The Passion For Coffee Just Keeps On Giving

I recently completed interviewing the 2010 Automatic Merchandiser People of the Year winners, the annual contest our magazine has conducted since 1993, and I could not help but notice a common theme in the five individuals who will be honored in an upcoming issue of Automatic Merchandiser.There isnt always a common thread that stands out among the vending operator, coffee service operator, broker, distributor and manufacturer we honor. But this year, all five trace their roots to coffee service. This speaks to the current business environment.Coffee is the single most exciting thing going on in refreshment services today. There are a lot of exciting things going on in vending as well (such as new and improved coffee vending machines), but coffee has been the source of a lot more consumer interest, thanks to the evolution (some say revolution) of specialty coffee in recent years. Its an evolution (or revolution) that just keeps growing.In interviewing People of the Year winners, I always pose the question, What do you like most about this industry? One individuals response this year was very instructive: I like drinking a good cup of coffee.This particular individual is in his fourth decade in refreshment services, and his love of good coffee has been a key factor in his success. This will not surprise anyone who shares the love of coffee. But because everyone does not share this passion, I think its important to note that those who do not share it need to recognize they must compensate for it by educating themselves about coffee. This weeks National Automatic Merchandising Association CoffeeShow in Las Vegas is an excellent opportunity.Those of us who do love coffee naturally want to share our passion with others. It has always been easier for those who love coffee to succeed in the coffee business. It is easier to succeed in any business you love.When you truly enjoy a good cup of coffee, doing your best to prepare it and educate others about it comes naturally. Quality coffee preparation including farming, harvesting, roasting, packaging, brewing and serving are labors of love for the coffee lover.For many people in our industry, this passion oftentimes translates into creative marketing, such as sales and service personnel dressing up like Juan Valdez.A passion for coffee is a common thread for all segments of our industry: manufacturers, distributors, brokers, operators, and even trade press editors.