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  • To help or to hinder...

    Hey everyone, Ive been trying to get some experience in commercial roasting, wholesaling and general pre-cafe stuff for the last 6 to 8 months, having reached a point where I think Id like to move away from everyday cafe life for a while and broaden my knowledge and experience. Can anyone explain to me what commercial coffee roasters believe they will gain from being secretive about what they do? After speaking with LOTS of roasters I was amazed by how suspicious they were as a group, I was literally asked if I was a "vampire" by a company. Correct me, but I refuse to believe said coffee companies are so short sighted that they would consciously hide their practices. Would such blatant allusion to dishonesty firstly create suspicion that they do have something to hide and secondly and more importantly actively stifle their own industrys growth? Surely they would benefit from ENCOURAGING people to learn about the business of coffee roasting, in order to stimulate a community (like coffee snobs) in which everyone has access to the best and most current info! Can anyone shed any light on this? I for one am stumped.

    Cheers,

    Nic

  • #2
    Re: To help or to hinder...

    Oh boy, here we go...........

    Nic, think about blending and intellectual property....

    Chris

    p.s. welcome to CS

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: To help or to hinder...

      Hi Nic,

      I am sure that there a a few CS sponsors who would be pleased to show you the ropes on a roaster with some single origin beans. We have a course for those wanting to learn how to use a commercial roaster.

      I am also certain that few commercial roasters will be interested in providing you with their intellectual property such as blend "recipes" or profile specifics.

      Chris

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: To help or to hinder...

        Originally posted by 7F776F65781C0 link=1243328146/1#1 date=1243328374
        Oh boy, here we go...........

        Nic, think about blending and intellectual property....

        Chris

        p.s. welcome to CS

        Yea...

        What about the blending that Coke Cola and KTF get up too.... Surely they should just provide it to every drink maker and chicken cook around...

        IP... I thought only government departments got hung up on that ? Or is that TCP/IP

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: To help or to hinder...

          Originally posted by 0D222B293E012D222D2B29212922384C0 link=1243328146/3#3 date=1243329308

          IP... I thought only government departments got hung up on that ?    Or is that TCP/IP  
          You know what I was getting at mate ;D

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: To help or to hinder...

            Originally posted by 4B56574A535954515B51574D4B380 link=1243328146/0#0 date=1243328146
            Can anyone explain to me what commercial coffee roasters believe they will gain from being secretive about what they do?
            I know a few commercial roasters and youre right, they are a bit secretive.
            But I dont blame them and see it as good business sense.

            Theres your answer, "good business sense".
            As AM already said, Coca Cola and KFC dont publish their recipes because then their product wouldnt be unique.

            The idea of business is to make money.
            You cant do that if you give away your ideas.

            They arent being short sighted; they are being the opposite; looking to future growth of their business.

            Consider yourself corrected.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: To help or to hinder...

              Ok, firstly thanks for the welcome everyone, its awesome to feel a dialogue can be had here - its encouraging!

              Originally posted by 5A6F6265514D6168686B6B0E0 link=1243328146/2#2 date=1243329232
              I am sure that there a a few CS sponsors who would be pleased to show you the ropes on a roaster with some single origin beans. We have a course for those wanting to learn how to use a commercial roaster.
              Id LOVE the opportunity can you be more specific and Ill make some calls tomorrow!

              In regards to the parrallels between our precious coffee and coca-cola and KFC, are you serious? If you would like your coffee company and its practices viewed in the same light as these massive exploitative companies then be my guest, but I would argue that would represent "bad business sense" in an environment where our consumers are continually looking to be better informed and feeling better about their expenditure. I would recomend taking a look at initiatives such as COE and Fairtrade to gague the importance of this idea being adopted throughout the supply chain.

              Originally posted by 5A667B606A6B7C69616A0E0 link=1243328146/5#5 date=1243335593
              Theres your answer, "good business sense".
              As AM already said, Coca Cola and KFC dont publish their recipes because then their product wouldnt be unique.

