dlo Senior Member Joined: 29 Jan 2012 Posts: 2 Location: UK Expertise: Professional
Posted Thu Sep 20, 2012, 10:30pm Subject: Single Portion Drinks
Im interested in people's views on single portion drinks, $8 billion of global shares and the fastest growth category in coffee, almost 50% of that being Nespresso, what are the views of fellow geeks ?
Well, thanks to clever marketing, uninformed and as far as quality coffee is concerned de-educated John Q. Public probably thinks Nespresso and the likes is the penultimate coffee/espresso experience, highly convenient and luxurious.
Most CoffeeGeeks will tell you it's an approximation of espresso at best, if not rubbish.
*** "This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee)
Posted Fri Sep 21, 2012, 5:15am Subject: The coffee continuum.
I can only tell you my thoughts. Your actual thoughts and opinions may vary.
I view coffee quality/experience as a continuum. On the bottom end, there's the weak, overextracted, boiled, sitting on the burner for 90 minutes, made with open container stale 15% robusta coffee, known as office pot swill.
We've all had that coffee. Call it a 0% on the continuum.
Then, there's the elusive "God shot", or the brewed coffee equivalent of "God in a cup". That's the transient, near-orgasmic experience that the real enthusiasts dedicate years chasing. Made with freshly roasted, peak-flavor/properly rested 100% top quality Arabica, with nearly indescribable nuances and flavors. Ground to perfection and brewed spot on such that a second either direction or a couple degrees down or up would be under or over developed. Call that 100% on the continuum. It's when the stars align, the water is perfect, the coffee is perfect and the brewing was flawless.
In reality, we that use top quality SO coffee, freshly roasted, and know our brewing method probably consistently operate in the 80% level consistently.
Starbucks press pot brews are probably (in my experience) near this level - 75% consistently, but dependent on what you're looking for and if you like any of their coffees. Their super-auto espresso is probably around this same range but I'd have to knock it down to 50%-60% because of the lack of choice in coffee (there is no choice), and a shot is basically set as ~30g of 5.1% strength - no ability to make a ristretto or a lungo.
Starbucks pourovers? Probably run about 35%-40%. They dump and drain, resulting in underextraction, and they compensate for this by updosing.
Normal consumer drip brewers where the brew ratio is left up to the consumer and the coffee could be anything? My guess is consistent operation in the 25%-35% continuum range, where the older percolator pots were probably around 20%-25% or so.
Having framed my thoughts, I'd say that many of the single cup brewers are VERY consistent - more so than many operating a Silex 12-cup brewer at home.
Choice of coffee for the single cup brewers trends toward very dark roast - and lots of that type of flavor in those brews. That's some loss of flexibility.
So, on average, there's the consistency, and a different flavor profile than most people are used to. I'd expect that in general, they operate in the 40% range of the continuum.
Is it penultimate experience for coffee? Nope. Is it noticeably better than most JQP can do without becoming somewhat educated about coffee? Absolutely. Can I outbrew any single cup brewer? You bet. Are they convenient as heck? Oh yeah they are.
I personally don't like single cup brewing because of the per-cup cost. I also don't like the lack of flexibility - you have a pod or a capsule, you can't brew it with any changes to the brew parameters (of course you can fill your own K-cups, but I find that somewhat of a hack). I'm also concerned about the question of freshness - ground coffee cannot be stored indefinitely.
------------------------------------------ ----------------------------------------- Le café doit être noir comme le diable, chaud comme l'enfer, pur comme un ange, et doux comme l'amour.
"There is no right answer with coffee. There is only the elixir in your cup at the moment you partake."
"...I often say that when you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind;..." - Lord Kelvin RECIPES thread => http://www.coffeegeek.com/forums/coffee/machines/585708
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