Traditional hospitality owes its existence to ”let’s drink a coffee.”

Written by Wouter Verkerk. Published on
Wouter Verkerk blog Traditional hospitality let's drink coffee

No word more Dutch than “drinking coffee”. According to Van Dale (the classic Dutch Dictionary), it means as much as: “Being in a social occasion where coffee or something else is consumed”. Coffee is, besides tea, the only drink that combined with the word “drink” forms independent verb.

It is more of a ritual than just to drink coffee. Fun fact: in the hospitality industry, it was for a long time mainly about “drinking coffee” (the use for which a “cafe” owes its name) and less about coffee. Only in the last twenty years did the coffee revolution take place that gave us the products: latte macchiato, cappuccino and doppio. Since this coffee revolution, in which professional espresso machines were introduced on a large scale, there has been a second and even third category of coffee. A little summary:

Category 1 ”Cosy coffee.”

The first, still-living category is the “Neighbor, do you want a nice cup of coffee? “And the “Eleven o’clock coffee break!”. In the hospitality industry, the trusted Bravilor serves to provide us with many litres of this (filter) coffee. At the question “Do you have something in it?” You can choose sugar, milk and perhaps a sweet tooth. This is not the time for a “decaf cortado with oat milk”. “Drinking coffee” is no less; it connects enormously if everyone drinks the same.

Category 2 ”Strands, little strands.”

Category 2 is about coffee coming from a filter holder “mouse tail”. (Jeroen Veldkamp taught me that espresso does not drip. It makes “mouse tails”; thin lines fill the espresso cup).

Category 3 ”Coffee perfection.”

Do you see a barista working with a stopwatch and scales? You have arrived in category 3. Specialized espresso and coffee shops owe their existence to the coffee revolution and to category 3. The focus is on the quality and preferences of the individual guest. In some cases, 80% of them sit with a laptop enjoy a favourite barista piece of art. These guests come for coffee, not for coffee drinks.

You could say that the traditional hospitality industry owes its existence to “drinking coffee”, although category 2 is now also the standard for them. This is also about, and perhaps especially about, the social aspect with unique hospitality elements for which their guests come. That is their right to exist -their core- and there lies the chances of survival. Not in the flight to the outside category of any product group.

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