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A Coffee Shop Down Under Defines Authenticity

Nov 1, 2016
Bob O’Brien, Global Senior Vice President ;

This little business, Two Penny Blue (the name refers to a stamp), is maybe my favorite business in the world. It's tucked into an arch in the old post office building in Sydney, Australia. Just to be clear, it's outside.  All the customers are standing on the sidewalk.  When the shop is closed there is virtually no sign that it exists.  It embodies so many of the global trends. 

  1. It serves coffee and handheld items...not meals.  When the Australians ( like most people in the world) say "coffee" they mean espresso drinks.  Australians, like most people in the world, have a special way to say "American Coffee" that evokes the idea of spitting something unpleasant out of your mouth. 
  1. Every drink is customized...somehow even more than what you hear at a Starbucks. That's possibly because the default order is with sugar (which they put in for you).  There is a person at the register to take your order and pay. That person also puts the sugars in the drinks along with the chocolate for the mochas and queues up the cups.  Two people handle the espresso shots and steam the milk. Mostly they add the milk to the drinks and then put them on the counter.  There is some system where the fourth person also adds milk. That person also puts the tops on and calls the drinks. During rush hour there are five or six people in line and ten or so waiting for drinks. 
  1.  It's very personal.  The second time I walked up the cashier knew my drink.
  1. If you look carefully, you can see a tablet on the counter in front of the fourth person. That is where the mobile orders come in.  See the cups next to her in the picture?  She's playing the role of the cashier for online orders. 
  1. And somehow it reeks of "authentic."  I'm never sure what that's supposed to mean but this is a nearly perfect coffee serving machine of a business.  It's like a permanent pop-up business.


 Two Penny Blue coffee shop in Sydney, Australia

Two Penny Blue coffee shop in Sydney, Australia. My favorite little business in the world. 

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