a prelude and a plea

It's almost the annual SCAA show. The circus. The event. The mayhem.

As everyone is gathering together and talking smack and catching up in general - I would ask folks to consider the following for conversation at this time.

There are many things about the coffee industry that are not so good. Especially as compared to other industries.

But coffee does have its strengths - it does have its areas where it is better than most other businesses.

There is one that rarely gets mentioned - but recent events have made me feel like I need to bring it to light.

As compared to many other businesses I've worked in - with coffee you generally don't see people taking credit for the hard work of others. People in coffee are usually quite good at giving credit where it is due. Yeah - we've got a ton of big egos in this industry. But usually even the biggest of egos share credit. They point to the farmers, they point to their mentors, they point to employees and bosses and partners and even to competitors.

Coffee has very few "big swinging dicks" running around claiming that their business' success was all because of them. That particular type of megalomania is refreshingly rare in coffee. Believe me... this is not the case in other industries.

And I'd really, really hate to see this change.
I'd hate to see people in coffeee start to behave with the level of disrespect for others that exists in other businesses.
I'd hate to see the sort of offensive behavior - where people lay claim to the results of other people's hard work as their own - spread to coffee.

To be honest - I've recently seen the first signs of this cropping up.
And it makes me sad.
It makes me sad - and it makes me angry.

No-one in coffee is doing this alone. No-one can claim total credit for any success. Each of us owes a debt of gratitude to everyone we work with, everyone we learned from, everyone who came before us, every hand that touches the coffee - and every customer who pays for it.

That's one of the few things I'd like to see never change about coffee.


aikibarista said...


As someone who's always been a coffee inspiration to me, all I can say is,

"Well said."

Unknown said...

I agree. It seems that most people in the (specialty) coffee industry who are the "big swinging dicks" you can actually pick a phone and talk to. I've actually done it a few times. I wonder how hard it is to talk to talk to Bill Gates or Warren Buffett..