e FIf the definition of marketing is “The Art Of Lying In Order To Sell Your Stuff”, then the coffee industry is replete with more lies than any industry in history. Let’s face it; you want the best whole bean coffee, yet how do you tell truth from fiction when facing the industrial might of Wall Street’s best marketing companies?
Case in point; a good customer and friend recently forwarded to me a marketing email that he received from a coffee company.
Fortunately, my customers know more about coffee than the marketers on Wall Street.
For your edification, this article is going to plainly, and at times bluntly, address the spurious marketing claims from my friend’s email, which you will find in parenthesis and my comments below.
Single Origin Coffee
(When we buy single origin beans, there is less of a chance of cross contamination, less chance of getting low quality beans blended, which is what happens when you buy coffee blends, and less chance of molds)
- Single Origin Coffee simply means that all the beans in your bag came from the same plantation or the same co-op or sometimes from the same region of a specific country. Lake City Coffee only purchases the smoothest coffee beans available anywhere, and always from the Tarrazu region of Costa Rica, which I believe is wonderfully smooth with strong notes of cream, milk chocolate, and nut.
- Cross contamination? What they’re referring to here is blends. When a marketer speaks of blends, wha they really mean is, “We bought the cheapest damn beans that we could find and blended them together.” Blends always produce an inferior cup of muddled flavored coffee. Blends are the opposite of “Single Origin”.
- And molds? First, I’ve never, in all my years as a master coffee roaster, seen mold on coffee beans. You get mold when you store beans in warehouse for long periods of time.
- I source all of my fresh coffee directly from our supplier in Costa Rica, who controls the growing, picking, drying, washing, and shipping of our Costa Rican Tarrazu beans directly to us.
Elevation of Coffee Plantation
(coffees grown at this height grow slower, giving you a full bodied, more flavorful bean that isn’t bitter)
- Most coffee experts believe that coffee grown over 4,500 feet in elevation is designated Strictly High Grown (SHG). The belief is that the higher the bean was grown the better the coffee. And it certainly doesn’t mean that this high grown coffee isn’t bitter. That’s 100% BS. In fact, I believe that there are so many variables in growing smooth and flavorful coffee, that you can’t prejudge any coffee bean without tasting it first.
- For example; last year we selected Costa Rican Tarrazu Capapola beans, which are grown below 4,500 feet and the coffee was phenomenally smooth, naturally sweet, with prominent notes of cream, milk chocolate, nut, and without a hint on bitterness. Yet this year, we’ve selected Don Roberto beans from Tarrazu, which are grown above 4,500 feet and it has the same taste profile as the Capapola had last year. Go figure.
- Elevation has little to do with the bitterness of coffee. The number one factor producing bitterness is that the beans have been sitting warehouses or on store shelves for months if not years.
(our workers get paid a fair wage for their work so they can support their families)
Costa Rican Tarrazu Beans
- Oh, this one drives me bat-shit crazy. Fair Trade was developed in the 70’s to increase the base pay of the field workers. Great idea, except it quickly turned into a marketing ploy.
- Fair Trade coffee growers have to pay to have their fields designated “Fair Trade”. The fees are so exorbitant that most growers can’t afford it.
- Additionally, there are at least 7 different “Fair Trade” organizations “Fair Trade International”, “European Fair Trade”, “TransFair USA”, “Fair Trade USA”, “Fair Trade American”, and even Charbucks has its own “Fair Trade” logo.
- The bottom line is that “Fair Trade” screws the farmer, screws his workers, screws the consumer, and only benefits the coffee buyers in large industrial coffee companies like Yuban, Folgers, Kirkland, and yes Charbucks.
(You see, not only does shade force coffee to grow slowly – guaranteeing it’s full of flavor, minerals and antioxidants…Too much sunlight also KILLS coffee’s flavor. Excess sunshine forces coffee to grow, well… at the speed of light. It destroys any chance for nutrition and complex flavors to properly develop – making the coffee taste absolutely…BLAH and bitter!)
- Nearly all whole bean coffee is by nature Shade Grown. You see, to help retain water in the soil, the farmers plant banana trees amongst the coffee bushes. As a side benefit, a few of those coffee plants get some shade.
- The shad is a side benefit, which is not critical, since 80% of the coffee beans coming out of a “shade grown” field are in fact always in direct sun shine.
- Therefore, “Shade Grown” is 100% marketing BS.
Spring Water Washed
From pure water from the mountains, which further avoids Mycotoxin formation. Most companies use chemical-laden tap water.
- “Spring”, “Pure”, “Mountain” I feel like the coffee industry’s marketing machine as the Pied Piper leading us sheeple off the proverbial cliff.
