Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Message to Ron at the Golden "Corporate" Arches

I went through the Drive Thru this am and complained about that darn McCafe taped 5 second pitch. Anybody else know what I’m talking about? They said they couldn’t do anything about it.

So I wrote to Ronald McDonald myself!

Dear Ronald and other corporate types at the Golden Arch HQ,

It is not typical for me to complain and particularly so in writing, and never to an iconic company such as McDonald’s. Hell my first job was in a Sacramento Mickey D's slinging potatoes, and a lot of hot grease all over hell's half acre.

But now to the point; let's face it we are all “Lovin’ It” McDonald's and you remind us of this in your advertising constantly. But sometimes you annoy the living, well you know, out of me! Do we really need the annoying 3-5 second recorded McCafe pitch at the drive thru? Was your investment in McCafe really so risky that you have to resort to thoroughly bothering your customers so that you might recoup?

When I spoke to the customer service cashier, you know-at the first window please, she said she hears these complaints all day long but there isn't anything she can do about it. She also told me that she has to hear it every time I do! More on this in a second. Well, now holding up the drive-thru interminably, I asked at the second window of course, to please speak to the boss. The manger was Hispanic and spoke good English but I wasn’t sure she got the full measure of my annoyance. She listened to my griping and was most apologetic for the irritating tape and suggested I contact you there at the corporate arches, so here it is!

This tape thing is a pain in the, well you know, and I wonder if you have any real metrics on sales that could possibly justify pestering all of your customers so? Man look, it causes unnecessary
consternation and makes my brain have to think about this tape BEFORE I even get some coffee. Are you kidding me? And the poor girl inside: she told me she has to hear it every time for every car. This sounds like Abu Ghraib or something, the poor girl has to be non compos mentis by the end of the first hour. Do you realize how many freaking cars go through the Drive Thru every single morning? She can’t possibly be being paid enough to endure this kind of anguish! She also told me she hears a lot of complaints about this too! I was wondering too, do you get a lot of these letters?

With a magical and powerfully iconic company as you Ronald have built, and one so loved by the American People, won't you please "Give Us a Break Today" and nix the annoying solicitation? It's much better to have your wonderful people just take our orders and save us that negative moment just as we place our order for our Mickey D’s as only McDonald's can do. Ronald, my brain thanks you in advance for your consideration.


Burger Loyalist

Friday, September 18, 2009

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Positioning of the Mind The McD's 100m Ad Campaign

As stated by Al Reis and Jack Trout in their classic text..."Marketing is in it's essence Positioning of the Mind."
This is a fundamental law of the land and the McD's, DD's and the Sbux of the world have beaucoup $$$ to position themselves in the consumer mind and create position that we in the specialty business only dream of.

A lot of life in the USA is about money, particularly as we all face this incredibly challenging economic environment, and while I wholeheartedly agree with MAtt that quality first and always will serve us all well consumers do not always know what quality is.

I have lived this. For a couple of years I had our coffee in some local Costco stores. We we offering prime specialty beans at a very, I say VERY competitive price just about the time when Dunkin Donuts came out with their coffee push and had John Goodman telling all of us that "America runs on Dunkin." We did road shows and demos until our grinding burs wore down! We promoted at the local level and sold about 800lbs of coffee a week in a couple of stores. We had to maintain $500.00/week to keep our pallet spots in the stores. Now before all of you espresso weilding freaksd jump on me and say that isn't specialty please allow me to bring another dog to that fight on another day. In america most people drink brewed coffee and the beans we were selling we everybit as specialty and sweet as anything coming from your portafilters! It was just brewed coffee rather than espresso. That said, we worked our little assess off at great expense to gain even a tiny tiny fraction of the coffee share in the Atlanta market. When we left the coffee alone in the store with no demos, no support, the sales plummeted. But, even while we were there trying to eak out $500.00week (Costco's Minimum for any pallet space) Dunkin was selling at a clip of $1,500-3,000 wk with no demos, no sampling no nothing xcept those orange and purple bags sitting on an endcap and people threw them into their carts like
they were the only coffee on earth. Did we make our minimums, sure..barely but the coffee we were selling was so far superior to the Proctor and Gambel Folger roasted Dunkin Donut coffee that was flying ou of there it wasn't even a fair fight in terms of quality. We had them licked hands down! I even offered one of the store managers a blind taste contest promo to the customers (which of course he declined) to try and prove my point. So to digress, yes, quality matters a lot and again I say MAtt is absolutely right. Buy Quality, hold quality and service quality at all cost, but be aware perception of the mind of the consumer is what is key. We little Specialty coffee people are up against it. I m not sure I have a dog big enough to get into the Starbucks/MickyD fight. Matt didn't mention that Howard Schultz has also launched a huge advertizing campaign to fend off the attack declaring " It isn't just coffee, it's Starbucks!" And as you are probably aware for years Starbucks absolutely abhored the media advertising game, and really didn't need to pay it to much attention because they were the only game in town. Problem now of cours is that Ronald and the boys have now bought a stake to play and they have a lot of freaking chips.

