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Thread: Blending for the middle market

  1. #1
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    Blending for the middle market

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Long time reader first time poster so forgive me if Im in the wrong place for this question. *Ive been in coffee a long time and most likely served coffee or roasted coffee for many of you so please dont respond with "ask an expert". *Coffeesnobs and the other online sites have reached a funny state where you guys know more than most, or for that matter any, expert does. *Wisdom of the crowd and all that good stuff...

    Anyhow I have a quick hypothetical question. * Lets say you were considering redoing an long neglected espresso blend for a large coffee chain with sinister ambitions of global dominance (because that worked out so well for Starbucks!). *The blend in question needs to
    * Be commercially viable
    * Tasty
    * Not something that will offend your grandmother
    * Work in multiple countries with different coffee cultures and levels of sophistication

    So what would you make your blend from? *What would you use as a base, Santos? Mysore? PNG? *What would you uses a signature? What else would you add and why? Pre-roast blend or post-roast? *Is there actually a perfect espresso now? *Is it reachable with prices not absurdly about the C?

    I thought it might make for an interesting discussion because I see lots of talk of how to produce really high end blends but not really anything about how to make a good purposeful espresso blend with middle market appeal. *Of course I plan to use this information for my aforementioned sinister world domination plans, but Im really asking in a spirit of honest inquiry.

  2. #2
    A_M
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    Re: Blending for the middle market

    Quote Originally Posted by 4A6F646374727F060 link=1252050643/0#0 date=1252050643
    Long time reader first time poster so forgive me if Im in the wrong place for this question. *Ive been in coffee a long time and most likely served coffee or roasted coffee for many of you so please dont respond with "ask an expert". *Coffeesnobs and the other online sites have reached a funny state where you guys know more than most, or for that matter any, expert does. *Wisdom of the crowd and all that good stuff...

    Anyhow I have a quick hypothetical question. * Lets say you were considering redoing an long neglected espresso blend for a large coffee chain with sinister ambitions of global dominance (because that worked out so well for Starbucks!). *The blend in question needs to
    * Be commercially viable
    * Tasty
    * Not something that will offend your grandmother
    * Work in multiple countries with different coffee cultures and levels of sophistication

    So what would you make your blend from? *What would you use as a base, Santos? Mysore? PNG? *What would you uses a signature? What else would you add and why? Pre-roast blend or post-roast? *Is there actually a perfect espresso now? *Is it reachable with prices not absurdly about the C?

    I thought it might make for an interesting discussion because I see lots of talk of how to produce really high end blends but not really anything about how to make a good purposeful espresso blend with middle market appeal. *Of course I plan to use this information for my aforementioned sinister world domination plans, but Im really asking in a spirit of honest inquiry.

    (Yes I also posted this to coffeegeeks, not sure which is the more active community :P)
    1: Your never going to please every one - I focus on what I like...
    2: Transport and freshness will be an issue unless a number of roasters - then there is the issue of consistency between roasters
    3: Consistent bean supply - Must promote a go for the growers - FC etc ( Just use cheep crap but advertise differently... The syrups will hide it)
    4: Define middle market ???
    5: Pre blend - Post implies people who need to be able to taste and then blend to get the desired outcome... Unless the person has a number of clones... The final roast will be different every where.


    If ya try to eat a chocolate elephant in one sitting - you will fail... *Thus your question is too big and makes too many assumptions..

    Besides if you ask me; Starbucks made it on PR and fast service and hid the coffee inconsistencies with syrups. not unlike the coffee club.. *4 stores in close proximity all using teh same beans and milk and processes (trained) will give you vastly different cups...

    The biggest factor is the PBTG and giving them the Responsibility and Authority to make and implement changes.. *

    Coffee is not Subway or a Burger or a Donut *where you can have a tight control on supply and manufacture..

    Sorry, if I did not answer, but only raised more questions...

    Best of luck with taking over the world...

  3. #3
    Senior Member GregWormald's Avatar
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    Re: Blending for the middle market

    As I mentioned in another thread, I cant even make every cup taste the same, no matter how consistent I think Im being--so a multi-national with different baristas, different storage of beans, different age of beans, different water, and different milks doesnt have a chance.

    And thats assuming that there would BE a "best taste".

    And we all know how well (not) thats currently going for *bucks.

