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What I Think: The Intangible Ingredients of a Perfect Cup of Coffee

Imagine the results you could attain if everything you did had the additional ingredients of care and love when preparing it.

I appreciate a really good cup of black coffee: full bodied, robust but not puckering, fragrant not burnt, hot not tepid. When you drink it, the world stops and you are in the moment with your coffee. Ahhhhh.

Not that I am a coffee aficionado, but I have only one cup of coffee a day and I want it to be exceptional. I buy from speciality coffee shops (avoiding convenience stores and truck stops like the plague). I don’t drink Tim Hortons as I find it to be bitter, Starbucks seems to over roast their beans, and if I am unsure, I will smell the coffee first before deciding.

When I was growing up, my mother used to roast green coffee beans at home, and my sibs and I would take turns hand grinding the beans. Undoubtedly this is where I learned to appreciate a really good cup of coffee– and that it didn’t just make itself.

A short while ago I had the best cup of coffee in a long time. I was on holidays driving into Kingston late in the morning. I hadn’t had a cup of coffee yet and was in the mood. The only “real” choice that I had was a Starbucks. So I braved it and bought a tall, black, medium roast then left to run my errand.

While I was grocery shopping, it hit me that I was experiencing a fabulous cup of coffee. It was made perfectly. As I was savouring this lovely coffee moment, I was sorry that I had only purchased the smallest size. I knew I had to find a way to extend this moment.

On the way home, I drove back, through the drive-thru this time, and explained to the voice-in-the-box that if he could make me another fabulous cup of coffee, I would buy it. When I got to the window Ben said he was pleased that I liked his coffee. Then he told me what I believe his secret to be.

Ben explained that he has worked at several Starbuck stores and enjoys this one the best. He loves coming to work, preparing coffee and serving it to customers. He confirmed that they did not change their beans, the water or the process in which they make coffee. I have had their coffee before and it never tasted like this. The only difference I can determine is Ben.

Is it possible that including “loving care” in the work we do is felt or received by the customer? I’m not talking about doing something lovingly for family or friends, like cooking. Demonstrating loving care with our work without any acknowledgement, and for complete strangers is different. I noticed the difference in taste of a cup of coffee! The impact of this realization is profound. It speaks to the importance of cultivating a culture at work that permits and garners this type of energy.

Other businesses already know this “secret”: Every year I buy plants for my garden from Linda and Fred Williams of Maple Lane Greenhouse in Glenburnie, Ontario, as their plants produce in abundance. Last year I asked for a seedling from their gorgeous lilac tree and I received it this spring. The sold tag on the tree said, “For Vera with Love”. I know that Linda and Fred use TLC with their plants–that’s why I go there–but I never really thought about it as being an active ingredient producing stellar results.

Have you seen labels that say, “Made for you with Love”? Can it be that love is an extra ingredient that makes a difference to the outcome of what we are producing?

My second cup of coffee from Ben was just as good as the first. He made the difference. I know it.

Imagine the results you could attain if everything you did had the additional ingredients of care and love when preparing it. Try it. Do something today and be conscious of adding those very special ingredients. I know that it will be worth at least a good cup of coffee.

Reuse and Permissions: Unauthorized distribution, transmission, reuse or republication of any and all content is strictly prohibited. To discuss re-use of this material, please contact: copyright@yourworkplace.ca ; 877-668-1945.

Vera Asanin head shot
WRITTEN BY
Vera Asanin
President & Editor-in-Chief, Your Workplace

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