              The idea of business is to make money.
              You cant do that if you give away your ideas.

              They arent being short sighted; they are being the opposite; looking to future growth of their business
              Dont get me wrong Im all for making money, but the fact that these companies cant be straight with their practices indicates a floor. Which is this - their ideas are not good enough without their marketing and sense of mystique, essentially it indicates weak product, relying on more persuasive marketing to sell it. Id be interested to see what metrics people like coke (or any secretive roaster if you would like to make the comparison) use to create value to sell their product, Id argue they bear no relevence to any tangible attribute on the production floor, rather something dreamed up around a marketing team meeting, "would it be fair to say x? about this coffee?".

              Nic  




               



              Comment


              • #8
                Re: To help or to hinder...

                Hi snorkalicious,

                Welcome to CS.

                Anyone who makes a product they believe to be a "cut above" the rest (and yes, Coke and KFC believe that!!) will guard their practises from any prying eyes.... and that is understandable.

                A coffee roaster who has slaved long and hard.... possibly wasting lots of beans as well as hours of labour to finally perfect their "art" also doesnt want to share it with anyone..... They have a huge financial investment in what they have done..... and why should they give that to others for free..... saving them all that expense.

                The bottom line, other that the basics which can be found easily, is you have to develop your own style, your own technique etc.... just like those before you have done..... It is a business after all.... the roasters are there to make a living..... they are not really trying the "hide" anything.... they are just protecting their investment (like any other business would do).....

                I know it seems harsh and selfish..... but they arent there to help you or me.... but to earn a living out of the techniques they perfected.... and that is all it comes down to!

                Its a bit like the TV service person (almost extinct now)....
                Called in to fix a TV.... goes over.... thumps it in a certain location... and the TV works perfectly again.....
                He tells the customer - "That will be $100"
                The angry customer says "What $100 for thumping my TV.... I could have done that!!" to which the service person replied....
                "Well it is 10c for thumping your TV and $99.90 for knowing where to thump it!!"

                See the similarity?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: To help or to hinder...

                  Originally posted by 0109111B06620 link=1243328146/1#1 date=1243328374
                  intellectual property....
                  Originally posted by 2803140320620 link=1243328146/7#7 date=1243339681
                  They have a huge financial investment in what they have done..... and why should they give that to others for free..... saving them all that expense.
                  OK, whats to stop two individual roasters developing their own blend that are exactly the same? Same green beans, same proportions, same roasting profile; perhaps even the same roaster. Whose IP is it?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: To help or to hinder...

                    Welcome snork to CS

                    To get a trade as I did
                    I became an apprentice for 4 years and now @ 50 yo I am still learning

                    However these days one can register to do a coffee roasting course
                    One such place is Go Barista

                    Quote from Site
                    GO Barista can provide you the very best in Coffee Roasting training with Serge Siboni Master Coffee Roaster, learn the mysterious art of turning green beans into darkly aromatic gems. Blending coffee and knowledge of coffee around the world can be added to your training. Your personal training can be done from the Gold Coast or your premises any where in Australia and New Zealand.*
                    *Accommodation & Travel charges apply.
                    So what are you waiting for

                    KK

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: To help or to hinder...

                      Padre Coffee seem to be fairly open about what goes in to their blends. I went to a cupping night a few months back where we cupped the individual elements in two of their blends, then played around with the final result.

                      While I can understand it the whole IP thing to a point, I agree with Nic, if all you can sell your coffee on is some secret herb n spice recipe, then you need to dig deeper, particularly if were talking small batch/specialty roasters, this probably doesnt apply so much to the big commercial roasters who are supplying cafes.

                      I for two would love to get some hands on practice with a commercial roaster, not just the add heat part, but the selecting, cupping, profiling side of things. Id like to think that some of the smaller players in the market would be more than happy to share the love.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: To help or to hinder...

                        Originally posted by 2E24312626293D3B480 link=1243328146/8#8 date=1243340239
                        OK, whats to stop two individual roasters developing their own blend that are exactly the same? Same green beans, same proportions, same roasting profile; perhaps even the same roaster. Whose IP is it?  
                        Nothing at all.....

