Reading the comments on AZCentral is rarely worth the time, but this one struck me as interesting:

Very few people have a palate that can actually discern difference between roaster-fresh coffee and stale coffee that’s been sitting in a warehouse for 3 months. That’s why places like Starbucks and McDonalds do so well.

It’s a comment on this article about ROC2.

So, is that true? What’s the best way to introduce people to fresh locally-roasted coffee?

Arizona Coffee

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  1. I think that there’s some truth to that, but also some fallacy. (not to contradict myself)

    If presented with a cup of coffee that is fresh, most people will not recognize the improved quality over what they normally drink.

    If they taste them side-by-side, I guarantee that they’ll notice the difference instantly.

    Coffee is a funny thing. It’s one of those industries that relies on hindsight rather than instant understanding. You might think that your fresh cup of artisan roasted coffee is good, but that you still like your pre-ground stock at home just fine. You’ll think otherwise when you’re at home drinking that pre-ground coffee. “Huh.. I remember this being better. That was some good coffee the other day.”

    Rarely is there ever an instant “aha!” moment for the typical consumer.

  2. Here’s a recent quote from an interviewee “I love coffee” I have wonderful warm cup of Folders every morning”. Quite frankly this is what I’ve said in the past….when your used to something and it works you stick with it, human nature. Starbucks has made it’s product with consistency which is over roasted and stale….BUT they’ve convinced the general public that its supposed to tasted like that and they’ve believed it. Same analogy…..customer drank box wine for a long time….but was introduced to a really good bottled wine…..Thats my 2 cents….its going to take many many years to educated folks the difference…again look how long the wine industry took.

  3. The best way is to introduce consumers to the taste of fresh coffee is to give them a sample. If we educate with real props we will have a better result that just by using visula aids. I have always wanted to participate in a coffee festival that is open to the public. In thhis coffee festival coffee companies and coffee houses will demo there products and have a voting booth to get the the true and real feedback. “A real best of”

  4. Psyd

    I think that the better analogy is canned soup and soup made from fresh vegetables. It’s not so much that canned soup is ‘bad’, but that it is a pale comparison to fresh made. Much the same as coffee.
    If you sat someone down and gave them one or the other and asked them to decide which it was, most folk would not have the palate training to reliably identify the source. If, however, you sat them down with one of each and asked them to identify which was which, they’d easily pick fresh form canned, and fresh-roasted from pre-ground.
    You could run a grinder out of sight, and then hand me a basket filled with grounds, and just the pulling of the shot would let me know if your coffee was that fresh ground behind the curtain, or the stuff you ground this morning when the shop opened.

  5. Todd

    It’s also analogous to bread. While pre-sliced and wrapped ‘wonder’ style bread may be perfectly OK, it pales in comparison to fresh homemade bread. Coffee freshness is something that should be fairly easy to educate consumers on – sure, Folgers may be convenient, but why lose out on flavor. The aroma and flavor of fresh coffee is undeniable. It’s just a matter of bringing consumers attention to the benefits of fresh coffee.

  6. <<<<<<>>>>>>

    I like your idea, Ron. Would be nice if we could do something like that at a weekend street fest, like the one starting back up on Main Street in Mesa held on Saturday mornings now that the weather’s cooling off and if we could do it without having to come up with man hundreds of $$ (each) and multiple permits just to set up a tent. Maybe just do simple brewing styles? (no complicated espresso setups). I think it can be done without too much difficulty.

  7. Todd

    Love the idea Victor. I’m in to help however I can!

  8. Psyd

    ” Maybe just do simple brewing styles? (no complicated espresso setups). ”

    You could pick up a coupla MyPressi for about $300, and pull shots for the complication of grinding and boiling water. And then have the MyPressi afterward, too!

  9. “You could pick up a coupla MyPressi for about $300”

    Hario baby, all the way. All for under a hundee including the kettle.

    Really, however anyone wants to brew it.

  10. Psyd

    Hario makes an espresso set-up for under a hundred that includes a Kettle?

    Links please!

  11. I’m not talking about spro, bro, just “however anyone wants to brew it”. We’re talking simple brewing of some great beans. Not all great beans make great spro, in fact some great beans make horrible spro, so hey……….. 🙂

  12. Pierce/Bear

    Well; I am of ‘no use’; I have never sampled either a McDonald’s or Starbucks coffee drink, just iced Mochas from indie places 🙂

  13. Psyd

    I see, I was thrown by you quoting my specific reference to addressing the complicated issue of espresso extraction, and thought that you were continuing that conversation…

    If it’s ain’t ‘spro, there are far cheaper and easier solutions to the Hario as well.
    Heck, the Aeropress gets you to half the same places as near any brew method for about $25, with a hot water source.

  14. No disrespect to all spro purists (I am sure there is a special place in heaven for all of you). One of the biggest sectors in the coffee market is regular brewed coffee that unfortunately gets mixed with all coffee drinks.
    Have you ever heard a consumer said that a particular establishment has decent espresso drinks but bitter, burn or too strong of a coffee. The reason is that the standard set by the majority of coffee retailers is way too low, to be honest quite weak. The main reason is that with low quality and already stale coffee a restaurant and sometimes coffee houses cannot brew a decent french press and even less a dripped cup. If we want to get some traction in the coffee industry we need to get our hands dirty or spend tons of money in advertisement (which most of us do not have) One solution is that an independent and local coffee movement can be implemented in our markets and “together” we can really educate a large amount of consumers about real fresh coffee. The biggest hurdle has always been the significant bigger branding effort that out of state companies play in our market and the lack of cooperation between local roasters. It should be easy to create a coffee festival like the ones organized by local breweries (not that I think we can draw the same amount of follow up but the coffee industry is quite big). A couple of efforts have sprouted here and there in the past but they were still born to say the least. I think that all the barista competitions have been great to showcase our trade to industry people but has not being a successful effort to gather consumers. Any ideas?

  15. Steve

    The only way to see if fresh is best is to try it. If you can’t tell the difference, don’t buy it. I can tell good coffee that is old and would have been great if brewed while still fresh. I roast at home so when I buy coffee I can’t wait to get back to fresh. Ahhh!