.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

21st Century Lesbian Trailer Trash

These are the mad musings of a middle aged woman, dyke, nurse, poet. I have a dog, a cat, a mobile home, and delusions of grandeur.

Location: California, United States

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Speaking of Coffee...

Did you know that Folgers, Maxwell House, and other companies that make what the majority of Americans consider to be coffee is made from the cheapest and least flavorful beans?


There are two main species of the coffee plant. Coffea arabica is the older of them. It is thought to be indigenous to Ethiopia , but as the name implies it was first cultivated on the Arabian Peninsula . It is more susceptible to disease, and considered by professional cuppers to be greatly superior in flavor to Coffea canephora (robusta) , which contains about twice as much caffeine —a natural insecticide (paralyzes and kills some of the insects that attempt to feed on the plant) and stimulant— and can be cultivated in environments where arabica will not thrive. This has led to its use as an inexpensive substitute for arabica in many commercial coffee blends such as Folgers, Maxwell House and almost all instant coffee products. Compared to arabica, robusta tends to be more bitter, with a telltale "burnt rubber" aroma and flavor.

The largest coffee exporting nation remains Brazil , but in recent years the green coffee market has been flooded by large quantities of robusta beans from Vietnam, due to low costs and to financing provided by the World Bank indirectly through the French Government. Many experts believe this giant influx of cheap green coffee led to the prolonged pricing crisis from 2001 to the present. In 1997 the "c" price of coffee in New York broke US$ 3.00/lb , but by late 2001 it had fallen to US$0.43/lb. Robusta coffees (traded in London at much lower prices than New York's Arabica) are preferred by large industrial clients (multinational roasters, instant coffee producers, etc.) because of their lower cost.

It would seem to me that Starbucks, Peets, and Seattle's Best, to name a few, are doing the United States a great public service. The ex-housemate used to laugh and call me a coffee snob. She accused me of drinking frou frou coffee and said Folgers was the real thing. Now, when people tell me that Folgers is just as good or better than Starbucks I can reply "If you like burnt rubber, be my guest. In fact, I could stop off at the used tire place and grind you up some old tires to brew."

Just for fun, here's another frou frou coffee factoid:

One unusual and very expensive variety of robusta is the Indonesian Kopi Luwak and the Philippine Kape Alamid . The beans are collected from the droppings of the Common Palm Civet , whose digestive processes give it a distinctive flavor.

This is one that I could probably do without. I have become used to the idea of ambergris (whale puke) in perfume. But civet turds? Really. That's a coffee experience I can happily forego. Forever.

Kinja, the weblog guide


Blogger ~ nellenelle said...

While I am decidedly *not* a coffee drinker, do fully understand your passion for quality. I take the same approach in things like juices and beer. Quality always over mass production, and I will pay more for a good and worthy product.

11:08 AM PST  
Blogger Ting said...

LOLOL Loved this post! Once you taste the "frou frou" stuff you just can't go back. I have to budget for coffee every month.

7:54 AM PST  
Blogger Cheryl said...

I dunno, Pam. Sounds to me like you're trying to justify your purchases from a coffee retailer who uses 15th century porn for its logo. Hmmm...

11:49 PM PST  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

casino poker chips
real clay poker chips