Coffee Fest will be in Chicago this month. I will be there to give a few speeches to the next crop of entrepreneurs entering the coffee game or those already in it looking to upskill to best whatever challenges may be waiting for them. I always enjoy speaking at Coffee Fest because interacting with a crowd of people that are highly focused and enthused to be in the coffee business is always exciting. Many more newcomers attend this show looking to learn and be a part of the coffee community. I always see it as an opportunity to influence people new to the industry and pass on the values I care about in coffee.
What is important to me in coffee at the moment is creating a sustainable value chain that allows us to enjoy coffee for generations to come. But, of course, the only way for this to be achieved is to decommodify coffee and make a purchase according to traditional business practices, which involve taking the cost of production into account and creating consistent margins and a level of cost forecasting.
The next aspect of coffee I feel is essential to protect is community. The coffee community has always been an eclectic mix of people from various backgrounds with a multitude of skills that all decided to agree on at least one thing – what to drink.
This is why I continue to speak at events, write articles, and interview people I respect. It is simply to keep the community together by sharing stories that unite us and help support the businesses that our industry relies on to succeed.
On June 24, I will be speaking on Content Marketing in one class and Menu Creation in another. These are two vital subjects to any coffee business, whether you are a wholesaler or retailer. Whether we like it or not, you are involved in marketing if you own a business. This is the way the game is played now. Our personal brands and social media feeds are the windows to businesses and inform many of the customers purchasing decisions.
Menu creation is about more than ingredients. But, again, it goes back to the brand and understanding your customer and their wants and needs. It’s about understanding what you are capable of and how to give the customer what they are asking for by creating an experience they cannot get elsewhere.
In this issue, we offer some new ideas on how to make iced coffee and how the market is evolving. We have recipes submitted from Breville and Monin that will suit the purist or the sweet tooth coffee drinker. We also have a contribution on sustainability from Bill Fishbein, which is the more important conversation to have. I hope you enjoy it.