Tag Archive for: specialty

by Maxim Vershinin

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

Boost Up Your Blended Beverages

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

Oné of the “hottest” trends cur­rently trend­ing is frozen and blended bev­er­ages. Yes, this does mean your favorite tall, dou­ble mocha Frappuccino with extra whip cream, as well as real-fruit smooth­ies, a coffee-alternative that some shops are now offering.

With 2014 already here, and many New Year’s res­o­lu­tions dwin­dling in the back of many of our minds, health-conscious cof­fee drinkers and shops are on to some­thing with these frozen and blended bev­er­ages. There are ways to boost your beloved chilly cof­fee bev­er­ages, and for those of you who own a shop pro­vid­ing your cus­tomers with these bev­er­ages, there are tac­tics and prod­ucts that you can uti­lize to bring the boost into your shop and profits.

Just Add A Scoop
Add a ScoopWhile cof­fee, tea, and real-fruit smooth­ies offer nat­ural health ben­e­fits, like antiox­i­dants, there are many addi­tives that you can insert into your morn­ing or after­noon rou­tine to enhance your healthy lifestyle. By mak­ing small changes, they can yield large results.

Add A Scoop offers a wide range of func­tional sup­ple­ments that can be mixed into your favorite blended bev­er­age to max­i­mize the health ben­e­fits. Their prod­ucts are kosher, veg­e­tar­ian, GMO free, gluten free, and cer­ti­fied Halal. There are 18 dif­fer­ent boosts that don’t have any taste. Therefore, it will not change the great taste of your bev­er­age. The good thing about these pow­ders is that you can add more than one. For exam­ple, you could add an energy boost with an antiox­i­dant boost.

David Gross, President of Add a Scoop Supplement-Boosts, says, “People want to pro­mote health and this is an easy way to do it. In fact, the sup­ple­ment mar­ket for 2013 was up by nine percent.”

Gross con­tin­ues, “If mer­chants that are sell­ing frozen bev­er­ages want to keep and attract new cus­tomers, one way to do it is to pro­mote health.”

By installing a pro­gram, like the one from Add A Scoop, it can boost your shop’s prof­its. The ini­tial invest­ment for Add A Scoop is about five or six cans of prod­uct. Merchants can charge cus­tomers by the scoop. No spe­cial equip­ment for Add A Scoop prod­ucts is needed, and they offer free point of sale/marketing mate­ri­als for merchants.

You’re talk­ing about a $100 invest­ment to pro­mote health to your cus­tomers and increase your sales,” says Gross.

Liquid Flavor
Weldon FlavoringsWeldon Flavorings adds a gourmet touch to all of your blended bev­er­ages. They offer 12 fla­vor choices to appeal to mul­ti­ple dif­fer­ent taste buds. All of their fla­vor­ings are 0 calo­ries per serv­ing, con­tain no arti­fi­cial sweet­en­ers, and are free of sugar. Therefore, these fla­vor­ings will add a boost to your shop’s blended bev­er­ages with­out all of the calo­ries, car­bo­hy­drates, fats, and sodium.  They are also Gluten-free and non-allergenic.

Each bot­tle comes with a pre-measured pump. This allows for quick and accu­rate fla­vor­ing of each cup of blended good­ness. Each 4oz bot­tle of fla­vor­ing fla­vors 118 8oz cups; this is more than three times as many serv­ings as the com­peti­tors’ large bot­tles of fla­vored sugar free syrups.

For shops look­ing to make Weldon their go-to for fla­vor­ing, you can uti­lize the Weldon Gourmet Flavor Station. It is a dec­o­ra­tive wire caddy that sits on the counter. It comes with your choice of three fla­vors. Other than the caddy that keeps the counter clean an orga­nized, there is no need for addi­tional equip­ment. The start up costs is low, but yields a great sat­is­fac­tion result.

These fla­vor­ings by Weldon are ideal for office cof­fee ser­vice, cof­fee shops, drive-thrus, con­ve­nience stores, or any place where blended bev­er­ages are served!

Feel the Frugen Difference
FrugenA func­tional bev­er­age is more than some­thing you sim­ply enjoy. It is a treat that per­forms a spe­cific func­tion. In the case of the Frugen Energy prod­uct line, it sup­plies sev­eral dif­fer­ent antiox­i­dants, vit­a­mins, potent adap­to­gens, and metab­o­lism increas­ing boosts of energy.

Frugen meets the health-conscious consumer’s demands for low-calorie drinks while pro­vid­ing a full spec­trum of antiox­i­dants and adap­to­gens to relive bio­log­i­cal stress from toxic envi­ron­ments and reg­u­lar cel­lu­lar metab­o­lism,” says Craig Meyers, co-founder of Frugen. “Our energy line helps active ath­letes and pro­fes­sion­als stay one step ahead of their tur­bocharged sched­ules while ame­lio­rat­ing the effects of stress that can come with an on-the-go lifestyle.”

