Good Coffee & Crap Coffee

March 25, 2005

I’ve just been reading through the comments on Mark Prince’s “What the heck is wrong?” article over on CoffeeGeek. Mark compares the coffee industry to the wine industry, both in terms of market perception and how each of them treat consumers. There are some great pointed comments about how the consumer is treated in the comments as well.

There damn well should be. I piss and moan a bit about Starbucks coffee, but I still go there and frankly, as common as it is, it’s about as good as it gets for a lot of people. No surprise there. If people want to step up from robusta-in-a-can, then they can go buy old and crappy beans at most supermarkets, go to Starbucks, or an independant coffee house.

Last Saturday I dropped into what passes for an independent coffee house in my area (I’ll avoid mentioning the name, although I probably should), ordered a latte, and seeing that they had what appeared to be a nice broad selection of varietals, I decided to buy a pound of Celebes Kalossi (more properly Sulawesi these days).

The latte was mediocre; it wasn’t bad, but I won’t be writing home about it.

The beans stunk. These f*cking things were so old and stale they might as well have come out of King Tut’s tomb. I paid a pretty penny for them, too.

It’s no wonder people equate Starbucks with “good coffee” — it’s a damn sight better than what I got in this place.

It’d be one thing if I thought this was an isolated incident, but it’s happened to me more often than not buying coffee in a place like this. You’d think I’d learn.

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2 Responses to “Good Coffee & Crap Coffee”

  1. Steve on May 7th, 2005 5:32 pm

    My local Costco has ran out of S M Sumatra beans. I’ve e-mailed them to try to find more, But no luck. Any ideas?

  2. Chuck on May 17th, 2005 10:58 am

    No idea… In fact, there is very little information online about Seattle Mountain. A Google search did turn up one or two places that will mail order it, but that probably doesn’t help the freshness or the cost.

    If you’re feeling ambitious, you might want to give home roasting a try — that’s what I’ve been doing lately. The green beans can be bought fairly cheap (I’m paying about $3 – $4 a lb. shipped for some awesomely good coffee), you can roast it according to your own preferences in 15 – 20 minutes, and it just doesn’t get any fresher…

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