I have spent countless hours extracting, weighing, sipping, spilling, reading and trawling the interweb in an effort to keep up with the latest trends, expand my knowledge and skills base and admittedly try to gain as much competitive advantage as possible. And the knowledge, tips and insights I have gleaned for myself and from generous industry luminaries has definitely been invaluable. As undoubtedly, it will continue to be.
However, I must bashfully admit that I have just recently had a re-revelation. This revelation was not new to me. Nor is it particularily enlightened or contain insights that any first year business student could not have shared. It would appear that the passage of time, abundance of paperwork and wood / trees seems to have obscured what once was obvious.
But thanks to a rather recent and very forthright and forensic customer email (thanks Eoin), I have just rediscovered that – outside of our daily operations – I have been remiss in gaguing exactly what my customers both want and need.
In my enthusiasm to convey all the amazing things that speciality coffee can be – different origins, varietals, brewing methods, tips, tricks and tools (and possibly in an effort to keep pace with those same industry luminaries), it would appear that I have left several people behind.
Now obviously, not everyone is following the coffee world’s James Hoffmann, Mike Phillips, George Howell or Vince Fedele on Twitter or free-basing off speciality coffee industry’s shared ‘cupping spoon’ of wisdom. So I guess that where I should step up. And in terms of being a good teacher (which I do think is part of the job), I will do my utmost to improve.
Thankfully, as I have mentioned in a previous post, Ireland is blessed with some truly great coffee professionals. There has been a marked increase in coffee-themed tutorials / events – particularly at Dublin’s 3FE. So if there is an event going on, I will do my best to keep you updated. If there is something relevant and not too over-the-top-technical or esoteric that is being discussed or setting the coffee world alight, I’ll fill you in here.
For our own part, some may have have noticed that the range of coffees available at our sites in Dublin and in our webshop has been reduced over the last several weeks. Partly due to the aforementioned customer email and some rudimentary market research, I have decided to simplify our coffee offering and carry no more than three or four coffees at any one time ((this is subject to change, but for the moment this is what we are aiming for)) – but we will make sure that all of these are coffees that we really love ((I firmly believe it is much easier and enjoyable to sell coffee when you love it.)) and are easily accessible. ((Like wine, there can be critically acclaimed coffees that command high prices and expert palates to really appreciate. We will leave this coffees alone for the moment.))
In line with industry best practice, we will be working with our roaster to find those coffees that are seasonal, ethically sourced and delicious. Prices of these coffees will undoubtedly fluctuate depending on global demand, harvest conditions, auction prices and many other factors beyond our control, but we will do our best to find value.
We will also have enough to stock of these coffees to last for a few months. One of the main customer complaints we have had is that just when the customer finds a coffee they like, we have moved on to something else. Again, we will do our best to let both our team and our customers get familiar with the coffees on offer whilst trying to keep things fresh and interesting. Where logistically possible, we will have samples of the coffee on offer so customers can taste before purchase, plus simple-to-follow brewing tips and serving suggestions.
Our first coffee in keeping with this new initiative is Kenya Karimikui. And we will be adding a couple more to the family over the next few weeks – watch this space.