Frugen Energy is more than just a func­tional bev­er­age for the com­mon cof­fee drinker. These bev­er­ages spe­cial­ize in more than just an after­noon pick-me-up. Frugen Functional Frappes help busy indi­vid­u­als keep up with their busy sched­ules and the on-the-go lifestyle that the United States lives. Not to men­tion, the groggy feel­ing that other energy drinks may pro­vide is not a feel­ing one expe­ri­ences when con­sum­ing a “Functional Frappé” by Frugen.

Other com­pa­nies may put some caf­feine or basic vit­a­mins in a few of their smooth­ies, but we are the only com­pany that is fully ded­i­cated to exclu­sively deliv­er­ing healthy and enjoy­able drinks.   We offer some of the most in-demand ingre­di­ents in the mar­ket today. Frugen could not be sim­pler to make, just add ice, milk, and blend,” says Meyers.

Meyers claims that their profit mar­gins for cof­fee shops want­ing to infuse their shop with Frugen are almost as healthy as their drinks. Thousands of juice bars and cof­fee shops are open­ing up nation-wide, and Frugen pro­vides an easy way for retain­ing con­sumers, while com­pet­ing with new com­pa­nies in the bev­er­age industry.

We are new, we are inno­v­a­tive, and we are here to rein­vig­o­rate the café indus­try.  As a rel­a­tively small, pri­vately held com­pany, cus­tomer ser­vice is our top pri­or­ity.  When you join the Frugen fam­ily, we will do every­thing in our power to help you suc­ceed,” says Meyers.

Tea Products Now Being Blended:
TeajaWith tea becom­ing a great con­tender for cof­fee, tea-based blended bev­er­ages make for a great coffee-alternative. Not to men­tion, tea offers a wide vari­ety of health ben­e­fits for the health-conscious con­sumer and cof­fee shop.

Stefanie Makagon, the Brand Manager for Teaja Office states, “Matcha is pre­mium green tea pow­der from Japan and used for drink­ing as brewed tea or as an ingre­di­ent in recipes.”

There are a myr­iad of health ben­e­fits one can gain from this tea. In fact, matcha tea’s health ben­e­fits exceed those of green tea. The rea­son for this is because you ingest the whole tealeaf, and not just the brewed water.

One glass of matcha is the equiv­a­lent of ten glasses of green tea in terms of its nutri­tional value and antiox­i­dant con­tent,” says Makagon.

She explains that matcha pairs won­der­fully with milk. Therefore, when you blend the tea together with milk, cin­na­mon, vanilla, and ice, it makes for a refresh­ing blended tea drink. It is some­thing new and dif­fer­ent than what other shops are offer­ing. By con­sult­ing with var­i­ous tea com­pa­nies, you can get a com­pet­i­tive advan­tage over the other shops around you.

Other frozen blended bev­er­ages that are made with tea is the pop­u­lar frozen chai tea latte, and even a sim­ple fla­vored iced tea. Tea is a huge trend in the indus­try cur­rently, and it is jam-packed with antiox­i­dants and health ben­e­fits. Coffee shops, you can set your­self apart and gain a new cus­tomer base with offer­ing the lat­est trends.

Ice, Ice Baby!
You can­not make your customer’s favorite frozen bev­er­age if you do not have the right ice to make it flaw­less. There are dif­fer­ent com­pa­nies that you can turn to, to gain the nec­es­sary equip­ment to make an end­less sup­ply of frappes and smooth­ies. The fol­low­ing two ice com­pa­nies can boost your blended beverages:

Chewblet® Ice
FollettFollett’s Chewblet® ice is a softer, nugget-type ice. It blends much faster than the typ­i­cal cubed ice. In fact, you can typ­i­cally cut your blend­ing time by about 50 per­cent uti­liz­ing nugget ice. Nugget ice also blends more thor­oughly, leav­ing the bev­er­age free of large ice chunks.

Michael Rice, Director of Marketing at Follett Corporation says, “Chewblet® ice is great for iced cof­fee, iced tea, and soft drinks, all impor­tant offer­ings of a cof­fee shop.  Customers pre­fer the softer nugget ice like Chewblet® ice by over 2:1 com­pared to hard, cube-type ice.”

Rice con­tin­ues, “They like the looks, the tex­ture, and the chewa­bil­ity of the ice, espe­cially at the end of the drink.  Many will even go out of their way to get Chewblet® ice or buy more drinks because of the ice.”

Chewblet® ice by Follett is com­pressed and extruded flakes. Because of its form, the ice breaks apart eas­ier and will cre­ate lighter loads on the blender’s motor and blades, which extends the blender’s life. Ice machines by Follett use sig­nif­i­cantly less water and often use less energy to make the ice com­pared to machines that pro­duce cubed ice.

Different Types for Different Needs
Overachieve_8.875x6.3125.inddManitowoc offers eight dif­fer­ent types of ice, from gourmet to crushed. Other types include flake, tubu­lar nugget, nugget, reg­u­lar, dice, and half dice. Each of these types of ice offers a dif­fer­ent firm­ness and shape. Because of the diver­sity of the ice, a shop can pick and choose which type they feel would work best for their shop and cus­tomer preferences.

