It’s not about the coffee

Coffee unites us. It tastes great and gives us a boost first thing in the morning, but there’s more to coffee than just the flavour, and that’s what makes it the perfect product.

Coffee makes us stop work, take stock, breathe, catch up on a conversation. It provides a conduit between two friends who haven’t seen each other for a while, or two acquaintances trying to resolve an issue. It breaks the ice at a job interview.


It’s there with us when the sun is rising and nobody else is awake, and it’s there at 2am encouraging us to finish the work.

Then there’s the art of coffee — the way it can communicate to us on an emotional level, like trawling cafes for the perfect cup of espresso, or growing, roasting and grinding our own beans in an attempt to create our own unique brand. The way your heart sinks when the milk is burnt, and the uncontrollable “ahhh” sound you make after the first sip of a delicious shot.

The passion that your local barista has for their art is what keeps you coming back. The way she turns the cup on the counter so the heart faces you, the awakening clang of the cups and saucers as you enter the cafe. You keep going back there because it provides you access to this magical experience called coffee.

And how much do we pay for the taste, comfort, and emotional connection to this product? No more than a few dollars… which is over-priced, really. It’s just a few beans that’ve been dried out, crushed up and mixed with water, right? The whole culture built on top of that comes from our acceptance of coffee’s clever branding strategists and what they’re trying to achieve.

Whether your product is a physical good, a service, a blog, or even your own self, the chances are there are a million others on the market with no discernible difference to yours. The real value is what we build on top of our products to make them connect with our markets, like coffee, to a point where people are taking our brand and sharing it as though it were art.

image: me

2 thoughts on “It’s not about the coffee

  1. Reply
    elladstep - January 5, 2012

    One thing I disagree with you on, I haven’t really met too many passionate baristas. Maybe I’m not going to the right coffee shops or something, but I get the sense they just view it as another job (and I’m perfectly ok with that).

  2. Reply
    Chris Pahor - January 7, 2012

    Hey Elladstep – you’re definitely not visiting the right coffee shops! I know there are plenty of baristas who view their job as just to “make coffee”, but there is also a passionate community of coffee-obsessed baristas out there who are committed to making the best coffee they can. I hope you can seek some of them out, it’s definitely worth it 🙂

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