                        And they both have IP over "their blend" even if it has the same flavour profile etc.... because they both developed it independently (presuming they are both experienced roasters.... with well developed palates etc.... then it is quite conceivable that they could have come to the same blend.....)

                        But only those two roasters will be competing against each other.... and more than likely there is enough market share for both.... and the product will remain exclusive.

                        But if the blend is made "open source".... then every roaster will start to produce it..... market will be saturated with a certain "sameness".... and it will lose most of its appeal....

                        The only competitive edge a coffee roaster can have is the quality of their product..... and to retain that edge..... they need to keep their process confidential.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: To help or to hinder...

                          Hmmmm.

                          Every time I go to a place that roasts coffee they are more than happy to show me around and give me hints. I often get invited to go in the back and watch a roast. Of course Im not after their recipes, just help on how to roast better and what they think is important.

                          Approach is everything.

                          Greg

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: To help or to hinder...

                            Originally posted by 705B4C5B783A0 link=1243328146/11#11 date=1243341095
                            Originally posted by 2E24312626293D3B480 link=1243328146/8#8 date=1243340239
                            OK, whats to stop two individual roasters developing their own blend that are exactly the same? Same green beans, same proportions, same roasting profile; perhaps even the same roaster. Whose IP is it?  
                            Nothing at all.....

                            And they both have IP over "their blend" even if it has the same flavour profile etc.... because they both developed it independently (presuming they are both experienced roasters.... with well developed palates etc.... then it is quite conceivable that they could have come to the same blend.....)

                            But only those two roasters will be competing against each other.... and more than likely there is enough market share for both.... and the product will remain exclusive.

                            But if the blend is made "open source".... then every roaster will start to produce it..... market will be saturated with a certain "sameness".... and it will lose most of its appeal....

                            The only competitive edge a coffee roaster can have is the quality of their product..... and to retain that edge..... they need to keep their process confidential.
                            It is the same in many / most manufacturing processes... Perfume, Drinks, Medical devices etc etc.. While many components may be teh same it can be the use / blends that separates the every day product to the exceptional..

                            And

                            Originally posted by 5B59555D5D5354493A0 link=1243328146/10#10 date=1243340611
                            Padre Coffee seem to be fairly open about what goes in to their blends. I went to a cupping night a few months back where we cupped the individual elements in two of their blends, then played around with the final result.

                            While I can understand it the whole IP thing to a point, I agree with Nic, if all you can sell your coffee on is some secret herb n spice recipe, then you need to dig deeper, particularly if were talking small batch/specialty roasters, this probably doesnt apply so much to the big commercial roasters who are supplying cafes.

                            I for two would love to get some hands on practice with a commercial roaster, not just the add heat part, but the selecting, cupping, profiling side of things. Id like to think that some of the smaller players in the market would be more than happy to share the love.
                            Many people still miss the point... The smaller roasters need their special blend to stand apart... Other wise I will go to the closest rather than the one up the ally... I mean I need my fix...

                            There are many shops / cafes in my area etc and I can not be bothered... They sell the main stream roasts as provided by the BIG high volume Roasters...

                            Now and then a little place surfaces and if they are doing their own blend / mix I will drop in and try.... May even go back... Why, caus they have what the others do not...

                            I spend a bit of time at Vs of a Saturday... Do I like the main lines... NA... There is one or two blends, however do grab my pallet....

                            Then again it is like a SO.... You may say HOW... One bean ?

                            Or even

                            Cupped the individual elements in two of their blends, then played around with the final result.

                            It can be a smoke screen... :

                            Get 4 roasters to do a batch of SO... I bet you will get 4 different but similar outcomes...

                            Why... Cause unless they use the same roaster / heat and method as well as the same profile at the same external environment conditions the beans WILL BEHAVE DIFFERENTLY..

