Upon arrival at one of my favourite Sydney cafes this morning I was quickly brought up to speed on the events of yesterday, where apparently a coffee industry magazine came in to “try out” their coffee and instead, started an uproar over a simple tweet… which may have not been so simple…
The content of the tweet “@salvagecoffee – a little bland side of inoffensive, disappointing” was made from the Crema Magazine company account on Sunday, which was a little curious as apparently the person came in on the Saturday not Sunday. So while I can only guess at the motives of this guy, to take a day to prepare a critical tweet, lacking any reasoning for the negative comment, feels a little dodgy to me.
What is worse is that rather than talk to the cafe about the coffee (assuming it was actually bad) or, post this from his personal account, not linked to a coffee industry magazine, he justified his post with childish comments like “the truth hurts” and “‘Public humiliation’ would be printing a poor review (ie in print)”.
How can someone obviously reliant on the coffee industry not grasp the impact the posts like this can have, especially on small businesses. Most reviews these days, on sites like Beanhunter, are the same size, and in the age of social media you’d think that a guy running a magazine would grasp this.
Personally, as someone who writes more coffee reviews than the average Joe Blow, it had me thinking about the impact my reviews could have, and how I need to avoid this sort of unprofessional behaviour. While I won’t be going around reviewing lattes, flat whites, and other coffee beverages that are moving further away from the experience of actually tasting coffee (as apparently this guy from Crema Magazine has been), and nether will I be able to stomach commercial grade, industrial flavoured, over roasted (and sometimes burnt rubber flavoured) coffee without bitching about it. Sure, this means I won’t be getting advertising money any time soon from the larger coffee factories, but hopefully I’ll be able to keep at least a little of my credibility.
So, what’s the moral of the story? If you have influence, you also have the responsibility to use it wisely and fairly. If you are called out for something, setting up a forum on your site to squeeze the issue for all the potential hits to increase advertising refine will make your motives seem dodgy. If nothing else, judging from the results of when this guy kicked the social media hornets nest, Salvage Coffee should take heart from the constant stream of positive feedback and support they received from customers and coffee industry people alike.