Are we in the Golden Age of Coffee?
I have been thinking about this as I was looking to order some coffee today, it seems like we might be at one of those very happy convergence points. For coffee this happens to be that time when the best of the best coffee is still very affordable and yet there is knowledge about it. There have been times when coffee has been much cheaper, however the knowledge of coffee was worse.
By knowledge I am not meaning brewing methods, but the actual growing, processing and transporting of coffee. Also, the appreciation of those coffees. It seems like most coffee producing countries now have Cup of Excellence competition to determine the best coffee produced in that country for an particular season. As has been discussed before this helps everyone involved, consumers/roasters get a more knowledgable indicators of which coffees are better and the producers get a better prices for their coffees.
This has led for example the Cup of Excellence winner in Panama getting $110.50 a pound for their green coffee. That is an amazing price based on our current standards of coffee prices. What's even more amazing is that you can get a half pound of it expertly roasted for only $70.00. It sounds like a lot, but if you think about how much people pay for the best for other food products it's really quite the bargin.
Of course things could get better, more of those Starbucks farms producing bad coffee could realize the error of their ways and decide to take better care in their coffee farming and give us even better coffee keeping it relatively at the same price. BUT global warming could drastically impact where exceptional coffee can be grown and there just might not be another suitable spot for our lucious plant to be fawned over, or a lot of other people could realize that good coffee is worth the price and drive up the price as well.
However, right now I think the price is very affordable and we would all be well advised to enjoy it! Now should I get the El Savador Cup of Excellence coffee or that other new Kenya Peaberry?