How Would You Like Your Coffee?

I found the following quote: “Do I like my coffee black?  There are other colors?”  (And there are other colors depending upon how much milk/crème/water one adds.)  Most of the world, there are different varieties not listed here, such as Greek Coffee, but the world drinks coffee

Here in the United States, the lists that 64% of American adults daily consume coffee.  That’s a lot of people, but where do people get their coffee?  Most brew their coffee at home, as this graph from Coffee Brew, but there are numerous places to get a cup of java!

But the real question is not much coffee we drink, but how dependent we are on coffee imports. Hawaii is the only state that grows coffee, with over 6,900 acres producing over almost 12,500 metric tons of coffee beans in 2020-2021.  In 2020, the United States imported almost 1.5 million metric tons of coffee.

So, where did all this coffee come from?  The top import sources are Brazil, Colombia, Vietnam, Nicaragua, Guatemala, but all coffee producing area ship coffee to the United States.  And as this is mostly shipped through the nation’s ports (except for Mexican beans that move through various land crossings), the largest import gateways are New York, New Orleans, San Francisco, Charleston, Baltimore.  I am doing my best to help New Orleans be number one, but no one really knows where a roaster sourced their coffee!  

So, when you have your next cup of coffee, and enjoy that first ship of goodness, remember that your coffee is the end of a global supply chain.   I’m off to get my favorite cup of coffee, one that is “As Black as Night, As Strong as Death, as Hot as Hell, and As Sweet As Love.”



Stirring in Training With Some Coffee

Last week, I went to a coffee shop early in the morning to get some work done. The morning staff, a barista and a chef, were working hard. The barista was overwhelmed with drive-in orders. She asked the chef to assist, which he did, and here is where the morning got interesting.  

The cook became frustrated. Obviously, he did not want to help but felt compelled to do so, as he was prepping the day. And once he started with my order, his inability to work the cash register was noticeable. He could not figure out how to put in a black coffee, and when I presented him cash, the drawer was not prepped. He was managing his rising anger, but it was noticeable which I expect for the following reasons:

  • He did not want to handle orders (he’s a cook and was prepping his day),
  • He was not trained in how to work the system (or he never assumed he would do this),
  • Maybe he felt that the job could not be that hard, or that he should be able to figure this out,
  • The person before him did not prepare him for success, as there was no change in the drawer. (The problem of everyone paying with a credit card?).

But the barista could have done some things differently:

  • The cook had to ask the barista for assistance several times, making her less effective in serving her customers. 
  • Maybe the barista could have rung up the order and he could have prepared the beverages. I suspect the barista’s focus on the next immediate task and not the total work at that moment seemed confusing to the chef.  

So, the takeaways?

  • Know all the tasks you may need to engage in during your day. Although you may not be the expert, at least training and understanding of distinct roles could be beneficial.
  • Understand what your teammates are doing and what they can bring to address a solution.
  • Say “no” if you know you cannot do something or at least offer an alternative to the original suggestion.
  • The manager who encourages teamwork should also encourage understanding boundaries and training. No one wants an overly willing teammate who is unable to contribute.

The manager did not know how to plan for the workload – within 20 minutes, two more baristas showed up! We have to remember we do not control external inputs.