One of my partners was inspired by something he saw on instagram, French press Friday, and asked if we could adopt this in our store. Now, every Friday at noon, we meet and drink coffee! Watching this grow on instagram has been such a delight, I asked the brains behind French press Friday to tell us how it got started! Below is also a instagram feed of all photos tagged with #frenchpressfriday!
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My name is Cookie Chandler aka @sbuxcookie. I’m a 12 year partner at the Boulder City, Nevada, store.
Our weekly French Press Fridays began a couple years ago as the brain child of my former manager, Ramsey Salisbury. I asked how he wanted me to do it, and he said to do whatever I wanted because he was the “idea man” and wasn’t going to get involved in the rest of it. At the time our partners seemed apathetic about coffee and coffee knowledge, so we wanted to do something to get them interested and excited. I decided on Fridays at noon because we would have the greatest number of partners in the store at that time, with shifts ending and beginning on a busy day.
I started out with core coffees and pairings out of the pastry case, set up at the end of the counter so partners could grab-and-go. It wasn’t easy getting them to stop long enough to participate for more than a minute or two. After a few weeks, several partners started asking questions and making comments about the coffee, which is when I started doing more than one coffee at a time, so we could make comparisons. Partners started getting their passports filled in, and hanging around after their shifts to actually enjoy the experience. That’s when I began going to reserve stores for reserve coffees, adding them to the line-up, and baking the pairing.
Some time after this, our district manager at the time, Jen Simmons, happened to be in the store during French Press Friday. She insisted that I get an Instagram account, to which I replied, “What’s Instagram?” Ramsey said to go to the app store, and I just looked at him blankly, and he said, “Give me your phone.” That’s how I ended up on Instagram. Jen also wanted to move the whole operation out to the big table in the lobby, have a tablecloth, and open up the experience to customers as well as partners.
In the summer of 2015, I made my first trip to The Roastery in Seattle. I discovered they had a subscription for a monthly coffee, and when I got back Ramsey immediately ordered one for the store. By then I had partners who actually didn’t want to be working during FPF, and who would come in on their day off to participate. Those partners are/were our future coffee masters. Coffee masters from other stores in the district started coming out to our store to join in, and we started going to coffee tastings at other stores. It was interesting to follow other stores on Instagram, and develop my coffee knowledge through blogs, a connection at the Roastery, and other sources.
French Press Friday is a lot of fun, and a great way to connect over coffee. Having it at the same time and place every week enables customers and partners to show up and know that it’s happening. Instagram has opened up the world, and Starbucks partners have been so supportive with their comments and questions. It’s been wonderful to be able to compare notes and share coffee knowledge.