A landmark presentation from this year’s Specialty Coffee Association of America’s Symposium is now available to view online. The presenter is former SCAA deputy executive director Tracy Ging (now with S&D Coffee), and the talk is titled “Understand The Consumer: New Research Profiling Specialty’s Most Enthusiastic Drinker.” It’s riveting, fascinating, essential viewing for the coffee professional and enthusiast alike, and was a real highlight of the 2012 Symposium conference.
“SCAA deputy executive director Tracy Ging served up a slice of honest humble pie with a presentation about the motivations, behaviors, and perceptions of the specialty-coffee customer base, reminding us that for the average consumer, coffee is all about heart. Sparkly hearts, to be exact – just like the ones found on myriad collages depicting “What Specialty Coffee Means to Me” created by focus-group participants in the coffee-driven markets of Los Angeles and Portland, OR.
“The people who drink [specialty coffee] have the capacity to love it deeply,” Ging said in response to the groups’ collected results. “Something happens over a great cup of coffee that’s different than when you’re just grabbing a cup of caffeine.”
Ging reminded the attendees that while our customers do have a healthy curiosity about what they’re drinking and how we make that magic happen, they don’t want to be beaten over the head with it: In fact, many of them sound like they kind of need a big ol’ barista bear hug.
“They want a love affair, and we’re giving them altitude and rainfall statistics,” she said. Not every detail, and not at every moment. And hey, flash a smile every once in a while, okay?”
How does this perspective make you feel? Sound off in the comments below!