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  1. #1
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    Questioning the hegemony of Starbucks beans

    I've tasted beans from Figaro, a Kalinga brand, a Cavite brand. While I'm proud that we've coffee farms that supply to various restaurants and outfits (such as Figaro), I've always had low regard for their taste. Compared to Starbucks beans, our local beans are nothing!

    Now, of course through some reading I've come to know that we only grow robusta beans which are generally known to have less dynamic flavor than arabica beans. So I guess the only harvester and roaster and distributor of great coffee will forever be Starbucks?

    No. I've come to question that, recently.

    My mom brought home some beans from a bazaar stall. The stall claimed to have Panama-imported beans which they roast themselves. I pulled a shot, added hot water to to comprise about 30-40% volume of the final americano. Cup assessment: flat. It's as if the beans just came from Cavite.

    Next instance: Hawaiian 10% Kona coffee that my girlfriend's ninong brought home from the US state. I pulled a doppio, and made an Americano again. Cup assessment: taste just as dynamic as the Panama shot, but this one has some unique twist to it. Almost like Cavite and Kalinga.

    SO, if every other coffee I've tasted from around the world has the same, general level of taste, WHY THE HECK does Starbucks still taste better? So here's my conspiracy theory...STARBUCKS PERFORMS CHEMICAL MODIFICATIONS ON THEIR BEANS. I mean, could they ever supply the whole world with that same, bold-tasting coffee? They could be doing something fishy.

    Today, I've come to have some level of respect for our own local beans which do not taste too far from coffees around the world.

  2. #2
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    Where are you from?

    Starbucks is at least selling arabica beans. There is no comparison between arabica and robusta. No chemical modification is necessary to get an arabica bean to taste great, especially when compared to a robusta.

    I'm not sure what you were sold from the stall in the market or what the other 90% of the Kona was comprised of, but I can assure you that Starbucks doesn't have the market cornered on quality coffee. As a matter of fact, many people consider Starbucks to be inferior to local, small-batch roasted coffee available anywhere in the US.

  3. #3
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    OK, I finally figured out you are from the Philippines. And it sounds like you have decent coffee making equipment at your disposal.

    I'd be happy to send you some quality arabica beans at no charge, but am guessing the cost of shipping would be more than the beans are worth.

  4. #4
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    Is that so? Gosh, when I was there I just swooned over all the bean choices at Walmart. It seems I should've been more on the look for those local roasters.

    Well, the Philippines does some Arabica growing up the mountains. Someday I'd like to have a look at how coffee is handled and transported. I've the gut feeling that it's the bad handling that drains the taste by the time I get it from the cafe. And pardon me! I just thought that this forum is locally hosted so I just started dishing out locally known brands and names.

    Thanks, sir, but that will be fine! Starbucks will have to make do.

  5. #5
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    Where did you visit in the States?

  6. #6
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    The Walmarts I went to were mostly in Durham, NC. Next time I'd like to go to Seattle.

  7. #7
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    I bet you will like Seattle.

    Btw, there is a world of difference between the Southeastern US and the Western part of the country, imo. (Except for Walmarts. You will even see the same people in those stores in Seattle and Durham.)

  8. #8
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    Wearashirt,

    To your conspiracy theory Starbucks has 3 huge roasteries around the U.S. (maybe more now). Everything is computer controlled. The beans are all climate controlled to get the same moisture content, the roasters are all computer controlled to deliver the exact same roast each time, and they've got some very good cuppers who know how to blend so that the coffee tastes the same each time. I highly doubt they're adding chemicals when creating consistency shouldn't be a huge problem for them.
    Wrinkles only go where the smiles have been -- Jimmy Buffett (via Mark Twain)

  9. #9
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    I agree with you wearashirt, I have spent some time in the Philippines and I find that the coffee is not as good as it is back home. Could it be the water though? It was ok and much better than China (at least where I was) but not as good as what I am used to back home. It might be the Barista also. I think that the shipping might be an issue also.

    I agree with expat, I do not think that Starbucks is adding anything to their coffee, they have just perfected mass production.

 

 

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