Sticking With Specialty Or Making It Up To The Customer?

Have you ever had conversations with your customers about your coffee and the way it was roasted?

Sure, most of them are interested in the way the coffee beans, that find their way into our coffee, are sourced and roasted. But, what about all the others who just want to get their daily caffeine fix, or just like a certain amount of sugar and a lot of milk with their coffee or espresso? What about customers that just love a really ‘strong shot’ in their Lattes?

Sticking With Specialty Or Making It Up To The Customer?

Do you actually know what the preferences of your customers are, when it comes to their favorite coffee drink?

I’m sure you’ve faced one of these questions within your daily cafe business before. Sourcing high quality beans, even going for Direct Trade, is a great way to show your customers that you care about the coffee you’re serving.

We all know, though, that going for specialty coffee does not just mean growing and sourcing great single origin coffees, it also means, to some extent, roasting the beans in a certain way in order to get as much out of that little green bean as possible.

Roasting light, medium or dark

So, a lot of the specialty roasters out there tend to roast rather light or bright, or to a certain sweet spot, to get out all the fruity flavors we find written on menus and coffee packages nowadays.

But, does that matter to all of your customers?

Depending on where you’re located with your cafe, and who’s dropping by for a cup of coffee on a daily basis, think about it, are you selling more of those Lattes and Cappuccinos or more of these flavorful filter coffees?

Adding the feedback of your customers here, again, what would you do?

Sticking with specialty: Only offering single origin coffees, roasted light and bright? No matter what?

Or making it up for the customer: Offering (espresso) blends and maybe somewhat more medium roasted coffees?

Think about this as well: Why did you open your cafe business in the first place? And for who? Yourself, and to express your love for specialty coffee? Or is it your customer that pays your bills at some point?

The question is, based on the feedback of your customers, would you change – wait, no, let’s not call it change, let’s call it ‘adjust’ – the way you’re serving coffee and the kind of coffee you’re offering?

Would you?

I’m not telling you to give up the philosophy of doing your business. My suggestion is to make it for the customers that find their way to your cafe, and their palates, to a certain extent. I know you’re passionate about (specialty) coffee; it is a craft to source, roast and brew these little green and brown beans!

But, isn’t it always the best way, to not be too pretentious about what kind of coffees you offer and how you’re serving your coffee beverages?

If you’re roasting yourself or getting your coffee beans from a local roaster, try keeping the preferences of your customers in mind, not just your own nerdiness about specialty coffee, when creating your menu and preparing the coffee drinks for your customers.

You could even create two separate menus, one with, let’s say, your house specialties (blends, medium roasts) and a ‘Single-Origin Bar’ with all your single origin coffee options (and the lighter roasts), filter as well as espresso and espresso based drinks, to show your customers the varieties of coffees they can choose from for their Lattes or Filter coffees.

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