    Greg

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    CoffeeSnobs Owner Andy's Avatar
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    Re: Blending for the middle market


    Welcome to CoffeeSnobs Liberty.
    Just a quick heads-up, machine gun splatter on multiple forums wont win you much kudos from any community so maybe dont expect to be given someones perfect commercial blend for the price of a cut and paste.

    Quote Originally Posted by 72575C5B4C4A473E0 link=1252050643/0#0 date=1252050643
    Is it reachable with prices not absurdly about the C?
    Does that translate to roasted and delivered for $8/kg?

    It seems to me that aiming for an average coffee must be more about price than anything else.

    Why not aim for "Worlds Best Coffee" at a fair commercial price and build the business on quality?

    Does the planet really need another average coffee chain?


  5. #5
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Blending for the middle market

    Quote Originally Posted by 4663686F787E730A0 link=1252050643/0#0 date=1252050643
    Work in multiple countries with different coffee cultures and levels of sophistication
    I dont think thats possible.

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    Senior Member Koffee_Kosmo's Avatar
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    Re: Blending for the middle market

    Quote Originally Posted by 7B475A414B4A5D48404B2F0 link=1252050643/4#4 date=1252133215
    Quote Originally Posted by 4663686F787E730A0 link=1252050643/0#0 date=1252050643
    Work in multiple countries with different coffee cultures and levels of sophistication
    I dont think thats possible.
    Agree with TG & other comments
    You are looking to please all types with one product

    It aint going to happen

    The world is to diverse

    Nescafe has not done it yet & they started in the 30s I think

    KK

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    Re: Blending for the middle market

    Quote Originally Posted by 6D4940404343796D49554B49260 link=1252050643/5#5 date=1252134323
    Nescafe has not done it yet & they started in the 30s I think
    True. Blend 43 is different in Greece to that in Australia.

  8. #8
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    Re: Blending for the middle market

    Coffee, being subjective , would be difficult to please the masses. Thats why there are so many people in every aspect of the industry.

    I would sugest finding a niche in the market.
    if its all the same, its all the same.

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    Re: Blending for the middle market

    Rather then developing a blend based on beans and varietals perhaps a better starting point is to decide on a taste profile that you want. Coffee is an ever changing beast if you want to have a specific brand taste, rather then staying with a recipe year after year you need to continuously work hard and most likely change the source, blending ratios and roasting profiles to maintain the cup characteristics that people recognise uniquely as your brand.

    To be honest I think its pretty poor form that a large company is coming to forums such as this asking for advice on blending. The best coffee roasters even the micros spend loads of time and energy and I can only guess endure many sleepless nights from all the caffein they consume along the way. What they do, which the large roasters long forgot, is to follow their senses.

    Its very rare that professional roasters provide any comment on roasting or blending In these forums, this is very much a home roasting community. Some members have gone on to roast professionally believing rightly, that by using their intuition and passion they can provide a better product then large roasters. I know of a roasting company who even when they were only roasting on 5kg and consuming the majority of their roasts in house were putting up the dollars to send staff overseas, to experience their product at its source and to interact and learn from their peers. Their philosophy of constant education experimentation and improvement has payed dividends with a strong following and loyal customer base who will travel to the other side of the city to get their coffee.

    The reason this section is helpful for us home roasters is because most of us dont have the time or resources or access to a bazzilion samples of coffee that we can taste ourselves. If someone offered good money to pay us to do that many of us would most likely jump at the offer we would learn far more in a far shorter time then is possible by simply reading the internet.

    The beans that we are working with mostly come from this website, and are premium grade. As we are all working with coffee from the same farm, same crop and the same shipment for our own personal use the sharing that goes on here is very helpful. In a similar way any professional roasting operation worth their salt would also pool the ideas and experience of its staff in developing a product. This might be as formal as sharing cupping notes or as informal as having a discussion about the coffee you tried last week.

    BTW It wont matter what you put in your blend if the coffee is stale on delivery. Most coffees have a window of about 2 weeks between minimum resting time and maximum age. If you really want to put a big dint in other large roasting companies market share then developing systems and logistics to achieve this need serious consideration.