According to their web­site, “The shape of ice has every­thing to do with its intended pur­pose.  Whether used in bev­er­ages, food pre­sen­ta­tion, or health­care ser­vices, Manitowoc Ice offers eight dif­fer­ent types of ice in order to sat­isfy the widest vari­ety of uses.”

Manitowoc offers under­counter machines, coun­ter­top machines, and even mod­u­lar machines. Each of these units can be pur­chased based on the size of the area the machine needs to be stored and the daily ice pro­duc­tion a shop will produce.

This com­pany is the recip­i­ent of the 2013 ENERGY STAR Sustained Excellence Award, and has four years of award win­ning excel­lence. By pur­chas­ing a unit by Manitowoc Foodservice, you are pur­chas­ing an energy-saving unit, which will reflect on your elec­tric bill!

Blend It Up Stealthily!
BlendtecWhile we all love our frappes and smooth­ies, they would not be pos­si­ble if it wasn’t for equip­ment that makes the deli­cious bev­er­ages– the blender!

The Blendtec Stealth Blender is the most advanced and most pow­er­ful blender in the world, yet it is also the qui­etest. It blends ice, frozen cof­fee, and frozen fruit com­pletely, mak­ing the smoothest, most delight­ful blended drinks, and does it at the same sound level as a nor­mal con­ver­sa­tion,” says Kevan Allbee Manager, Commercial Marketing at Blendtec.

That means cof­fee houses can add a whole new selec­tion of frozen drink options, while NOT adding the dis­turb­ing noise of other less effi­cient blenders,” Allbee continued.

The Stealth Blender has 42 pre-programmed mix and blend cycles, accessed on its capac­i­tive touch screen con­trols. When a chain of stores needs to update blend­ing cycles or add addi­tional blend­ing cycles, they can be pro­grammed online, with the BlendWizard, and then saved into the Stealth blender via its USB port. This allows all of the stores to oper­ate at the same level at the same time vir­tu­ally any­where in the world.

Like all Blendtec blenders, the Stealth is built with the strongest motor in the indus­try. It has 3.8 peak horse­power and 1,800 watts of power. The patented Blendtec blade is cold forged steel, thicker than any other, and shaped for the most effi­cient blend­ing action in the jar.

Allbee says, “The Stealth is the new stan­dard for high-powered com­mer­cial blend­ing. For power, automa­tion, speed, and ver­sa­til­ity, no other blender in the world is its match. Add to these Stealth’s amaz­ingly quiet oper­a­tion, and you can see why no other blender is a bet­ter addi­tion to any cof­fee shop’s equip­ment line-up.”

A Quiet Blend is a Good Blend
VitamixVitamix® com­mer­cial machines offer pre­ci­sion engi­neer­ing, con­sis­tency, reli­a­bil­ity, and an over­all lower total cost of own­er­ship over the life of the machine, with industry-leading war­ranties and fewer repairs and replace­ments than competitors.

The Quiet One® from Vitamix® not only cre­ates opti­mal taste for cus­tomers, it also offers supe­rior value, excep­tional blend­ing capa­bil­i­ties and out­stand­ing noise reduc­tion,” says Lisa Klein, vice pres­i­dent of Commercial Sales, Vitamix®.

The Quiet One fea­tures the Vitamix Advance® con­tainer with a built-in drip­less spout, to improve pour­ing, pre­vents messes, and reduces waste. Vitamix also uses a hard­ened, stain­less steel blade for greater dura­bil­ity and longer life.

The Quiet One is able to pro­duce con­sis­tent blends from drink-to-drink and store-to-store, ensur­ing cus­tomers will receive the same fla­vor and smooth tex­ture each time they order a drink,” says Klein.

The Quiet One has six pro­gram but­tons with 34 opti­mized pro­grams. Its auto­matic shut-off capa­bil­i­ties pro­vide the oper­a­tor with ease-of-use and con­sis­tent bev­er­age prepa­ra­tion.  The unit is also fully pro­gram­ma­ble for shop cus­tomiza­tion. Shop own­ers can cre­ate cus­tom blend­ing pro­grams for sig­na­ture drinks, smooth­ies, and blended cof­fees. Thanks to the machine’s cool-running motor, it can han­dle sig­nif­i­cant up-time, allow­ing cof­fee shops to max­i­mize sales dur­ing peak hours.

Klein says, “Today, cof­fee shops face an increased demand for unique and inven­tive drinks. But, expand­ing a drink menu and tap­ping into new, cre­ative offer­ings can be eas­ier with the right tools—including the right blend­ing equipment.”

The Quiet One from Vitamix® makes for excel­lent, and quiet, front of the house blending!

The “Hottest” Trends
Some of the hottest tends in the cof­fee and tea indus­try can be chilly in nature. There are a vari­ety of solu­tions that can be made to make your favorite blended bev­er­ages health­ier and a step in the right direc­tion to boost your sales and boost your blended beverages.

