Things I Would Like to See Improved in Specialty Coffee

This has changed the way I experience coffee. I’ve become a novelty seeker. I almost never go to places that don’t offer a choice or never change their espresso offering. This is a great thing.

The problem is the signage that was prominent just a few years ago is mostly gone or hidden. I would say half the coffee shops in Seattle that offer more than one espresso have no information on their website, social media or even at the counter. You have to ask. You have to know to ask. The second espresso has become a big secret. Not in every cafe, but far too many. Coffee shops are doing a much better job detailing their pour over offerings.

On the few times I’ve mentioned this, the pushback I’ve received is the customer doesn’t care. To which I have 3 responses:

  1. I’m a customer and I care.
  2. If the customers don’t care, why are you offering an espresso choice?
  3. How are the customers supposed to care about something they don’t know is available?

One cafe in Seattle removed their single origin espresso offering because no one was ordering it. I pointed out they never listed their single origin espresso on their sign or menu, so how was the customer expected to know it was available? They listened to me and the second espresso offering is now on the menu and is being ordered by customers.

Recently I bumped into two friends from the coffee industry at a cafe near where I live. I asked which espresso they tried. They didn’t know there was an option, so they received a mediocre blend instead of a featured single origin espresso. When it came time to order they didn’t dig through the pages of menu items to read that they had a choice. It was their first visit. How were they to know? They seemed disappointed in the cafe. I doubt they will be back, which is a shame. There was no problem with the coffee. The problem was communication.

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