If you’re a coffee shop regular then you too have probably picked up somewhat of a routine, a few quirks that make your coffee shop experience work for you. Over the years of visiting coffee shops I have definitely learnt a lot from the coffee culture and because I am intentional about visiting different coffee shops I have admired the nature of decor, set up and service. I must admit I love a coffee shop experience that is different to the rest.
These days it is not uncommon to see business men and women working at coffee shops, and by now I’m sure you have heard the term ‘Coffice’ used, implying a ‘coffee shop come office’ environment. As a freelancer I am very much aware of this term, and believe there is another side to just benefiting from a space to work that has great coffee. I am all for supporting local coffee shops and baristas. I see the value in adding to the industry and in essence spreading the word about great local coffee shops so that more people become regular supporters.
So here is a note to all coffee shop regulars, which I believe if addressed will add greatly to the coffee industry in South Africa and around the world.
Give constructive feedback : If you are always visiting a coffee shop and you order your same old order, but this time it tastes bitter or is too hot, speak to the barista. Don’t shout at them because it’s not the usual taste, rather let them know your concerns in a kind manner so that they can make changes to the grind or the milk temperature. If you have built a good relationship with a waiter or barista this will come more naturally. I believe that we learn from constructive feedback and if no one says anything then how will the barista know what he/she can improve on. Im’m not implying going into every coffee shop ready to rate their coffee, or think you know more than the barista. However interacting with and encouraging the baristas in their skills will go a long way in improving our coffee culture.
Remember to tip : If you visit any specialty coffee shop/independent coffee shop those baristas have been trained extensively (for the most part) and a lot of their skill involves constantly checking the grinder, the coffee grind, checking that the espresso shots are pulling well, the milk is stressed to the correct temperature and texture. Their knowledge extends to the origin on the beans and some will even have been involved in the cupping process, so they will know what flavours you can get out of the coffee. The role of a barista is incredibly valuable so lets show our appreciation and support of their skills by tipping our baristas well when we visit our regular coffee shops.
Don’t abuse the wifi : One of the first questions I ask after ordering a coffee is “Do you offer wifi?” I am not rude about it or expectant, I don’t get angry at the waiter if his/her answer is no. Coffee shops that offer wifi are becoming more prevalent, and they have noticed the value in creating a space for the world to connect over coffee. I am a huge advocate of being aware of your time spent in a coffee shop with wifi. If you are going to spend from 8am – 12pm working in a coffee shop then out of courtesy one would either order breakfast and a coffee, or order a coffee/refreshment for each hour you are there. We are supporting our local baristas and coffee shop owners, not just using their free wifi.
Spread the word : I have always hoped to be part of creating a culture of information in the coffee industry. My blog is a way to share all the great coffee spots around South Africa and the world. I am a regular at many local coffee shops and know the baristas by name. When I visit I try take a good picture to share on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. I like to take note of the coffee shops social media details so I can mention them and refer them to others. I want to spread the word. I started a hashtag #supportlocal because I believe that our baristas are critical to our enjoyment of coffee. The more support shown for local coffee shops the greater the growth and skills improvement. The next time you visit your regular coffee shop hangout take a picture with your favourite barista, and share the name of the coffee shop/barista with your social community. Let’s make much of the men and women who pour us our beloved coffee drinks.
Being aware of these four points can make a major difference to the coffee industry. As coffee shop regulars it’s out responsibility and privilege to support and encourage, as we continue to enjoy coffee and the coffee shop space.
*images sourced from pexel.com