How do you take your coffee?


I'd say most of us indulge in a fresh coffee from our local coffee shop a few times a week, or if you're like me, you can't start the day without one, even on weekends! But what does your coffee order say about you, and how can we leverage that to mean something in our business?

My coffee order is really specific. I take my coffee differently depending on the weather, for starters. In summer its super hard to justify having a hot coffee, so I switch to iced. I don't do any kind of dairy, so a traditional whipped-cream and ice-cream confection isn't going to cut it. Other non-dairy milks taste pretty meh when cold, so one day I tried black iced coffee, and it wasn't too bad. The thing was, the barista hadn't really thought through how the sugar would go in an iced coffee, and since it was too cold to dissolve, I just ended up with a sugary wasteland at the bottom of my cup and bitter cold black coffee at the top. The next time I ordered I asked the barista to please dissolve the sugar into the hot shot of coffee, but you know what? I just felt like I'd turned into "that guy," which didn't feel great.

So, next I asked for (coffee snobs, look away now) a shot of syrup in my coffee, hazelnut had been my favourite before I turned into a coffee snob myself. It didn't need dissolving, it just tasted great.

And then... I'd found it. My go-to summer drink. All the caffeine, all the flavour, all the cool. Eventually the staff learned my order off by heart and I didn't even have to say it, just turned up at the counter and tapped my card to pay. After a while the staff decided to try my concoction and they decided it was seriously delicious. In winter, I switched to a large-flat-white-on-almond-with-a-shot-of-hazelnut-syrup (its a mouthful to say, but delicious to drink).

But what on earth does this say about me, and what does it have to do with marketing, and small business?

My coffee order says that I'll never settle for the easy option. That I'll go the distance to find the exact right solution. That even the perfect solution for me might be taking it a bit too far, and that taking a hit on people's perception of me is worth it not to be 'that guy' who makes someone else's life harder just for my own benefit.

When it comes to marketing and small business, it's about the advantage of knowing yourself, and of trying and testing til you find the exact right fit. When we are busy in the day to day of running our business it can be super tempting to just 'order the cappuccino', get the off-the-shelf option and get moving. But we'll always be a tiny bit (or a lot) dissatisfied, and taking the time to experiment, to weigh the pros and cons, to go back to something that worked earlier in a different context and see if it works here, we offer ourselves opportunities to create something new, and to make our customers (and ourselves) happy.

Life is too short to keep on ordering the cappuccino. Experiment, get creative, find your groove, and make your groove your habit. Others will come along for the ride, and you might just find something amazing!

Erin-Lee Laurence