Point is this. Quality is great but when Dunkin, or McD's or Sbux can waylay the consumer with far reaching ad budgets the consumer becomes "positioned" to think that this is what quality is and sadly many times feel no need to look any further.

Remember Juan Valdez...."Colombian Coffee is the Richest Coffee In The World" and so many still buy that madison avenue masterstroke of marketing genius.

"Brew Unto Others"


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Friday, December 19, 2008

Brown getting Green. UPS sends grant to Nature Conservancy

The commitment of great companies like UPS, by which The Buckhead Coffee Company does 99% of our shipping business with, shows what giving back is all about. Coffee farmers, coffee trees, Migratory Birds, Soil Conservation and Sustainability all benefit from the efforts of such terrific companies like UPS. We are most proud to be able to call ourselves a customer of UPS and not only does Brown do a tremendous amount for the world community, they aren't half bad at getting our shipments to our customers either! Visit them todayat http://www.ups.com/.

Friday, December 19, 2008, 1:33pm EST
Atlanta Business Chronicle

The UPS Foundation has sent a $300,000 grant to The Nature Conservancy for programs to protect forests in Brazil, China and Africa.
The UPS (NYSE: UPS) gift supports The Nature Conservancy’s goal of protecting at least 10 percent of the world's major habitat types by 2015. From tree-planting efforts in the Atlantic Forest of Brazil to conservation initiatives for rural residents in the Yunnan Forest in China to reforestation efforts in Africa’s Highland Forest, UPS’ gift will help protect forests for future generations, UPS said.
The UPS Foundation has supported The Nature Conservancy since 1977, when it began matching its employees’ gifts to the organization.
"From Brazil to China and around the world, The Nature Conservancy has developed programs that provide the kind of sustainable and measurable impact we seek to fund," said Lisa Hamilton, president of The UPS Foundation, in a press statement. "The UPS Foundation is proud to support this important work."

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Cup Of Coffee Soothing Economic Struggles

by: Robert Costa, The Saginaw News:

Despite the economic tumble affecting the country, sales are rising like steam coming off a fresh cup of coffee.
''We are very affordable, and that's what people are looking for right now,'' said Kenneth R. Boomer, owner and operator of Hortons stores in Saginaw, Saginaw Township and Frankenmuth. Boomer said the store at 4870 State set a record during the week of Nov. 9-15, with sales climbing 11.5 percent from the same week in 2007.
''Who would think, with the economic climate we are in, that you are going to set records?'' Boomer said. ''We are in tough times, and we have a lot of affordable items. You can come in and get a coffee and baked good for two bucks.'' The store at 2039 N. Michigan is the busiest of around 30 stores in the mid-Michigan area that includes Flint and Bay City, Boomer said. The stores average 7,000 transactions a week, with 65 percent of customers using the drive-through. The average amount customers spend is $3.52 per visit.

