More Robusta in Your Cup: Reuters

June 15, 2012 · Filed Under Article, Economy · Comment 

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Analysis: Coffee roasters stick with less costly robusta

By Marcy Nicholson     

NEW YORK | Mon Jun 11, 2012 4:13am EDT

(Reuters) – Coffee roasters quietly pulled off a financial feat last year that went unnoticed by most customers: Adding a higher proportion of cheaper, lower-grade robusta to their grounds as the price of top-notch arabica beans surged. more…     

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If this isn’t just another reason to buy from specialty roasters, I don’t know what is.  I sometimes get the impression that the United States just doesn’t care about quality or ethics, just as long as we are comfortable in our own little bubbles.  It’s sad and pathetic.

From another perspective, it has made it easier for people to continue their “quality of life” during a turbulent time in the economy of coffee when compared to the economic health of the United States and the world.

Don’t get me wrong: there is a market for every coffee, and yes, that includes the robusta grown in lower altitudes.  That having been said, the increased demand of cheaper robusta to combat a record high market price for coffee futures has perpetuated an increase in the amount of robusta being grown, insulting us, the consuming public, further.

People have not said anything, which must somehow mean that they can’t tell the difference.  I reject that notion outright.  Most people wouldn’t complain publicly or to the brands directly.  Most people, I believe, would simply acknowledge that it “isn’t as good as it used to be”, but still buy it anyway because they were, and still are, either too cheap, too lazy, or too broke to buy the real deal.

Here’s the part that I found really interesting.. a company is paid money to steam admittedly inferior coffee to “improve” it.  In other words, the coffee’s taste is diminished and broken down on purpose before it is roasted and sold.  This is a classic example of consciously choosing the “lesser” evil.  Why bother?

Ethically sourced specialty coffee is ~$0.50 per serving (assuming you drink a 10oz cup).. and this is expensive?  Give me a break.  What can we do to help the general unwashed masses wake up and smell the inspiring aroma of affordable, sustainable, and fantastically delicious coffee from specialty roasters?

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