Coffee & Values: A Story Of Success (And Lessons For Your Personal Brand)


Best viewed in ‘Landscape Mode’ on your phone. In other words, flip your phone on its side.

Are you a fan of coffee? Then you’ll love this…

If you are not a fan of coffee, you’ll still love this.

It will show you how values, not profits, can fuel big business.

Values: Important and lasting beliefs or ideals shared by the members of a culture about what is good or bad and desirable or undesirable.

This principle is just as useful in life as it is in business. When you know what is “desirable” you can do more of that (strength building for example). When you understand what is “undesirable” you can do less of those things (like breaking bad habits).

This isn’t a new concept exclusive to BetterMan, many before us have used values to live a life with intention and precision.

Take Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, for example. In just fifteen years he transformed a small Seattle based coffeehouse into the name synonymous with the caffeine bean. You can now “get a coffee” (as the American’s say) in 24,464 locations in 70 different countries around the world (2016).


This meteoric rise began with surprisingly humble beginnings. Schultz was born in 1953, in Brooklyn, New York, living his formative years in “The Projects.” At an early age his family was left with no income, when his father was injured and unable to work. From that day he knew “in my heart that if I was ever in a position where I could make a difference, I wouldn’t leave people behind.”

This has led to some of the values he holds dear (many of which are echoed in the values of BetterMan):

The value of knowing your customers

Despite being a huge global corporation Starbucks’ baristas give a personal touch to the service of customers (the names written on the cups is just a small example of this). This makes the customer feel welcome.

The value of consistency

Whether you are “getting a coffee” in Istanbul or Calgary you can expect the same quality, flavour profile and service from Starbucks. Schultz understands the value of giving the customer, not only what they want, but what they expect. It’s all about not letting your customer down and not “leaving people behind.”



“Isn’t that a BetterMan term?” I hear you cry. Yes, yes it is. But I think you’ll understand how important it is when you hear the title of Howards’ book – Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time. Need I say more? I thought not!

A Clear Mission

“To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.”

This mission statement is not filled with overwhelming hubris and chest beating. It is clearly focused on the “human spirit” (the customer) and spreading the word of coffee to “inspire and nurture.” This precise approach to their customers is what makes Starbucks “unstoppable.”

If values, such as these, can turn three Seattle stores into more than 24,000 worldwide, in just fifteen years, they must work.

To experience a perfect example of precision, within the Starbucks brand, there is no need to go further than Starbucks Reserve.


The Chemex Pour Over Coffee Maker is a simple enough looking device, but the preparation and precision required is more akin to Walter White than it takes to make your average cup of java.

What you need:
Chemex brewer
Square Chemex filter
5-7 table spoons of coffee beans
600ml water, with a bit extra to rinse
Gooseneck pouring kettle
Grinder (preferably burr)


This section is specifically for the coffee lovers who want to become Chemex experts. Everyone else can skip this.

Step 1
Heat the water to exactly 96 degrees celsius, by bringing it to the boil and letting it sit for 30 seconds.

Step 2
Place the Chemex filter in the top of the brewer, ensuring the triple layered side faces the pouring spout.

Step 3
Pour some hot water around the inside of the filter for 5 seconds. Without removing the filter, get rid of the rise water. This ensures a seal and deals with any paper taste.

Step 4
Weigh out your coffee beans and grind on a setting a little coarser than medium.

Step 5
Pour the grounds into the filter and shake to settle

Step 6
Time: [0:00] to [0:45]mins
Start a timer and slowly pour water over the grounds, just enough to evenly wet them. Leave for 45 seconds. This is called the bloom, forcing the release of gas and expanding the coffee bed.

Step 7
Time: [0:45] to [2:45]mins
In a spiral fashion, pour continuously. Avoid pouring into the middle or at the edge of the filter. If the water level reaches the rim, pause and let it drain before continuing. Stop pouring once the timer reaches [2:45]mins or the scale display 600 grams.

Step 8
Time [2:45] to [3:30]mins
Allow the water to drain through. Remove the filter and discard the grounds. If the final time is longer than [4:00]mins your grind is too fine, if it is shorter than [3:00]mins it is too coarse. Adjust accordingly next time.
From their business philosophy, right down to their brewing techniques a calculated, accurate and intentional veins runs through it all. It is no wonder Starbucks has grown as fast as it has and to the scale that it has.