''They (customers) recognize we are not getting greedy,'' he said. ''We've kept our prices on the low side. It builds customer loyalty.'' The chain, started in 1964 by 22-year-veteran NHL defenseman Miles Gilbert ''Tim'' Horton and former policeman Ron Joyce, now totals more than 3,000 stores in Canada, U.S., Ireland and the United Kingdom. Roberto Acosta is a staff writer for The Saginaw News. You may reach him at 776-9682 or racosta@thesaginawnews.com.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Coffee & Espresso For the Troops In Iraq

My son Jay is in Iraq serving at Al Assad Air Base and has told me the guys there are truely suffering for some espresso.

The coffee is terrible so I am beginning a drive to raise $3,000 for the purchase and delivery of a Rancilio Epoca E1 Automatic Espresso Machine with grinder and accessories for the squadron there at Al Assad.
Maybe you and the people you know can help:

Thanks a million,


It was good to talk to you today. I love you tons! Don't worry, I'm ok here in Iraq, I promise! Below is my address if you want to send anything care package wise and if you get your hands on an espresso machine. If you want to enclose some of your great coffee as well that would be great! Don't you have to have a grinder to grind the coffee for the machine? Keep in mind that we have NOTHING coffee wise here except for a Mr. Coffee drip pot. Look forward to talking with you again. Love you man!


1LT Jay T. Stellwagen
732 ECES Det 14
Unit #: 73330
APO AE 09333-3330

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Friday, October 17, 2008

Champion Barista Donates Winnings to Coffee Kids

Coffee Kids was honored in September when Hiroshi Sawada, winner of the Millrock Latte Art Championship, donated his $5,000 prize to Coffee Kids. Sawada, owner of Caffe Milk Art in Japan, read about Coffee Kids in an issue of Barista Magazine and has become a strong supporter of Coffee Kids.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Atlanta Arts Festival

2nd Annual Atlanta Arts Festival Piedmont Park

The 2008 Atlanta Arts Festival, September 12-14 was a shining success in no small part to Julie and Tracy Tepp. They worked like Trojans to get all of the vendors and art exhibitors situated and supplied with needed utilities, tents , tables and whatever else we needed to have a great event in Piedmont Park. The first event in Piedmont Park since the new grass and the City of Atlanta was very particular and watching closely. Tracy and Julie made us all feel welcomed and
helped with keeping us all in-line so that maybe next year we can do it again.

Thanks Tepps!

We at the Buckhead Coffee Company were happy to sponsor the patrons with great coffee and teas. Over 35,000 people attended the event and a good time was had by all. We look forward to next year.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

TBCC Supports Coffee Kids

As much as anything, fluctuations in the commodity price of coffee beans can wreak havoc on small farming communities who rely solely on coffee as a source of income.
Most coffee-farming families live in poverty because they are dependent on coffee as a sole source of income. Dependence on a cash crop with a price that fluctuates daily makes it difficult for families to meet their most basic needs. Coffee Kids promotes economic diversification, education, and community development so that families can obtain more stable incomes.

We at The Buckhead Coffee Company are proud to support this terrific organization.

to learn more please vist http://www.coffeekids.org/

The Abysmal Big Four

Coffee Companies Doing Little to Help Struggling Farmers

The world's biggest coffee companies have not done enough in the past year to help the 25 million struggling families that are dependent on coffee for their livelihoods.
"These companies continue to make massive profits while coffee farmers get poorer and poorer," says Phil Bloomer, Make Trade Fair campaign director of international agency Oxfam. "The coffee-based economies of entire countries are now near collapse. More and more growers, with few alternatives, are turning to drug crops or are facing personal ruin. Millions of women are unable to support themselves or their families."
Oxfam has analyzed what the "Big Four" coffee roasters have done in 12 months to help solve the global coffee crisis. Taking four key issues, and rating the companies out of 100, Oxfam scores none of them above "failure". Two companies in particular appear not to be taking seriously the human crisis in their supply chain.
Sara Lee—at 27%—performed abysmally. The company has done little to pay coffee farmers better prices, or establish guidelines for buying coffee that ensure farmers are paid a decent price, or help farmers diversify into other crops.
Kraft (38%) performed poorly too, having failed in the past year to buy either Fair Trade coffee or ensure all their coffee meets internationally agreed quality standards. The company did however contribute to social development programs around the world.
Nestle fared marginally better, at 43%, having led the industry in various international meetings and supported the efforts of the International Coffee Organisation (ICO) to solve the crisis, including buying more coffee directly from farmers. But Nestle still refuses to buy Fair Trade coffee.
Procter and Gamble (49%) has led the industry in paying more farmers a decent price and has also helped lobby the US to rejoin the ICO. However, it has too few guidelines on buying coffee that would ensure at least basic standards for farmers.
Despite the crisis in coffee, all the companies continue to make huge profits. Kraft net profit was $810m in the nine months to September; Nestle $2b in the six months to June and Sara Lee $1.4b in the 12 months to June. Procter & Gamble's snacks and beverage division - which includes its flagship coffee brand Folgers—sold $896m worth of product (up 9% on last year) in the three months to September.

