It’s a Start

In this post, I thought coffee bags would be a handy product.

Commenter Will provided this link to show that Great Britain has a single serving coffee bag.

Perusing the aisles of our new, expanded grocery store this evening I came across these (in photo below).  If you can’t read the photo, these are boxes of single cup coffee bags (like tea bags).

Maybe I’ve missed these in all of my previous explorations of the coffee aisle (likely), or maybe the four grocery stores I frequent didn’t carry them due to limited shelf space, these are a brand new product for the U.S. or they just loved my idea and in 2 weeks rolled out a new product (lol).


Coffee Singles


Either way, great start Maxwell House and Folgers!  It’s cheaper than Starbucks VIA and might do in a pinch.  I’ll have to try these soon and see if they taste good.

Coffee companies:  I’d still like whole pot bags to help me keep from brewing motor oil for my dinner guests.  I know there’s only so much shelf space, but it’s worth a market test isn’t it?  You just have to measure the coffee and wrap and seal it in a filter bag that fits is most filter baskets of standard coffee makers.

Ready-to-Brew Coffee and Filter Tops

As pre-measured coffee packets for the Keurig and Tassimo coffee brew machines take over more space on grocery shelves and as I clean my own coffee maker every few days from the back splatters of the hot water splashing on top of the uncovered coffee grounds, I wonder why coffee companies have not made ready-to-brew coffee bags.

Essentially, the coffee bags would be similar to the tassimo coffee packets, but for conventional brewing machines. The coffee would be pre-measured to brew a certain size pot and wrapped in a filter that the coffee drinker could pull out of the package and drop right into the the filter basket of their Mr. Coffee maker.  No more scooping, measuring and no more mess.

The coffee bags could come in sizes to fit standard coffee makers out there – 4 cup and 12 cup.   So, instead of buying the big can of loose ground Folgers that brews 240 cups of coffee, I could buy a big can that has 20 coffee/filter bags to make 20 pots of coffee with 12-cups each or 60 coffee/filter bags that brew 60 4-cup pots.

As I see it, this would have these value propositions:

  • Brewing/taste consistency – I’m experienced at measuring the 4-cup pots that I brew for myself.  I do that everyday.  But I’m notorious for making strong coffee when I brew a whole pot to serve company, which I only do occasionally.   The pre-measured packets could help.
  • Time saving – No more scooping coffee and no more cleaning the back splatters and dropped coffee grounds.
  • Cleanliness – No more dropping coffee grounds on the trip between the coffee can to the filter.  And, no more coffee back splatters on the hot water nozzle of the coffee maker.  Result – A cleaner coffee pot, which makes for better tasting coffee and more time savings from not having to clean up the spilled grounds.

Here’s another idea for coffee filter makers.

Make filter tops or filters that can enclose around the coffee grounds better.  That would save from the back splashing spatters and help us home coffee brewers keep our pots clean and save time.

I’ve experimented with putting another coffee filter on top of the coffee grounds and that works well on containing the coffee splatters.

If you use these ideas and they work out, a thank you is always nice.

Coffee Value Proposition

Within two blocks of my workplace are 10 places to buy a cup of coffee.  Starbucks, one block away usually wins the battle of value proposition.  As one of my coffee buddies and I walked there one days, we nailed the key piece of value proposition that keeps us coming back to Starbucks – consistency.    Other places have good cups of coffee and good service, but not all the time.  We take less chance with Starbucks.

Part of that consistency can be attributed to their operations – hiring, training, delivery, brewing, roasting, etc.  They consistently deliver a good cup of coffee and friendly service.

Another part of that consistency has to do with their success.  They pour a lot of coffee, so we know that there’s a much better chance that the coffee is fresh and tasty.

Today, however, we opted for a closer cup of coffee.  With temperatures outside near the single digits, we decided that not having to leave the building was good enough value proposition.

Value proposition is a fickle and ever changing thing.

Thanksgiving Menu Part II: Value Proposition

Value proposition is one of those subtle and nuanced things that drives successes and failures in the marketplace.  Businesses go broke because they don’t do a good job with value proposition.  Likewise, businesses who do provide value proposition – or what the customers want – do well.

It’s subtle and nuanced, because very often, even the businesses don’t know exactly why their customers like them or not.   Sometimes the customers can’t even articulate it very well, or they may give you one of the five real reasons why they perceive more value from one business over another.

In my home town, I often choose a gas station that I favor less because it’s in a safer and easier to access location for me.  That’s a case where convenience and safety wins out over a better ran business, for me.

The Thanksgiving Menu/Bathroom Policy at Latte Land (written about in the previous post) highlighted this idea of value proposition with me.  The managers of Latte Land mistook good coffee (which they have very good coffee) as the only part of the value proposition for their customers.   But, many customers view it as a package deal.  I buy coffee, I get to use your restroom.  Or, as the woman behind us asked, “They want me to pay more to fill me up, but then not give us a place to empty out?”

It’s at extreme conditions, like those of Thanksgiving evening in Latte Land, where the truth of value proposition comes out.  That’s when managers should listen. For many people, part of the value proposition of buying coffee is getting to use the restroom at the place.  A customer may never say this in a marketing focus group or survey.  It’s so basic that most people don’t think about it.  Using the coffee shops restroom might not be a service they always use, but they feel that using it is included in the purchase price.  We assume it, just like assume people will wear clothes in public.  And, by closing their restroom down when some people needed it most, it was a nearly equal to someone not wearing clothes in public.  It was viewed as an over reach by customers.

When Latte Land raised prices and removed the use of the bathroom, the truth came out.  Customers view part of the value proposition as making sure that customers have a place to empty their bladders.  As I previously recommended, they could have done that by simply directing customers to the event facitlities down the street.  It wouldn’t have been completely satisfactory to everyone, but it would have been better than what they did.