Mark, head of Wholesale Operations at Unorthodox, explains why we should embrace speciality coffee in Scotland.
The short answer; no. You are the one who is out there braving the elements and standing outside unable to feel your toes. Baristas and café owners should be thanking you for you coming out. Especially in this current COVID climate.
Having worked in the coffee game for a while now it has become apparent to me that some people can feel intimidated going into and ordering from a speciality coffee shop. Whether this is the level of cool from other customers, the barrage of coffee information coming from the barista or the difficulty of getting 'just a coffee'.
I understand this can all be a little daunting. The feeling of not belonging. The confusion. It’s not nice! I am here to tell you that you don’t need to feel that way. You are cool enough just the way you are. Enough said.
A barista should be excited to see you. To share what they are passionate about with you. Is there any better feeling? Personally, I don’t think so! I'm always stoked to invite newbies into the outrageously. diverse world of speciality coffee. As long as it isn't arrogant or overbearing.
Unfortunately, the way I feel isn’t shared by the entire industry. The knowledge baristas have can sometimes give a feeling of power that isn’t always conducive to a great customer experience. The thought of being able to bamboozle a customer with extensive information can impart feelings of superiority. From the exact height at which a bean was harvested to the exact time of the first crack during the roasting process this knowledge should be shared comfortably and not impressed upon the customer.
It sometimes just takes a touch of emotional intelligence on the barista's part. From my perspective it is all about knowing your audience! Is the customer a coffee enthusiast whose sole purpose is finding the perfect cup of coffee and its exact journey from bean to cup or are they simply there for a good cuppa joe? Being able to distinguish the two can make all the difference. In fact, that is what incredible hospitality is all about. In my opinion.
So, for all the people sitting there thinking..."I’d love to try that place down the road, but I just don’t feel confident going in". I say chuck on your worst pair of dungarees, a hat with a feather perhaps? March straight in there and just order a 'coffee'. 9 times out of 10 the barista is going to be awesome and you are going to look forward to your next visit.