In recent months I have been spending a lot of time on the road. It was on one of them that the idea of a mildly spicy "election campaign" for our roastery was born. I am a temperamental and often explosive person. As they say - it is not difficult to put me on my toes. And that's why when I was suffocating my sight with the 27th billboard with some populist "message", I said to myself that basically it has a big connection to what black. has been doing.
Where does the need to sell end and the ability to be recognized for quality begin?
This question can cover a number of segments - politics, coffee and overall food industry, services and many others.
I think that humanity is an #easytobeinfluenced group. Especially when it concerns topics about which we have very little information or overview. Such as coffee or politics. And this is where marketing comes into play. A tool that should turn quality into quantity. The quantity of satisfied customers, the quantity of e-shop orders, the quantity of visits to our businesses or the quantity of votes in the ballot boxes. But here we have a turning point. We often come across marketing that has the unkind adjective "deceptive". Let's discuss it using the example of my favorite, almost worn-out phrase - specialty coffee.
Nowadays, full of competition and healthy rivalry, I very often come across the abuse of the label "specialty coffee". Because how can you stand out from the crowd when you're just another new coffee roaster and everyone tells you that you should go with the trends. You have the desire, but you lack the knowledge, experience, and above all enough funds to start your business "properly". I use quotation marks because it is highly debatable what the word "properly" should mean in this case. And that's how you buy your first bags of coffee, which in terms of quality is very close to the lower limit of specialty coffee (80-82 points), but still no one can accuse you of lying. The only one who can evaluate our coffees and products without remorse or bias is the customer, and therefore his/her advancement and ability to distinguish great from sub-par is absolutely essential - but how to do it in such a way that we maintain the reputation that specialty coffee has - without agression and without condescension?
I very often try to be an "apostle" of the SCA, since I was also directly involved in our Slovakian chapter for more than four years and I visit other national organizations as a judge of their SCA-sanctioned barista competitions. I see a great sense in their work, even if their functionality or often, unfortunately, their non-functionality is a topic for a separate series of blogs. Anyway, it is this organization that manages the worldwide community around specialty coffee, its research and evaluation rules. Education is at the absolute forefront of its meaning. Because only knowledge and information can move communities forward and make them better as a result. And therefore, even if the Slovak SCA chapter is currently in a strong hibernation, don't let it prevent you from your development.
If you've decided to support the specialty coffee segment, whether from a social or a taste perspective, let's say out loud that we've chosen a niche food segment. And if the entire chain of this segment is to survive and function sustainably (that is, at least until Mother Earth decides that enough is enough), we must together say no to deceptive marketing, quality seals and half-empty promises of an "unbeatable price" or "fantastic quality at the lowest prices on the market". A kilo of specialty coffee on the counter just cannot cost 30 euros including VAT.
• if you're a consumer and you just found one, trust me the quality will falter. It's a nice entry into the world of higher quality coffee, but take it as the very beginning..
• if you are a café that does not offer filtered coffee and only has a regional blend from Brazil for espresso, please do not profile yourself as a coffeeshop with specialty coffee. You are not doing yourself, others or your customers any favor. But if you care about coffee and want to do it better - seek for help. There are some great companies and individuals in Slovakia who have the knowledge and experience to get you where you need and want to go.
• if you are a specialty coffee roaster and you have ONLY such coffees on offer, please be more honest and transparent. There are still a large number of people on the market who want your product and will buy it even without half-truths and marketing phrases.
• if you are a coffee importer, please don't overscore your coffees, again in the end it doesn't help anyone.
This article is another in my "thought-provoking" series. It did not arise out of any grudge or hatred, quite the contrary. It was created as an inspiration for self-realization and open debate. Because as is clear from our social and political situation - we all want more transparency and actions than comforting and empty promises...