Story Coffees

August 24th, 2007

Sometimes the smallest things set your brain off thinking down a particular track.  For me it was the last post on the Sweet Marias blog, which got me thinking about the rise of what I call Story Coffees over the last few years.

From the outset I will make it clear that I love to know as much about a coffee as possible, and particular enjoy coffees that have an interesting tale.  Serving single estate in competition was part of this.  I think we enjoy telling the story because it not only demonstrates the traceability but also allows us to feel a little more rooted and connected to a greater part of the coffee chain.

However this threw up a few questions that I thought I’d ask, and I’d like to make it very clear from the start that these are not accusatory.

Is the quality of story becoming another points box on a cupping form?  Will a great human story push a coffee a couple of points below where you’d like it to be over the top.  What weight should the story get when buying?  I will admit that in the past I had shied away from coffees, when building a competition blend, that I couldn’t really talk that much about – but that was tempered  by having a large number of excellent and interesting coffees to choose from.

For consumers – how important is it that a coffee has a story?  Would you be put off a generic and untraceable lot, even if there were assurances the coffee was great?  How much impact does the story of the coffee have on you? Previously different kinds of story coffees have done well for reasons other than genuinely excellent cup quality (JBM, Kopi Luwak).


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