    Cheers Sam

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    Re: Blending for the middle market

    Hi guys

    Sorry I should of been clear, this is me wondering about it, not my firm (we have marketing departments, focus groups and all that jazz for how to actually solve the problem). *With an upmarket roasting background Im constantly the one banging on about commercial reality is not an excuse for crap coffee. *I want to know if what is commonly assumed in the market is true. Reading Jim Schulmans piece http://www.coffeecuppers.com/Espresso.htm got me thinking that maybe there is actually an holy grail blend out there which isnt USD$8 a kilo green but is damn good none the less. *Basically is green bean quality a bit of myth when the vast majority of the flavour is coming based on how the bean is roasted? The big commercial roasters have nothing resembling the tactile immediacy and control over their roast profiles as you guys have with your bench top roasters. Also the world of roasting has dramatically improved in the last ten years and thanks very much in part to active internet communities, like yours, we know much more about coffee and the BS level is actually dropping. *

    That’s why I’m asking here.

    I do want to apologise as well Andy at the perceived spam. *I actually wrote this post up for coffeegeek.com which I have been following over the last few years. *Right after I posted it I found a link to here and discovered this to be the far more active community. *It was not an intention to spam but rather a late discovery and a slight bit of friday afternoon laziness.

    I appreciate the passion you all have for coffee and “the experts” have been next to useless in my quest to date.

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    Re: Blending for the middle market

    Im not sure if that link you posted is the one you intended. Its about dosing and extraction.

    Its an interesting assertion that the vast majority of coffee flavor comes from the way it is roasted. Its true that the darker you roast the harder it is to distinguish anything at all in a blend.

    Its also true that you can hide defects in coffee by roasting it dark (some would say burning it) Personally even if the taste is acceptable (not completely charcoal) I have found over roasted coffee not to be as interesting as medium or lighter roasts that show-case varitals. The dilemma you will find is that lighter roasts demand higher quality beans or you will taste the defects. There are exeptions to this. A couple of years ago we got some Peru Segunda that personally I really enjoyed, It was a very ugly bean full of defects but in the cup was nice. I could not tell you if a specialty coffee price was attached to this particular bean. As a home roaster Im really not any steps closer down the supply line then if I were buying roasted beans.

    I think as the specialty coffee industry grows it going to become harder to find good coffee for cheap prices. People are following their senses and prices in the future will follow the cupping results rather then grading. That said stand out coffees that are not well graded and processed will remain the exception rather then the norm.

    Imo if you use cheap coffee full of defects then on the majority of occasions you will need to roast dark to cover up the funk. If you want to roast your coffee lighter to bring out the varietals then you will need to invest in better quality coffee. I dont see a way around this.

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    Re: Blending for the middle market

    A response from a keen home-roaster who only occasionally drinks coffee ‘out’ and avoids any coffee-house that doesn’t have freshly roasted coffee.

    Tasty: lower in acidity, not too fully overbearing in flavour like some of the SO Ethiopians, not too top-note dominant (aromatic only) and lacking body and length on the palate, not too dark. In the positive sense: Good overall palate flavour, mid-long length aftertaste, not roasted beyond CS10 average (get the roasting card from Beanbay), contains flavours/aromas that resemble flavours/aromas that most people like and commonly eat alongside the coffee; chocolate, nuts, vanilla, berry, fruity, spicy; and steer away from dominant herbal, florals (some), ashy, and resinous notes.

    Commercially viable: depends on your source. Only use beans in your price range and blend from them.

    Grandmother: mine drinks tea.

    Blend for each country/region.

    Level of sophistication: a good blend shot well works for most people. Aficionados will seek out coffee houses who offer single origins or signature blends as well as their standard house blend as a way of giving their highly-tuned sophisticated tastebuds a lift.

    My vote is for post-roast blending. Allows for minor adjustments based on the inconsistencies you’ve mentioned with profiling/roasting in commercial not-as-well-profiled/controlled batches.

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    Re: Blending for the middle market

    Quote Originally Posted by 0C292225323439400 link=1252050643/9#9 date=1252295605
    Basically is green bean quality a bit of myth when the vast majority of the flavour is coming based on how the bean is roasted?
    Not true. Vast majority of flavour comes from the bean, not the roast profile. The roast profile enhances or reduces certain aspects but cannot change the fundamental flavour of the bean. Therefore bean quality, source selection and batch trialling is extremely important.

    Bean "quality" is a pretty broad term. Perhaps if you get a little more specific?

