Four years ago, the only way I could drink coffee was by loading it up with sugar and cream, essentially turning it into a hot milkshake. They say coffee is an acquired taste, but I would only drink it if I acquired two splendas, half and half and a shot of vanilla. My typical drink order at Starbucks had quite a few words in it.
My father had to think it was ridiculous, since he only drank black instant coffee. You know, the kind of coffee that was sold in a metal can that had a side benefit of being reused to hold nuts and bolts.
That changed a few years ago when I went to something called a CUPPING.
A cupping is like wine tasting. Only it’s far more acceptable at ten in the morning. This particular cupping happened at the training center for Counter Culture Coffee. There were three different coffees and we went throughout he process of smelling beans, smelling brewed coffee, and tasting coffee. Each step of the way, we made notes on a sheet of paper and talked about what we experienced.
Some people said things like, “I smelled dried kiwi.” One guy said he smelled canned ham. (Pretty sure he was in college, since that’s really the only time in life you would smell canned ham). After notes from the group were written on a big board, the coffee was revealed. We were taught why we smelled and tasted certain things, and educated on the origin of that particular bean or blend.
1. There is power in the creation story.
“Where are you from,” is one of the first questions people ask when they meet new people. When you meet a new couple, it’s often “how did you two meet?” If you read the Bible, you’ll start in the book of Genesis, which describes how humanity became humanity.
When you tell the story of how anything began, you create a connection Looking back helps people understanding where they are going.
Will Mancini, a church strategist asks it this way:
“What are the circumstances—passions, problems, and people—surrounding how the church got started to begin with? Mastering the richness of the creation story will help in two major ways. First, it will hold insight into the unique culture of the church and therefore future decision-making and vision. Second, your mastery of the story itself will bring tremendous credibility with people when initiating change.”
When I learned the reason the coffee tasted a little bit like blueberry because it was grown in a certain region at a specific altitude, it gave me a new appreciation for what I was drinking. Learning the creation story made me care more about the final product. Understanding all that went into the process made me appreciate it a little more.
When we talk about the genesis of an organization, the reason a product came to market, or the birth of an idea, people lean in. Organizations need to tell their creation story.
2. The more you know about the internal working of something, the more you care.
On more than one weekend, I’ve tweeted something sarcastic about NASCAR. Maybe something like, “I’d rather watch a Golden Girls marathon on TV LAND than watch a NASCAR race.”
And nearly every time I say something like that, a NASCAR apologist speaks up in defense of the “sport.” They tell me my attitude towards the race would change dramatically if I attended an event. The sound of the cars, the energy of the race or maybe the drunkness of the fans would change my viewpoint.
And while I’ll never put a #3 sticker on the back of my Honda, I will concede the point. I’d care more if I participated. I’d pay more attention of I new more about it.
Inside information makes someone feel important, and people love to be in the know. With all the talk these days about building a tribe or creating community, don’t neglect the simple fact that knowledge is a key to any community.
A tribe is a group of people that share the same insider information.
So whether you’re trying to build brand loyalty or honor volunteers within your organization, share advance or inside information to build a connection.
3. Experts bring comfort.
I’ll never be a coffee expert, but it makes me glad to know some people are. As a consumer, it’s comforting to know that the place I buy my coffee has a training center. I’m happy to know baristas are trained and compete in the World Latte art competition.
I want someone on that wall. I need someone on that wall. And I don’t need it to be me.
I need to know someone is evaluating new technologies, studying the latest techniques, and reading up on the new products. And my guess is people in your circles want to know the same about you.
They need to know what we’re reading, studying and learning. They need to know we’re staying current. They need to understand that we know what’s out there.
They aren’t going to join us out there – that’s why they follow US.
Today, I drink coffee black. And I’m hooked on high quality, freshly roasted, single-origin coffee. I know, that might make me a bit of a coffee snob.
I blame it all on a cupping.