Costa Rican Coffee

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Postby simonp » Thu Jun 16, 2005 9:02 am

ivdp wrote:I might add another important observation: most people are used to drinking old coffee and might not reckognize fresh coffee.
Ivo


And, in my experience, some don't like it at first when they try fresh roast compared to vacuum packed beans, or instant :roll: .

I found the same with bread, I do bake my own bread as I love it fresh, but I have known people who prefered steam baked crap to freshly baked.

It seems if people eat/drink rubbish for too long, they struggle to cope with the strong flavours of really fresh food.

We had a drip machine at work for a while, but one of my collegues complained "what is this gritty sh*t, why can't we go back to propper coffee?" he was meaning going back to Nescaffe :evil: :evil:
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Postby Guest » Thu Jun 16, 2005 10:05 am

On a serious point, regarding:

"Most regions only buy local produce, frankly, because it is better than everyone elses ;-)"

That point's made as a joke (or at least with a smiley) but why it is "parochialism"? Local produce will logically tend to be better than anyone else's because (relevant to this discussion) it will tend to be fresher, it will mix with other local produce more naturally e.g. in areas of Italy I've been, the local cheese and wine and salami all go together perfectly. "Parochialism" risks being a label like "cognoscenti" that allows Charbucks's generic virus to pass unchecked through more and more of the globe ("like lice through a kindergarden" is a Naomi Klein quote I think I've used before)

The point about people "liking" bad food/coffee is a good one - it may sound pretentious/elitist but people do like crap and if crap tastes are pandered to you have ubiquitous and pathological blandness as a result - and it's not scaremongering - e.g. ask yourself about the state of Global cinema. With the exception of Bollywood (which often imitates Hollywood) movies with some National identity of their own are like orchids in a desert of US-inspired "drek". Try this experiment - have a Hollywood film on your TV and read a newspaper so it's only on in the background of your mind, Hollywood movies have a certain rhythm whether it's a romance a thriller etc. You'll notice behind your newspaper that every 5 minutes there's a climax of one sort or another, a regulation number of car chases, punch-ups etc. ... Cartoons for adults!!!!! (the recent film Sin City is just the [il]logical conclusion of the process)

Being a deeply pessimistic/miserable person by nature, my relatively recent involvement in gourmet coffee is quite depressing. I think the difference in quality you can make with all the right equipment and well-sourced beans is a quantum leap from Charbucks - if it isn't what are we all spending on our time on this site for? This is a wonderful thing but it makes me think how similar the situation is for most of the things we consume (cue violin music and Paul start's singing John Lennon's "Imagine")


And using Lennon to neatly segue into:

"Ps never knew that Benitez was a scouser... and I won't even mention the rest of the team!"

Benitez y los otros rojos Espanoles are indeed now citizens of the People's Republic of Merseyside - as I pointed out above parochialism is indeed a good thing as the Manchester Red Sox have recently found out!!!!

Phil - I finish a project today, if you want a full article from me based on the themes of this discussion along the lines of "The Venerable Thoughts of Chairman Taylor" let me know and I'll do it in the next week - if you don't want one I fully understand :P

best to you all! Viva Los Rojos!

Paul.
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Postby pault » Thu Jun 16, 2005 10:06 am

sorry - once again the "guest" thing confused me - the above was from me (Chairman Paul) in case anyone didn't guess ...
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Postby Steve » Thu Jun 16, 2005 11:12 am

Wow what a thread!

I too have a limited experience of cafe Britt, apart from I've heard of them I've read there story, and I think they are trying to do a good thing. But I best pack my bags and leave this forum (and the trade) if your telling me that having something that isn't fresh can compete with something that its. That's why we are all here I think (sorry if I'm just echoing or disagreeing with posts already made)

But for me anything with a best before date is a little strange. Tell me when it was roasted, when it will be undrinkable and let me make up my own mind. I also think that although café Britt are doing good things there are some Costa Ricans out there available in green that are doing just as good things if not better. Relying on one farm to produce the best coffee of a region is short sighted.

I agree with some comments about not everyone will like fresh but completely disagree with that people fail to notice, just cup them side by side its blindingly obvious.

And the part where I agree with a Liverpool fan just plain hurts :)

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Postby simonp » Thu Jun 16, 2005 11:25 am

I agree with some comments about not everyone will like fresh but completely disagree with that people fail to notice, just cup them side by side its blindingly obvious.


I think maybe Ivo meant that people might not recognise/appreciate that fresh coffee was fresh rather than just different, not that people wouldn't notice a difference.

I agree with the feshness thing though, I think that very few of us here would now willingly drink anything that wasn't fresh, but I'm sure that many Cafe Britt customers are happy with what they get as it's better than the usual supermarket relly stale stuff. That's not to say that they wouldn'y change their mind if they tried some really fresh stuff.

Most of us are happy with the fruit we buy from the supermarket, but it is not the same as something ripe from the tree, as I found eating a fresh peach in Turkey, now the ones from the suprmarket are always a dissapointment.

