One day last week, I was driving to work and listening to a story on NPR about a coffee farmer from a remote region in Guatemala. The story continued as they discussed a hip coffee shop in Portland, Oregon that is using spend visibility to sell cups of coffee.
Okay, they didn’t say, “spend visibility,” but the coffee shop is certainly following spend analysis logic.
The story by Allison Aubrey was about how a struggling coffee farmer managed to cut out the middlemen and get true market-value for her coffee. She submitted her beans in a tasting contest that drew the attention of a premium coffee roaster in Portland, Oregon. The coffee roaster loved the beans! In fact, the farmer loved the beans so much, she took on the extra work of importing the coffee beans directly from her farm. As a result, the coffee shop would have a direct supply of beans that are grown in the high-altitude conditions, which produce the rich character demanded by gourmet coffee drinkers in the US. So, the coffee roaster gets more control over the quality of his beans, and the coffee farmer gets a much better price. The new partnership resulted in significant standard of living improvements for both the farmer and her workers.
But that’s not the end of the story. The story follows the Guatemalan coffee beans from the roaster to The Rain or Shine Coffee House in Portland. The owner of this coffee shop, Claire Teasdale, said she wants her customers to know a little bit about the hardships and how the coffee is grown. Why? She believes because the increased awareness makes the whole experience of enjoying the coffee a little bit better.
Curious for more information, I checked out the website for the Rain or Shine Coffee House. Sure enough, right alongside the authors and artists who would be reading or showing their work, was a list of the coffee shop’s vendors. She also included a description about how and why they were chosen.
The story closes with a line about how “…roasters and cafes aren’t just selling us a good cup of coffee. They’re also selling us the story behind it.” Many companies don’t really know the stories behind their products and services, which is where spend analysis and spend visibility can help them increase brand awareness and tell their story.