Sunday, December 7, 2008

coffee cupping in Seattle

Interesting article in the Seattle Weekly: Seattle's New Way to Fetishize Coffee. From the closing paragraphs:

The third-wave roasters seem to be doing a fantastic job at locating small lots of good coffee, helping farmers improve their crop, and roasting their beans in such a way that the pros can taste layers of exotic scent. But they're doing us all a disservice by selling customers a taste experience they can't have. If the third wave is committed to treating coffee like wine, what roasters have yet to do is change the way we drink coffee. Until the day when we all sit around cafes drinking tea-like infusions of coffee in high-decibel slurps, the poetry of the tasting note is just marketing-speak.
In the comments a professional cupper praises the article but disagrees with the conclusion, noting that cupping is itself an activity worth pursuing and that education leads to greater appreciation.

Still, the author's point seems fair that marketing the product on the basis of characteristics that are not generally going to be experienced by the consumer is a strange and risky strategy.

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