Ep1: The Coffee Lifecycle

Owning a business isn’t easy. In fact, it’s tough. It’s a rollercoaster with plenty of ups and downs. You need to be ON every day and cannot afford to have a bad one. Being a barista isn’t any easier. You are on the front line working your guts out week days and weekends working when everyone else is playing.

For all involved it can be draining and rewarding at the same time!

When opening a new café or purchasing an existing café the main goal is for you to make it successful. You set out for it to create plenty of revenue to make it sustainable and have some left over for you.

As an owner if your business fails you have a fair bit to lose. So, you work pretty hard to ensure that doesn’t happen.

A clear mission or goal for a business may be:

Build a steady customer base to create Revenue to make the business sustainable.

The Coffee Ecosystem is fundamentally a way to understand what supports your business and what/who needs to do what in your business to help sustain it.

The business or organisation sits at the top of The Coffee Lifecycle.

And has elements underneath it

  • Customers
  • The Team
  • The Owner

Let’s dive in and understand the elements that form the rest of The Coffee Lifecycle and who does what in each.

*Note* This can be applied to any business however in this instance we are solely focusing on the coffee industry.

Understanding each component of The Coffee Lifecycle is vital for you to understand your role in the business and what your key focus is. The goal is to get revenue and have the business survive. To ensure sustainability an owner (I will use owner in this form, but this can relate to anyone in a leadership position) will introduce strategies to grow sales or transactions. These strategies will always relate back to or fit into The Coffee Lifecycle.

The business is supported by revenue. So we need revenue, the more the better. What brings in revenue for your business?

Customers. Clear and simple. The more customers or transactions you have, it will be likely we will be getting more revenue. Customers can become loyal to you and support you by becoming a regular customer every week, day and possibly for more than twice a day. In the café industry we rely on repeat business. At the end of it all in business we rely on people.

In The Coffee Lifecycle, Customers look after your business.

Who looks after the customers?……… Your team! the ones on the front line.

Your teams focus is to look after the customers. They do this by providing high quality products, with fast and friendly service, in a clean and organised workplace. Their role is to influence the customers. This can be done by fulfilling the customers product and service needs. Fulfilling these needs builds a connection with the customers and may influence them to come back tomorrow (or sooner). This is called connect to influence (Ill dive deeper into this in another episode).

There will be other tasks to complete throughout the day however when you think about it all those tasks benefit the customer in some way or another. For example, cleaning the machine daily helps maintain equipment to then work efficiently. This relates back to the customer as an inefficient machine can disrupt your workflow, impacting speed of service.

In The Coffee Lifecycle, The Team looks after the Customers

The owner’s focus in The Coffee Lifecycle is to look after the ones who look after the customers, the team.

The owner simply ensures that the team have all the necessary tools to be able to fulfil the customer’s needs. They are the support line. The Owner will give clear and simple instructions to ensure the team are kept on track and focusing on the end goal (revenue).

In The Coffee Lifecycle, the owner looks after the team



In this section we apply it to business for the owner and the barista. First, I will outline our objective or goal and separate it into two points of view, one for the owner and the other as the barista.

G O A L: Build a steady customer base to create Revenue to make the business sustainable.


Understanding The Coffee Lifecycle we know we need revenue from our customers. To do that you as an owner may implement policies and procedures on product quality and service standards. You also may introduce sales strategies to drive transactions and $’s into the store.

Say you want to introduce a procedure to ensure quality. You advise your team that you want them to weigh in every handle to a set recipe range to ensure correct dosage.

Now working within The Coffee Lifecycle your focus as an owner is to give them all the tools for them to complete this request. E.g if you give them scales then don’t work properly then they will get frustrated with the process and not embrace it. Your procedure doesn’t get applied. This has a flow on effect and potentially effecting service and quality expectations from our customer, impacting The Coffee Lifecycle.

Another way to look at it is – you have raised the bar (in this case, standards) and there is a gap from our current ability and what is required. As an owner you need to provide your team with all the necessary tools and training to close that gap and reach the goal. It is vital to maintain the bar and not be tempted to lower it when times get tough. If you keep leading and motivating the team, they will close the gap and come and play at the level you want.

 B A R I S T A

Your focus is the customer, but……

They aren’t just a customer they are a person. Treat your customers like people and not a number.

Remember that customers have expectations when visiting your store. Not all customers are the same, with each customer looking for a different experience. The barista task is to provide the best product with the best service to all customers.

This isn’t an easy task and has multiple facets to it that we need to understand (too many for this episode. Don’t worry ill cover it off). But I will leave you with 2 things to think about

  • Understand what is being required of you – your owner is there to support you, work together to achieve an outcome. If you need something to assist in the goal, ask.
  • What if the customers were visiting you? – majority of our customers come in for coffee and we work hard to get it to them tasting amazing and quickly. Unfortunately, sometimes we forget to look up and engage with them. Flip this! What if you treat every customer like they were coming in to see you? With this thinking I am sure that you will look up, make eye contact, ask questions and become an influencer.


I like to leave you with some parting words for both the barista and the owner.

We are in the people industry and without people we don’t have coffee to make.

Look after the people that look after your most important people, your customers.

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