SCAA Symposium: “Understanding The Consumer&...

SCAA Symposium: “Understanding The Consumer”

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.

For more on Ging’s presentation we turn to Erin Meister, who covered the 2012 SCAA Symposium event for

“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!