Thursday, April 13, 2006


sometimes you want to be sympathetic

but you just can't. case in point today, one of those standard, curmudgeonly articles against the mermaid:

"for as long as i've been swilling coffee, my philosophy on the stuff has remained constant: give me regular joe for regular joes.

i don't need all these fancy high-priced 'specialty' coffees strong enough to leave you twitching at your work cubicle for a week.


yep, just give me a basic cup of joe at a reasonable price and i'm a happy guy. give me your folgers, your maxwell house."

no news here, just thumb-sucking, right? and since long-time readers know me no big mermaid fan, you'd think i wouldn't comment.

but! the attitude displayed above is very distressing, and does deserve comment. consider its two assumptions: 1 - that folger's coffee is reasonably priced; 2 - that it's "regular joe," which i interpret to mean good, basic, sound coffee; and 3 - that the mermaid's coffee is higher naturally higher in caffeine, thus "leaving you twitching;" and 4 - that specialty coffee, by his use of quotes, is a scam in the way supposed "regular joe," what we here at bccy call commercial coffee, isn't.

long-time readers know he couldn't be more wrong on every count. let's walk this through.

at first, it seems you can't dispute him on price. for example, at a basic national retailer like walgreens, folgers sells online at US$9.99 for 39 oz., (about 2-1/2 lbs) or about US$0.26 an oz.

however, what do you get when you buy commercial coffee? long-time readers know what "grade 8" commercial-quality coffee looks like and it ain't purty. it is the very definition of taints, faults, and defects.

don't let me gross you out readers, but you may recall this picture of a sample of commercial quality coffee next to the once-proposed coffee-purity standard coffee. that's not roasted coffee on the right -- those blighted, blackened, blasted, bug-chewed uglies are what's in your supermarket-style coffee.

it shouldn't even be allowed to be called coffee; it's junk, trash, mere "coffee by-products." and that's what they're selling you in the diners and cheap greasy spoons; that's what "regular joe" actually looks like.

you shouldn't pay US$0.05 for this. actually, this stuff is so nasty, it probably shouldn't even be allowed in the country, just as we don't allow the import of rotten meat, imvho.

why would anyone want to drink this coffee, once they know what's in their cup? the writer above thinks he likes this, because the commercial coffees have hoodwinked him into thinking their coffee is pure and good, that it's "regular joe."

frankly, just looking at this is basically enough to turn me into a super-clean-cupper, à la george howell.

meanwhile, instead of paying US$0.26 for commercial-quality, um, stuff, you could run over to your local upscale market like nyc's fairway and get a much better grade of coffee -- altho' still not specialty -- for a competitive US$3.99 a pound, or about US$0.25 an oz.

that's right, folks -- you can get better coffee cheaper. it's fresh and available as whole bean, unlike the stale, pre-ground folgers.

plus of course there's the entire coffee crisis discussion; how seemingly cheap coffee actually is expensive in terms of the illegal immigration it causes.

i think this covers my first two objections. as to point three, the mermaid's coffee would only have such high caffeine levels if it's been poorly brewed, so that's a beverage-service quality issue on their part, not in the nature of specialty coffee itself.

specialty coffee is a high-quality grade, a grade without major or so-called primary defects, and only limited minor ones, unlike the commercial coffee pictured above. it's not a marketing scam; it's a quality point.

and it's that level of quality, in the green, in the processing, in the roasting, and in the beverage service, that the american public deserves. and should always demand.

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posted by fortune | 7:21 AM | top | link to this | email this: | links to this post | | 6 comments

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