I did my second Coffee Ambush this past Monday at the amazing Fox Theater for their office, and recently posted up the video here: http://vimeo.com/26293451. Lots of folks have asked me since then what they were, and what was the objective, so I thought I’d take a second and let you know.
The Coffee Ambush is where I go into a business, to the surprise of everyone except the one person I organize it with, and I brew coffee for them with the Clever Dripper for the morning. I created the Coffee Ambush as a way to do three things:
1. To get delicious Batdorf & Bronson Coffee in the mouths of lots more people. We roast some dang good coffee, and I want more and more people to see how tasty it is, especially in comparison to the fast food coffee most of them drink.
2. To introduce a lot more folks to what specialty coffee is, and show how much better it can be.
3. To have fun, getting out in the community and meeting a lot of great people who love coffee, and to show them how cool brewing coffee at home can be.
So far, it’s been greatly successful on all fronts, and it’s been very cool. I have many more planned and on the calendar, and there’s some really cool ones coming up. My first one was with my friends at Scoutmob, and they had as much fun as I did. The second one was, again, at The Fox Theater, and it was great, too. Lots of different people, different age groups, you name it. Many of the people I served at The Fox said they had never been able to drink black coffee by itself before, and that’s part of the point. And it’s so easy to do.
I’m going to tell you how to do it, because I believe we in coffee industry have a great opportunity to introduce specialty coffee through this. It’s important that it comes from a roaster, who’s in that community. Because roasters are a part of that community, and they want to be more engaged, and their customers want to be more engaged with them. I think anything else could seem more like a sales pitch, and mine never come off as such.
1. Identify local businesses/companies/start-ups that have a cool social media presence. The reason is, but typically their offices are more laid-back, and would be more willing to let you come. Scoutmob was a great example. Identify other local businesses you think would love to have you come and be barista for a morning.
2. Contact the office manager, or maybe even their social media specialist. Tell them your idea, and your objective, why you want to do it. Tell them you need nothing from them except an electric outlet.
3. Organize it, put it on the calendar, don’t publicize it.
4. Show up with all your gear and coffee. I bring everything I need. Hot water kettle, trash can, three scales, three Clever Dripper, three servers, cups, water sometimes, extension cord, filters, Baratza Vario grinder and coffee. I have a nice bag I put everything in.
5. Brew coffee for folks, sharing your passion for good coffee and community. Get to know them, what they do, etc.
6. Once done, clean your stuff up, leaving no trail, and thank them.
7. Once back, shoot an email to thank them again. Tweet it out. Thank them via Twitter, talk them up. They deserve it!
8. If you’ve videoed it, Put together the video, post it up. (Here’s the one I did for Scoutmob, edited on my iPhone with iMovie, and a little long: http://vimeo.com/25164765)
9. Enjoy what you’ve done.
So, there you have it. The Coffee Ambush. I can’t wait to do more and more of these. This reminds me of years ago, Ric Rhinehart was speaking to us at the SCAA Leadership Summit, and he asked the question: “How many of you roasters see your end customers everyday face to face, talk with them?” And very few did. Then, he asked, “Baristas, how many of you see and talk to your end customers everyday?” And of course, all did. This is a great way for roasters to communicate directly to their end customers who they are, what they do, and how good the coffee is. I was introduced at a recent event as a “Coffee Evangelist”, and I have to say I take that as a big compliment. May we all go out and evangelize in the name of good coffee where we are.