Espresso Chicanery

Jul 25, 2012



Blind Leading the Blind

Perverse really isn’t it? You would have thought that after hundreds of years of drinking coffee we would know a good coffee from a bad one wouldn’t you?!

Old trade taster’s sayings such as – ‘rancid’ ‘old porters trousers’ and ‘baggy’,  pretty well sum up a taste and enable the layman to picture what that flavour and liquor experience looks like…not one worth paying a premium for eh?

Well, imagine the trade chuckles that went round recently, at a small and select tasting at one of BeNe’s more prestigious green bean trading houses….. When coffee, which was clearly off and rancid, was chosen by the niche micro roaster guest, as that ‘extra special’ fruity and acidic coffee he was looking for!

The trader of course couldn’t help himself but to oblige and provide the few sacks that were required for 12 months production…..And thereafter the titters went up around the lab as spoons and tasters fell about laughing at the faux pas

Ridiculous yes….. But very sad too…..Because the market for ineptitude is a growing and very profitable one!

Not long ago, the coffee market was at a 34 year high… and retail prices quickly shot up to reflect this

Today commodity prices are 30% +  lower and yes ok there are signs of some retail prices nudging lower…together with news of lower grade qualities being used in main stream blends, as the corporate bean counters manage margin mix and their bonuses to year end

However, prices always, always come down much slower than they shoot upwards don’t they?

This year the trend for slow price decreases is a little more difficult to swallow… b

Because 2012 is a record bumper year for green coffee… and so guess what??

The goal posts have moved! Now the roasters aren’t happy with the quality of the crop – ah!

Small and premium ‘micro’ artisan roasters will tell you that ultra premium, speciality coffees are produced from coffee beans that undergo a stricter more expensive  grading process…

Yeah – then that same analogy tells me that Fair Trade , Rain Forest and UTZ coffees are all grown differently then eh? So why do so many origin farmers sign up to all of the major accreditations, only to sell to the highest bidder? Get real please!

So with all this in mind I had to chuckle when I read a quote by a Mr Sobel of (wait for it) Crooked River Coffee (!)

Supporting the continuation of higher prices he advised……

”Our customers are much more demanding”

(That means you and I are a lower grade, simpler chump of a client – ok?)

”They want nuances”

(You know – the taste experience we proles couldn’t appreciate in a month of Sundays)

“They want the finest flavours”

(Don’t we all – but some of us aren’t sold into the smoke and mirrors marketing you punt)

And “our customers are very particular” – say no more!

Finally, Mr Sobel advises that…. “people who used to charge 1.95 a cup and suddenly changed to 2.50, are now paying a little less for their coffee, but their prices on other items have gone up”

Hmmm…..Just as well…. as on a typical cup, this original price increase represents a hike of $50 / Kilo on the finished coffee product – What?!!

Blind leading the blind eh…?Seems there will always be a market for bull crap and chicanery…  Good luck yea purveyors of such piffle!

Rely upon Aromo to cut to the chase and simply supply great quality coffees in a variety of easy to use, no mess, no fuss and fresh service options…

Guru ( Andy Grelak) writes for Aromo Coffee – They are coffee experts focussed on providing convenient and tasty ways for the caffeine addict to take their medicine. Aromo supplies excellent ESE Coffee pods and superlative Senseo pods,  both of which offer the espresso and filter connoisseur  a no mess, no fuss,  super fresh and environmentally conscious method to make stunning coffee… the guys at Aromo also have a range of Dualit branded capsules which make a brilliant and economic alternative to nespresso capsules