Flavored Coffee?

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Flavored Coffees and Blends Sell Better Than Single Origins

You and I are in business to make a living for ourselves and our families and for the friends for whom we buy pizza once in a while.  And I know that Sumatran and Kenyan sell well and have sold well since the business really got going in the early 90's and maybe as I think of it, sooner.  And I agree it is good to have farmers who want to grow good coffee.  But please don't lose sight of the premise of all business.  "Give your customers what they want".  Recently I heard a person who has invested a great deal of currency and physic currency into their business say something like this "This is my store, this is my business and I know what I want to do", this as rebuttal in a discussion of flavored coffee.  Ok, you are not alone.  On this bike ride I've seen more stores not selling many titles of anything actually.  Some with maybe 10 titles of whole bean - a title being a specific coffee, be it blend, flavor or origin -  but most don't show any in bins or jars.  A few have the token 12 ounce display.  The question then is ok, that's what you want, are you happy with your sales, your customer flow, and most important, your profits?

Given:  profits pay for mortgages, vacations, children's clothing and tuition and college tuition, and retirement, and medical benefits, and life insurance and auto payments, and scooters, and mules (for buzz and press ride one to work for a week), all the things you need and want.  I'll rephrase it.  Profits pay for every thing you need and want.

I keep running into stores without a major commitment to selling whole bean coffee, with bins and grinders and scales.  And more important, I keep running into coffee bars that think flavored coffee beans are not to be seen in a real coffee store.  No way, says Juan.

Flavored coffee was my first introduction to "Gourmet" coffees many years ago.  Friends of ours had it and served it after dinner at a big to do kind of dinner in my life before coffee.  It was a hit with the folks at the table.  Little did I know then that one day I'd be writing this paragraph extolling the benefits of giving customers what they want to independent coffee entrepreneurs, who don't want to sell flavored coffee.  That is, don't want their customers to get the best flavored coffee they can for home consumption.  What will we do, have take out syrup or Syrup Delivered to Your Door 24/7?  

People want to drink flavored coffee at home, for dessert, for morning, for lunch, when entertaining.  Get a job to cater coffee a the next political event.  Have caraf's of  your favorite blend and then add Hazelnut and Jamaican Me Crazy, which many folks I've met with have not heard of, and it is the best selling coffee that I know of.  Beyond any other coffee.  I am not saying abandon the expertise you have developed over the years at barista, or fancy drinks prepared with pizzazz.  Just that there are a lot of people out there who want to get to your stores to enjoy flavored coffee with syrup.  And they want it for home.  Go to your supermarket and see how many flavors they carry.

If your roaster is honest, they will concur with what I say.  Unless they are so committed to espresso drinks and origins that it is against their interest sell flavored coffee.   But you will know better because you have read this, and you I hope will do some homework and go to supermarkets and ask the folks there.

And a word on single origins.  Some of these new origins are just fantastic in the cup.  I remember the first auction some years ago, and we bid on a couple of new origins and the one I wanted went for 21 dollars a pound, way more than I was willing to pay.  This is well and good for the auctioneer and George Howell who I have the utmost respect for as a roaster, a consultant and a cupper.  But ... Blends and Flavored coffees outsell single origins by a mile.  You may love Brazilian coffee, but I dare say there are not many who do.  That is, served by itself.  But in blends it is fantastic.  

I'm going to assign myself some homework to watch more and read more of what other roasters and consultants are saying and selling.  More to come on this most important topic.  I'm going to create a page in the site for this topic at the top l level and add to it as I go.

Let us not loss sight of the basics of this business.  The first objective is to stay in business and be happy doing it (happiness with money and freedom).   Single Origins and getting more money to farmers with Fair Trade is fine, and many cup well, but they are a single mindedness.  Blends like my original blend of Centrals, South American and African coffees have, in my opinion, a much broader appeal.  And flavors are wonderful to many of your customers who are buying them from a competitor of yours.  



This site is sponsored by Kaffe Magnum Opus, the coffee roaster.  To contact Bob please call his cell 609-247-9683 or e-mail bob@gtc3.com or bob@kmocoffee.com.  Or call the office at 800-652-5282 and the folks there will find me.