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Notes from a coffee crawl

Published on under the Coffee category.

The coffee bar at the Union Brew Lab coffee shop

Today (which is Saturday. I usually post blog posts a couple of days after I write them because I either: forget to post a blog post or have other articles to post.) I visited four speciality coffee shops in Edinburgh. In doing so, I was able to experience four different service interactions with coffee shops. I just started thinking to myself that today I saw some interesting things so I wanted to share them on my blog.

I first want to comment on Union Brew Lab, where I had an excellent coffee earlier today. At Union Brew Lab, I ordered a batch brew, which came in a metal pitcher similar to the kind of pitcher in which one would steam milk for latte art. I have never ordered a batch brew before and I wanted to explore something new. I was also served a glass bottle of water and a glass from which to drink my water. The glass bottle was lovely. When my coffee arrived, I was presented with a white tulip cup and my pitcher full of coffee.

First, I am intrigued by the amount of coffee I received. It was probably about equal to a regular cup but the way in which it was served made me think I had a lot more coffee. The pitcher was quite full and the cup was big but not as big as a regular mug. This meant I was able to pour a few cups of coffee from the pitcher, which felt very good. I enjoyed pouring the coffee every time.

Second, I liked the thought that went into offering customers a glass bottle and a glass from which to consume the water. I chose not to drink the water but I could have decanted it and had quite a bit of water without having to ask for more. This is something I have seen in other service experiences before but I only just became conscious of how nice it is to have a bottle of water given to you without having to ask.

At Lowdown Coffee, I was given a glass of water too, which felt great because I was actually in need of some water. After having two coffees, I did want to drink some water, which accompanied the food I had at lowdown well. The glass was quite unusual but I thought it represented Lowdown’s minimalist theme well, making me think about the beautiful design of the cafe. It’s amazing how much attention to detail has been put into their service.

I now want to dry pouring my coffee into a carafe before I serve it into my mug so that I can pour myself my coffee at my own pace. I can see myself doing this at my desk already and I think I’ll try it tomorrow (which will be Sunday). At home, I almost always have a cup of water nearby from before I made my coffee, but now I realise that having a glass of water around isn’t just something I do to keep hydrated: cafes do it, too.

These were only a few details of the many that I likely picked up on during my coffee crawl but the ones noted in this post are those that are coming to mind. There are many aspects to service – from the music playing to the layout of the cafe to the conversations you have with a barista – but I feel like a lot of them go unnoticed because I think it’s quite easy to take service for granted. I had a great time today and I’m now even more appreciative of baristas and cafe owners who put thought into their service, just like they do with their coffee and cafe layout.

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