Lately I have been thinking a lot about the calls to increase coffee and tea consumption that are often heard
during promotional campaigns for these bever ages. Population growth and increasingly high standards of living in many populous countries push technological developments and lead to increased mass production of coffee and tea. But quantity seems to have eclipsed quality as a goal:
I can remember the time (in the early 1990s) 1 when fresh Darjeeling tea brewed in a regular
teapot could fill the whole room with an incompa rable aroma.
Who can claim to be so lucky today?
As part of my job, I get to taste coffee and tea produced in different countries. I often tell consumers about the differences between varieties of tea and coffee and about the unique properties of each variety. But it is becoming harder and harder in practice to convince people that those differences exist. Mass produced foods are becoming increasingly indistinguishable. You will agree that today not every professional, let alone regular consumers, will be able to tell the BOP from South India from the BOP from Indonesia, Jamaica Blue Mountain from Guatemala Antigua… This may be the reason why novelty is in such high demand, and new, more and more original types of beverages come onto the market – for example, tea produced using panda droppings, etc. People want to taste something different, but… high demand can “kill” every new idea. For example, Kopi Luwak used to be a truly unique variety, but now you can find it in every respectable coffee shop.
What made this possible?
The answer is that these beans used to be picked up by hand, one by one, deep inside the jungle habitat of wild palm civets, where animals ate only those coffee berries that appealed to them; today in Indonesia there are farms where civets are bred in captivity and fed a diet of coffee berries. And I think it is time to admit that people today often buy this coffee not for its unique quality, but for an attractive name.
What’s my point?
It is that in order to preserve the uniqueness of coffee and tea we must change our priorities. Instead of aiming to increase consumption, we should strive to decrease it, so that quality doesn’t fall victim to mass demand. Let coffee and tea become inaccessible again, let people pay high prices for them – but, at least, every consumer will know what he or she is paying for… And for the mass consumer maybe we can create in the future a new, hybrid beverage – coffeetea? It can combine all the beneficial ingredi ents of both plants, its taste and aroma will be original, but at the same time uniform. It will necessarily be a blend, not ‘single origin’, and so mass production will not be able to destroy its personality. Our magazine is ready to start a discussion about the future of coffee and tea, and I invite all interested parties to send us their thoughts and articles on this topic.
6 CALENDAR OF EVENTS
18 Hot drinks in Finland. Coffee continues to dominate hot
20 Hot drinks in the Baltics. Consumer curiosity, global price hikes and Economic recovery drive The growth of the baltic Hot drinks markets
22 The ABCs of specialty coffee
26 T.I.A. . this is Africa, or Ethiopian proceedings
30 Future global coffee trends
32 Improve your business opportunity with double chamber knotted teabags
34 Smile, gentlemen, smile
40 Tea.based gastronomical compositions and the informational structure of the tea carte
44 «Your cup will reveal you to me...»
46 Turkish tea for dummies
52 ADVERTISER INDEX