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Here’s the Buzz: The Gen Z Coffee Journey

We recently finished a remote journey mapping project with Gen Z college students to understand their experience buying coffee at a coffee shop (to learn more about our approach including the tools we used, check out our blog, Remote Journey Mapping: A Coffee Journey). Based on the students’ input prior to our collaboration session, we condensed the experience into a simple, five phase journey:

  • Decide Where to Buy
  • Decide What to Order
  • Order and Pay
  • Pick Up Coffee
  • Drink Coffee

Our Gen Z college students were energetic, fully engaged and excited to share their thoughts and ideas as they helped co-create the coffee buying experience. While we learned a lot about their experience and their ‘Java Journey’, a few learnings stood out for us…

  • These college students are not loyal to one coffeeshop or brand. They visit a variety of coffee shops for different reasons – scenarios like needing a quick cup before class, a place to study or a spot to meet friends impact where they might go.
  • They are hesitant to order a new coffee beverage and tend to stick with what they know. Trying something new can feel stressful and overwhelming – what if they don’t like it and feel like they’ve wasted money?
  • They recognize buying coffee from a coffee shop is expensive. Despite knowing it’s expensive, it is something they “don’t want to give up”, so they “try not to think about it”.
  • They like watching the process of the barista making their coffee. They think it’s fun to see the coffee being made and progress into a finished drink, but they also want to watch to make sure their order is done right.
  • Overall, buying coffee from a coffee shop is a happy experience. College students expressed feelings of excitement and relief throughout the journey. Coffee helps give them what they need for staying motivated and productive with their schoolwork.

We developed a more detailed journey map, but we also created this short and sweet infographic using Canva to bring their journey to life, in their own words.

If you want to chat more about journey mapping reach out!

Jennifer Cuthill

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