- Coffee beans are in fact the seed or pit of a fruit similar to a cherry. After picking the cherry, the skin and meat of the cherry needs to be washed off.
- In every coffee processing plant that I’ve ever seen, the washing was done on the same plantation where they were picked. The water is always fresh potable well water. Therefore, the terms “Spring”, “Pure”, “Mountain”, are all BS.
Sun Dried Coffee Beans
(This rapidly reduces their water content – further eliminating any opportunity for Mycotoxins to form.)
- I’ve seen dozens and dozens of coffee plantations and all of them sun dry their beans. After the fruit is washed the beans are laid out on a concrete slab to dry in the sun for a few days.
- There’s nothing pure about this process, it’s simple economics and practicality.
- As for Mycotoxins, that’s a fancy and ominous sounding word for “mold”. Those of you who are sensitive to mold, there is nothing to worry about. First, mold on coffee beans usually occurs in warehouses in the US. Secondly, Lake City Coffee only buys fresh beans, directly from Costa Rica, thus no mold. Lastly, if by some bazar chance that there was mold on the beans, which is highly unlikely, when the beans are roasted, they’re roasted at 450 degrees Fahrenheit, thus destroying any possibility of mold.
Roasted In Small Batches
(Ensures the highest quality possible.)
- OK, I’m totally on board with this one. There are some things in life that God did not intend to be made in large industrial vats, like coffee.
- Unlike the big industrial coffee companies like Yuban, Folgers, and Charbucks who roast up to 152 pounds at a time and their process is nearly 100% automated. Here at Lake City Coffee, most of my whole bean coffee roasts are 5-15 pounds at a time.
- When I roast, I’m checking the color, smell, and sound of the roasting beans about every 30 seconds, and near the end of the roast, I check every 10 seconds. So, to say that our coffee is hand roasted would be an understatement.
- Oh, man am I going to have to watch my mouth and thoughts on this one.
- “Environmentally” and “Sustainable” are trigger words for tree hugging liberals to feel better about themselves. Make no mistake, these terms are 100% marketing BS.
- Lake City Coffee sources all of its coffee from Costa Rica. The Costa Rican economy revolves around Echo Tourism. That means that the entire country is “Organic” on steroids. There isn’t a country in the world that can compare with Costa Rica when it comes to, (may God save my soul for saying this), “Environmental and Sustainable”.
(Our farmers pick each bean by hand ensuring that we only select the ripest, best beans.)
- “Hand Picked”? Seriously? Of course it’s hand picked. Nearly 100% of Arabica coffee worldwide is hand picked.
- A vast majority of coffee is grown in mountainous regions. The ground is so steep, that a mechanical picker would never work.
- Migrant farm workers are the best and honestly the only viable way to pick coffee.
(Our beans are grown in Virgin soil that have not ever been touched by pesticides and herbicides. The soil is full of nutrients and minerals which in turn end up in the beans.)
- Yep, Antioxidants are good for you and coffee is full of antioxidants as well as bioflavonoids.
- The big problem with coffee in America is that most industrial coffee companies roast the snot out of their beans, thus killing and destroying any nutritious benefits of the beans.
- I on the other hand, roast all my beans the old fashion way; low-n-slow over an open fire, bring the beans to a gentle medium brown color; or for dark roast, gently to a dark brown color, thus preserving the nutritious and flavorful oils in the beans.
Best Costa Rican Coffee
All of our whole bean coffee is sourced from Don Roberto from the Tarrazu region of Costa Rica – Super Smooth, with zero bitterness, and prominent notes of cream, milk chocolate, and nut.
Fresh Roasted Whole Bean Coffee
- Delectable Dark
- Majestic Medium
- White Lightning
Most decaf coffee is decaffeinated by using chemicals similar to formaldehyde. Not us. I only buy all natural Swiss Water Processed decaf coffee beans.
I can’t always find Don Roberto in Swiss Water Processed, but I make sure that the beans are at least originating in Central America and preferably Costa Rica.
My decaf coffee is so good that you’d be hard pressed to taste the difference between it and our Majestic Medium. Perhaps that’s why we receive more reviews on our decaf than we do all our other roasts combined.
Fresh Roasted Whole Bean Coffee
For thFreshness counts more for flavor than any other factor. The fresher the roasted bean, the better the cup of coffee. From our roaster to your table in 24-48 hours.
Your Coffee Roaster
Lake City Coffee is a small, family run, coffee roasting company. All we do is import, roast, and ship directly to you; thus no middlemen, and thus super fresh great tasting coffee.
My goal is to make your home brewing coffee experience the best part of your day. If you have any questions, please contact me and I’ll gladly give to you the best coffee advice that you’re likely to find anywhere.
“From Our Roaster To Your Table In 24-72 Hours“
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