SCAE and YOU!

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Postby CakeBoy » Tue May 23, 2006 9:54 am

Scott's point is well made. Until consumers (trade types as in cafes) begin to appreciate decent coffee and value a quality product over a tenner saved, the idea is going to be hard to get off the ground. Work is needed from the bottom up it seems.
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Postby espressomattic » Tue May 23, 2006 10:39 am

I suppose that is where we come in really, educating our friends/family. It took years for wine to become as appreciated as what it is, lot's of education from supermarkets etc. The problem is, as has been discussed before is that the large companies have such a tight hold on the market it is essentially a very niche market. I can't see anything really changing public opinion to be honest. It is a sad state of affairs to be in. It would be great to get back to the days of having a small roaster in each town on the high street. This used to be a common sight.

It would take somebody with balls to start such a venture because the tide is really against the idea, then again maybe it isn't.

Maybe the problem is in the title of the SCAE - 'Speciallity', kind of exclusve isn't it. What you need is somebody like the good food magazine to get the ball rolloing, as always, what do I know????

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Postby Davec » Tue May 23, 2006 11:05 am

This may seem a bit strange, but I have been on the SCAE website and to be honest (mabye this is only for non memebers), it does not say anywhere what the role of the SCAE is. Whats it's there to do, its remit, aims, goals, programs and progress?

This makes it really difficult to suggest things....in the context of an overall understanding of it's role, i think it would be easier and then ideas would tend to build on existing programs. Now mabye all of this information is implied, or implicitly undrstood by its members.

As a non member I suppose my request would be a section of the website covering.

Aims of the SCAE (what it is and isn't set up to do)
How it works
Past programs
Ongoing programms (and progress/results)
Future Planned programs
Current campaigns


This sort of thing would give non members and understanding of the organisations and a better ability to suggest new activities or comment on existing ones.
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Postby Davec » Tue May 23, 2006 11:10 am

whoops, just found the information hidden at the bottom left of sidebar frame :lol:

Well my request changes to make this link a more obvious menu selection at the top of the home page of the SCAE website. 8)
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Postby scottwhite » Tue May 23, 2006 11:26 am

espressomattic wrote:I suppose that is where we come in really, educating our friends/family. It took years for wine to become as appreciated as what it is, lot's of education from supermarkets etc. The problem is, as has been discussed before is that the large companies have such a tight hold on the market it is essentially a very niche market. I can't see anything really changing public opinion to be honest. It is a sad state of affairs to be in. It would be great to get back to the days of having a small roaster in each town on the high street. This used to be a common sight.

It would take somebody with balls to start such a venture because the tide is really against the idea, then again maybe it isn't.

Maybe the problem is in the title of the SCAE - 'Speciallity', kind of exclusve isn't it. What you need is somebody like the good food magazine to get the ball rolloing, as always, what do I know????

Matt


yep roasters in the high street i remember those in south london, what tends to go on these days is someone sets up a few shops, does a good job, big boys come along with fat wallets and buy them out, then fit superautos...taa daa.

I was in a pub run by a certain chain last friday, cappucino and small biscotti for 69p people were buying them, lots of people.

I know the bean to cup machine they use and it costs 7-8k, so not a lot of profit for them considering it will be knackered in 3 years time but this is the way it seems to be going.

This is where my spit and sawdust coffee shop design kicks in, they buy the coffee because it's easy and approachable, I think the price to a degree, is hyperthetical, it seems whenever there is a good place it's well upmarket and a lot of people find that difficult to negotiate.
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Postby GeorgeW » Tue May 23, 2006 11:43 am

Part of the problem is that there is at present a concerted drive to promote inferior ways of coffee-making, what with the pod machines and that other rubbish all presented as being an easy way of achieving good coffee. These manufacturers are not interested in the quality of the end product but only in the profit which comes from tying the consumer down to a particular way of making coffee using their product.
This does make it more difficult to educate the consumer given lavish publicity used by the above.
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Postby scottwhite » Tue May 23, 2006 12:27 pm

Then to be fair there are lots of people who want it for nothing, I speak to them all day long and the market is driven by those people.

So if things are to change then the attitude has to change from the consumer point of view, if you want quality it costs.
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Postby leecb » Tue May 23, 2006 3:50 pm

At the end of the day unless you educate the consumer you will never achieve much IMO.
If the man on the street always chooses the chain or buys the cheapest then any kind of specialty organisation is preaching to the converted.
On the other hand I well remember the days of Blue Nun and Mateus Rose...
So maybe there is hope after all.
HOWEVER the expectation that we can make any decent percentage of the population as mad as we are...

It would be nice to know that more and more small specialty coffee shops are opening and teaching their audience that there is a better way than a bucket of slops from *$ :roll:
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Postby BazBean » Tue May 23, 2006 5:56 pm

Having read posts "education of consumers" seems to be a common theme...... whilst i agree, how is that actually done? the only way i can think of is to serve very very good quality coffee and charge a fair price for it.....
this might sound simplistic but the term education just seems to me a sweeping statement thats realy hard hard to qualify ....
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Postby leecb » Tue May 23, 2006 6:07 pm

I guess you have to rely on people wanting to offer a quality product, but obviously that is not the cheapest or easiest option therefore you have to rely on passion for your product and hope to educate people by giving them something better and trying to get them interested that way.
Education is not about sitting people in a room and teaching them but offering the choice of something better I guess.
There are places, albeit few of them doing this. In London I go to two such places, Flat White (where their passion is infectious I can tell you!) and Monmouth. I'm not saying they are the only decent places but they're the two I go to and both are always busy with people who appreciate the quality of what they do.
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Postby Davec » Tue May 23, 2006 6:54 pm

Unfortunately the priorities of Industry are profit, not education. the only "educating" they want to do is persuasion of the consumer to buy their product. Quality is not an issue only profit. As an example I cite the extensive advertising of Tassimo or whatever that stupid pod type extraction thing is called. the other one might be the "real coffee beans" in Kenco. millions and Millions spent advertising clearly inferior products to real coffee. "educating" the discerning consumer about the real beans in Kenco and the delicious taste of "real" coffee and crema in a Tassimo.

