We're in the midst of the reverse panel right now, and you'll be getting my notes as it goes on.
We have Jim Schulman, Bob Yellin, Richard Freileich, and Marshall Fuss up on the panel, and we've just finished the introductions.
Jim handled the first question, which was about what consumers would expect about medium sized roasters who have a website. Jim pointed out that he would like to find out more detailed descriptions and possibly some rudimentary cupping notes, roast levels, etc.
Jim answers another question about how to define roast levels on a website. Some may call a coffee a "full city" roast, but to others, it's a vienna roast.
Todd Saltzman from Whole Latte Love asked about ways that a company could improve a company's commerce website. Richard talked about making the site as sincere as possible, and even allow the negative reviews if there are any. He also mentioned the importance of establishing a physical address, phone number, etc.
There are folks in the audience who are from KitchenAid and Mr. Coffee who asked really good questions about how to improve their lines. The Mr. Coffee guy was very gracious and even talked about the fact that they recognize they have a way to go on the quality level for some of their line (the quality of the brewed coffee). I think they got something out of the panel - proper temperatures are key.
A Green Mountain rep asked what does the panel think about supermarket coffee, and if we'd buy it.
Jim had a really good answer. You don't see the super premium cheese next to cheeze whiz in the supermarket. You don't see the quality, custom sliced cold cuts next to the prepackaged stuff. But you do see specialty coffee next to mass market coffee.
Of course, Marshall disagreed. :)
More later! I'm heading back to my hotel room after this to do a quick refresh before I head back to the floor and the competition (once again, thanks to 1st Line for the amazing hotel room this year - even though I drank too much last night, lemme tell ya, livin' la vida luxury is niiiiiiice!)