Flavorings, nugget ice, addi­tives, func­tional frappes and nutri­tious boosts, and new blender tech­nol­ogy are all ways that you can make small changes in your shop to appeal to new cus­tomers, revive exist­ing cus­tomers, and take a com­pet­i­tive advan­tage over the other local shops. Which boost will you make?!

The View

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

Why bother to read yet another indus­try mag­a­zine? Aren’t you busy enough just try­ing to get through your never-ending in-box? You have dead­lines, projects, trade-shows to book, employ­ees to hire, train, fire. Sales goals to meet, pro­duc­tion headaches, taxes! Why in the world would you take the time to stop and read yet another mag­a­zine? WHY?

Because those who have the best infor­ma­tion will be the eco­nomic cham­pi­ons. Keeping up-to-date on issues fac­ing your com­pany and the indus­try will help you to plan more effec­tively. Knowing about the lat­est tech­nol­ogy can help you improve your effi­ciency. Knowing about the new and inno­v­a­tive prod­ucts can give you the edge over your com­pe­ti­tion. Because all of us are for­ever stu­dents and part of being a pro­fes­sional is the con­tin­ual learn­ing process.

However the real­ity still exists, there is sim­ply not enough time in the day. Thus CoffeeTalk pro­vides fast, essen­tial infor­ma­tion that keeps you on top of the indus­try and prod­ucts with­out all of the fluff that would waste your time. We have too much respect for our read­ers! Below you will find our new monthly columns and a quick overview of which are most appro­pri­ate to the var­i­ous indus­try segments.

Because you are so busy, here are the high­lights on what you will find inside…

Our Lead Feature: Blended Beverages – Health is the name of the game this year and frozen and func­tional bev­er­ages may just be the health­i­est option you can focus on for your bot­tom line retailers!

  • The Voice – 25 year indus­try vet­eran, Linda Smithers, shares her vision of the next nec­es­sary step for the future of our industry.
  • Coffee Chemistry – Joseph Rivera tells us the real pur­pose of caffeine.
  • Roasters Rock – Rocky Rhodes com­pares the peo­ple in our indus­try to a cup of cof­fee. See if you agree on his Q-Score.
  • NAMA Emerging Leaders – NAMA is lead­ing the way on secur­ing the future of their indus­try with focused col­lab­o­ra­tion between the estab­lished and next gen­er­a­tions, some­thing NCA and SCAA could learn from.
  • Marketing Miracles – Mike Dabadie shows us “mir­a­cles” are up to us to create.
  • The Last Mile – Thoughts of a Master Barista – Giorgio Milos reminds all of us we must con­nect the dots from what hap­pens at the farm to the cup right in front of us and that no detail is too small.
  • On the Shoulders of Giants – In the first of this series of arti­cles we pro­file the indi­vid­ual respon­si­ble for turn­ing gourmet cof­fee from a loss leader into a qual­ity profit pro­ducer, for­ever chang­ing our indus­try. Industry Giant, Phil Johnson.
  • Startup Strategies – Greg Ubert shows how try­ing to save money in the wrong way will lose cus­tomers sev­eral times over.
  • NAMA Medical Mission – An inspi­ra­tional story of how a small group of vol­un­teers brought a brighter future to the pick­ers on Santa Elena’s Costa Rica cof­fee farm.
  • Retailer/Roaster Profile – This month Max Vershinin tells us Booskerdoo Coffee Company’s real secret to success.
  • The Power of Good – Siri Khalsa brings pow­er­ful infor­ma­tion for retail­ers and roast­ers to use in their mar­ket­ing on the health ben­e­fits of coffee.


February Thought

Action is the real mea­sure of intel­li­gence.Napoleon Hill

Remember the SCAA board elec­tions are com­ing up. If you are a mem­ber take the time to learn about the can­di­dates, issues, and make an informed deci­sion that will help our asso­ci­a­tion become the best it can be.


The Voice

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

Thank you Kerri for the invi­ta­tion to dream about our indus­try and hope­fully pro­vide some food for thought for other CoffeeTalk readers.

I have elected to focus on my vision on increas­ing the appre­ci­a­tion and con­sump­tion of cof­fee in North America.  For the 25 plus years that I have been in the indus­try, the topic of the con­sumer man­ages to find its way to the table on a reg­u­lar basis.

Who would ben­e­fit from such an ini­tia­tive?  The answer is very sim­ple, all of the stake­hold­ers in the cof­fee chain, from pro­duc­ers to retail­ers. You may ask your­self, if a consumer-focused pro­gram would ben­e­fit the entire cof­fee chain, why isn’t there such a program?

Some of the bar­ri­ers to a consumer-focused pro­gram are: pro­gram own­er­ship, man­age­ment, scope, fear that one com­pany would ben­e­fit more than another, cost, and how to pay for the program.

In order to cre­ate a North American consumer-focused cof­fee mar­ket­ing pro­gram, it is help­ful to eval­u­ate other suc­cess­ful indus­try mar­ket­ing programs.