  14. #14
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Blending for the middle market

    Quote Originally Posted by 4762696E797F720B0 link=1252050643/9#9 date=1252295605
    Basically is green bean quality a bit of myth when the vast majority of the flavour is coming based on how the bean is roasted?
    Quote Originally Posted by 4762696E797F720B0 link=1252050643/0#0 date=1252050643
    Ive been in coffee a long time and most likely served coffee or roasted coffee for many of you
    How can you ask a question about green bean quality being a myth if you are a roaster (as quoted from your opening post)?

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    Re: Blending for the middle market

    Quote Originally Posted by 13363D3A2D2B265F0 link=1252050643/0#0 date=1252050643
    *Ive been in coffee a long time and most likely served coffee or roasted coffee for many of you so please dont respond with "ask an expert". *
    Sounds to me like its definitely time to ask an expert. :P

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    A_M
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    Re: Blending for the middle market

    Quote Originally Posted by 73565D5A4D4B463F0 link=1252050643/9#9 date=1252295605
    I appreciate the passion you all have for coffee and “the experts” have been next to useless in my quest to date.
    AND

    Quote Originally Posted by 73565D5A4D4B463F0 link=1252050643/9#9 date=1252295605
    Also the world of roasting has dramatically improved in the last ten years and thanks very much in part to active internet communities, like yours, we know much more about coffee and the BS level is actually dropping.
    I would suggest there is even more BS with lots of people trying to get in on the bandwagon.. While there may be some more open communications between some professionals... It still comes back to market share and $$$

    PS... Who actual are you placing in “the experts” camp ??? Some may have a very good reason to play the game...

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    A_M
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    Re: Blending for the middle market

    Quote Originally Posted by 4E7A6D7B60574B676E6E6D6D080 link=1252050643/16#16 date=1253167963
    There are a lot of things that could be said here but they are all fruitless.

    Read the first paragraph of the first post in the topic. Apparently a novice assistant roaster with little experience (?) wants *more experienced successful business owners to hand over their intellectual property. Think about it Liberty...would you? And ofcourse while all the successful roasters were asleep last night, a higher power stole all their expertise and shifted it over to internet based coffee hobbyists.

    This is unbelievable! *What will happen next?

    And from the very first post in this topic to almost the very last....."...the BS level dropping...."

    You jest surely? *You do know something about the business of coffee do you?

    And when alls said and done, apparently enough readers have taken this seriously and responded seriously to the question........and this isnt BS??????????????

    Attilio
    very first CS site sponsor
    Professional Coffee Roaster and Successful Business Owner
    Very little patience left for this type of BS.
    dito

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    Re: Blending for the middle market

    What percentage of coffee drinkers would even notice if the "house blend" radically changed?

    Are the big chain coffee shops even worried about this? Or are they just targeting a different type of coffee drinker?

    Even if the "better" coffee places who might have fresh SO and a signature house blend change things, will the majority of their customers even notice? or are the customers just "buying into" the coffee culture?

  19. #19
    Senior Member Dennis's Avatar
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    Re: Blending for the middle market

    Quote Originally Posted by 5D515855555C300 link=1252050643/18#18 date=1253171167
    What percentage of coffee drinkers would even notice if the "house blend" radically changed?
    Interesting question. I change from week to week but not on a particular day and on average Id say anywhere between 10-20% of customers will notice a difference, depending on how radical a change Ive made eg. going from a blend to monsoon malabar or a pure robusta.

    These customers seem to have a genuine interest in coffee per se, know that I do it, so are probably looking out for it. Others seem happy as long as it tastes nice to them.




  20. #20
    Senior Member Pavoniboy's Avatar
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    Re: Blending for the middle market

    Quote Originally Posted by 7653585F484E433A0 link=1252050643/0#0 date=1252050643
    Ive been in coffee a long time and most likely served coffee or roasted coffee for many of you so please dont respond with "ask an expert"
    Quote Originally Posted by 7653585F484E433A0 link=1252050643/9#9 date=1252295605
    Basically is green bean quality a bit of myth when the vast majority of the flavour is coming based on how the bean is roasted?
    :-? Wow..............just, Wow! :-?
    I think these two quotes are mutually exclusive.

  21. #21
    TC
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    Re: Blending for the middle market

    Yeah- a really weird thread....

    One wonders if it was posted in an attempt to hook some fish for a little bun fight. Pretty silly questions I reckon ::)



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