Brown & gold:

November 2, 2009


So I’ve been researching coffee this past month before I start roasting and selling my own, and have been very impressed with the amount of information there is out there on every question you could ever think to ask about coffee. there are many websites dedicated to roasting, grinding, brewing, growing, history, folklore, ad infinitum. This is all because coffee is surpassed only by fine wines in terms of variety, flavor characteristics, complexity, association with production area and (of course) just plain snobbery.

The question that then comes to mind is why do so many people settle for the bare minimum of coffee palatability? Certainly it’s not a matter of economics because even top grade coffees can be purchased at a half what you would pay for them in-store if you buy the beans green and roast them on your own time. Also, simply buying whole beans and grinding them as needed gives one a very sizable increase in quality without any real increase in price.

Green coffee beans

Could it be time? Possibly some people are just so busy that they can’t afford those 15-20 seconds it takes to grind coffee, or the 7-15 minutes it would take to roast a pound of coffee. Maybe I’m out of touch, but I can’t really buy that excuse. If anything I think it’s the perception of lack of time rather than an actual one.

No, to me the most plausible explanation as to why people are drinking coffee which would serve better as plant fertilizer is a combination of a market that is so inundated with cheap alternatives passing themselves off as something more than what they are and consumers who don’t educate themselves beyond what the label tells them. We live in an age when anyone can access information instantaneously that previously was only available, if at all, after extensive time-consuming research. There is no reason why coffee drinkers should not be able to explain the difference between Arabica and Robusta coffees or why one should buy whole beans over pre-ground at least, because these things have a direct impact on the quality of the cup they drink. The internet is a good source (if used with skepticism and caution) for anything you could need to know about coffee as well as many other things.

Now, I realize that in the real world, enjoying a really good cup of coffee is not on the top of everybody’s list because either they don’t like coffee all that much or they’ve just got much better things to do, and that’s okay. But, it’s my belief that if those people were given a cup of joe worth savoring and then given a choice, they would not go back to what they used to call coffee.

Aesthetics are nice, but taste is the only thing that matters in the end.

I was talking with someone I know not long ago who has repeatedly told me that she thinks coffee is disgusting without loads of sugar and cream. I then inquired as to what kind of coffee she drinks. Of course the reply was Folgers half-caffeinated pre-ground yuckiness. I was about to launch into a long-winded explanation of all the things that are wrong with that, but caught myself. I could have bored her with descriptions of the chemical interactions of coffee beans with oxygen and explained why decaffeinated  coffees will never ever taste as good as regular coffees, but in the long run I would have accomplished nothing. It’s times like those that one has to realize that continually lambasting anyone for their beliefs is almost always going to entrench them more so in them and leave them thinking worse of you. An important key to getting along with people is realizing that your opinion is not the most important…no matter how right it is. ;P

If you want to learn more please visit these great sites:

http://www.sweetmarias.com

http://www.coffeeresearch.org

http://www.homeroaster.com

-Jordan.

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One Response to “Brown & gold:”

  1. Yvonne Says:

    Folgers gives people the jitters because of their robusta beans too. Bad coffee tends to actually have more caffeine than espresso, but people shy away from espresso on the faulty belief that it will “make them jittery”. Better full caf good and well brewed arabica coffee than a half caf robusta.

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