One of the most inter­na­tion­ally suc­cess­ful mod­els of a con­sumer mar­ket­ing comes from within our indus­try. The Colombian Coffee Federation’s Juan Valdez pro­gram was able to impact the cof­fee buy­ing habit of mil­lions, if not bil­lions, of con­sumers.  This was a focused ini­tia­tive to cre­ate recog­ni­tion of the entire country’s cof­fee pro­duc­tion. The impact of their adver­tis­ing has lived long after they dis­con­tin­ued the tele­vi­sion and sports venue advertising.

The California wine indus­try has faced com­pli­ca­tions with wine buy­ers who thought that good qual­ity wine came only from France.  The California Wine Association was formed, and they addressed the chal­lenge of cre­at­ing aware­ness of the fine qual­ity wines pro­duced in the state of California.  The suc­cess of their pro­gram can be seen on menus through­out the United States and around the world.

The suc­cess of Fair Trade/Trans Fair and its grass roots ini­ta­tive to get the con­sumer to pur­chase cof­fees far above mar­ket price is amaz­ing.  Unlike the pre­vi­ous two exam­ples, Fair Trade’s pri­mary goal was to increase the money being returned to the cof­fee pro­ducer dur­ing an extremely low mar­ket.  An unex­pected ben­e­fit was the increased aware­ness of cof­fee pro­duc­tion and poten­tially increased con­sump­tion.  The con­sumer demanded Fair Trade cof­fee after the pro­gram was launched.

These exam­ples of con­sumer mar­ket­ing by indus­try groups are a few of the many mod­els we have to help guide this impor­tant effort.  I would be remiss if two other con­sumer mar­ket­ing mod­els were not men­tioned.  The efforts of The Roaster Association in Norway and ABIC of Sao Paulo, Brazil, both indus­try groups, devel­oped focused pro­grams to increase con­sump­tion in their coun­tries. The results were amaz­ing.  You can read more about both on the Internet.

A com­mon thread of suc­cess­ful indus­try con­sumer mar­ket­ing is that the cam­paigns have a sin­gle focused mes­sage about a prod­uct or ser­vice.  They are clear and uncom­pli­cated, and all of the stake­hold­ers ben­e­fit from the mar­ket­ing.  The pro­gram makes for more poten­tial buy­ers.  Individual com­pa­nies are still respon­si­ble for mar­ket­ing their com­pany, prod­ucts, and services.

My vision is to form a work­ing group of lead­ers ded­i­cated to devel­op­ing a plan for a con­sumer mar­ket­ing pro­gram for North America.  Every cof­fee asso­ci­a­tion in North America should be invited to the table.  An increased aware­ness and con­sump­tion of cof­fee will ben­e­fit the largest and the small­est of our importers/brokers, roast­ers, and retail­ers.  The pro­ducer will have more oppor­tu­nity for sales at all lev­els of quality.

I believe a sim­ple cam­paign, such as Got Milk, could be exe­cuted using the Internet and print media.   My vision is to cre­ate a pro­gram that would add a total of no more than $0.015 per pound of cof­fee imported to North America.

I believe cre­at­ing an I Love Coffee, Drink Coffee, Got Coffee cam­paign is long over­due and doable!

Linda Smithers has been in the cof­fee indus­try for 25 years.  She began her cof­fee career as a roaster retailer in Akron, Ohio.  She has served on the Board of Directors for SCAA, chaired sev­eral com­mit­tees, and was the Association President in 1997–98, IWCA, Ground for Health.  Linda has pre­sented at more than 90 indus­try meet­ings and con­ven­tions about the world, works with Rainforest Alliance’s Cupping for Quality, and is an avid and skilled cup­per. Currently, Linda is work­ing Daterra Coffee, BR and respon­si­ble for mar­ket­ing in North America.

Coffee Chemistry

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

Every­day mil­lions of peo­ple around the world begin their day reli­giously with a morn­ing cup of cof­fee. Though today we eas­ily iden­tify cof­fee in its bev­er­age form, it wasn’t always this way in the begin­ning. Throughout his­tory, cof­fee has taken on sev­eral phys­i­cal trans­for­ma­tions, ini­tially serv­ing as an energy source when nomadic tribes com­bined cof­fee berries with ani­mal fat as an early form of an energy bar. Later it was con­sumed as a tea, then wine, and finally to the bev­er­age we’ve come to iden­tify today.  But how much of coffee’s chem­i­cal com­po­si­tion do we actu­ally know? Fortunately, over the past half-century sci­en­tists have made sig­nif­i­cant progress, which has allowed them to unlock more than the 1,000 com­pounds found in roasted cof­fee. In this arti­cle of Coffee Science we’ll briefly dis­cuss a fam­ily of com­pounds called ‘alka­loids,’ which serve an impor­tant role in coffee’s unique chem­i­cal composition.

