Writing Tidbits

From Mike Ferguson’s Preface to Essential and Effective Marketing for the Specialty Coffee Retailer by Bruce Milletto: 
“If you purchased this book looking for a few good marketing tips while cutting quality corners, do us all a favor, put the book on the shelf and spend 12 months focusing on improving quality in every aspect of your business except marketing before you pick it up again. I just might walk into your coffeehouse one day and I would hate to have to write on a comment card, as I have on occasion, ‘Great logo, too bad about the coffee.'”

From The Micro-Chain Link: Branding, Community and Quality by Mike Ferguson
Published in the April 2003 issue of Fresh Cup Magazine: 
“How many? It’s a question as deeply embedded in American definitions of success as ‘how much?’ If you own a single coffeehouse, you’ve probably been asked numerous times when you plan to open your second location. If you already own multiple shops, you’re probably asked regularly when you plan to open the next one. After all, Starbucks has nearly 5000 stores in North America and everyone wants to know when you’re going to catch up. But the harsh reality is that success with one coffeehouse does not guarantee success with multiple stores. That’s because beyond the basic operational and financial issues of opening additional stores lie more subtle questions related to identity, image and branding.”

From Uncharted Territory: Exploring the Possibility of Specialty Coffee Origins by Mike Ferguson Published in the July 2001 issue of Fresh Cup Magazine:
“Exceptional single-origin coffees create a connection to far-away locations–places unknown to most people in any tangible sense except through the cup. Specialty coffee is about coffee that could not have come from just anywhere. We carefully prepare and serve single-origin coffees: ‘This is what the foothills around Mt. Kenya taste like.’”

From The Quality / Price Puzzle by Mike Ferguson Published in the July/August 2002 issue of The Specialty Coffee Chronicle:
“Heaven save us from coffee that is good enough. You either believe that consumers can tell the difference between great coffee and just good coffee or you don’t.  If you don’t believe that consumers can tell the difference, what is driving your business model?”

From The Supersizing of Specialty Coffee: Is Bigger Really Better?  by Mike Ferguson Published in the June 2003 issue of Fresh Cup magazine: 
“In the distant future, archaeologists will dig us up, looking for clues they can decipher in their studied hindsight as indications of the decline of western civilization. In the same way that we reflect on the Romans and wonder why they couldn’t see that feeding people to lions was not a sign of good things to come, historians will one day look back at us and think, ‘All you can eat? Double Big Gulp? Super-size it? A 24-ounce coffee?’ The writing, they’ll say, was on the menu.”

From Impact at Origin by Mike Ferguson Published in the November/December 2000 Specialty Coffee Chronicle: 
“Perhaps no other word in the coffee industry carries with it so complex a mixture of passion and promise than ‘origin.’ There is the history and romance of the coffee farm, the tangible sense of very cup of coffee being descendant from the soil. There is the connection, so critical to the success of the specialty coffee sector, to places far away and exotic, endlessly unique and unknowable except through the cup: the earth of Yemen, the mean seas off Sumatra, the rain forests of Guatemala. Then there is the dependency inherent in the word itself. The livelihood of every single person in the coffee industry originates in coffee lands, is born of the plants and those who tend them and harvest their fruit.”