From Oxfam International

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Photo by Troy Paiva
Troy Paiva, a local Bay Area photographer who is one of the best night photographers around and has now published his second bookof abandoned night photography images, is celebrating the release of his new book, Night Vision: The Art of Urban Exploration.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Ethical coffee helps save Peruvian rainforest

QUILLABAMBA, Peru (AFP) — Once bleak and lifeless places degraded by years of high-impact farming, Peruvian coffee farms are being transformed by a growing trend for certification schemes offering ethical and environmental guarantees to western consumers

The Rainforest Alliance, which is on good terms with manufacturers, started certifying coffee in Peru, Brasil, Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador in 2004.
Read More
Source AFP

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Coffee Keepers

While Coca Cola is always most refreshing chilled straight from the fridge
the Sub Zero is not a good place to keep your coffee. ~That is unless it is already brewed and you would like it chilled for iced coffees or espresso for chilled or frozen concoctions!

Humor aside, it is intuitive for most people to keep coffee in the refrigerator.
And a lot of people do it simply because it seems natural to do so.
After all isn’t that the place where we preserve the freshness of most of our food?

But most people I know do not keep their Cheerios, and neither their salt or flour , nor any other dry goods for that matter inside the moist damp interior of the refrigerator. The milk on the Cheerios is OK to keep in the fridge!

Coffee is a dry good, and rapidly absorbs moisture from the environment
and the inside air of a refrigerator is very moist and may at times
even have the added benefit of smelling like Sushi or Vidalias!

Hmmm…. Cucumber Roll Colombian… that might work?

Coffee is a naturally oily product (The darker the roast the more oily too)
and while it is subject to going rancid over a significant period of time exposed to the environment, it does not spoil rapidly like other fresh foods e.g. milk, meat, etc… People know immediately if they get a cup of really rancid (fermented) coffee. It is an unmistakable sensation and causes one to make immediate turns to rid even that first mouthful from their being. That said, roasted coffee loses it magical flavor and aroma rapidly when exposed to the air.Exposure to the air causes staleness, loss of flavor and that special brightness we all appreciate in a fine cup.
***Your coffee’s primary enemy to freshness is OXYGEN. The best way to protect
your coffee’s flavor to invest in a really good airtight container
and then to store only what you will use in for up to a 10 day supply in a cool dark placeat room temperature.
Coffees wonderful magic is the flavor and aroma of a really fresh roasted and properly brewed cup of coffee:One of life’s most affordable luxuries.

Whole bean coffee can be initially fresh frozen but coffee should never be thawed and refrozen because freezing the coffee fundamentally degrades the moisture and the cellular structure of the beans and refreezing creates further havoc and simply isn’t recommended. Additionally, it is never recommended to freeze ground coffee at any time.
For example:

If you buy your coffee supply in advance of need say five or ten pounds at a time,
but use only a pound about every 10 days or so, then ideally, you
should divide the coffee in ten one pound aliquots, then remove just enough coffee
(One Pounder) to thaw for 10 days consumption.

**Grind your coffee right before brewing and serve immediately
for the very best cup.

Remember, oxygen is your biggest enemy followed by moisture, and of course time.