From their business philosophy, right down to their brewing techniques a calculated, accurate and intentional vein runs through it all. It is no wonder Starbucks has grown as fast as it has and to the scale that it has.

Living the BetterMan lifestyle is not about indulging on expensive coffee. That is not what this post is about. We are always aware of the impact, of even, the smallest decisions. You need to understand the ethos behind who and what you associate yourself with. That is as true of people as much as it is of products and companies. They have to align with your values!

Think of living the BetterMan lifestyle as building your own brand. You need to establish your values and stick to them. This has to filter down into all areas of your life, in everything you do. From the clothes you wear all the way down to the coffee you drink. Theses decisions need to be intentional and precise so as to always put your best foot forward.

I’ll leave you with some final wise words from Howard Schultz:

'There are moments in our lives when we summon the courage to make choices that go against reason, that go against common sense and the wise counsel of people we trust. But we lean forward, nonetheless, because, despite all risks and rational argument, we believe that the path we are choosing is the right and best thing to do.'

About Author

Andrew Mack


  1. This is an incredible article, it really speaks to a lot of the values and belief systems I’ve seen in BetterMan.

    It also opens up a path to new thinking for others, I know I for one gained a better understanding of finding one’s values and sticking to them. It also got me thinking about how much influence your values can have on the kind of business you run and the kind of brand you (Intentionally or otherwise) build for yourself.

    Great article all the same, thank you!

  2. Juan Eekhout on

    Well that’s a sure way to regain my focus. Talking about one of my favourite things – coffee and including it into an article on success!!

    Just goes to show how when you stick to basics and take something you are passionate about you can conquer the world!

  3. Phiwa Pendant Nhleko on

    This is wonderful, betterman values are like a cure to me, its really needed in a long time. Just cant wait to be part of better entreprenuers. Awesome man!

  4. Fantastic article Erik! Thank-you so much!
    I am a huge coffee fan – let me confirm that this means proper coffee! This article, Howard’s story, and the process of making coffee the Starbucks way is just brilliant!!
    I find the golden thread between Starbucks and BetterMan to be inspiring, uplifting and from the heart – of Howard, and of you Erik! What you have done through BetterMan has made a significant and extremely important impact on my life, and the more I engage with you Erik, and with Andrew, and with the BetterMan Brotherhood, the more I want to continue to strive towards being a Better Man! Continuously! Despite the challenges, setbacks and hardships! In fact, because of them! Because I am Unstoppable!

  5. Simphiwe Zale on

    This article is dope Erik and as you said it before deliberate/intentional and precise. To also understand that the vision can be realized if the visionair puts action into what he believes daily. Aligning yourself with people, or businesses that also values the vision and are go getters and ready to grow. I love the article, I love Betterman, I am becoming a Betterman​. Cheers Erik keep it up.

    • Andrew

      Exactly Simphiwe ” vision can be realized if the visionair puts action into what he believes daily” Love it!

  6. Sirak Taddese on

    ACCRETION: This term is the one thing that stuck me from BETTERMAN and has become very practical in my life. I use it for work purpose also to carefully coordinate my lifestyle. I use to fear ‘THE PROCESS’ but after the understanding of ACCERATION, I love the process. The gradual accumulation of a matter is what builds a fortress . . . for the love of coffee.

    • Andrew

      Hearing when gents take the BetterMan principles and put them into practice is what gets me up in the morning with a fire lit beneath me. Keep up the great work Sirak.

  7. Nhlamulo Marivate on

    “To inspire and nurture the human spirit ” I’ve come to understand the big role played by values Erik. It’s not money that moves the business from humble beginnings to unprecedented success, but that value-minded thinking. Thank you so much Erik.

    • Andrew

      “It’s not money that moves the business from humble beginnings to unprecedented success, but that value-minded thinking” Wise words Nhlamulo!

  8. Values , Values and values its true the value of the person on top will be seen right trough the running of the business. The coffee recipe fits in 100% with the meaning of the word ACCRETION – the process of growth or enlargement by a gradual build up. Excellent Erik.

  9. Great article. Betterman always gets me to sit back and re-evaluate my goals, values and my current amount of action im taking towards them. #KeepItComing

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