­ence now is whether or not you are let­ting your cus­tomers know it. Surveys show that peo­ple are look­ing for, pre­fer­ring, and will­ing to pay more, based on key words. Put sig­nage on your win­dows or your walls. Tell your sales team to talk it up with the cus­tomers. In sum­ma­tion, if you’re not geared toward health and well­ness, get on board. If you already are on board, put the word out where your cus­tomers can see it.

Making Sustainability Sustainable Along With Many Other Words

Categories: 2013, DecemberTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

When writ­ing about the State of the Industry in our won­der­ful cof­fee world, there are a num­ber of words that can be used. That num­ber of words is shrink­ing, how­ever, as we col­lec­tively emas­cu­late them through overuse or agenda dri­ven usage. If this con­tin­ues we will have no words left! It’s OUTRAGEOUS! It’s EVIL!

The point is, that words which once meant some­thing severe like OUTRAGEOUS and EVIL, no longer carry the ‘ummph’ because our first reac­tion to some­thing starts at these lev­els. To say that a per­son swoop­ing in to steal a park­ing spot exe­cuted an OUTRAGEOUS act per­pe­trated by an EVIL per­son should be con­sid­ered a bit over­stat­ing of the facts. Perhaps it should have been an INCOSIDERATE act by a THOUGHTLESS per­son. Hyperbole rules the day, dimin­ish­ing our abil­ity to use cer­tain words.

The cof­fee indus­try has been around for a while and only con­tin­ues to grow. The words are in dan­ger of IMMINENT ERADICATION if we don’t try to save them! Let’s look at some exam­ples of words that have lost their meaning.

Green:  It used to be a badge of honor that you went above and beyond to pro­tect the planet. If you oper­ated in a Green Way, you accepted higher oper­a­tional costs for the greater good. You led by exam­ple as you blazed a high moral trail. Then came the ‘green­wash­ing,’ where if a com­pany used 25 per­cent recy­cled paper in their enve­lope stock they proudly dis­played some newly crafted ‘earth-do-gooder’ logo on their busi­ness card and adver­tis­ing. This word is so badly beaten up, that a com­pany could just paint their build­ing green and pro­fess to be nur­tur­ing the planet.

Fair: Brought into the cof­fee indus­try pri­mar­ily in the con­text of Fair Trade where the gen­eral under­stand­ing was that if you believed in fair busi­ness prac­tices then every­one in the sup­ply chain should make a profit and no one got squeezed. Fair in our indus­try is incred­i­bly impor­tant because in many of the pro­duc­ing coun­tries our sup­pli­ers have to walk away from their homes and jobs because the mar­ket forces have dic­tated some falsely low num­ber below the cost to pro­duce. On the other end of the chain, if the retailer can’t make any prof­its due to high cost of goods, then they close and can’t buy cof­fee. At some point fair became divi­sive. Groups with agen­das wielded Fair as a sword to smite down those that did not see fair in the same way. The “I’m more fair than you” folks that would smear your rep­u­ta­tion in social media as killing babies because you did not par­tic­i­pate in their ver­sion of Fair. Fair even started to become a bad word as it tended to indi­cate what ‘camp’ you were in. Many even replaced the word with other words like ‘direct.’

Specialty: Ask 20 peo­ple what Specialty Coffee is, and you’ll get 20 dif­fer­ent answers. It used to be a way to say, “My cof­fee is dra­mat­i­cally bet­ter than com­mer­cial cof­fee.” Now it car­ries almost as lit­tle value as Gourmet. Some will think that cof­fee is spe­cialty if they buy it from a major chain rather than a store. Some will say spe­cialty means ‘not in a can.’ Others have said that spe­cialty cof­fee is an espresso drink. The term is so widely used and in so many ways that the term cre­ates more con­fu­sion than clar­i­fi­ca­tion. For the cof­fee wonks out there the word is being replaced by a num­ber with the SCAA / CQI scor­ing sys­tem. But this is too hard to explain to most folks so there is very lit­tle way to define a qual­ity dif­fer­ence in cof­fee anymore.

There are also words that are start­ing to be co-opted but still have value. Consider this an effort to try and save them. It’s not too late if we as an indus­try use them prop­erly and call out those who don’t.

Certified: This lit­er­ally means that an inde­pen­dent cer­ti­fy­ing agency has done an eval­u­a­tion and cer­tain cri­te­ria have been met. When we talk about ‘organic’ we should talk about cer­ti­fied organic. When we talk about Q Grades of cof­fee they should be Certified Q Scores. Certified adds depth and clar­ity to some of the words on the endan­gered list above.  The way this word gets mar­gin­al­ized is when com­pa­nies make up their own cer­ti­fi­ca­tions that only they can achieve such as ‘Certified BOB-Friendly.’ While funny, it min­i­mizes the real cer­ti­fi­ca­tions that actu­ally mean some­thing. Call these peo­ple out. They are hurt­ing you and the industry.

Relationship: This is a tricky one as there are many types of rela­tion­ships. It used to be that you had a rela­tion­ship if you ate a meal together, or talked on the phone more than once. With social media you might have 30,000 ‘friends’ you have never met. For the cof­fee indus­try we want to pre­serve the spe­cific use of the words ‘direct rela­tion­ship’ to mean only those peo­ple where you have shaken hands and deal together with­out inter­me­di­aries.  You do not have a direct rela­tion­ship with a farmer just because you buy beans from the roaster that has one. That is noth­ing more than a sup­ply chain rela­tion­ship. The farmer won’t know your name, has never met you in per­son. Let’s agree that this is NOT what we mean by rela­tion­ship and specif­i­cally a direct rela­tion­ship. Call the oth­ers out. They are hurt­ing you and the industry.

This brings us to one of the most cru­cial words to save before it is too late:

Sustainable: In order to save this word, we have to stop using it by itself. There is almost always a qual­i­fier for it. The qual­i­fier gives us a con­text, and then we can judge the verac­ity of the ‘sus­tain­able’ claim. An exam­ple: “We run a sus­tain­able com­pany!” The obvi­ous response is, “Duh! Otherwise your com­pany wouldn’t exist.” What was the per­son try­ing to imply? That they act respon­si­bly in their busi­ness deal­ings? Everybody wins? The Earth is not harmed? In fact they may have none of these char­ac­ter­is­tics but by claim­ing Sustainability they get to claim it all. Let’s agree to only use this word qual­i­fied in some way that can be ver­i­fi­able. Some options are:

SELF Sustainable:  Runs on its own with­out out­side help.

SOCIALLY Sustainable: Treats peo­ple with dig­nity and does not take advan­tage of others.

FINANCIALLY Sustainable: Built on a model of ongo­ing best busi­ness prac­tices to ensure long term success.

ECOLOGICALLY Sustainable: What you take out of the world in terms of resources is bal­anced by what is returned in such a way to keep the planet ‘healthy’.

Sustainable ENERGY: Sources of power that have less of an impact on the earth than oth­ers and is renewable.

You get the idea. In order to keep ‘sus­tain­able,’ sus­tain­able, we must pay atten­tion to its use and try to be spe­cific in our inten­tions. When you see oth­ers tak­ing advan­tage of the word by mak­ing it imply more than the truth, point it out. If they con­tinue, call them OUTRAGEOUS and EVIL and let’s make sure they are NOT sustainable!

Rocky Rhodes started as a cof­fee lover, became a cof­fee roaster, evolved into a cof­fee edu­ca­tor and is cur­rently serv­ing time as a cof­fee addict. He loves telling other peo­ple his opin­ion so being a con­sul­tant suits him well. Rocky can be reached at

© Copyright - CoffeeTalk