Sunday, October 14, 2007

Communiqué #4: DAUPHIN KAFFEE™

This is an event that is roughly 7 years in the making... we have finally launched DAUPHIN KAFFEE our first house brand of coffee. What took you so long you may ask. Well truth be told we've spent the last ten years at learning about coffee. You know how it is when you're young and you think you know it all. The partners and I aren't very different in that respect. Back in 1999 when we first launched the web site simply selling Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee was enough. Years and many, many lessons later we walked away with a bit more experience and I hope wisdom. Here are a few of the lessons learned along the way which went into the production of our new Dauphin Kaffee brand.

1. Reputation is great but it does not entitle you to rest on your laurels. In the coffee world there is a great deal of talk about how so much of the world's great coffee origins have lost their luster. Kenya's once legendary AA, the United States home grown Kona and yes the venerable Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee have suffered since the introduction of true specialty coffee. Today professionals in the coffee industry are far more likely to rave about a new Bourbon, Sumatra or Tarrazu sooner than issuing a few kind words for a Kenya AA, Kona or Jamaica Blue. Truth is that many of the historically interesting origins have not kept up the pace of quality and subsequently have lost valuable cups to other origins who have simply stepped up their quality game.

2. The coffee world is changing for the better and the coffee drinker’s palate is to thank for that. Starbucks has done a lot to raise the attention of the public to quality coffee. Shocking right? Not really, give credit where credit is due. Consider this, the growth of specialty coffee shops is growing at a fevered pace in an attempt to fill niches that Starbucks cannot fill. The independent coffee shops are growing in no small part due to Starbuck’s march through the market. These retailers are not selling coffee to a faceless hoard, they are indeed selling coffee to you and me. With each new cup we are all informing our palates and establishing our likes and dislikes. This is ultimate the best thing to happen to coffee since it left Ethiopia. Any one hoping the introduce a coffee today had better have something interesting to offer… mountain grown is no longer good enough for anyone anymore.

3. The more things become advanced the more we appreciate the good ol’ days. In the coffee world, there simply aren’t a lot of good ol’ days to look back on. Truth be told the product until recently has been a commodity which means commodity production and commodity price fluctuations. In the single flicker of a ticker millions of small farmers could be a have been wiped off the financial face of the earth. Recently and miraculously the world at large has begun to realize that ‘all coffees are not created equal.’ Where in the past great micro-lot coffees which were raised with skill and care to maturity by a farmer would have been harvested and dumped into the same processing plant then stamped Café Columbia or Kaffee Ethiopia and shipped off for bidding. Today, everyone is actively searching for not only single origin coffees, exceptional micro-lots but also rare heirloom plants. These genetically unaltered plants are like a taking a time machine back to the good old botanical days before genetic engineering and modern hybrids. Any one with heirloom plants out there, hold on to your hats… great things are coming your way.

4. Freshness isn’t a slogan it’s for real. Once you go really fresh you’ll never go back. Considering how fast fresh roasted coffee goes stale it begs the question, why would anyone buy stale coffee. The answer is simple, slogans. Imagine generations of Americans have been convinced that factory ground supermarket coffee is actually fresh! Perhaps that coffee was “freshly placed in your shopping cart” maybe it was “freshly can opened” but believe me it wasn’t fresh. A better question is how old is it? No one knows because short of a roasted on date there is simply no way to know. All that said truly fresh coffee is one of the best guarantors of excellent flavour… mind you not the only one.

Warm Regards,
Jerry Delince
Managing partner

Jamaica Blue Mountain Traders, LLC.
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