Buy The Coffee

I prefer meetings in coffee shops. I am invigorated by the aromas, the quiet distractions, and the chance encounters with friends. I’ve recently embraced a new habit that multiplies meeting enjoyment. You can too.

River Road Coffee House - Rick Coplin


A great coffee shop is an excellent setting in which to begin a relationship, catch up with a friend or simply enjoy the ambiance while working. Great places encourage creativity and are conducive to memorable discussions.

Good to the Last Drop

The funny thing? I’m not a coffee drinker. Not a drop. I love the smell of coffee and the variety of aromatic nuances of all the flavors. I’m intrigued by the baristas' art and their performances brewing coffee in my favorite cafés. For whatever reason, I have never appreciated the taste of coffee. So, you'll find a soft drink or water in my cup.


The Power of a Cup of Coffee

Last Autumn a friend of mine, Keith Luscher, and I met just to catch up. When I arrived, Keith jumped up from the table where he was already sitting, handed me a big cup and said “I already got your cup of coffee! Just fill it up!

Buy the CoffeeI was so blown away that all I could do was utter “Uh, thanks…” I stared at the cup for a moment, then filled it with a soft drink and joined Keith at our table.

Keith's small gesture of generosity made a great start for our meeting. It has stuck with me ever since. So, Hat Tip to Keith for demonstrating the power of a simple cup of coffee.


Five Benefits to Buying The Coffee

Since Keith and I met that morning, I frequently follow his example and buy an extra cup. Here's five benefits to making the effort:

  1. Starts a Meeting Well. Having an empty cup ready for your guest gets the meeting off to a memorable start. Meetings always begin with a smile when you have an extra cup ready.
  2. Sets the Tone: Generosity sets a positive tone. It is amazing what a small act of kindness will do to break down barriers. Discussions usually flow well beyond business; relationships are enhanced.
  3. Shows Respect. You have to arrive early when you plan to buy the coffee. This quietly communicates that you value your guest and their time.
  4. Saves Time. Buying the coffee avoids lines. You can easily spend the first 5 to 10 minutes of an appointment just waiting to order a cup of coffee. Lines are seldom conducive to conversations.
  5. Sure is FUN!


I'm hoping this small act of generosity learned from Keith will be repeated by all of my coffee shop meeting guests.

sets the stage
for great

Several friends have bought the coffee and then called to tell me their story. Each has mentioned at least two of these benefits. All mention how fun it is to surprise someone with an empty cup.

I am sure you will discover additional benefits to buying that extra cup.

One piece of advice: Don't expect anything in return. This is simply a way to rise above average and treat a new acquaintance or friend to a fun surprise. You'll be invigorated every time you buy the coffee. That's a great return.


Go Ahead, Buy The Coffee

Go ahead, give it a shot. Buy an extra cup at your next meeting in your favorite café. Enjoy the surprise and delight of your guest.

Let me know if you do something similar or you buy the coffee after reading this. I'd love to hear the story.


Rick Coplin










I work alongside emerging companies on business formation, commercialization strategies, and capital planning. My passion is to find, support, mentor, coach, incubate, & fund start-ups engaged in innovative technology businesses.

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Rick,

    I like the phenomena of the third place and it is a great place to have business meetings. Personally, I like the aroma of coffee and I like espresso beverages. I am tea enthusiast and will publish a book on tea next year.

    Which is your favorite place?

    • Martin,

      I agree about the third place; coffee shops are perfect in that respect. My favorite place? I prefer locally owned shops where the personality of the community and the owner are best reflected. Those in old houses with several nooks and crannies top my list. If you;re a tea aficionado, you will like Tekhu Tea:

      Enjoy today,


  • Rick,

    First of all, I’m not sure we can be friends anymore. I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t like the taste of coffee, ha ha!

    Love that idea. I’ve had 2 coffee shop meetings this week where I arrived much earlier than the person I was meeting with. I had the thought of “maybe I should call them to see if I can order something for them,” then decided “Oh, they’ll get what they want when they get here.”

    Next time I’ll just buy the cup. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Mark,

      Yep. I’ve been in that same position before too. I used to take the easy way out, not taking action. This is a fun way to take action. “Buying the Coffee” is really the result of changing my Mindset from one of scarcity to one of abundance. Keith showed me how to do that in a coffee shop.

      Let me know how your next coffee shop meeting goes!