2 years ago I was buying ground coffe from Sainsburys, and it tasted good (compared to Nescafe), but now, having tried real fresh beand freshly ground, I'm sure it would taste revolting. It's all about education, and trying things.
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Postby Gouezeri » Thu Jun 16, 2005 11:30 am

Tad extreme there Paul.
My comments on parochialism were only partly tongue in cheek. I've personal experience whereby local produce is considered the best and even only option, to the detriment of all other, which is both prejudicial and naïve. I experience this kind of attitude all the time, people who have been brainwashed into thinking, for example, that there is no such thing as English cheese other than the (plastic) "cheddar" served with hamburgers, that English bread is no more than "pain de mie" (awful stuff) and that cider is only made in Normandie!!! Your support of only locally produced items, taken to its logical extreme, would mean that none of us should be drinking coffee at all (unless steve's plants all of a sudden have a bumper crop!). My choice of the term parochialism was not made lightly, but rather to express the ignorance I am used to seeing.

One of the things I like about london (and there aren't many) is its multi-culturalism, whilst in many cases the experience is maybe not as authentic as it could be, it's a darn sight better than the alternatives (there's a comparison here to be made between Cafe B and generic supermarket coffees). I'm not saying we should necessarily accept inferior imitations, there's all kind of produce I won't buy here in the UK simply because I know it's not as good (poor imitation) as that which I can buy at home in France, however, not everybody has the same opportunities; despite the fact I can probably get good jellied eels locally, you'll excuse me if I prefer to have "sushi" instead, even though I am aware it is unlikely to be as good as I might have in Japan.

I'm sure that Cafe Britt tastes even better when drunk freshly roasted in Heredia (would anyone here argue otherwise?), sadly, I'm busy for the next couple of weeks, so that ain't gonna happen :-P

I very much appreciate your arguments on consumerism, Paul, and agree that many products are diluted down for the lowest common denominator and become both homogenous and formulaic (precisely what my own research is against). But that said, I'm very much in favour of broadening my experiences and looking beyond that which is available locally as well (thankfully as local produce is going to be hard to come by in London)!
As SimonP says, it's all about education and my interpretation and usage of parochialism is the antithesis of this; an almost conscious desire not to be educated!

Being a deeply pessimistic/miserable person by nature, my relatively recent involvement in gourmet coffee is quite depressing.

Cheer up mate (term's almost over!) you are probably drinking better coffee now than you ever were before... that's got to be positive! Your shot glass is definitely half full (ristretto) rather than half empty ;-)
D
Ps. Not sure how you consider more than 80% of a "local" team being foreign nationals a positive argument for parochialism! The only thing that concerns me was that it was a good match!
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Postby ivdp » Thu Jun 16, 2005 1:55 pm

.. local produce tastes best . .

I agree, looking at European products.

I disagree if I look at third world countries that produce (coffee) for export.
In most countries the best beans are for export and are far too expensive for the local market.
Only the low grades enter the local market. If you want to treat yourselve in such countries order a Nescafe...
(oh horror, I said it myself . . )

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Postby mattmills » Thu Jun 16, 2005 2:14 pm

Have to agree with IVO... you should try drinking the coffee in the Kenyan Coffee Auction.... its terrible!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Postby pault » Fri Jun 17, 2005 2:20 am

Hi Gouezeri,

the parochialism thing is complicated and my sense is that we're both using the term slightly tongue-in-cheek.

Of course blinkered parochialism is bad - it leads to bigotry and narrowmindedness. But there is also an essential paradox to modern life - most of us want to find places/things that are individual and special but at the same time we want to have easy access to all this difference.

I'd be happy with a compromise where people have access to as much good produce as possible but the importance of locale is never forgotten. That's my big beef with Charbucks et al - they are fundamentally premised upon generic tastes and environments - if they're not then the franchises would not involve exactly the same formula no matter what continent you find yourself in.

I must admit it is complicated - so being realistic, one has to accept that Liverpool F.C. are forced to use the best foreign players they can obtain. However, I hope that most neutrals would admit that Liverpool F.C. still has a very special and unique association with the geographical area of Liverpool. This was reflected in the recent performance of their supporters. I don't think I'm being naive in believing that they ultimately got the team through a tough tie against Juventus when even their incredibly experienced side seemed totally blown away by the Anfield atmosphere, the same was true against Chelsea, and even 3-0 down in the final the fans kept singing their hearts out when most would have given up.

I know this is not a football discussion site but I do think the Liverpool thing provides a strong example of getting the right blend between being cosmopolitan but not forgetting your essential roots. This is what I think also applies to the world of coffee. I want to see great coffee available to as many people as possible across the globe - but I want that international bunch of drinkers to appreciate that they're drinking something unique from a particular part of the world. We can argue over the word "parochial" but whether it's good malt whisky, coffee, or literature - I can't think of many of life's great pleasures that don't involve a strong input from a grounded, non-generic, distinctive set of qualities that require a strong sense of "terroir".

I'm with the French on this one - give me a surly, sneering qnd sniffy waiter with a good cup of coffee over a grinning imbecile, fluffy cushions, and a huge mug full of slightly brown milk every time ...


Best,

Paul

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Postby ivdp » Fri Jun 17, 2005 7:53 am

mattmills wrote:Have to agree with IVO... you should try drinking the coffee in the Kenyan Coffee Auction.... its terrible!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Thanks for info. Did not realize that the Kenyan auction is actually available for the local market. I thought this was just for export.

Sorry for my ignorance.

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Postby mattmills » Mon Jun 20, 2005 5:48 am

Sorry Ivo, in theory you are right... it is onl;y for export. I was refering to the coffee you are given in the auction to drink whilst bidding.... it is terrible, and a good example poor qualities being drunk at the origin
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