Wednesday, November 10, 2004

they've woken up and smelled the coffee!

"highlighted . . .was the extent to which the general public are embracing coffee as a social beverage."

well, duh. haven't we here at bccy been discussing the increases in consumption and the social roles of coffee for nearly 5 years now? i can't count how many posts here have been about teen coffee drinking and the renewed global culture of the coffeehouse; can you?

but the most recent commercial coffee survey by our, umm, pals at the nca -- always so eager to push the stuff in the red and blue cans at us coffee-lovers no matter how low the product quality is -- are finally beginning to catch on.

better late than never, i say. but notice what segment is growing:

"this year's survey demonstrates the long-term success of the gourmet coffee sector. . ."

that's us here in specialty coffee land, we normal coffee lovers who are devoted to premium-quality coffees.

and after reading about the increasing victories of fine coffee, i was of course amused at the latest ny times coffee article on pod & superautomatic machines. yuppers, the times has finally discovered long-time bccy pal kenny nye at 9th st. espresso, formerly higher grounds.

i was however impressed to note that the writer, william grimes, a long-time fan of dr. illy, did take the time to note that one of the problems with all these machines is that the coffee is too cold.

in italy, standard espresso is brewed at 190-5 degrees f to reach about 155 degrees f in the cup, which is the temperature that results if the machine brews hot enough to extract all the delicious natural sugars and other good-tasting things from fresh-ground coffee.

many north american artisan coffeehouses brew espresso at somewhat higher temperatures, even. and the scaa standard for drip coffee as set out in ted lingle's coffee brewing handbook would be higher too.

these too-low temperatures grimes documents don't bring out all the best flavors in the coffee. look, superautomatics have a place for the house-proud, or those with very small children, who need to avoid the hot portafilters of the conventional espresso machine.

and pod/capsule machines -- while an expensive way to drink weak, stale coffee -- might be useful in a fractured household or a college dorm suite.

but i agree with grimes when he concludes that the lower quality of coffee these machines offer isn't worth the high prices of the machines themselves or the stale pods.

where i disagree is his conclusion that coffee is best left to "professionals." i completely support baristi and their craft; they are in fact professionals worthy of respect!

chris deferio but in two weeks with a decent grinder, fresh coffee, and a good machine, anyone can learn to pour great coffee, even if you never manage the highest forms of latte art. maybe we can't all be chris deferio of gimme, pouring innovative and beautiful lattes, like the 5-strand laurel wreath shown here.

but we can still enjoy making great coffee at home for family and friends (and for a lot less than grime's stated US$4 a cup!). that's what we here at bccy and the scaa consumer member program are all about!

posted by fortune | 6:56 AM | top | link to this | email this: | links to this post | | 0 comments

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