By Elise Richardson, Temple Coffee Director of Education
One of the best communicators I know once told me that you can tell how smart a person is by their ability to explain their expertise in a concise, approachable way. One of the challenges our Training Department constantly faces is our ability to teach a wide range of people: from coffee professionals to home enthusiasts. Teaching a different audience each time can be challenging, especially when trying to ensure that each person is engaged and well informed. I often wonder how we, as educators, can take something as complex as coffee extraction (for example) and explain it in a manner that is easily understood. When teaching about specialty coffee, I sometimes think to myself, “How can I explain this to my dad, a dark-roast-with-a-spoonful-of-sugar kind of guy?” Finding the balance between approachability and applicability can be challenging, yet motivating. I have a deep desire to educate even the most novice coffee drinker in a way that elevates their experience and allows them to rediscover how great coffee can be.
Now imagine opening up a questionnaire to a stranger, not knowing anything about them or their level of coffee knowledge, and then getting just fifteen seconds to answer whatever coffee question they may have. This, in a nutshell, is Unfiltered Friday. Temple Coffee launched Unfiltered Friday in early 2018 as part of a customer-focused Q&A segment on our Instagram story. Every Friday, we open up to our 53k+ Instagram followers who can ask any coffee/equipment/Temple-related question they want, and we answer them, unfiltered.
Initially, I was excited about this idea because it meant we were able to find out the real questions, concerns, and interests of our followers regarding specialty coffee. Though in all honesty, I had little expectation as to how many followers would actually participate. Looking back at those first couple of weeks, it almost resembled a strange one-sided interview. But as we continued, I realized that the questions were consistently very personal, creating a kind of dialogue. People really did have a keen fascination about coffee and a deep desire to learn. The questions ranged from simple brewing recommendations to inquiries about Temple’s history, and even coffee’s origins. It’s great to see how our followers are so hungry for information.
I Initially struggled with the length limitations for each question. Just fifteen seconds is how long Instagram allows for a story video, and that’s how long I had to teach someone how to pour latte art (which took me years to learn) or how to brew with a Chemex, for example. After lots of retakes, and talking way too fast, I learned how to condense my answers to be as concise and informative as possible. It was a small price to pay to encourage our customers to stay curious, to meet people in their own home, and to have the opportunity to improve their coffee experience overall.
After getting recognized in our cafes by various customers who knew of me from Unfiltered Fridays, I asked our Art Director (who runs Temple’s social media) how many people watch our stories each week. She replied, “About 2,000-3,000.” Yep. That’s right. Thousands of people tune in to Unfiltered Friday, inquiring about all kinds of things, such as how to keep coffee fresh, the differences between a V60 and Aeropress, or the best grinder for home espresso.
We just passed our one year mark for Unfiltered Friday, and there seems to be no drop-off in the number of questions we receive each week, which is great! If you happen to be an avid Instagram-er, give our Temple account a follow (@templecoffee), and ask a question of your own. I’d love to hear from you. Let’s learn together.