2017 is shaping up to be a massive year for Barista Hustle and the coffee community at large. The following is a few of my predictions and promises for this year and beyond.
Keep the Good Vibes
Barista Hustle is a business, not a charity. Luckily, this doesn’t mean things have to be soulless and transactional. Nor do we have to jam ads down your throat to stay afloat.
Barista Hustle survives and thrives on a very unique and virtuous cycle:
We offer free information about coffee to anyone who’s interested. We also try to generate discussion and develop community around this information. Both of these things constitute what I believe to be incredible value for anyone involved.
On the other side of the coin we also sell things to pay the bills. Luckily for our audience these things are extremely relevant to them. Hopefully they’re also affordable, of high quality, and fix a problem or scratch an itch.
Occasionally we’ll divert the attention of our audience from the free information to the things we sell; arguably a far cry from a “hot singles in your area” banner. Nobody will ever be forced to buy anything.
The money from these products allows us to hire people to do stuff, like sharing information for everyone’s benefit, or designing and manufacturing new and innovative products.
This cycle is self-propelling: the larger and more engaged the audience, the more things we can sell, the more humans we can hire, the more problems we can fix, and the faster we can push the boundaries of coffee. It’s also delicate: trust is paramount, the balance of value has to be managed.
If this doesn’t suit you, then please enjoy the free information with our compliments. If it does, then welcome aboard!
The Year of Freezing
I believe freezing coffee (both green and roasted) to drastically increase shelf life will be elevated to widely accepted -if not common- practice within the year. It definitely works, but until now there’s been precious little evidence and far too much prejudice for it to break through. Freezing, in combination with vacuum or nitrogen flushing, stops coffee ageing in its tracks. The possibilities created by this are rather compelling…
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Barista Hustle will be donating US$1 to Cool Earth for every package we send around the world from now on. This includes every coffee subscriber each month, one-off coffee purchases, and every online equipment order.
We all know climate change is the biggest threat to coffee. After some considerable research I’ve concluded that CoolEarth.org is the most cost-effective way to mitigate the effect of this business on the planet. At the moment I don’t have the budget, time, or need for carbon neutral certification. Instead, Barista Hustle will be sending a truly overzealous amount of money to Cool Earth to compensate. Neutral is good, but undeniably-negative is better.
This will replace my former weak and ineffective promise of “$1 to a coffee related charity” for each monthly subscription. Soon there will be a 3rd party dashboard, accessible by anyone, detailing the measurable impact of this commitment as time goes on.
Based on calculations from Cool Earth, we’ll be offsetting 2300 tonnes of CO2 in January, with more each month as the coffee subscription and equipment businesses grow. I’m hoping for a minimum of 35,000 tonnes for the year.
For reference, this is the equivalent of offsetting the business and the entire carbon footprint of every single coffee subscriber each month. (Calculated based on US citizens who are more than twice the global average with another 2x margin of error for affluence. This is not a promise; it’s a rough calculation for easy comparison to the magnitude of this commitment.)
The End of Consistent Espresso Pressure
The game is up. Holding pressure constant throughout an espresso is sub-optimal and even counter productive. Some manufacturers have clued in to this, and are releasing machines with variable pressure hydraulic systems that react to the coffee’s resistance. Flow is the key, not pressure.
Note: Strada, Slayer, and Synesso’s existing pressure profiling doesn’t count, and entirely misses the point.
Make More Mistakes
Until now, Barista Hustle has been publishing things that are quite curated, dictatorial, and rigid. This body of work constitutes a large majority of what I believe to be true about coffee. I’m now reaching the limit of things I can share without costly experimentation to safely back it up.
Moving on, I’ll be making Barista Hustle much more exploratory. I’ll be performing more experiments, trying things, making stuff, breaking stuff, and moving fast. I’ll also be sharing these things as they happen. This considerable increase in transparency and vulnerability will be testing; especially in a culture that tends to focus on developing a superficial kind of confidence.
Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change. If you’re keen to share in this journey towards better coffee, please come along for the ride. Helpful critics are especially welcome; unhelpful carps are not.
A Barista Hustle Bar!
Part of Barista Hustle’s progress towards being an equipment designer and manufacturer is to start developing and using those tools ourselves in real life scenarios. I can’t share too much detail yet, but we’ll be opening some kind of venue/lab in Melbourne well before the year is up. The aim: smash boundaries, explore the future of specialty service, and be the cutting edge. This project in particular gives me the fear. ????
2017 is going to be super fun and incredibly challenging. I’m really keen for your feedback on these predictions and promises down below!
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