For many, cof­fee drink­ing is sim­ply a deliv­ery medium for a potent alka­loid we have come to iden­tify as caf­feine, or oth­er­wise known as 1,3,7 – trimethylx­an­thine.  Although caf­feine is typ­i­cally asso­ci­ated with cof­fee, its pro­duc­tion within the plant king­dom spans across numer­ous other plant species. Mate, for exam­ple, which is tra­di­tion­ally con­sumed in parts of Uruguay and Argentina, con­tains less than one per­cent by weight. Whereas, teas of Camellia sine­sis, which orig­i­nated in China, con­tain almost three times the con­cen­tra­tion of caf­feine than Arabica.

But for humans, caf­feine is very unique. Thus far, we are the only liv­ing forms on Earth that read­ily seek caf­feine for both its stim­u­la­tory and psy­cho­log­i­cal effects.  For all other life forms, caf­feine is a potent toxin capa­ble of ster­il­iza­tion, phy­to­tox­i­c­ity, and anti­fun­gal prop­er­ties. As such, sci­en­tists believe that caf­feine, with its intensely bit­ter taste, has evolved as a prim­i­tive defense mech­a­nism in cof­fee ensur­ing its sur­vival in the wild for thou­sands of years. It’s no sur­prise then, that the caf­feine con­tent of the more “robust” Robusta species is almost dou­ble that of the more del­i­cate Arabica. The belief is that as insects attack the cof­fee cherry, they are deterred by the bit­ter taste of caf­feine and sim­ply move on to other crops.

Another less known alka­loid that shad­ows in the light of caf­feine is that of trigonelline. In Arabica cof­fee, trigonelline con­cen­tra­tions make up roughly 1 per­cent by weight with a slightly less con­cen­tra­tion (0.7 per­cent) found its Robusta coun­ter­part. Although its con­cen­tra­tion is slightly less than that of caf­feine, it plays a sig­nif­i­cant role in the devel­op­ment of impor­tant fla­vor com­pounds dur­ing roast­ing. But unlike that of caf­feine, which sur­vives the roast­ing process, trigonelline read­ily decom­poses as tem­per­a­tures approach 160°C (320°F).  Model stud­ies have shown that at 160°C, sixty per­cent of the ini­tial trigonelline is decom­posed, lead­ing for the for­ma­tion of car­bon diox­ide, water, and the devel­op­ment of a large class of aro­matic com­pounds called pyridines. These het­e­ro­cyclic com­pounds play an impor­tant role in fla­vor and are respon­si­ble for pro­duc­ing the sweet/caramel/earthy-like aro­mas com­monly found in coffee.

TableAnother impor­tant byprod­uct pro­duced dur­ing the decom­po­si­tion of trigonelline is nico­tinic acid, or vit­a­min B3, more com­monly known as niacin. Depending on roast­ing con­di­tions, niacin can increase up to ten times its ini­tial con­cen­tra­tion, pro­vid­ing any­where between 1mg of niacin per cup for Americano-type cof­fees and roughly two to three times this con­cen­tra­tion in espresso-type bev­er­ages. When one con­sid­ers that most Americans con­sume about 3.2 cups of cof­fee per day, accord­ing to the NCA (2008), makes cof­fee an ample source of dietary niacin.

So far that’s great news for peo­ple with an unbal­anced diet, but there is another ther­a­peu­tic ben­e­fit to cof­fee that is even more sur­pris­ing. Recently, Italian sci­en­tists dis­cov­ered that drink­ing cof­fee might lower our inci­dence of den­tal caries. According to researchers, trigonelline works by pre­vent­ing the adhe­sion of mucus-like acid byprod­ucts onto teeth, which would oth­er­wise lead to den­tal caries. In the end, it looks like drink­ing a cup of cof­fee may not only keeps the doc­tor away, but the den­tist too.

Joseph A. Rivera holds a degree in food chem­istry and was for­merly the Director of Science & Technology at the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA). He’s the cre­ator of the cof­fee sci­ence por­tal and newly devel­oped Coffee Science Certificate (CSC) pro­gram. He can be reached at

Roasters Rock

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

In the SCAA/CQI cup­ping pro­to­col there is an attribute that is per­haps under­val­ued and over­looked. What is inter­est­ing is that in life we often over­look this attribute as well.

Balance in Coffee
In cof­fee, when learn­ing how to score this attribute, we are told to assess how well the other attrib­utes of fla­vor, after­taste, acid­ity, and bal­ance work together. If one of those attrib­utes is overly dom­i­nant or unnec­es­sar­ily draws your atten­tion the cof­fee falls out of bal­ance. The big­ger the dis­trac­tion, the lower the score.

Imagine it this way; there are four kids on the play­ground and there are no adults around to prompt them. They decide to play together. There is a young kid and an older kid, a fat kid and a skinny kid, a dark haired kid and a blonde, a short kid and a tall kid. As they work out what game they will play or what activ­ity they will under­take, a dynamic starts to occur.

Often, the older, stronger, taller kid dic­tates what they will do and the oth­ers just go along because they don’t feel that they have a say. This group is dom­i­nated by one, but at least the other kids have decided to play. This would be slightly out of balance.

Another exam­ple might be that the skinny kid teases the fat kid and makes him cry. The tall kid decides to take his ball and go home. This would be WAY out of balance!

