Overcoming the Fear of Something New

    Starbucks has long championed itself as “the third place” — a destination where people can relax, enjoy themselves and be productive when not at either of their two main “places”… home or the workplace.

     I like to think of Starbucks as my “second office.” A vast majority of these “Editor’s Journal” entries are composed at one Starbucks location or another.

     If the place is relatively empty (as many, sadly, have been lately), I type with the signature Starbucks soundtrack in the background. If there are a number of people engaged in loud conversation, I don my headphones and plug into either ITunes on my computer or Sirius XM Radio via a portable receiver/player. Music has always been a part of my creative process.

     During a recent visit to my second office, I learned that January is National Gourmet Coffee Month as well as National Tea Month.

     There was no sign of any promotion centered on the coffee celebration, but that didn’t surprise me since Starbucks has always created its own path, rather than following the paths of others.

     However, signage related to tea was everywhere. In the store’s window. On the store’s menu board. On the store’s chalkboard.

     The fact that it’s National Tea Month probably was just a coincidence, but the world’s No. 1 coffee house and No. 3 “place” was quite obviously trying to attract a big segment of the American public — those people who don’t drink coffee, but do drink tea.

     I whipped out my Starbucks Gold Card and ordered one of the new tea lattes. As I sipped on the warm beverage while organizing a big pile of work, I suddenly “connected” mentally with the whole “tea in a coffee house” concept.

     It’s almost identical to the challenge we in the wine business face in trying to get beer drinkers to try wine. Beer and wine are “the same but different” just as coffee and tea are. Once someone tries something new, they’ll either like it or they won’t. The hard part is just getting them to try it… sort of like 5-year-olds and asparagus.

     Confident in this new wisdom that had come upon me, I dug back into that big pile of work, and resumed sipping my tea latte.

     Will I try another tea latte flavor on my next visit?

     No doubt about it.

Posted in Editor's Journal
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