If there is one thing to fight in coffee, if there is one wrong to right, it is the concept that coffee (in all forms) is just a commodity. Many of the problems in the "specialty" coffee world spring from this one issue.

"Espresso should taste the same, always" -- the whole "consistency" thing in espresso blends continues to reinforce the impression that coffee is just coffee, espresso just espresso... it's all the same. Until people take a stand and start not only accepting that espresso blends will (and have to) change over time - but in fact start celebrating and marketing this fact... well... until that point we're still at the point where customers won't be able to get their heads around why an espresso at Stumptown should cost more than an espresso at Starbucks. I dream of a world where there is a blackboard menu for espresso, and each day there are 2 or 3 single origin options and another 1 or 2 "blends of the day". These blends can be numbered or nicknamed or dated - what they should be is described. "Espresso Blend #10095 - This blend is based on a Cup of Excellence Pulped Natural Cerrado from Brazil, with accent coffees from El Salvador and Rwanda. Expect tons of caramel and honey sweetness and a cocoa butter medium body with winey fruit high notes and belgian chocolate in the finish." Regular customers could have conversations about that blend two months ago and how it compares to this one.

"I don't like African coffee." -- in almost all countries and regions the range of coffee available represents a huge subset of coffee itself. Until roasters stop labeling coffees "Guatemala" or the like and instead start going to the point of celebrating and marketing the different sub-regions, estates, farmers and harvests customers are never going to understand why they should pay more for a coffee like the Guatemala Finca San Vincente than they should for a "Guatemala" from Trader Joes. I think roasters need to label their coffees not only with origin and roast date, but also harvest, estate... the whole deal. At this point, roasters will actually be able to mark up their expensive coffees by the same percentage as their cheap coffees, expensive coffees will no longer be "loss leaders" and perhaps we can say farewell at last to the glut of defective, horrible, generic and well-marketed aggregated coffees from places like Columbia, Peru, etc.

Great coffee is not a drug.
Great coffee is not tasteless or bland.
Great coffee is not a habit.
Great coffee is a passion, it is an experience, it is exciting and wonderful and weird and different and most of all it is memorable.

Reject the generic.
Celebrate the difference.

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