But what if all of the kids decided together that they would play soc­cer and they divided teams evenly and then went and had a great time. As an observer you watched  “the group” play, rather than indi­vid­ual kids play­ing alone.  THAT is balance.

It is the same way with cof­fee. If you find your­self NOT pay­ing atten­tion to any one attribute and enjoy­ing the cof­fee as a whole, the cof­fee is in bal­ance. If it is bal­anced from hot to cool, score the attribute high!

When look­ing at some­thing out­side of your­self, like cof­fee, it is easy to be objec­tive about bal­ance. It is even an attribute that can be cal­i­brated and agreed upon amongst many cup­pers. Making judg­ments about other things is some­thing we do all the time.

So why is it so hard to look inside our­selves or at our own lives and observe bal­ance? Others will look at us and make judg­ments like, “That woman is a worka­holic.” or “He only cares about money.”

Balance in Life
An obser­va­tion was made that, “People in the cof­fee indus­try tend to be very bal­anced.” Let’s test that the­ory! First, we will have to define what bal­ance is for a per­son in cof­fee. After con­sult­ing some self-help books and moti­va­tional speak­ers’ thoughts, the fol­low­ing are the areas of life to observe and find balance:

1)    Body/Health – Spending time to exer­cise, proper diet, and enough rest.
2)    Mind/Education – Always be learn­ing some­thing new.
3)    Soul/Faith – Doing some­thing big­ger than your­self that is a self­less act, bet­ter­ing the world.
4)    Relationships – Being an active builder of bonds with fam­ily, asso­ciates, and friends.
5)    Finance/Wealth – Planning and exe­cut­ing on finan­cial goals, retire­ment prepa­ra­tion.
6)    Profession/Trade – Working at ‘your job’ and plan­ning where that will lead you.

Coffee peo­ple, like all peo­ple, tend to be good at cer­tain areas of life and need work in oth­ers. (That is about as insight­ful as a for­tune cookie.) But here is one obser­va­tion of the peo­ple in our indus­try. In general:

Body: On a scale of 1 to 10, cof­fee peo­ple are a 7.5. On the whole, we are health­ier than aver­age but those darned mochas, cook­ies, and muffins are too hard to resist. We are also fairly active and more apt to be run­ning around than in front of a com­puter all day.

Mind: Here we excel. Average is prob­a­bly an 8.25. This is not so much the amount of higher edu­ca­tion, but the energy that is put into learn­ing about the world, social issues, busi­ness, and prod­uct devel­op­ment. It is also seen in spe­cial­ized edu­ca­tion such as barista cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, roaster cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, and Q-grader certification.

Soul/Faith: Again, high marks for the indus­try at about an 8.  Perhaps more than most other indus­tries, cof­fee peo­ple are acutely aware of the inter­con­nect­ed­ness of the sup­ply chain and how actions can rip­ple. We drive inno­va­tions in recy­cling, com­post­ing, respon­si­ble land man­age­ment, and com­mu­nity out­reach. Regardless of reli­gious beliefs, there is an under­stand­ing that by help­ing oth­ers we help ourselves.

Relationships: Good, but not great, about a 7. Often cof­fee peo­ple are so dri­ven and pas­sion­ate about what they are doing that they for­get to slow down and include oth­ers in their lives. While spread­ing the net wider in the com­mu­ni­ties and the world, it is easy to neglect fam­ily, and close friends. As an indus­try, we would be well served to spend more time here.

Finance/Wealth: This area NEEDS improve­ment! The score is at a 6.5.  Because we see the indus­try as favor­ing the con­sum­ing coun­tries over the pro­duc­ing coun­tries, we are often bat­tling the feel­ings of guilt that we might ‘become wealthy’ in the indus­try. If every­one can get over this feel­ing of guilt and get to a place where we decide EVERYONE deserves to get what he or she want, then we will find a way to change the model. We deal in the sec­ond most con­sumed com­mod­ity in the world; there is wealth to go around.

Profession/Trade: Excellent! 8.75. As an indus­try we also get the fol­low­ing con­cept: Quality changes every­thing! We strive to get bet­ter at our craft. We know we get to charge more for cof­fee that tastes bet­ter. It is this thing that often takes SO MUCH of our focus that we let the other areas slide.

So, are we as an indus­try bal­anced? Yeah… pretty well.  We would get a solid 8. If we were being Q-Graded, we would prob­a­bly get an 85.75. That’s def­i­nitely above spe­cialty grade, but we could be improved with a lit­tle more atten­tion paid to the details.

Rocky Rhodes is an 18 year cof­fee vet­eran, roaster, and Q-Grader Instructor, and his mis­sion now is to trans­form the cof­fee sup­ply chain and make sweep­ing dif­fer­ences in the lives of those that pro­duce the green cof­fee. Rocky can be reached at as well as

NAMA Emerging Leaders">NAMA Emerging Leaders

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

There is a cer­tain pos­i­tive spark that can be gen­er­ated when you bring new tech­nol­ogy and old wis­dom together in the same place at the same time. A spark that can rev­o­lu­tion­ize some­thing that is already good and makes it bril­liant. A spark that can take some­thing that may be so small but flour­ishes it into some­thing worth brag­ging about.

