22 Cliches Coffee Marketers Always Use (+ What To Say Instead)
Does your coffee marketing sound vanilla, cliche, or like everyone else’s? Let’s fix that with alternatives to classic cliches that won’t go away.
Exceptional coffee used to be good enough to stand out for shops and roasters.
We were the clear winners in the quality wars with Folger’s and Starbucks – and we banked on it. We used our quality battlecry as our primary marketing message, and it worked!
For a time.
But we let it become a crutch, disabling us from getting more creative in how we communicate and engage with customers.
And it’s no more obvious than in coffee marketing cliches. These familiar phrases have been passed down to us for nearly two decades. It’s nobody’s fault, really, that we rely on them so much. It’s only natural for language to “codify” as industries and cultures plant themselves firmly in society.
But these cliches are planted too deep.
We’ve identified 22 coffee marketing cliches that won’t seem to go away, and we’ve created an alternative for each so you can bust out of the boring language trap and stand out to your customers.
How to Beat a Coffee Marketing Cliche
It took me ~20 seconds to find five instances of one of my favorite cliches.
“We travel the world to source the best coffee beans.”
I mean, this line is e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e.
You’ve probably said it. I definitely have. In one form or another, it just feels so natural because it’s familiar. And who doesn’t love coffee and travel?
As a customer, it starts to feel like, “Yeah, yeah, everyone travels, so what?” It’s not unique, cool, or interesting anymore.
But what if you really do travel everywhere, and you’re really proud of the direct trade model you work under? Good news: you can salvage this cliche, but you’ve gotta get creative.
- Be more specific. Show exactly where you go, who you meet, and what it’s like there. Cliches take root because they’re general. If you add color with details that are unique to you, you’ll beat the cliche.
- Add your personality. Let your own voice shine through a bit. Cliches feel dull and repetitive, but if you add your unique personality, nobody can copy you (without seeming in-authentic).
I like how Merit Coffee in San Antonio, Texas approaches this travel cliche. They do both of the above, and it doesn’t feel routine or mundane. It feels, well, like Merit.
22 Coffee Marketing Cliches + Alternatives
Here’s a list of cliches we see over and over again in the specialty coffee industry, plus an alternative for each one.
Don’t take them word-for-word. Use them as inspiration for ways to think outside the box and creatively market your brand and products in a way that’s authentic to your voice, story, and values.
- Roasted to perfection — Roasted to make your taste buds dance every time
- Roasted to order — Roasted at your command
- Delivered to your door — Flown by delivery fairies to your doorstep
- Never run out of coffee again — Roasted regularly to keep your coffee supply fresh and full, like magic
- Cafe-quality coffee at home — It’s like hiring a personal barista… for free
- Life’s too short for bad coffee — The average person lives 22,075,000 seconds. Don’t waste a single one on coffee you don’t love.
- We travel the world to find the best coffee beans — We shake the hands of our farm partners, sourcing the best coffees we can find on-site
- Our coffee is so good, it speaks for itself — Please don’t say this.
- We provide a unique coffee experience to our customers — Okay. How? You’re going to have to be WAY more specific.
- Only the best coffees — We have a “Doubt And You’re Out” policy. Nothing gets served unless it has our 100% quality confidence
- Coffee is our passion — We’re that nerd who never stopped talking about something—except for us, it’s coffee
- Just good coffee — We do things the old fashioned way: creating exceptional coffee we’re proud of with delicate attention to detail
- Coffees from around the globe — Vibrant coffees from countries and farms we can’t wait to tell you about
- Future of coffee — Be specific: The future of sustainability or We’re redefining mind-blowing flavor
- Fruity and citrus notes — Explosions of mango and sweet-tart in your mouth
- Our community — Our tribe. Our friends. The “insert brand” family
- Our culture — Don’t describe it. Live it. Your culture should be evident by everything you write.
- Specialty coffee — Only use the term “specialty coffee” if it applies to you talking about the industry in general. It’s not exactly a good selling point. There are plenty of folks who serve BAD specialty coffee. What makes you DIFFERENT and why should someone buy from you? Say that instead.
- …only the finest… — Are you a cheap hotel with “only the finest continental breakfast”? Say what makes you great explicitly!
Wow! What a list.
Recognize some of these from your website? No worries. It happens to the best of us. We all get comfortable and slide back into generalities from time to time.
When you write, remember what’s going on in the minds of your customers.
They’re looking for those familiar signals – quality, freshness, community, etc – but they’re also looking for a reason to pick your shop or online store over someone else’s.
These coffee marketing cliches just feel like lip-service to customers, who are getting more and more savvy.
Your customers want to build a relationship with your brand, so don’t hide behind a wall of cliches. Boldly be you.
Hey 👋 I'm Garrett Oden
Freelance Coffee Marketer
I'm a coffee industry native who works with coffee brands around the world to create and execute captivating marketing strategies.
Working with a coffee consultant can help you skip the trial-and-error stages of starting and growing a coffee business. Here’s who we suggest working with.
Want to sell more subscription coffee? Use these (non-scammy) landing page copywriting tricks to better connect with potential customers and close more sales.
Here’s an interesting coffee shop marketing strategy: using awards to generate local buzz.