Saturday, October 18, 2008

Independent Coffee Shops Need Their Own Identities, Language

A recent visit to the Noblesville Coffee and Tea Company -- my first ever -- was both excellent and a tiny bit disappointing. Just a tiny bit though. As a fan of independent coffee houses around the Indianapolis metro area, I love trying coffee houses for the first time.

My friend, Jeff Coppinger, owner of Lazy Daze Coffeehouse said this was one shop he really likes this place, so I thought I would try it.

I really like the place. Great ambience, gorgeous leather couches, and outstanding coffee.

They even embrace their indie status, by offering bumper stickers that proudly proclaim, "Friends don't let friends drink Starbucks."

Yep, they eschew all things corporate and embrace their indie-ness. Until you order your coffee, available in Tall, Grande, and Venti. That's Starbucks speak for small, medium, and large. Eww.

"It seems kind of funny to have this bumper sticker when you use Starbucks' sizes," I said.

"They're not copyrighted," said the young lady behind the counter.

"No, I mean you guys obviously don't want to be associated with them, but you use their language for your sizes."

"Well, people already understand the Starbucks sizes when they come in here, and they might not understand our sizes."

"Ah," I said, as if that made all the sense in the world, which it didn't.

"Who the hell doesn't understand 'medium' or 'large?'" I posted to my Twitter feed.

They could rename it small, medium, and large. Or big, bigger, biggest. Or use German to Starbucks' Italian (venti means 20), and call it zwolf, sechszehn, and zwansig (12, 16, or 20).

Noblesville Coffee, when it comes to the coffee house thing, you're doing great. Just drop the 'venti' nonsense, and you'll be outstanding.
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