Wishing you a terrific cup of coffee and remember:

“The Best Cup of Coffee In The World, Is the One You Like Most”
~~ Jim Gilson, Partners Coffee


Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Tru Cup

The ultimate test of a coffee is not its name, grade, price nor any other random criteria. The ultimate test must always be taste. If you like it, then it's a good cup of coffee.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Buckhead Coffee Company Joins with Rancilio

Rancilio is a company with a long tradition and our production of high-quality espresso machines dates back to the twenties. After decades of growth and learning, we proudly continue to offer products that are first in their class in design and technology.

The Buckhead Coffee Company adds AriZona hot teas to offerings.

We are certainly pleased and excited to be able to team with such great products and such a powerful brand. AriZona Green Tea is America's No.1 Ready-To-Drink Green Tea. Antioxidant rich, flavorful and healthful, we think we got somethin' here!

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Buckhead Coffee Company to Distribute Novus Tea in Georgia

The Buckhead Coffee Company has joined with Novus Tea, an R.C. Bigelow Company that provides whole and cut leaf teas in single serve sachets for food service and retail. TBCC will be the Georgia Distribtor for Novus. The R.C. Bigelow is a solid company with market muscle and a golden reputation for providing fresh, high quality products at terrific pricing. We are please to announce our alliance and look forward to a mutuallly beneficial relationship.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Happy New Year

Coffee Snobs

cof·fee snob (kô·fe snôb)n. 1. a.A person who refuses to drink ordinary coffee like Folgers. b. A person who appreciates a person or coffee shop that serves high quality coffee. c. A person who knows the difference between a latte and a cappuccino and despises pretend coffee shops that don't. d. A person who purchases expensive coffee beans and stores them in the freezer for freshness.

Before and After

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Our Commitment

In a word, exhilaration: coffee is our passion and it is sheer excitment when we get to share our terrfic coffees with our customers. Our business lies in our ability to share our passion for great coffee and to expand the awareness of what good coffee is all about.Our customers are of course the driving force of our business. We dont compromise on a few things Integrity,Trust, Relationships, Quality. We know that it isn't possible to sustain long term business relationships without a strong commitment to these values. Along with our commitment to you our customers, to our people and to our product quality, we are also commited to being good stewards of the resources we have been entrusted with. Our single-minded purpose is to provide you with great products and great service while simutaneously taking care of the greater good: the earth, the environment, the farmers who produce these goods, and to our vendors and to, in a word: people.Please register for our newsletter Coffee Facts, we will send you interesting fact and stories about coffee and all that surrounds it. By all means we invite your feedback, though we prefer to hear good things about our company and our products, we are also aware that learning comes from areas where we can improve. We welcome your comments.

Fairly Traded Coffees

This is The Buckhead Coffee Company trademarked symbol that certifies that all of our coffees are fairly traded with farmers and cooperatives. It is a symbol of goodwill, of trusted business and personal relationships. It represents your assurance of our commitment to peoople, to the environment and to terriffic coffees that give the growers a fair price for their coffees. It represents our ongoing philosophy of allignment with the values of Utz Certified Coffee.

"Live Well, Drink Good Coffee"

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Saturday, December 8, 2007

"Brew Unto Others"

At the last demo we did at Costco one of the customers said..."Brew Unto Others"...sounds spiritual." When I first chose this motto for our company it was intended to mean that friendships and coffee go together and that you should share great coffee with your friends.

But it has become more meaningful of late. The coffee crisis in the coffee producing countries continues because of massive overproduction of low quality beans, sold into a frenetic market at low prices, then processed by huge global companies.
This coffee isn't very good and has to be "enhanced" just to make it palatable. The food scientists and the chemists at the Big Four have figured out how to completely control the flavor of the coffee by artificial means. So to them flavor isn't an issue, only price.

But a reasonable approach for improving the lot of small farmers, is to seek out and buy the very best coffee you can find. More and more these coffees are being segregated from the huge production of low quality beans and sold into the specialty market. It's analogous to the difference between Thunderbird and Dom Perignon!