Even the commercial sellers of coffee in far too many establishments look to save 1p per cup on the bean instead of buying something a coffee of quality. Real coffee ground from the bean can still taste worse than instant if you get it cheap enough and prepare it badly enough. I am not sure the public can be educated in the sense described.....if they could have been how did we ever get the case of PG tips costing weight for weight more than quality leaf tea!

Over the years (and george has seen more of them than me, so might have a view) I have noticed a serious deterioration in the quality of food and beverages for the most part....not an improvement. All part of the ongoing education of the consumer by the large corporate. I thought when coffee shops started opening in every high street...the "education" of the consumer had started. but no....the crap most of them serve is unbelievable and the coporates get involved and what will we get....swanky bean to cup coffee bars, again because of profit!

Oh yes I can see the consumer being "educated"........but unfortunately not "informed" and not having sufficient "choice", because even being informed; without choice is usless. Baz you will be an Oasis of coffee in a wilderness of the mediocre, but we really need 1000s of places like yours will be and the informed culture to support them. Trouble is if they become profitable....in come the coporate boys again and ruin it all!


I suspect that in 30 years time we will also have a lot fewer types of coffee to choose from, more Robusta and other heavy cropping (but poorer quality) strains of Arabica, all to feed the growing commercial need for cheap "real" coffee.
:roll: Ahh well.....enjoy decent coffee while we can :wink:
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Postby BazBean » Tue May 23, 2006 8:00 pm

valid points guys. :)

and I have to say the more i have thought on this one, the more saddened I become. : :cry:
one of the reasons for poor standards is also i think its the sort of industry where people see large concerns making good profits and think..... Hey i could do that...how hard can it be...... its just making a cup of coffee !
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Postby espressomattic » Tue May 23, 2006 8:30 pm

Steve mentioned a while ago, now is a golden age for coffee....enjoy!
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Postby Fatboy_007 » Tue May 23, 2006 9:19 pm

I hope that no-one here takes any of what I say in this post the wrong way, none of it is meant to upset or piss anyone off, and indeed the people that I refer to are the ones that have been the most useful, generous with time and advice etc etc.

As someone relatively new to the rarifid world of speciality coffee I think that the process of education that we all want to take place has to start with us, and I am not talking here about people like Matt and Steve and Cakey and George (and again forgive me for naming names, but these are the names I see most often) talking amongst ourselves and knocking people who are not drinking good coffee.

You guys are the in vanguard of coffee, you are the Prophets and the Oracle, it is up to all of us to educate, make it your mission to tell one person every day about good coffee, take a bag of Santa Fe to the office with a grinder and make your colleagues a French Press of decent coffee, when I did this, Steve got another customer, and he will tell his friends when he next entertains all about this fat bloke at work who raves about good coffee.

It is up to people like you guys, and especially people who are not in the business to educate the masses, people with a vested interest in turning maximum profit will not do this. From my business I know that the easiest way in business to make more margin, is to squeeze your suppliers, so expecting most roasters/retailers to do this, whilst still being prepared to pay a premium for quality, is naive.

The only issue I have with this forum is that we are preaching in the main to the converted. Having said that I was converted by this forum, so it is fantastic. We have to show our passion we have for this strange brown bean to others, only then will the consumer demand better coffee.

Sorry for the rant, and apologies to anyone named who felt slighted, I honestly wasn't having a pop, you guys have helped me the most.

So we carry on with a smile in our hearts and the passion we feel evident for all to see. And sorry to go on so ;-) (I really must get a new machine, haven't had an espresso for three weeks now!)
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Postby espressomattic » Tue May 23, 2006 10:29 pm

Well thanks for the mention mate...I think ;) I am in no way a 'Vanguard' etc as I am sure Cakey, STeve and George would agrree that neither are they, as would most here. You know, at the end of the day we all love coffee and the whole plethora o fable and folklore along with it. I'd like to think that I would never knock anyone for what they drink (Pretty petty really), I might take the piss out of them, which I do at work and vice versa (But they are the ones drinking my coffee at the start of a shift!!). I might bemoan the masses drinking the stuff off the shelf, well their loss really. My wife would tell you people really enjoy coming round and hveing a brew, whilst agreeing jointly that I am sad!!

For me, coffee is a very social element in my life, it is not insular or snobbish, it is about sharing the experience. You will never get everybody to drink CoE Coffee, face it, it is too damn weird sounding! How many still drink Lambrusco or Retsina??????

This forum is a 'safe haven' for us saddos', and whilst we might agree, disagree or be totally ambivilant to whatever the thread might be about, it is a place where we can enjoy our obsession. The thing is the average Joe is not going to look on here is he/her? If you come here you already have some sort of knowledge of coffee. Maybe we should try to be a little more aware of the 'Guest' in our midst?

BTW I do not feel slighted...named along side Steve, Cakey and George one can only feel humble ;)
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