6.19.2012

espresso and trends

Over the last few years I believe we have seen a sustained and dramatic increase in quality of brewed coffee from the top (artisan speciality) coffee businesses. There are numerous potential causes, and it would be very interesting to debate what combination of forces has created this change - but that is not the topic of this piece (it would be more suitable for a lively conversation over beers).

In my opinion, the improvement in brewed coffee (while starting to slow down in pace) is still continuing and we are likely to see truly unparalleled coffees over the coming year.

Unfortunately, during this same time period I would argue that we have seen an equally dramatic decline in the quality of espresso coming from the high end of the coffee market. There are, of course, exceptions to this. In the last year or so I've had fantastic espresso from Tim Wendelboe, from Square Mile, from 49th Parallel and from Stumptown. But these are anomalies. The espressos from most if not all of the other leading companies have, to my taste and in my opinion, declined over this time. And many of the newly emerged coffee companies (despite often having fabulous brewed coffee) have produced sub-par espresso from the get-go. Again, the conversation of Why this is happening is something that is not well suited to a blog - and would be far better suited to a bar. So I will move on to my point.

As with brewed coffee, I don't see any signs at present that the trend is reversing. As a friend said when I ran this by him, "don't worry - it will come back into fashion." The trouble is that I love espresso - and I'm not very patient.

So... the point.

If you are in the coffee business and are producing espresso - make it taste good. Seriously. You'd be shocked by how many espressos out there fail this simple test.
If you are in the coffee business and are producing espresso - give a fuck. If you don't care about espresso - don't do it. Just stick with brewed coffees.

Those of us who do love espresso - we want something that tastes good. We want you to give a fuck. Please give us what we want. I'm begging.

4 comments:

Jimmy O said...

Would it be related to c price increase, and reticence to spend more on espresso blends? I know its an unsexy question, but... The other thing this seems to point to is certain brands often rest on their proverbial laurels after a certain point...

chris said...

I don't think it's C price. Folks are using pricey coffees in their espresso blends - I know that for a fact. I think it's simply a focus and attention and trend thing.

Diana Lozada said...

Perhaps an 'inattention' to detail? Not being versed in all ingredients, mechanical as well as the good bean itself, necessary for a delish drink?

Who knows. But you're definitely right: care or lobotomize the shots from the menu.

Diana Lozada said...

Perhaps an 'inattention' to detail? Not being versed in all ingredients, mechanical as well as the good bean itself, necessary for a delish drink?

Who knows. But you're definitely right: care or lobotomize the shots from the menu.