Crazy ideas do lead to awesome moments!
Monday 31 August 2015..
It was a Monday like any other Monday. It started with good espresso and the usual curious comment of ‘I wonder what fun things this week will bring’- apart from discovering new cafés and coffee. Did my thing at work, chatted to friends, did my gym workout and was ready to chillax. At that moment around 8pm my new adventure was about to begin. Message from Ines: ‘.. I’m organising the long night of the careers at ETH on 12.11.. can you think of a small coffee shop that may be interested?`
Bling! After being part of Coffee Friday Zurich team, it was easy to make a list of people and places who could set up and sell good espresso. Having a full time job in marketing and digital experience also got me thinking of the target group and the offering for the group at this event. The ideas that starting flowing through my mind were more than just a stand selling coffee… they were bigger!
What if I created an experience where visitors to the stand would be able to taste great espresso from one of the best Cafés in Zurich, served by one of the best Baristas in Zurich.
What if coffee drinkers were able to fall in love with the amazing taste of Amaretti, made exclusively for them by one of my dearest friends Daniela from Tschuppi Baking.
What if I was able to open the coffee minds of the visitor and get them to sample some of the most high quality coffee Zurich Roasteries have to offer.
What if I was able to launch a coffee challenge where coffee lovers were able to visit selected Zurich cafès, rate and share their experience via Social Media, and win!
And so it began… I was buzzing with excitement at the thought of getting things moving and shaking. It’s as if I had finished drinking 4 espressos straight! The challenge to bring a taste of the ultimate coffee experience to this event at the ETH. The birth of the first Coffee Me Zurich Experience.
In the first week of September, I presented the ideas to Daniela and said – I’ve got this idea and how cool would it be if …`. Needless to say, that her answer as she smiled at the crazy idea was of course, `Do I have a choice?` This talented, baking with love friend of mine was the perfect person to join this adventure. We spoke about the relationship between coffee and amaretti and the concept started to take shape.
Next, we met with our friends from Bovelli, who have become accustomed to my craziness. We talked through the ‘how cool would it be if..` and guess what, Fabio accepted! We worked through key details of what we needed, like a coffee machine, right through to cups, sugar and milk, and of course the coffee blend. We were so happy to have Fabio and Bovelli on board for this first experience.
I knew I had the right team with me…
I had the vision – 200 of the 1000 visitors visiting our stand!
We worked through the look and vibe we wanted for the stand as that was key, and then started. While Daniela prepared her action plan for the amaretti and stand, Fabio worked through all the requirements for the mini Bovelli café. I tackled the new, challenging part – the onboarding of the roasteries for the samples and the concept and cafés for the coffee challenge.
This could all be done in 2 months right? Sure – but why start early though when you can stress and do it all I under 3 weeks. I had the Luzern half marathon to get through first on October 25. Priorities!
October 20, 2015: less than 2 weeks before the event…
I realised that the key parts of the Coffee Me Zurich Experience still had to happen. Over a weekend, I developed the concept and draft for the coffee challenge. Coffee Me Zurich focuses on discover, taste, experience. This is what I would bring into the coffee challenge.
I selected the 6 cafes which I knew well and had rated on Coffee Me Zurich. Each of them is unique, with their own vibe, personality, coffee experience and all had local roasteries providing the coffee. I thought about what I had learnt through each of my reviews and the hundreds of coffees I had tried and cafés, restaurants and bars that I had visited. My recent reviews on Trip Advisor also helped me to figure out how I wanted the coffee challenge to work.
Bovelli, Café New Zeland, Grande, Henrici, Rivington & Sons, and ViCafe Bellevue. The 6 cafés who are part of the first coffee challenge.
This was not a competition to find the best café. I didn’t want the cafés to compete against each other. I wanted people to discover them, to taste their espresso and rate and share their experience. Whalla – the coffee challenge instructions. The cards when to my graphic designer Sandra for finalisation and production. I even prepared a little stamp box and process for the cafès to use when people with the cards visited. So cute!
With the coffee challenge sorted (kind of), it was time to get the coffee samples started..
The decision on which roasteries I wanted to work with was easy – Black & Blaze, Henauer, Stoll and ViCafe. Handsome men with high quality coffee.. oh and all are suppliers of coffee to the cafés in Zurich that I’d planned to include in the first Coffee Challenge.
My pitch: to get these ETH students to start falling in love with coffee the way I did, by using and experimenting with the Bialetti Moka and a variety of coffees. 80g of ground coffee, to be used with Bialetti Mokina, which I would have on show. Simple.
Roasters: Ground coffee are you CRAZY?!?
My Answer: Yes! We were talking about 80g samples. Risk was if they were beans, they would be thrown away. I was fully aware of the ritual and importance of grinding in order to get that high quality coffee. I reassured them that I would stress this to all those who took the samples.
I admit, I was nervous talking to these Roasters. I have a great respect for these guys who live coffee in a way that is hard to explain in words. To me, they are the coffee explorers, engineers, scientists – each with their own vision, craziness, bravery and drive to make what is for them, that ultimate roast. One hour with Shem Leupin and my mind was exploding with coffee talk, facts and what ifs! What an amazing experience.
I knew it wasn’t going to be my smile that was going to win them over. I was just as driven with my vision for the Coffee Me Zurich Experience as they were with their roasts. I wanted to work with them and understand each of them. I knew my audience, I had a concept that I believed in and had to start somewhere. They gave me a chance, gave me lots of insights, lectures and things to think about, and they supported me. WOW!
I had my 4 Roasteries and the preparation for the 200 samples bag began. High five!
November 5, 2015: 1 week before the event… (oh sh**)
I was getting through two of my busiest weeks at work, overseeing the digital experience at our largest corporate yearly event. With work under control, the week before the ETH Coffee Me Zurich Experience was crazy – getting to roasteries, packing, weighing and sealing coffee bags, rounding up final items for the stand, visiting cafés to explain the coffee challenge and stamping process within 3 minutes AND explaining the whole thing to anyone who asked – so what are you guys doing exactly?
Daniela baking until 2am in the morning – 300 Amaretti later.
Fabio sorting out the coffee bar and equipment.
Sandra printing poster and preparing lights.
And then me – who still manages to thrown is another idea – coffee stained art – at the last minute. (Daniela was ready to kill me!)
Throughout that whole last crazy week, we were having fun! So many cool moments. SO many fabulous friends who took part in getting Coffee Me Zurich Experience to what it was on the night – the awesome, fun, interesting, living stand that Daniela and I imagined.
Crazy ideas do lead to awesome moments! and each lesson learnt at this event is only going to make the next one even better. Join us at Coffee Me Zurich Experience 2 on 12.12.2015 at Café New Zealand. See you there!
Thank you Daniela and Fabio – what a team! It was a great first experience with both of you and I am grateful that you joined me on this crazy adventure.
To Claude, Philipp, Shem, Ramon and Stefan – that you for supporting and providing the coffee samples and giving me the opportunity to work with you all.
To my friends at the coffee challenge cafés – Fabio, Melanie, Sam, Tito, Madia, Kevin and Ramon – thank you!
Ines – thank you for giving me the opportunity to create the Coffee Me Zurich Experience for the ETH!
and Sandra, Antonietta, Sonia and Tatjana – thank you my friends for your help, support and laughs in getting the final things ready. A special thanks to Mamma Cupic as well for helping setup on the night.