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, 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 us test this new site.

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