Monday, February 21, 2011

coffee and this weekend

hello all.

This weekend was great. I got to compete in the North Central Barista Competition. (pictures above)
My score was better than last year, amidst some technical difficulty. All weekend all we heard was about the rising price of coffee, and people it's coming. Just wait. Here is a section of a great article about why it's worth paying more for your coffee (from serious eats). Read the whole article here.

The Good Stuff Is Worth It

Aside from the economic, meteorological, and social influences taking swipes at your weekly coffee allowance, we also have to take into consideration how much we're willing—or should be willing—to pay for straight-up quality.

I know you—you're an eater, and you love food. You love good food. You know that the difference between $3 grocery-store-bought bread and $7 farmers-market-bought bread is that the former is essentially dead and simply keeping up appearances (i.e. will last in its own plastic bag or in the refrigerator for a week or more, thanks to preservatives and high-fructose corn syrup), while the latter is essentially alive (i.e. will be fresh for only a few fleeting, delicious days, when it exhales its final breath and becomes the base for homemade French onion soup).

Coffee is similar. You can drink the dead kind (i.e. anything that costs $1 or less and is served in Styrofoam), or you can drink the fully, completely, deliciously alive kind (more like $3 to $6, typically hand-crafted, from a place like this). The former is obviously a caffeine-delivery system, while the latter is a conscious exploration of dynamic, robust flavors that are as unique from coffee to coffee as one wine is to the next.

We do vote with our dollars in every market aisle and farmers market: If no one buys that beautiful bread, there eventually won't be anyone left to make it. And if none of that exquisite coffee gets brewed and drunk, eventually all we'll have are guzzle cups from the local Shell station.

Perhaps the solution is to drink better coffee less often, but savor it more.

Perhaps the solution is to drink better coffee less often, but savor it more. Instead of plopping down quarters at a bodega for a cup of sludge every morning, why not spend $5 on one mind-blowing cup twice a week? Aren't those two $15 cocktails you have out with friends every once in a while staggeringly better than the dozen PBRs you can chug for the same price?

All of this is very complicated—and this is only the beginning! So I ask you, my coffee-loving readers and friends: How much is great coffee worth to you, and why?

all for now.

1 comment:

  1. Sara, you sound like you had a great weekend. I agree with you- Quality not Quantity of a product is what's important. We the consumers do have a huge amount of influence, but prices won't change unless we all support co-ops, or all support local organic farmers markets. The cost of grain is sky rocketing too.
    A great post Sara, it really is an important topic xxx Jo