The Media is Driving me Nuts!

June 26, 2013

Wow, I just got to get this off my chest.  So last week we saw a little bit more of coffee in the television media, with Seven Sharp doing a piece on Flight Coffee selling an espresso coffee for $12 per cup.  So starts with the panel introducing the article and rebuffing the prospect of paying $12 for a coffee.  The interviewer then spends the majority of the article dismissing the uniqueness of the coffee because "it just tastes like coffee" to her.  If any credit is due, then it must be recognised that some effort was made to explain why a premium microlot will cost more, however, scepticism was running rife through the article and found cynical support in the studio in rejecting the notion of a $12 cup.  

All up this is a typical piece on coffee where the interviewer just does not get it... or does not want to get it.  The Breakfast program covered the Barista Champs this year, sending a reporter who professed up front that they did not like coffee, and then had him consume an espresso on camera.... um, that makes sense?  Inevitably though most coverage revolves around the price of a cup of coffee, for some reason it seems unthinkable that coffee could be considered a high price product.  

The point of Flight, ourselves or any other coffee company selling a coffee for over $5 per cup is that it is a high grade specialty coffee or a unique microlot, it is not meant to be an everyday purchase or to replace your flat white or latte.  This coffee can cost us anywhere from 2 to 10 times the standard price of specialty coffee, so don't get your knickers in a twist media... its supposed to be an experience, to enjoy a coffee that you don't necessarily consume every day and that may feature flavours you don't normally experience in coffee.  Is it so crazy that the second most traded commodity in the world has a huge range in flavour characteristics and quality, why is it that the media seems to recognise coffee strictly as a uniform product?  Isn't it nice to think that some farmers are producing some exceptional quality and fetching a high price for their efforts, is that really strange to the same people that think fair trade is fantastic form of consumer purchasing? I thought that nothing is fairer than farmers in developing nations receiving a high price for their product.

So, to the print media... cafe reviews, what a disgrace.  Not sure who does the Canvas reviews but clearly not people with experience in the food and beverage industry, they touch very briefly on coffee usually describing it as good, strong or hot.  Often the hot chocolate or the vessel it comes in will attract more of a comment, god forbid you use a small vessel, jeepers is it 1997?  Cafe Awards, and good on Metro for having them, however they do seem to be completely food and fit-out focused, again coffee scarcely gains a mention.  

So please media, stop dumbing down the coffee industry.  There are some companies sourcing fantastic coffees and producing some outstanding flavours.  Lets move to the next level the same way that wine did years ago and the same way craft beer has recently developed.  These industries in New Zealand receive glowing media profiles, where the media totally accepts outstanding complexity in NZ boutique wineries and embraces unique flavours in craft beer.  Expect more from coffee, it is out there!