company - education - coffee

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Hello, are you there quality?

From conversations on coffeed:
'I've been told that taste is the only morality. I've since disagreed. I love the taste of those cheap pecan spinwheels you can find nearly anywhere. The problem, is that the quality is extremely low. A whole lot of people love the taste of coffee and chocolate iced milkshakes. The problem, is that the quality just isn't there. A lot of people love dirty coffees. The problem, is that the highest possible quality just isn't there. Are we promoting "what you like", or are we promoting quality? If it's just about "what you like", then maybe Starbucks is onto something.' -Jason Haeger

A lot of times in coffee, I think people misunderstand our little site here at barismo. I remember Ben talking about how on one European forum a participant insisted our review of aeropress missed the 'obvious' fact that it was convenient and our preference for vac pot was like lugging around lab equipment. The truth is convenience is for someone else's site. We want the best of the best in terms of coffees and brew methods. Sure there's subjectivity in that but it also means we are willing to forgo convenience for a substantially better cup of brewed coffee.

I think that applies to all coffee because great coffee isn't easy or simple. I think the problem is that there are multitudes of people on forums and websites all professing that what they serve at home or in shop is the best of the best. Some may be right but a lot of others are simply getting the most out of what they have, not necessarily the best.

'Jason makes an important point. Most coffee drinkers in the world don't really understand coffee and have little to no experience with 'high quality'. They've never tasted it, don't know it's out there, and in most cases don't have any immediate access to it. One way to look at this whole issue is that it is our job as coffee professionals to take them by the hand and lead them to the well...(continued a must read!)' - Geoff Watts

The coffees that win awards and garner top honors for being the 'least coffee-like' are the coffees I find intriguing. Those are the coffees I want to promote and talk about. The processing requires skill and intensive labor to prepare an exceptional cup, something lesser coffees do not. That's why Sumatra and Harrars don't interest me.

Not to mis-inform people (particularly googlers!) by simply saying they suck, I truly just don't believe the quality is there. Maybe that means I will have a lot of headaches finding 'good' coffees but I'd rather not drink it unless it's going to be a great cup.

Same goes for tea in case you were wondering.