In doing this you are supporting quality and that is good for the economics of coffee. As the coffee expansion seems to just be in it's infancy, really good products, bring good prices (without all of the "social responsibility" labels, and the "guilt") and this in turn promotes production of high quality products. Better coffee equals better prices and more money for the people that produce the coffee.

So "Brew Unto Others": enjoy a terrific cup of coffee and help the farmers too.

She Was So Winsome When We Were Together


Friday, December 7, 2007


What do you get when you mix Mermaids with Milk?
The ubiquitous "Charccino!"

Shade Grown

Stylized chic coffee has become charming indeed: especially from the purveyors under the watchful gaze of the "Big Mermaid." Coffee isn't just a morning kicker: not any more. Coffee has become the cachet of everyone from big SUV driving moms, to Oprah Winfrey. The charming coffee industry has made us into aristocrats, all but the coffee farmers of course.

As the unstoppable Big Mermaid juggernaut continues to steamroll her stores into every nook and cranny in America, the boys down south still struggle to find any peace. Whipsaw coffee prices, that make even seasoned and grizzled traders blush, dependant on the fickle unpredictable weather, giant muti-national corporate influence, and frenetic markets... the economies of coffee sometimes leave us feeling particularly guilty about the social and environmental costs of our little indulgence. As we seem to intuitively somehow know that Lexus Latte is costing us much more than the price of our excess, we are guilty and we know it.

The rise of a number of enigmatic conscience soothing labels on the coffee help us feel better though most consumers have little understanding of what most of them mean. But God they sound good...Fair Trade, Bird-Friendly, Shade-Grown... it's like coffee church. We can assuage our guilt if we somehow can know that we are buying conscience coffee. Enter Fair Trade. What could be more inhumane than knowingly have poor second and third world coffee farmers and their children suffer so that we can have chic.
The problem is that the crisis was created when back one sapling, stealthed from the gardens of King Louis the XIV was brought to Martinique then propagated across the Americas, resulting in MILLIONS AND MILLIONS of coffee trees which for the past three hundred years has produced far more coffee than necessary to keep the world from getting a headache. And coffee leviathan buying programs that perpetuate the problem by sourcing the cheapest coffee possible, shining it with a little Madison Avenue and reaping huge corporate profits.

Now coffee has become an affordable luxury of the west. But even four-dollar lattes aren't helping. There still is a dearth of education, health-care, even basic necessities of life for struggling farmers in most Central and South American countries. The money isn't getting down South; it is funneled into the coffers of huge multinational corporations like Nestle, Philip Morris, Proctor and Gamble, and of course Big Green.

The answer does not lye in conscience assuaging labels; it lies in the specialty coffee industries unique ability to uplift the coffee world. Most really good coffee still comes from small family farms where the trees are tended with loving care. The specialty coffee industry has created a new coffee paradigm. We can improve the impoverished people of South America and other coffee producing regions where poverty endures.

Coffee farmers typically have no idea what happens to their coffee after they deliver it to the processors. They are generally unaware of the posh, tanned and taught women who wear enormous sunglasses scream into the cell phone with one hand while holding the Lexus Latte in the other. They would likely find it comical that the frills come at four-dollars a pop! They would blush at space age coffee servers, diposable everything, and individual sweetener packs which adulterate what they consider a staple of life. All of these gratification of our coffee whims would cause them to roll their eyes as such opulence. They usually just strain the coffee through a cotton shirt and drink-up.

I think they would be infuriated to learn that the coffee they sell, even at the "fair" price of $1.26 a pound fetches $11.00 and up on the American market. Indeed it is ironic that this gift of God, that takes a year to grow, with arduous painstaking effort and often dangerous work harvesting and tending to coffee trees on the side of abysmal mountain cliffs, is so inflated by those who simply cook then display the stuff for sale. It's good they don't know, or maybe they do! But these are humble people and would likely be grateful just to be selling the coffee at all, un-flapped at the glaring gap in price from what they are paid.

