On the coffee revolution

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April 21

Dear Rob Jennings
I just wanted to say that you do not know what you are talking about in your “Coffee… join the revolution” article.
As an ex café owner in Brighton, England I know that what you are saying is total rubbish. It is very concerning that you are giving out inaccurate info, even though I am no longer in the “profession”.
1) There is no correlation between good-tasting coffee and price. A blind test will show this. It boils down to how it is made, amount used, how hot it is and brand selection rather than price.
2) Coffee machines are not “given”. These can cost £4,000 (yes, pounds!) for a basic model to £10,000 or even £15,000. My customers were shocked when I told them how much mine cost. They had this idea that they were about £500 and certainly not free!
Cordell Goody

Dear Cordell Goody,
Thank you for your email.
When I write an article for consideration, I do so with either a great deal of research into the subject matter or from personal experience. Regarding this subject, it was from the latter.
If I could take this opportunity to enlighten upon my experience within the industry.
I owned an organic bakery/coffee shop for many years and within that we roasted our own single estate and mostly organic green beans. From there I went on to work very closely with a Master Roaster who personally taught me the art and craft of tasting (cupping) purchase and grading, also studying the varied growing conditions, altitudes, micro climates and ‘terroir’ affecting the quality and grading of beans to the distribution purchaser.
From there I went on to share my knowledge by teaching the craft of profile roasting with the accent on modern micro roasting with flavour retention on the lesser developed roasting technique.
I now work in an advisory capacity with a micro roastery here in Spain and work in conjunction with one of the leading global importers into Europe. I was recently personally invited to Barcelona to a cupping session of some of Europe’s finest imported beans.
So please excuse me when I disagree with your comment that I don’t know what I am talking about.
Regarding your first point that there is no correlation between good tasting coffee and price. Coffee beans are taste graded about six to eight times before they reach the consumer. They are graded and the finer quality command a higher price. This is also to encourage the growers to commit to better traceability and transparency of their growing methods to help to improve countries that depend heavily on the income from the coffee industry. This is a fact. The pricing structure between Arabica and Robusta beans is indeed huge. And anyone of the 125 million people who depend on the coffee industry for a living will agree with that fact.
I am glad that you agree with me that an apportionment of the final cup product is in fact down to the brew method. As I am sure you will recall, I did cover the espresso brew technique in my article.
Your second point I do not understand. You are relating the answer to the UK. We are in Spain, and that is what my article was relating to as the examples I gave were Spanish based. The facts are large Spanish coffee roasting and importing companies loan you a machine and offer a free service contract when you purchase the coffee solely from them. I have first-hand knowledge of this fact.
In the UK this does not generally happen, although the service is available as I had previously been approached by a company offering this. Hence the reason why there are now approaching 400 independent and artisan roasters in the UK. And to the very best of my knowledge in Spain, six. It is down then to freedom of choice for the café owner.
So within the content of your email you accused me of talking total rubbish and not knowing what I am talking about, I am afraid that we shall disagree on that matter.
Again, thank you for taking the time to write to me.

My very best
Rob Jennings

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