November 1st, 2007

I am hesitant to post on this subject, mostly because by the time I have finished writing this post it will have become quite hypocritical.

I feel quite conflicted about this coffee, though when I say coffee I mean more as a concept than a cup as I haven’t tasted the 2007 crop (though did enjoy the 2006) 1. On one hand if I hear it spoken about again, or read another blog post on it (yes, yes – the hypocrisy) then I feel like I will go nuts. Its omnipresence online is immensely frustrating when you kind of wish people were talking about lots of coffees that are great and worth much discussion. Endless descriptions of people’s experiences, or excitement about it being served somewhere, or just referencing it and its price have become more than a little wearying to me.

That is on one hand. On the other hand it has generated unprecedented interest in Specialty Coffee, you can find dozens of articles in the press talking about the coffee, the places offering it or even the auction itself. And then there is the price. $130/lb is a huge of money, and whilst perhaps other lots within that particular auction didn’t sell for as much as some would have liked, it does make prices like $20/lb seem almost sensible, and $10/lb almost cheap for auction coffees (which of course is not the case, but I do hope it does lead prices higher) The price has given it power to generate column inches and also to prompt the previously disinterested to start asking questions.

A very confusing love/hate thing for me then – I appreciate the press it has generated yet resent its dominance. I worry that the industry will be seen as a one trick pony, that this coffee will become a “third wave JBM”. Then we have the wave of Geisha planting and no guaranteed reward for its crops 2

I am not saying this coffee isn’t worth the money. I am not saying that it isn’t an incredible coffee. I worry that unless we can move that attention to another coffee that hasn’t been bought for an incredibly high price, and isn’t some sort of digested novelty that we may lose some ground we have gained.
What are your thoughts? Has Esmeralda reached saturation point, or are we only at the beginning of its sparking of the public’s image and imagination? Thoughts in the comments please.

  1. Mark Prince Clovered some Esmeralda whilst we were in Vancouver but I can’t remember which crop it was  ↩︎
  2. I did a little reading a while back and found a study from Costa Rica in the 60s or 70s where Geisha was trialled and rejected (though mostly due to its yield).  ↩︎

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