The whole fair trade thing is indeed an altruistic concept, but the fact is, in the real coffee trading world, fair-trade contracts are hard to come by. There is more "fair-trade" coffee than there are buyers. The systems of economy won't support the concept very well. The fact is that most people do what benefits themselves, not someone else. It's the law of the jungle. It's at the cash register where things fall apart. Oh there are those few magnanimous angels who sacrifice themselves at the alter of humanity and regardless of the hardships they suffer, they will buy the Fair-trade label because it make them feel that they are engendering world peace. But for most of us, self-preservation and the law of the jungle prevail. There is lots of data that shows that there are two key elements that guide food product buyers: taste and price. We don't go into the marketplace and buy coffee (or anything else) at an amplified price when the very same coffee sits right next to it, but cheaper. Oh, I guess I might do it because I so love those invisible "Juan's" down in coffee land. Hmmmm....

But, there seems to be no problem to buy the Lexus Latte that costs as much a three pounds of coffee he sells, even at the so called "fair" price. So here’s the thing. That $4.00 hedonistic cappuccino doesn’t cost that much because of the coffee. The cost is everything else...the cup, the overhead, the chic...well you get it..., the coffee is only about 7 cents of the price and this is for roasted coffee, packaged and delivered to the coffee purveyors. And oh yes, there is a lot of profit too. So even wild fluctuations in the price of NYBOT "C" coffee has little if any
effect on the price at the pump (the air-pot that is).

The so called "fair-trade" movement is charming and even the big guys are lending lip service in that direction. It's good for their image, but the fact is the commitment is small, and the good will the image garners is worth the price of inflated beans. Coffee roasters in general detest the cost of fair trade beans. the call it "unfair-trade." When the roaster buys some fair-trade beans and then looks out into his warehouse, is all the rest of his coffee "unfair" trade then? Wow, thats quite a burdon for someone to bear to make a living.

The fair trade system constitutes, more or less, a socialist wish list opposed to an actual viable market scheme. The restrictions, the reporting, the "transparency", the structural problems, on and on cause distain amongst roasters of all ilk. Some say that Fair -Trade keeps high cost farmers in business at the cost of low price ones. It may be ugly but it is true. Besides, it isn't the farmers who get the extra cents a pound, generally it is the cooperatives that reap profits at once again the expense of ..well you know.

Fair-Trade is not the solution to the coffee crisis. According to Alex Singleton of the Adam Smith institute, while fair trade is based on "the best of intentions," it might in fact "make things worse." Singleton's comments echo the main criticisms of Fair Trade, that "it also leads fair trade producers to increase production." While benefiting a number of Fair Trade producers over the short run, fair trade critics worry about the impact on long run development and economic growth. The reason coffee prices are so low on the world markets is that there is too much production. By encouraging even more supply of coffee, fair trade makes the world price fall further.This makes the vast majority of coffee producers worse off. In 2003, Cato Institute's vice president for research Brink Lindsey referred to fair trade as a “well intentioned, interventionist scheme...doomed to end in failure." Fair trade, according to Lindsey, is a misguided attempt to make up for market failures in which one flawed pricing structure is replaced with another. But in a Madison Avenue world, consumers can be led to assume the worst if the label is not indicative of some kind of altruist commitment to hugging a coffee farmer. We are "sold" Fair Trade as an un educated and in general ignorant latte wielding public. It simply doesn't work to uplift the plight of the situation but it certainly gets people talking. Zero point four percent of the world coffee production is so called Fair-Trade. It isn't even a squirt gun on the price gap inferno.

So what will help? Indulge your inner child...buy, ney demand the best tasting coffee you can find.
Don't be taken by conspicuous coffee consumption and the buffed gleaming image of the Mermaid. They have never done much of anything to voluntarily help struggling coffee growers. And the coffee isn't high quality but oh my God, the will sell you that the chic cachet is well worth the price of admission. There is not one single coffee but instead many different coffee products that are differentiated from one another in terms of quality, blends, packaging, and now also "social responsibility" features. For each of these products there exists a specific and different market price that is determined by consumer taste for that kind of product . This brings a whole new meaning to the term "Drink Responsibily!"