                            Now, if I can control that and tweak my roasts to provide that special something that others do not have.. I will as it will = $$$ to me..

                            I will only be too happy to talk about Beans, where they came from... cupping and pulling apart all the pros and cons of the bean... But have I really been open... Naaaaaaa

                            One roaster up the road trained his 2IC in about 4 hrs.. Tick teh box and follow the bouncy ball... 80% of the roasts are done this way... His special blends are done by him... Why...

                            Because as he says... It is his ears / eyes and nose that allows him to get exactly what he wants.. And when it comes to his blends as he says... He has to tweak to ensure that the special is consistent for his clients...

                            Thus as far as I am concerned.... If you develop or manufacture something special... Protect IT and hold it close to you.. After all, while every one wants something cheep or free... The manufacturer / supplier has to make money to survive.....

                            And as for this little jem below....... I love it... SO true, as most people are so short sighted...

                            Originally posted by 705B4C5B783A0 link=1243328146/7#7 date=1243339681
                            Its a bit like the TV service person (almost extinct now)....
                            Called in to fix a TV.... goes over.... thumps it in a certain location... and the TV works perfectly again.....
                            He tells the customer - "That will be $100"
                            The angry customer says "What $100 for thumping my TV.... I could have done that!!" to which the service person replied....
                            "Well it is 10c for thumping your TV and $99.90 for knowing where to thump it!!"
                            Or how to apply the heat and when

                            For me I love it when you have to fly / travel (4 + 4) and after you get there you fix it in 1hr and charge for 9hrs... They all start to crow and carry on.. It does not matter if I am in a plane / car or walking or sitting in front of the job... Your paying for ME and MY knowledge... Not just teh job...

                            So as my daughter would say... "Man it up and move on"....




                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: To help or to hinder...

                              Originally posted by 223F3E233A303D3832383E2422510 link=1243328146/6#6 date=1243338191
                              In regards to the parrallels between our precious coffee and coca-cola and KFC, are you serious? If you would like your coffee company and its practices viewed in the same light as these massive exploitative companies then be my guest, but I would argue that would represent "bad business sense" in an environment where our consumers are continually looking to be better informed and feeling better about their expenditure. I would recomend taking a look at initiatives such as COE and Fairtrade to gague the importance of this idea being adopted throughout the supply chain.  
                              Nic the Coke and KFC examples were to illustrate the IP aspect of their business.
                              If you want to put them down because you perceive them to be exploitive, then start a new topic in the "Off Topic" section.

                              And dont get me started on Fairtrade.
                              This is a coffee forum.
                              That was a very ill informed comment.
                              Do you honestly think COE and Fairtrade have never been mentioned here before?
                              Please dont preach here.


                              Originally posted by 30323E3636383F22510 link=1243328146/10#10 date=1243340611
                              While I can understand it the whole IP thing to a point, I agree with Nic, if all you can sell your coffee on is some secret herb n spice recipe, then you need to dig deeper, particularly if were talking small batch/specialty roasters
                              ACog I dont think people buy KFC because of the "secret herbs and spices" mystique.
                              Yes the marketing contributes to people buying their chicken but a certain number of people will still buy it if it was the most recent ad they saw.
                              They dont even use "Kentucky Fried Chicken" any more but call themselves "KFC".
                              The "Southern Fried Chicken" concept obviously is no longer important.

                              I also dont think small roasters use their "secret" blends to attract business.
                              They actually get it through traditionally marketing techniques like local flyers, ads in the paper, word of mouth and a lot of door knocking.
                              After that they keep and grow their business by the taste and quality of their product.

                              Ive been buying coffee for quite a few weeks now because my correttos out of action.
                              I have little interest in whats in the blends I buy because I couldnt replicate them for a start and secondly I wouldnt want to.

                              Even if I was starting up a new roasting business my attitude would be the same.

                              How would I attract business away from my competitors if all I had to offer was identical product.
                              As a consumer Id stick with the original if thats what I like.

                              If my beans were different and perceived to be better, then thats how Id get the business.


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