Thoughts on: Coffee Expansion

Yummy things can easily be diluted.

For example, a yummy espresso can be diluted (even drowned) in milk once the proportion of milk completely washes out any character the espresso could have possessed.

This idea can be translated to the business side of coffee. The names that we associate with specialty coffee share one thing in common: they were at one time the bomb. I’ll elaborate a bit more and say that the big names Intelligentsia, 49th parallel, Stumptown (kicking it old skool Victrola, Zoka) at one time or another were the bomb, the dopest, freshest things ever. However it is questionable if these guys are still as dope as they once were. I know I’m probably stepping into a possible battlezone here but with all the expansion of these dope places something has got to give.

Sure, these places make great coffee, have innovative philosophy on the industry and impeccable training so expansion really aint no thang right? RIGHT? ….

WRONG

There comes a point where you’re just too big for your own good. What is this point? I don’t know, I don’t own any cafes. But I’ve seen it a lot. Boutique roastery goes from small batches, to larger batches, to Megatron sized roaster (yet still retaining the title “boutique”). TOO BIG.

BIGGER is not always better *wink* and could possibly be detrimental. Here are some possible cons:

– Less skilled/trained baristas

– Inconsistent quality of drinks

– Decreased focus on quality because of increased focus on business

– Lack of innovations in coffee (Stagnation)

– Loss of individuality (uniqueness)

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