Change Of Regular Coffe Bean In The Eighties?
I was hoping some of the experts here could help me out. My mother-in-law asserts that regular coffee "used to taste better and mellower" before the mid-eighties, and that now most regular coffees tend to be more bitter. We're talking regular bargain coffees here, like Maxwell House and Eight O'Clock and the stuff they serve at places like Dunkin Donuts.
Is there anything that changed in the American coffee industry in a generalized way that could account for her observation? Change of bean? Process? Etc...
01-07-2007 07:19 PM
Re: Change Of Regular Coffe Bean In The Eighties?
I am not sure if I have the whole picture, but this is my understanding of the history of American coffee....back in 1976 and 1977 green beans price went through the roof, peaked over $3 a pound. In order to reduce cost roasters started to put robusta beans into their coffees, initially just a bit, but I think over times they became mostly robusta. So yeah pre-robusta American supermarket coffees were better than current supermarket coffees. Another thing also happened, some roasters mixed in flavors to cover up the bad taste, and started this flavored coffee thing that is still with us today.
Originally Posted by alphadog
You want cream and sugar?
NO COFFEE FOR YOU! NEXT!
Sorry for digging up an old thread.
But I've seen it mentioned elsewhere on the forum that older coffee was more robusta. And the market changed to now becoming mostly arabica.
Don't listen to anything I've said, however, because I just born in the Eighties.
Inflation is again causing blenders and roasters to substitute cheaper Robusta for Arabica beans, like the 70s.
The article below is what drove me to this forum in search of a pure Arabica bean coffee that i could substitute for Dunkin, which i've generally been happy with, having never ventured to something better.
Any suggestions for the best value pure Arabica bean? Live in NYC if that makes a difference.
The Bitter Truth About Why Your Coffee Isn't Tasting as Good Lately
Oscar Wilde once said, "A cynic is someone who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing."
If he was right, the supermarket aisles of America are probably crowded with coffee-drinking "cynics" right now.
Reuters is reporting that many of America's major brands have been quietly tweaking their coffee blends. While most coffee companies consider their blends trade secrets, and are loath to disclose exactly what goes into them, both circumstantial and direct evidence suggests they're now substituting lower-grade Robusta beans for some of their pricier Arabica, and degrading the quality of our coffee.
Here's What's Brewing
Research out of agricultural bank Rabobank confirms that demand for Arabica beans among coffee buyers "has fallen 27% year-to-date, while Robusta [demand] is 25% higher." This seems to confirm a widespread alteration of the bean mix.
At least one coffee roaster has admitted it. In November, Massimo Zanetti USA, which roasts for both Chock full o'Nuts and Hills Bros., publicly confirmed upping its Robusta usage by 25% this year.
Why the switcheroo? Prepare to not be shocked. The answer is: price.
Last year, a shortage of Arabica caused prices of the premium bean to spike as high as $3 a pound -- $2 more than what a pound of Robusta would cost. This compares to a five-year historical trend of Arabica costing closer to 70 cents more than Robusta. In recent weeks, the trend has reversed, with Arabica prices falling to just a 62-cent premium over Robusta.
What's It Mean to You?
If you're a coffee purist, then this all probably sounds like dirty pool.
But really, all the coffee companies are doing is trying to match demand for their product with a price people are willing to pay. And already, mainstream coffee brands such as Kraft's Maxwell House and J.M. Smucker's Folgers have responded to falling coffee prices by lowering the prices they charge consumers.
More premium coffee purveyors such as Starbucks, in contrast, have been slow to follow suit.
Last edited by HSquared; 01-09-2013 at 08:39 AM.
I think the "best value Arabica bean" can be quite subjective. Buy fresh, high quality beans from a small roaster you trust. Even then there is the diversity of the different regions and taste preference. Are you looking to roast at home? I love Nicaraguan beans but that may not be your thing.