I have recently read an article addressing the state of the coffee industry with some surprising, yet logical conclusions. After the steep economic downturn of 2008, and now the marginal at best recovery of 2009, it seemed the gourmet coffee industry would be one of the first to collapse. Wrong. Yes, there were some considerable losses, just like every other business arena (excluding social services), but the mass collapse of coffee is fiction.
In fact, there is quite a bit of evidence that the downturn has strengthened the gourmet coffee industry. In 2009, Starbucks has only seen a 5% total drop in same-store sales, while their overall profits have risen 87%! This is incredible until you see Caribou Coffee's improvements: 311% increase in share values! It seems there is a bit more to this gourmet coffee fling after all?
Many assumed gourmet coffee was in fact a fling, a fad, a short-term anomaly. I can see those points, though I wholeheartedly disagree; coffee is not essential to life (debatable), it is very expensive (opinion), and cheap coffee really is not that much different (lie).
Seeing the populace's reaction to the economic downturn is marvelous. What have people kept valuing with less money to spend? Gourmet coffee; it is a luxury people can still afford! This shows me that the gourmet coffee industry is truly onto something: People's taste buds have memories. Bruce Milletto, the president of Bellissimo Coffee InfoGroup, says, "'Our taste buds have memories,' 'Once you drink a really excellent cappuccino, it's very hard to go back even to a chain store that may be using automatic machines.'" I totally agree with you Bruce, it is impossible to go back. Here's the statement from the new American coffee drinkers: "Good coffee is just too good to let go of, period".
Today's Brew was a medium-dark (full city) roasted Peruvian coffee. I ground it in my hand cranked, West German (yes, I said West German) grinder. I let it steep in the Bodum 8 cup french press for 5 1/2 minutes, broke the crust and inhaled the beautiful aroma of the flowery, yet surprisingly nutty, Peruvian brew. This coffee was a little soft for a Peruvian, unsettling, but not unpleasant. This was probably due to the coffee being close to the end of its life. The body was very heavy, but I did use a french press- which usually increases the heaviness due to higher muddiness levels and natural oil content- not to mention increased time steeping. Overall, a great way to settle my mind before a busy day.
Lord, thank you for the great coffee. Please help me keep my head deflated and on straight. Here we go.