The Big Four, Nestle, P&G, Phillip Morris and Zannetti aren’t ever going to help struggling farmers either, though they like to use their huge marketing muscle and war chest to position themselves in your mind as coffee angels. These are the real culprits of exploitation of coffee. They purchage huge volumes of cheap coffee because they could care less about quality. They buy mountains of the cheapest coffee possible then remove all of the stuff that makes it coffee in the first place, then reinject it with synthetic "flavor."

The best beans are being separated from the "C" beans, thanks in no small measure to the specialty coffee industry. I call them the farmers secret weapons. In an emerging market of really terrific coffee, these beans bring value, and not just for coffee snobs: for the farmers as well. The farmers have always known where the really great coffee is, there just wasn’t a market before, so all of the good was mixed with the bad, sold through frenetic traders on the NYBOT, roasted to death and the technologized, then of course sold to us by Juan... or Mrs. Olsen!
There has been a shift in the coffee industry and this is no mere fad, it is a trend ..good coffee matters. Thanks in no small measure to the Big Mermaid, the joys of really good coffee have gained increasing awareness in the minds of consumers. No one has done more to generate an insatiable global thirst for good coffee that Starbucks. We thank them for that from the bottom of our coffee cups! By buying really quality coffee , you help those farmers to produce good coffee, and that is the answer. Not socialistic cooperatives who would have us drink "guilty" coffee that more times than not isn't even good.

So do I have to decide to drink Bird-Friendly Coffee or Shade Grown? Do birds not like the shade?
Special Thanks to Taylor Clark.
Certain segments of this post were adapted from his book Starbucked.

"Live Well, Drink Good Coffee"

Juan Valdez

While not much of a spokesman, (his vocabulary is limited to "Buenos Dias.") he remains a true masterstroke of marketing genius. Juan is supernaural, his purpose is to materialize out of thin air in bedrooms, trains, cars, and grocery stores and hand puzzled coffee drinkers a can of pure Colombian coffee and disappear, while reminding us that Colombian coffee is :"The Richest Coffee In The World." The coffee must be good, after all no one ever seemed even the slighest bit apprehensive about a poncho clad Hispanic guy, handing them something after appearing from inside the cupboard where he was hiding with Conchita, his mule.

She Was Alone, But All Eyes Were Upon Her


Thursday, December 6, 2007

As She Spoke, I Hung on Every Word


The phrase is based on the Brazilian version of homemade strong coffee, called "cafezinho." Wherever you go in Brazil, the minute you walk in the door, someone will pop the question "você toma um cafezinho?" (do you want a cafezinho?) and they won't take no for an answer.
Here is a recipe for making the Brazilian coffee standard: For each cup of water, use a heaping Tbsp of good coffee ground for espresso. The recipe also calls for sugar to taste. Add the water to the pan, add the sugar and dissolve well. Bring to boil over medium heat. When the water and sugar mixture boils, add the coffee powder, stir well and pour through a traditional cloth coffee strainer (or a paper filter). Pour immediately into a tiny cup. Adding a little hot milk makes a cafezinho con leite (little coffee with milk)

Ed tells a story of this warm welcome in Fresh Coffee (one of our blog favs)
This is where I first heard of this beverage. I have yet to try one but they sound good..but hold the cheeze!

A Jewish Rabbi

"As a child I received instruction both in the Bible and in the Talmud. I am a Jew, but I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene....No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life." --Albert Einstein

The Burdon Of A Son

From The Fresh Roast To the Sublime

"Medium roast please."
"Sure. Wait... We just ran out."
"Umm, then dark?"
"Uh, we don't have any brewed... Decaf?"

TBCC Announces new product: Renunion USDA Certified Organic, Medium Dark

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Buckhead Coffee Company has launched it's new webstore live on the web in Beta Test mode..help us test this new site. http://www.buckheadcoffeestore.com/

Sunday, December 2, 2007

One Is The Lonliest Number

You know you drink too much coffee, when all of your kids are named Joe!
~ Anonymous

Saturday, December 1, 2007