It is a pow­er­ful con­nec­tion that needs to be made across the board in all pro­fes­sions and in all indus­tries. However, The National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA) has already taken that first step into the right direc­tion toward cre­at­ing this spark.

CoffeeTalk is intro­duc­ing a new series of arti­cles for the 2014 year! They will fea­ture the NAMA Emerging Leaders Network  (ELN) that was launched in July of 2013. This group of indi­vid­u­als in the vend­ing and refresh­ment ser­vices indus­try is a great exam­ple of the spark of change that needs to be instilled. They have the tools nec­es­sary to allow the vend­ing and refresh­ment ser­vices indus­try to con­tinue to grow for many years to come.

Bridge the Generation Gap
NAMA rec­og­nized that there is a gen­er­a­tion gap in their indus­try. It is inevitable that when indus­try vet­er­ans retire, in any indus­try, that some­one else is going to have to step up and take over. However, how will this be pos­si­ble for the con­tin­u­ing suc­cess of that indus­try if the emerg­ing indus­try lead­ers are not edu­cated on the same level as the ones who are retir­ing or mov­ing on?

Education is key for this solu­tion. A group, like the NAMA ELN, allows for a col­lab­o­ra­tion that is essen­tial for the suc­cess­ful oper­a­tions of the indus­try. New ideas from the next gen­er­a­tion of indus­try lead­ers allows for a spark of trans­for­ma­tion to be instilled to the ever chang­ing econ­omy and con­stant flow of dif­fer­ent and inno­v­a­tive trends that are evolv­ing every day. How can one progress and move for­ward when they are stuck in old rou­tines and not simul­ta­ne­ously mov­ing for­ward with the econ­omy and world around it?

It’s a Give and Take Relationship
The emerg­ing lead­ers and the indus­try vet­er­ans each have some­thing that the other wants. The emerg­ing lead­ers grew up in a time period jam-packed with var­i­ous kinds of tech­nolo­gies every­where they turn. Technologies today that are becom­ing more and more preva­lent in sales and mar­ket­ing, like social media for exam­ple. The indus­try vet­er­ans have the many years of expe­ri­ence and knowl­edge needed to fur­ther the life of an industry.

You see, while the two gen­er­a­tions stand­ing alone may oper­ate suit­ably for now, when you put them together and allow them to work together, it bet­ters not only both of the gen­er­a­tions, but the indus­try as a whole as well. An indus­try can­not thrive on one of these areas alone. Technology and indus­try tra­di­tions must be pieced together to advance. The tools that these two groups pos­sess will gen­er­ate greater prof­its when used together, than when used separately.

About the Emerging Leaders Network
The ELN holds meet­ings at the var­i­ous indus­try con­fer­ences around the United States. They are able to col­lab­o­rate together at these meet­ings even though they may live many states apart. They uti­lize their LinkedIn page that gives updates about the group in a mat­ter of min­utes. LinkedIn is used to fun­nel issues and keep up with changes and con­cerns that come up on a daily basis. The more you get involved the more valu­able you become to the group.

Membership in NAMA’s Emerging Leaders Network pro­vides younger vend­ing and refresh­ment ser­vices exec­u­tives an oppor­tu­nity to net­work with other NAMA mem­bers and influ­en­tial indus­try lead­ers,” said Paul Tullio of Gourmet Coffee Service in Anaheim, CA, and chair of the group. “It gives the next gen­er­a­tion of indus­try lead­ers a plat­form to express their ideas and vision for the future of the industry.”

There are cur­rently about 100 active mem­bers, and the num­bers are grow­ing. To be a mem­ber, you must be an already-existing mem­ber of NAMA and of the age of 40 or younger. These mem­ber­ships are avail­able at no cost. You can con­tact Roni Moore at NAMA or Paul Tullio for more infor­ma­tion on how to become a member.

Be the Spark in your Industry
We under­stand that many of our read­ers are in the cof­fee and tea indus­try; how­ever, it is impor­tant to high­light this NAMA ELN group and learn from them. Roasters, retail­ers, grow­ers, and even ser­vice providers can learn from the ELN. If an indus­try wants to con­tinue on, it must take the nec­es­sary steps to build up and bet­ter itself. Now, I’m not say­ing that it is going to be easy, and if I did, I would be lying; how­ever, doesn’t the say­ing go: “noth­ing worth hav­ing in life comes easy”?

The Emerging Leaders Network has started the spark to change their indus­try, but what about you? How are you going to bridge the gap in your indus­try? Have you thought about who is going to take over after you retire? Did you con­sider what pieces of knowl­edge that you want to pass down? Be inspired, be proac­tive, and be that spark to change your industry.

Stay tuned for future arti­cles about the NAMA ELN. Learn from them how to be a part of the change that you want to see in your pas­sion and profession.

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.