James Hayes-Bohanan 
Member since Aug 22, 2013


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Re: “Waste: The Dark Side of the New Coffee Craze

Thanks for this important article. One small correction: coffee has not been a beverage for many thousands of years, only since about the year 600. But that small error does not detract from the importance of this piece.

I have already written to Peet's, excoriating the company for this terrible move. Either it is specialty coffee, or it is not. Even terrible coffee (Dunkin Donuts) costs what Kona should cost, when packaged this way. Higher-end coffee will be costing $70 per pound or more. For that kind of money, a civet should be processing these beans.

So strike one is the ridiculous cost.

Strike two is the inevitable staleness. Grinding coffee multiplies the surface area available for staling many thousand-fold. No amount of nitrogen flushing will keep these vulnerable grounds free of the oxidation that occurs as the barriers seep oxygen, no matter how gradually.

Strike three (though by far the most serious in moral terms) is the greatly magnified waste.

Strike four: The convenience advantage is illusory. In an office setting, the lack of cleanup is a slight time saver, perhaps. At home, a pour-over is just as easy for a single cup, and a high-watt brewer is just as easy for multiple cups.

Strike five: Weak coffee, for two reasons. The coffee is not brewed at the right temperature, and if it were, it would probably be too bitter. The only way to get a proper dose is to select a small cup size.

Strike six: After so much progress on connecting coffee drinkers to the growers and getting people to care about good coffee, these machines serve to "dumb down" coffee drinkers. People might pay a premium for Peet's for a while, but once it is clear that it is not worth the money, the question of pay legitimate premiums for good, ethical coffee, will be muddled. In other words, Peets is making the market safer for bad-coffee competitors.

51 likes, 11 dislikes
Posted by James Hayes-Bohanan on 08/22/2013 at 6:40 PM

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