“It’s just coffee!”
Ask any coffee roaster in the world, and they’ll all say that those three words are the worst three words that you can ever hear.
That’s like saying:
- “It’s just hamburger” when comparing McDonalds to Ranch Foods Direct/Callicrate Beef
- “It’s just a steak” when comparing Texas Roadhouse to MacKenzies
- “It’s just a hotel” when comparing some no-tell Motel to The Broadmoor
- “It’s just wine” when comparing Boone’s Farm to a well-aged German Riesling
- “It’s just a car” when comparing a Yugo to a Rolls Royce
I can go on and on and on…
Yes, you can say that you’ll get your morning kick with whatever type of coffee you get. You can say similar to everything I’ve posted above.
Let me share with you some of the comments that we have heard in our store over the last few weeks, and why I’m bristling a little bit more than usual…
“I can get a can of Folgers at Safeway for less than your half a pound!” Yes, you can. I won’t deny that. However, you are drinking a sub-par product. Firstly, Folgers (and the majority of the supermarket canned coffee) is made primarily with the robusta coffee bean. Good specialty coffee roasters do not use robusta, we use arabica.
Robusta coffee is a lower-altitude grown variety of coffee. It’s more abundant than arabica, tastes more “astringent” than arabica, and is much more lower priced than arabica. This is why you can get the cans for cheap. Just remember the old adage…
You get what you pay for.
Next, your coffees you get at your local neighborhood grocer can not be fresh. It’s a logistical and transport impossibility to get coffees to the stores within the time frame that you have until the coffee is considered stale. Remember, coffee is an organic product. Just as a banana, head of lettuce, or the like, you have a very limited shelf life before your coffee is stale. If your coffees are really oily (as most of the supermarket coffees are), your coffee is stale. Period.
Coffee is considered stale 14 days off the roast.
Yup. That’s it. If you get the coffee ground, you have 24 hours –yes, that’s not a typ0– until it is stale. Do you get that upset stomach / acid reflux issue when you drink a cup of coffee? It’s from the oils. The oils in the coffee go rancid. It’s similar to drinking week-old expired milk. What do you expect to happen?!?
“Your price for two half pounds is way more than the pound price!” Yup. We roast in one-pound increments. That means for two half pounds, we use the same amount of energy, but we double the packaging, double the ink used to print the label, double the labels themselves, and double the labor. Of course it’ll be more.
“I. Just. Want. Coffee.” (angry tone, accompanied by a serious glare) Whoops. We should never hear that here. We try to read everyone who walks in the door and explain our style appropriately. 6:30 in the morning isn’t a time to go into how the varietal of coffee will impact the flavor. We should have gotten out of the way and allowed you to wake up a bit!
“Wow your coffee is expensive!” Well, to a point. Yes, again, it’s more than a can of Folgers. It’s probably more than some of the roasters in town. But here’s the deal: we are sourcing specific coffees from specific farms. We are as close to working directly with the farmers as we can be without actually working with them. Getting this specific can and usually does end up costing more. On the upside, I recently saw a review of a coffee we carry here. For an 8.8oz bag of the coffee from a “big name” micro-roaster in Portland, the price is $12. For a pound of the same coffee from your small-fry roaster here in Black Forest? $14.25. Just sayin’.
Bottom line (since I’ve gone on waaaaay too long here…): Our goal as a coffee cafe in Black Forest is to give you the best quality product –be it coffee, breakfast, or baked goods– at a price you and we can afford. We are not trying to be coffee snobs up here nor do we want to be characterized as one of those “Third Wave” coffee bars that look down on everyone because we know more about coffee. If you are looking for “just a coffee” we hope that our airpots will satisfy. If you are looking for more in depth information about that cuppa, we can help you. If you are looking for a true coffee experience with a fantastic coffee hand-brewed in the syphon to exacting specifications and with all the knowledge we can muster, we can gladly help. Heck, if you’re having problems with your Mr. Coffee and want some advice, we are here. Can you get cheaper? Yes. Will you get smiling faces willing to help brew the best cup of freshly roasted coffee possible when going the cheaper route? Probably not.
Come savor coffee with us. We won’t steer you wrong. If you want to, you may even end up leaving with a new tidbit of information about coffee–only if you want to.