Two important influences on coffee’s taste are geography and price.
The wine industry has used the term terroir to describe the effects of soil, sun, rain, and elevation on grapes and the resulting wine. While the attempts to link aspects of coffee and wine often go too far, this similarity has merit. In large part, terroir is what makes the bright notes of a Costa Rican differ from earthy Indonesian coffees, half a world away.
Two Costa Ricans can taste different as well, the distance here measured in a few miles. Weather and soil vary even at close range. Of course other factors influence taste, and will provide future Newsletter topics.
The old adage says that price and quality go hand-in-hand. Coffee is no exception. For starters, let’s break the bean into two categories, “commercial” and “specialty”. While the line between these two general types can blur, fancy or specialty coffee brings with it the understanding that additional care goes into the cultivar, elevation, the position on a hillside; the picking, processing, roasting, and ultimately, the brewing. Understandably this extra attention costs more.
The price variance between two Panamanians for example, could be $8.00 and $16.00. You may have seen ratings on coffees: numbers on a scale given for taste qualities -nose, brightness, body, balance, etc. Because taste is subjective, the more “cuppers” participating will generally give a more accurate assessment. So, one Panamanian can have a higher score.
Packaging and marketing also influence the $16.00 coffee. Consumers appreciate a story that personalizes where the coffee comes from. If the name of a town, farm or family can be linked to the coffee, it demands a higher price. The farm may use methods that are kind to the environment, or is circumspect in how it makes economic decisions. The promotion of these features helps to drive up the price as well.
Taste, which should be the deciding factor of coffee prices, sometimes gets lost in the promotion. Hashems Nuts & Coffee Gallery works to procure the highest grades and best-tasting lots from every country whose coffees we carry. We’ve kept our eye on the ball for quality over the years, fashioning our production, packing and delivery methods to ensure that we consistently supply you with the best coffee available, delivered fresh from the roaster, at affordable prices. You don’t have to overpay for taste.
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