Welcome to 2005 - time to kvetch.
Posted February 9, 2005 4:35pm
I wrote a new article (finally) for CoffeeGeek a few days ago, called So what the heck is wrong... that's garnered over 75 responses in just a few days. I guess I picked a touchy subject. ;)
Maybe here I can say more of what I really think - LOL! In the article, I pulled a few punches and didn't name names (on the bad side of the field)... should I do it here? Well maybe just a little. (go read the article first though - but puleeeese, don't post in the forums that people should come here to get more dirt!)
I softballed the SCAA a bit in the article, got a bit more hardball in the forums (the 74th post) but here I'll say that I am very frustrated with the SCAA over consumer marketing. I even know the turning point for me, where I went from being all stars in my eyes and enthusiastic, to disillusioned and despondent over their ways.
On a nice sunny summer day a year and a half ago, I had Frank Dennis, the CEO of Swiss Water over at my place. This was the culmination of several weeks' worth of phone calls. Frank was very disillusioned already about the SCAA and their lack of actions following through on intent. But somehow I convinced Frank to give one more kick at the can and put in some serious time and effort into presenting the SCAA with a document containing much of his skills and knowledge.
Frank is a brilliant marketer, and has really been one of the cornerstones in the success and acceptance of Swiss Water decaffeination. So that Saturday, Frank came over, and for almost the entire day we worked on a 3 year marketing plan, complete with budget and forecasts for marketing effectively to consumers. Frank's the CEO of a multi-million dollar company... but put in the time, gratis.
One of the things I did to convince Frank to work on this was that things were different now at the SCAA. We had people on our side on the Board, and the executive and its staff seemed enthusiastic. I truly believed, and convinced Frank that our efforts would be looked at and acted upon.
That was kind of thrown in our faces, however, when our marketing proposal, all nicely written up with tables and charts, wasn't even tabled at the board meeting the following week. It was "deferred" and, as far as I know, never tabled.
Anyhow, after that, my enthusiasm for the SCAA and its approach to marketing to consumers waned and faded... very fast.
The SCAA's reps often tell us about how the organization is low for cash - and I do believe it - and that budgets have to be tight and careful.
Then I hear things about how the premier sponsor for the SCAA's show in Seattle this year (Starbucks, natch) paid in the VERY LOW five figures (think VERY LOW) for that privilege... and I think what the heck is going on. At the fall meetings last year, I wasn't the only one who thought the dollar amount Starbucks paid was obscenely low - there were many grumbles about it, especially amongst the roasters' guild members. And I couldn't help thinking... if the amount they got from Starbucks was more realistic - let's say $50,000 (which is more than double what they got)... that extra dough would have funded our marketing proposal's first year and a half... I think the budget we proposed for the first year was $15,000, and the second year was $25,000, but it would start to become self-supporting by the end of the second year.
Anyway.... dirty laundry, and random thoughts.
I haven't been trying too many new coffees as of late, but there are some. A lot of it comes from Intelligentsia Coffee because they're the official coffee sponsor for CoffeeGeek and every week I get 3 or 4 lbs of coffee delivered.
One of my faves has to be the Colombian Tres Santos which at first underwhelmed me... until I brewed it in the Eva Solo Cafe Solo brewer. Probably the best Colombian blend I've ever had... when treated right.
Another from Intelligentsia that blows my mind is the Los Inmortales El Salvadoran microblend, which lives up to the description they have for it on the site: "...offers a bright yet harmoniously balanced cup with notes of ripe pear and jasmine and a compelling maple-like sweetness. Very impressive. Drink it and enjoy the loveful heights."
I've been trying coffees from Stumptown, from Victrola in Seattle, and Vince from Artigiano cafes (in Vancouver) gave me a pound of Zeitgist Coffee (also out of Seatte) and they've all been top flight.