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To K or not To K? Cost, Quality, and The Environment

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6aqLvsfFkBw&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL[/youtube]      It’s always a trade off- quality for convenience; convenience for price; and in this case, the big trade off, the impact on our environment. As Farmers, we rely on the gifts that nature gave us to bring you our coffee, and hold them dear to us since they are a precious, limited resource. We are all guilty of wanting things instantly and have all looked at microwave directions and said” No way am I waiting 10 minutes for this to cook.” As the fast food drive through revolutionized the on the go dining industry, the coffee industry is facing it’s own upheaval of the same sort. We are moving away from the pot and down to the cup.

This past year has seen a significant increase in the single serve coffee market. Although the numbers are not made public I ask you; have you gone to a store that does not sell a  Keurig machine? They are quick, clean and easy. Three very good points. The concept is one we all wish we thought of since it seems so elementary; brew one cup rather than a pot. Oddly enough we have always been able to brew a single  using the 2 cup level on our coffee machines, French Press, etc.. But since it has been packaged, sold as easy, quick and put in our face everywhere, it has become a revolution of sorts.

Packaged. That’s a costly word on two counts. I’m not going to get into it, but an average pound of average coffee at your average store runs $4 -$5.  The same pound in a single serve can run $14-$15. There is an enormous amount on this topic if you Google “Cost of a cup of Coffee” for starters.

If you read my last blog, you learned a bit about freshness, and that coffee must have a valve to let the gasses out.  If you have used a single cup, you’ll notice there is no valve. How do they get the gasses out? An excellent question from another astute student! Simply answered, the coffee  must be degassed before it’s packaged. Sounds like a fancy process huh? Not in the least. After it is ground it is left to sit out  on average 12 hours so the gasses can be released along with the flavor. The other alternative is to let the beans de-gas for days and then grind them. Either way while the coffee awaits packaging, it is losing it’s flavor and costing you more. That’s the trade off of Flavor & Quality for convenience. It’s not that it doesn’t taste good, but not near as good as it could.

On his travels, Dr.ChungLoy pointed me in the direction of an article he came across in the Miami Herald that speaks on environmental aspect of the single serve cups. The containers simply do not recycle, and they are growing in number. It is an interesting point and I’m sure the manufacturers will find a solution since their popularity is growing. As the current patent end grows near for the sole manufacturer, more and more companies will be eagerly awaiting the means to produce more and more of these containers for more and more roasters so we can have even more of these cups around. Remember the guy in the 70’s who made a house out of Coke cans on Ripley’s Believe it or Not?  Well here’s your chance at fame.

I came across an objection last year from one of the nations largest grocery retailers in regard to single serve packaging. So I did some digging taking into consideration I’m not taking my hand picked, freshly roasted Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee and letting it sit and wait to be packaged because folks are too impatient. I look at it like this: Since we took the time to plant, harvest, export and freshly roast your coffee, the least you can do is brew it with some dignity. My dear freinds at Google led me to a simpler reusable solution than that which Keurig is already producing, and you don’t have to take the machine apart. The Eko Brew Reusable Refill for your K Cup Machine. We work with the company directly and have been using them on our site since the Summer of 2011, and I can personally say it makes a good cup of coffee with minimal clean up. A few taps on the side, a rinse under the faucet and your’re done. You can freshly ground coffee in a single serve machine at a better price with no waste. You may have seen these on our Face Book page or if you’ve visited the site under “Special Sales”. To coin a phrase, Drink Blue, Go Green.

I’m not trying to slander or slight, but just bring some light on an alternative for a delicious cup of “Absolutely The Best Coffee In The World”. Given the enormous amount of literature I found out there while reading up on this, you may find some things that I missed or didn’t find, and I ask for your thoughts or insight at customerservice@reggiesroastcoffee.com (908)862-3700. I hope you find the YouTube video helpful!

Cheers! ~ Reggie