Over the next few weeks, I will be doing a series of blogs about our purpose as a coffee provider. Once I have completed the external, internal, and philosophical problems we hope to solve for you regarding coffee, I will be going through these same things as it pertains to our podcast and future brick and mortar. As we have said in the past, we are a work in progress and I hope you will share your thoughts with us as we piece this together.
One of the very first things we have to lay out is who our ideal customer is. As it pertains to coffee, our customer is someone who has been on the Starbucks bandwagon for a long time but just can’t deal with it anymore. They know there is better coffee out there, but they don’t want to spend their kids college fund to have it and are also put off by the knit-cap elitists. (Disclaimer: there are probably baristas out there who are descent human beings and wear knit-caps…I just haven’t met one yet. Sorry, not sorry.)
That ideal customer definition actually address two external problems we hope to solve that become more connected later on.
Problem the first: Bitter coffee
Starbucks has actually done a lot for specialty coffee. The soles of their shoes are mucked with all the people they stepped on to get there, but they are the tide that lifted all boats. That being said, their coffee is super bitter. I know a lot of people who were Starbucks die hards but don’t like it anymore. Most people don’t know there is better coffee out there. Starbucks has become so ingrained in our social psyche that it’s just too hard to believe they can get what Starbucks offers them anywhere else. So, they still drink it. Because, what is the alternative?
Problem the second: Knit-Caps
I jokingly refer to coffee elitists who treat everyone like crap as Knit-Caps purely because I had an experience in San Diego where a barista couldn’t lower herself to my level. That perception has been reinforced multiple times over (unfortunately for the knit-cap community). I think we can agree that our culture is one of extremes. Democrats and Republicans. Left vs Right. There isn’t a lot of middle ground these days. So, what is the alternative to Starbucks? The super fancy, $6, 8 oz brewed coffee brewed by a knit-cap making you feel like your some stupid commoner they have to debase themselves to serve. Not much (in the food business) is worse then spending more than you want and then feeling crappy about it. I mean the store isn’t comfortable, it doesn’t represent you, the people act like they don’t like you, and you paid more than twice what you do at Starbucks.
This is where we want to come in. I want to make you coffee that is not bitter, that has certain flavor characteristics, and hopefully you don’t need to put as much sugar in. We will (intentionally) not be the best coffee in the world. If you have the means to spend $125 on 8 oz of rare whole bean, that’s great for you. That’s just not where we roll. We want to fill that gap. I want to serve coffee in a genuine way that makes you feel a little bit better than you did. I want the price to represent an undeniable value. Coffee is the craft of my hands and I like to share it with people. I want to be the craft beer of coffee. Now that means something different in Arizona than in other places I think. My experience here is that the craft beer scene is mostly blue collar craftsman. They work hard and you feel the effort they put in and you see the passion they have and how much they want to share their product with you. That’s what I want to be.