Grauniad article

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Grauniad article

Postby pault » Fri Sep 16, 2005 10:15 am

there's a feature article on Ethiopian coffee from farmer to cup in today's Grauniad G2 section

nothing much new in it but thought people might be interested anyway ...

One thing I got out of it is that one of the main reasons coffee incomes are kept artificially low for farmers is the way in which the multinational coffee dealers play the international markets - that much I knew - what I didn't think about was that they can do this because they can play one producer off against all the others - blending as they do up to 20 different coffees in the final coffee product

unless I'm missing something this implies the more emphasis placed upon single origin beans (obviously including those that are then put into an espresso blend because you still need high quality, identifiably single origin beans for the constituent parts of the blend) - the better chance everyone down the supply chain has of getting a decent price for their efforts ...

something to remember when people insist on defending Charbucks and their origin-what-origin?-taste-the-charcoal!-generic-Beelezebubian corporate philosophy??? :twisted:

sanctimoniously,

Paul.
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Postby pault » Fri Sep 16, 2005 10:18 am

oh - and to be inclusive - non-Brits (and Brits too cheap to buy a newspaper) can find the article (yes, I do know how to spell it non-sarcastically) at:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,36 ... 74,00.html
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Postby mattmills » Fri Sep 16, 2005 3:01 pm

I am sorry but I started to read the article, and it is typical of ignorant people who know nothing about the coffee market. It does not even warrant comments.

As for Starbucks thing, you are missing the point completely. What ever the point of view with regards to the final cup is concerned, this is irrelevant to the work and the impact that this company has had on the global market. They have nearly single handedly saved a number of farmers and even countries. What ever is thought of the so called specialty market, I can assure you that the quality that charbucks buy is firstly up there, and secondly has a far greater effect on the farmer, globaally, due the volume than the whole of the specialty market.

My apologies for the rant I just get fed up with these types of articles... they portray the general coffee market in an artificially bad light, by people who have no concept of how the industry works.

Off soap box now, and hope that no offence has been caused... late on Friday afternoon with market heading south.
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Postby mattmills » Fri Sep 16, 2005 3:10 pm

just to clear one point up when i said ingnorant people i was referening to the journalist!
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Postby pault » Fri Sep 16, 2005 3:47 pm

well it looks like I don't understand how world markets work ...

I would have thought it's either true that the front line producer gets a pittance compared to the big companies' profits at the end of the chain or it's not - are the figures quoted in the article regarding the price per kilo of beans and Charbucks subsequent % mark-up true or not??...

I'd like to think the coffee markets are much fairer than, for example, the milk market where the supermarkets gouge the farmers (and a long list of other produce) but I doubt it ...

the notion of global brands saving people in the developing world (even "whole countries") seems to be a pathologically charitable interpretation of Western economic history but that's perhaps the subject of more than this thread.

the basic point remains - the more produce can be sourced to a particular origin - the more transparent all the mark-ups become and the less "got you over a barrel" tactics can be exerted by the purchasing power of an abstract "market" over individual producers

and I don't think Charbucks' attitude to the final cup is so easily divorced from their buying attitude - both are premised upon the complete extinction of any identifiable origin and natural inconsistency right down to their decor - the patented tsunami of somnolent brown cushions - if there was any in their coffee I'd suggest it's just a matter of taste :lol:

strikes me that to believe global markets are part of the solution requires strategic amnesia as to their contribution to the initial problems - cart & horse??

anyway - sure we're never going to agree on this one ...

best,

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It can't be all that bad...

Postby fiend » Fri Sep 16, 2005 8:52 pm

I found some hope in the article.

at the Lambeth plant, David Hutchinson demonstrates the company's latest work-in-progress: a machine with a large silver lever that will allow baristas to tamp down the coffee in each espresso measure with exactly the same amount of pressure


It looks like Costa has discovered tamping. This could be really good. Anyone want to let the lab know about dosing?

Mind you this made me cry:

before cascading out on to an enormous cooling tray, where they are sprayed with water. "It's a bit like cooking pasta," says Giorgio Fiorovanti, the charming and exceedingly Italian master roaster. "You want it al dente, so you have the cold water to stop the cooking process."


Please tell me that a fine mist is used to cool the air before it hits the beans, not that they are hosed down.

I think at the end of the day this is the real problem for specialty coffee:

Many buy their coffee in paper cups and hurry on through the station, sucking down their drinks. They probably do not have time to think about it


People just don't care. They aren't drinking the stuff because of the bright citrus notes and mellow vanilla/chocolate smoothness. It's a brand experience. You lift a costa cup to your lips casting a careless glance around to see who's looking. The Guccis are clean, the Armani is crisp, the elbow is casually raised. If the cup was empty it would make no difference.

I guess if that's what makes them happy. Right now I'm trying to figure out what's in the Jose Eivar Munos COE, and that's what's making me happy. Why should it matter if they drink rubbish? I think there's a little peri peri in it. It's definately some seasoning that I've had on chicken before. It's certainly very bright and fresh, with a silky aftertaste. I want to say there's chocolate in there, but that would just be projection. It's silky, but it's not chocolate. I'm tempted to post a review for Steve already, but there's still another 100g at least, and I think I should work my way through them before writing it. It's certianly not lemon. And the deadline for winning the £30 passed yesterday. Now that really is a shame.
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