134 sources of Inspiration…

Deep inside our heart, lies the inherent desire to create! The urge to craft something admirable! Created by us & revered by others! Remember the childhood chilly winters in which our quivering fingers carefully drew the contours of our name on the foggy glass pane. Or the moist youthful sand on the beach over which we etched deep alphabets of our epithet and stood proudly challenging the waves to squash the recently created historic future.

This desire, howsoever omnipresent, often needs an ignition of timely opportunity, earnest zeal & stupendous rigor to usher in an era of fabricated ambitions. And I witnessed something very similar yesterday. As I stepped into Starbucks to grab my unexciting cup of refreshing Americano, little did I know that the quotidian morning would amaze me with sparkles of vividness!

The usual morning ritual was broken. The barista did not instantaneously say “Your usual Americano!” and the machine did not immediately start hissing even before I could nod my head in affirmation. She politely said, “Try something new today”. While the unexpected recommendation was puzzling, the vehemence in her hopeful voice was equally intriguing.

“Its black coffee every morning. You know it”, even before I could utter my mundane routine aloud, she said “Trust me you will like it because I have made it”. I replied, “But you make every beverage here, right”. She smiled at my theatrical ignorance and said “No, this one has my name. I created it. It is my innovation”, as she pointed towards the board behind. I glanced at it astutely, it read, “Hello I am …., I have crafted a ‘Classic Turkish Cinnamon Espresso”.

Pride & fulfilment gleamed in her eyes as the contours of her name sparkled on the board. Couple of more employees came around and corroborated the innovation, with one of them saying, “This is going to be the best seller in the history of our outlet” as they high-fived each other. On such ceremonial occasion when recipient of an honour was one person, the flashes of ecstasy & achievement on others was indeed delightful. I did ask her to make the drink innovated by her. As she began to make the creation, she recited the steps ever so proudly in a humming tone-

‘Double shot espresso and a pitcher of steamed milk;

Pour it half till you get the smooth texture of your favourite silk;

A dash of Java chip;

With a shake of cinnamon at the tip,

Top it up with a chocolate drizzle,

And enjoy the warmth in today’s rusty mizzle’

And she presented to me the Starbucks Barista Pride beverage, conceptualized and created by her. As I took the first sip, the anticipation in her and all other staff’s eyes was a moment to savour. The taste was a reflection of a person’s belief, passion, fervour and desire! She had created something unique which had her signature and was basis the insights gathered by her on the taste profile of the customers in that outlet. It was different and not usual run of the mill- it was specific to that café, to that set of customers and to that specific season. And every 134 outlets of Starbucks had 134 distinctive creation. What was more riveting, was the set of 134 people who had etched their name on an exclusive creation. Simply amazing. A celebration of diversity in its truest sense!

‘It took me 23 days to create this. I tried 33 different combinations before I perfected this one. It started with my customers regularly craving for something having hints of cinnamon & a tinge of chocolate yet having the coffee kick. And that’s where it began’, She said.

And she showed me pictures of her mother & father tasting the drink on the day of launch. I could feel the sense of achievement & pride in their eyes. A picture indeed says 1000 words and sometimes a set of dozen emotions. I finished the drink, and waved a goodbye, curious to discover 133 more stories in the other outlets. As I stepped out, I glanced at the board titled ‘Barista Pride’ with her name on it and recalled my dream which needed the extra shot of ardour to rekindle it. If 1 source of inspiration was not enough, I had 133 remaining to inspire me!

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Adrit Mishra

When statistics & management insights transcends into philosophical, introspective & poetic ones