Today’s isn’t so controversial…. (sorry for the noise from the trains overhead!)
The Devil’s Cup: Coffee – Stewart Lee Allen
Espresso made in Italy – Enrico Maltone
The Paradox of Choice – Barry Schwarz
Do please let me know of any coffee books you love in the comments!
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There’s an interesting book called The Starfish and the Spider by Ori Brafman and Rod Beckstrom. It’s a book about leaderless organizations and how effective they are. While it doesn’t talk about coffee at all, to me the discussion is very relative.
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Read the last two. Excellent choices.
Enrico’s retro espresso machines exhibition is truly amazing. I hope to actually visit it in person one day.
Barry’s book helps us understand that more is less. This is so true when it comes to coffee. Consumers are confused by the endless choices and I definitely agree that the challenge to be able to offer personal recommendation. At least that’s what we will try to be doing on our website.
Here’s a link to Barry’s lecture on the subject. An eye opener!
Totally agree about the paradox of choice. I’ve actually done research with clients (and in my own business) to show that once you get past six (particularly with impulse items) the customer gets confused and literally stops buying. Give them four similar “things” and you can make a reasonable decision. Move to six or seven and it becomes harder and therefore easier to not buy.
Within the context of that it always amazes me that Starbucks (because I know they do so much sales and merchandising analysis) still have way more than six impulse items in and around the tills.
We have a very clear sort of mental threshold in and around the number six which is partly why it was so easy to remember everyone’s phone numbers when it was only six digits but almost nobody remembers mobile numbers even though they are arguably only nine digits (since they all start with 07)
With coffee though it is a fraction more complex. It’s a non impulse item so therefore people view the purchase differently. But it still applies to a very large extent and there is no doubt (in my mind anyway) that huge, complex menus are off-putting to the consumer.
Keep ‘em going.
Paradox of Choice… woohoo! One of my all-time favorites! :-D
I really enjoyed ‘The Devils Cup’ partly for the subtle dissemination of information, but mostly for the travelogue…. I travel too!
I’ve just read Mark Pendergrast’s ‘Uncommon Grounds’ It’s a very detailed book, with masses of information, but absolutely no excitement, nothing to will you to turn the next page. (I managed to read two other books between visits to it!)
If you haven’t already, you should read ‘The Omnivore’s dilemma’ By Michael Pollan…. fascinating.
Just ordered “The Devil’s Cup: A History of the World According to Coffee” (seems to be the 2003 edition) and “The Paradox of Choice – Barry Schwarz”, let’s see how they turn out! Thanks for the tip!
I just finished reading “The Devil’s Cup”, and I must say that it was truly awesome, can’t remember the last time I found a book that was this “binding”, I couldn’t put it down after I had started. And all the chapters are equally interesting, whether it’s about the Zar spirits or coffee in pre-revolutionary France. Truly worth a read, the author’s attitude towards life and travel alone is worth the read.
Again, thanks for the tip!
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