RoastLog and the Future of Specialty Coffee
It’s the eve of the 2011 Specialty Coffee exposition in Houston. We’re out in force for the show. This time, in addition to Brian, Ryan and I, we have roped our pal Linsey in to help us at the booth over the weekend. At last year’s show in Anaheim we were too busy to engage with all of the people who wanted to stop by and learn about RoastLog. I can’t tell you how many times I heard someone say that there was a big crowd gathered around our booth when they passed by so they kept on walking, thinking that they would circle back later, but we all know how that goes. We hope that with Linsey’s help we’ll be able to talk to even more people about the RoastLog system than we did last year.
RoastLog is a project that has been in the making for over three years. Brian came up with the concept at the SCAA show in Minneapolis in 2008; followed by Brian and Linsey’s exploratory exhibit of a RoastLog prototype in Atlanta the following year. Later in 2009 Ryan and I joined Brian to develop the prototype into a real product that officially launched at the Anaheim show last year. Since then we have continued our focus on making software tools that roasters and other coffee professional need.
Over the last year we have gone from a handful of beta testers, to a dozen early adopters, to over 60 coffee companies logging roasts in North America, Australia, Asia and Europe. At first customers were taking a chance with us, an unknown new company that had a cool product, but through trust and proving ourselves on the customer service front, we continue to bring on new users month after month. We take great pride in this degree of customer acceptance because it validates our hard work with customer support.
Different customers have different needs and it is our job to meet whatever those needs are. We have found that many roasters need help determining something about their thermocouple set up, whether it is drilling a hole and tapping threads or replacing an existing thermocouple with a new one. If needed, we provide our customers with hardware and instruction on how to install it. If our customers have questions about how the system works we promptly respond by email and often set up Skype meetings with new and existing customers in time zones throughout the world.
We listen to our customers and do something with the feedback we receive. In the past year we have made changes, some small and others significant, that improve the system for all. We do not make changes for the sake of making them, we collect feedback from all of our users; we know what to do when everyone is asking for the same things.
As any regular reader of this blog knows, one of the things we have been working on is a multi-input data bridge. After a lengthy engineering and beta testing process, we had the data bridges manufactured and assembled and are now finally able to introduce them at the show. We are also in the final phase of development of the inventory management system. Stop by our booth (#445) to say hello, see the progress we have made, ask some questions and sign up for RoastLog.