There is No Such Thing as Instant Coffee!

Someone planted the coffee seed, helped it mature into a tree, processed the harvest, and a whole lot more before you pushed the button this morning for your cup of mocha mint latte.

You and I have been born into an accelerating world. Travel that took a week by horseback two centuries ago is now competed in a few hours in the air condition comfort of your car. Just ten years ago, the two-hour meeting you had in the next time zone required flights and overnights, is now completed in two hours, plus 2 minutes for the set up and tear down of a GoToMeeting session. Email, smartphones, Internet, Skype, social media…everything is happening faster and faster.

Instant Coffee?

No wonder we are time obsessed these days. We’ve become so used to speed that we actually believe there is something called instant coffee. In less than a minute we’re savoring a mocha mint latte from the K-cup machine.

Not so fast!

Let’s rewind that mocha mint latte…

  • Before you popped the k-cup into the machine, you had to buy the coffee machine and the k-cup of mint latte coffee.

  • Before you could buy the K-cup of coffee, the seller had to stock it.

  • Before the seller could stock the coffee, the wholesaler had to ship it.

  • Before the wholesaler shipped it, the packager packaged it.

  • Before the packager packaged it, the coffee was ground.

  • Before the coffee was ground, it had to be roasted.

  • Before the coffee was roasted, a selection of beans had to be blended.

  • Before the beans were blended, they had to be imported.

  • Before the beans were imported, they were milled and bagged.

  • Before the beans could be milled and bagged, they had to be dried.

  • Before the beans were dried, they had to be processed from the fruit.

  • Before the fruit could be processed, it had to be harvested.

  • Before it could be harvested, the coffee tree had to be grown over three of four years.

  • And before the coffee tree could grow, it had to be planted.

So much for instant coffee!

Have you ever stopped to think about all the goes into that cup of coffee that takes your K-cup machine a few seconds to brew? Or is reading this article the first time you thought about all the processes and time behind instant coffee?

What are the Instant Coffees That You Take For Granted?

Our world is obsessed with instant. We expect to get instant recognition for the things we do. We expect to form instant relationships with people we just met. We expect our degree to qualify us for an instant job offer. We expect to have gained enough experience in a few weeks to become an instant expert. We expect to be instant parents, instant spouses, and instant managers.

And just like instant coffee, each of these things takes time, effort, focus, patience, and diligence to earn. And did I mention the assorted mistakes, failures, and lessons you had to learn the hard way?

So…what are the things in your life and your career that you treat like instant coffee?

Hank Boyer of Boyer Management Group works with some of North America’s top employers to help them become more successful. For employers and individuals, we offer the world’s finest training and assessments to measure an individual’s knowledge and awareness of current and emerging best practices in leadership, sales, customer service, and conducting an effective job search. To find out more, please visit us at, email us at, or call us at 215-942-0982.


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