Thursday, 11 November 2010

There’s a “cap” for that


A few days ago we went with some friends to a shopping mall for a walk and buy a few things here and there.

In a certain moment, we walked by a Starbucks coffee shop, and one of us suggested making a break and stopping a short while for a coffee. It was a great idea, and many of us already headed into the shop.

No wonder, Starbucks is indeed a nice place to have coffee. Fresh environment, cool style, lots of variations and flavors of different coffee styles indeed. You can even have some extras, like assorted pastries, cupcakes, muffins or cookies… or alternative chocolate beverages. Fantastic service, quite personalized, young waiters and waitresses will call you by name to give you your drinks in hand. Fancy people here and there, from youngsters having a chocolate shake to senior people peacefully enjoying a cappuccino. There is all you could ask from a coffee shop…

However, one of us hesitated. He was not really sure about stepping into Starbucks. So he took his smartphone, and with a couple of gestures, he checked into something, and called all of us.

He suggested we went to his place, which was not really far from there, about a 5 minutes drive, so he would offer us what he said was really good coffee, the style we preferred. He only asked us allow him a 2 minutes stop on our way.

Shortly after we were comfortably sitting in his living room, and he asked us what sort of coffee we wanted. One of us asked for a strong long black coffee, another two wanted espressos, and there were requests for cappuccinos and even café au lait too. Strong and mild coffees were asked for within the group.

A minute later, our host came with a nice coffee service, and a special tray with different capsules so we could choose ourselves the actual coffee we would have. Can’t remember all the names, but there were red, green, purple, blue, black, brownish, yellow capsules, and each one of us could see in the cover what was the coffee like in each cap.

Clean and neatly, a few minutes after everybody had chosen his or her cap, we were enjoying a nice friendly conversation, fostered by the pleasant atmosphere, and one of us asked our host: “Hey, so are these all the different flavors you can have with Nespresso?”, pointing to the tray with all the remaining caps.

“Not at all”, he answered. “There are plenty more available, I just have at home my favorites”.

“But how do you manage when you run out of caps?”, another one asked.

“Well, know what? There’s an app for that”.

No kidding, he produced his smartphone from his pocket, and there it was: A nice Nespresso App from the iTunes online store, where his customer profile was predefined, and after keying his password in, a predefined order was ready for his to confirm, the ready to deliver in less than 24 hours.

In the meantime, we were really enjoying our coffees, the company and the conversation that was going on.

Another question popped up: “There are quite a lot of your favorites there in the tray, and yet there are many more available. Why do you prefer these ones?”

Our host smiled and promptly came with an answer: “Make an educated guess”, said he. “In fact, the coffee I might have in a given moment depends on many things. It depends on who you are with, the time of the day, the sort of conversation you are having… It is not the same to have coffee for breakfast than to enjoy a warm decaf after a lovely dinner with your sweetheart, is it?”

“Ah, so you have different choice for each different moment, don’t you?”

“Indeed… when I feel like having a coffee, unconsciously I think of the particular situation I have, and for each of them I know there’s a cap for that”.

What else? A touch of class indeed… Smiling, he sipped what was left from his coffee, and confirmed his caps order with a gentle touch on his iPhone while a long queue of people looking and behaving like androids was forming at different Starbucks shops all over the country, where customers did not find any more seats available, conversations were getting louder, and nervous waiters starting yelling customer names instead of politely addressing them with their orders.

what else?