blog from the ceo & superbarista of phoenix coffee, home of the best baristas in cleveland, ohio

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Braniac Customers

I knew we had a bunch of brainiac customers, but rarely is that fact as obvious as it was today. I put out a laminated map of Indonesia to help draw attention to our Indonesian coffee tasting that is coming up on Sunday March 25th, which is almost full. And, just by having the map there on the counter, it spawned all kinds of interesting dialogue. First of all, I learned from David Caldwell, who recently read Guns Germs and Steel, an interesting theory about why European diseases decimated so many indigenous populations. The theory proposed by the author was that these diseases require dense population and intense food production, since they are so virulent, they spread quickly. Hunter gatherer societies produce less virulent diseases. I know there is a lot more to it than this, but this is the basic idea that I was able to glean while preparing David's large Cafe Phoenix made with mocha light.

We also had a customer point out the existence of Wallace's Line, which is an imaginary line that divides the Indonesia archipelago; it was invented by naturalist Alfred Russell Wallace who noticed a drastic difference in plant and animal species between the islands of Borneo and Sulawesi, even though the islands are not particularly far apart. Wallace began to believe that the islands west of the line on the Sunda shelf were all one continent at a former time. This theory marked the beginning of modern biogeology.

This is a great reminder of what an incredible resource the Phoenix Coffee customer base is. What amazing people come to Phoenix Coffee! Such creative, dynamic, intelligent people. In fact, I'm thinking that for our next coffee tasting, I should solicit customers to come present facts and information, rather than relying on just Phoenixers. At Lee Road, if our vacuum breaks, I take it down the street to the vacuum repair shop. If we have a plumbing problem, I just wait a little while until our plumber comes in for his coffee. I needed drywall work, and when Wayne came in for his speedball, I asked him to come look at it. We have painters, architects, general contractors, artists, jewelers, every trade or specialty needed. Maybe we should put together a Phoenix yellow pages? I could list five-year-old Esme, who helped me vacuum the floor with the silent sweeper vac this afternoon, under "janitorial services". I gave her a $.25 tip and her wide eyes, welcoming eyebrows and toothy grin made me feel like I had just handed her the key to the kingdom.


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