So seriously... people think the huge tornado was caused by: a secret gov't weather weapon, publicly gay athletes (but NOT climate change)
Congratulations to all the Tumblr investors.
RT @karaswisher Yahoo Board to Meet Sunday to Consider $1.1 Billion, All-Cash Deal to Acquire Tumblr http://t.co/RsDSxjJiHu
My quick research shows it costs about $70 to order a service animal vest and card. No proof required.
If I end up needing medical attention due to this fake service dog, will @united pay my bills? #rhetorical
@mulegirl if it were I'd be spared about an hour of progressively breathing less and less. Hmmm. Maybe I should eat it?
@justinpirie using fake service dog vests to take your pet with you is as bad as using fake handicap parking tags.
Your skittish chihuahua is a service dog? REALLY?!? You don't just want to take it on the flight and don't care I'm violently allergic?
RT @bryce “Contrary to popular belief, raising venture capital is not a business model” http://t.co/wJvHGs6kzu
RT @bgurley Marketo also IPOs today, priced high end of the range and trading +50% from there. IPO market seems quite healthy.
And like that.... I actually, truly, go on vacation. See you in a bit interwebs.
SFO > DEN
RT @jeffsussna Should We Throw Out the Baby with the IT Bathwater? (IT as Agency) http://t.co/Qf4LAMeg6W
RT @russellquinn I’m looking for floating desk space somewhere in San Francisco, for 3 people, a couple of days a week.
RT @Missionstfood DB in PDX! RT“@Eater: Feast Portland announces schedule, chef lineup for 2013 http://t.co/7SDNDPKYJo”
@xeni welcome to SF. Now go to Mavelous and get some coffee
@sogrady Red Jack Saloon or The Buccaneer (or maybe Union Square Sportsbar for the generic experience).
There is a war going on. And we're all pretending otherwise. There is a war going on. And it's not just for the future of the Cloud - it's for its soul. Right now there is an enormous amount of chatter among the so-called Cloud Experts about "the dangers of forking." Let me be blunt - this is just another beclouding effort in an ongoing war by proxy. And as long as we are
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Until Design (and designers) can get beyond trying to settle the "Who is in Charge" question there is no future for Design beyond the rigid borders of the discipline.So the question is - what's really more important? Being in control or having an impact.
-- Full disclosure: I am an employee of OneTrueFan. --Yesterday OneTrueFan released a public preview of the company's Fan Intelligence (aka "Fan-alytics") solution. If you've not seen it, check it out.While this preview is really cool and exciting - I thought it would be interesting to see how much more someone could get out of it with a little more work.In this case, I decided it would be
Pundits and experts tell us that the key emotional strength of an entrepreneur is Passion. In my opinion this is untrue. Passion is in fact vital, but I would argue that it is an outcome of the true key strength. And that is Belief. Belief is what allows us to ignore the odds. Belief is what enables us to fight - again and again. Belief gives us strength and allow us to justify the sacrifices.
Someday, and that day may never come, I'll call upon you to do a service for me. But uh, until that day - accept this justice as a gift on my daughter's wedding day. - Vito Corleone, The GodfatherI come from the East Coast - from the tri-state area.I grew up working back of the house in restaurants.Perhaps this is why I believe that doing favors (and being owed favors in return) is a fundamental
Honestly, the only thing I can do is point you in the right direction in this case. The 7 Biggest Lies Out of Digital HollywoodI really wish I'd written this piece. Bravo!
Sometimes you see something on twitter that just HITS you.This is one of them.The new startup team is hacker + hustler + designer. -- @christineLOVE it.
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I just returned from what one might call a "trip of a lifetime."
Now... to be clear I don't mean that I rode on the Orient Express or climbed Everest or toured the Vatican. This wasn't a lifetime event for the travel, but rather for the food.
I was fortunate enough to get to spend some time in London, Paris and south of Biarritz on the Cote Basque. While in these places - I had some meals that rank amongst the best of my life. And for those who know the way I eat - that's a statement.
Given this, rather than doing a "trip report" that details each day blah blah - I'm going to simply talk about the stand-out places I ate, give some recommendations and provide closing thoughts.
First... Let's go through the stand-outs, ranked purely subjectively.
l'Arpege - Paris, FR
If you are are serious about food (either as a professional or a consumer) then you already know about Arpege and about Alain Passard. This is considered by most to be one of the greatest restaurants in the world - and has been consistently thought of as such for more than a decade now. Michelin 3 Stars. Top 20 in the Pelligrino rankings. Etc. Etc.
To be honest, I was a little worried about this meal. The menu is largely vegetarian. It's hugely expensive and outrageously hyped. Could it satisfy? Could it live up to the burden of expectations?
Um... yeah. Let's just say I was completely unprepared. The meal not only exceeded my expectations - it made me realize just how low a bar I'd been setting. Seriously.
But Passard clearly considers the above to simply be the minimum bar. Yeah... what other chefs strive for he considers the minimum. And he holds himself to this higher standard in a way that I've not seen before.
The meal challenged so many assumptions and perceptions about dining, food, meals and restaurants. As I said to a friend after, "I didn't even know I had blinders on for him to remove."
I'm a carnivore. I love meat in all ways and in general don't eat a lot of things that are green colored. And this has worked for me - as in general we assume that a dish uses a protein as its centerpiece. Passard could care less about this tradition. Instead he throws away all such labels and creates a meal that, while not vegetarian per se, ignores the protein-centric nature of fine dining. The combination of this freedom and the constraints that come with such a decision have enabled creativity that I've never seen before in restaurants. This isn't showy flashy creativity with foams and liquid nitrogen. No... this is gentle, subtle and elegant. This isn't experimental - it's creative genius.
The meal was the most expensive of my life (and by a huge margin). But I will not think of dining the same - and will never forget this night. To say there is no restaurant in the United States like this is doing a huge disservice to Passard. There simply is no restaurant like this in the world.
Throw away your prejudices, start saving, and just go. Absolutely one of the top three dining experiences of my life.
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal - London, UK
Another world famous chef - but in a new restaurant and setting. While The Fat Duck is modernist, experimental, molecular and in the countryside - Dinner is traditionalist, refined and in the city. This is a relatively new restaurant, but is clearly one that is going to be ranked amongst the best in the world (the newest Pellegrino rankings demonstrate this).
I have to confess that I was intimidated by the menu. British dishes from the 16th through 19th centuries?!?! Umm... Let's be honest - the general perception is that British food prior to the late '80s was at best marginally edible.
I was a fucking idiot.
The important detail is not the concept behind the menu - but rather the person behind the stove. And, as with l'Arpege, the constraints are applied to enable greater creativity. And it works. Good god does it work.
From the incredible Meat Fruit (a 16th century dish pictured here) to an absolutely perfect 48 hour slow cooked beef short rib - this was a bold statement by a gifted chef.
There is a huge amount of pride here - pride in the British heritage, British ingredients and British cooking. This is a chef challenging my preconceptions and biases about British food - and the biases and preconceptions of the food world as well.
The service was also exceptional. We were seated next to a couple who were engaged in a knockdown drag-out fight over dinner. No. I'll be honest and blunt. We were seated next to a horrific harpy who spent our entire meal abusing her husband verbally at quite high volume. The staff handled the situation professionally and as well as they possibly could - turning what could have been a bad experience for us into a great one. Oh... also, their bartenders are VERY good.
The only negative of the meal was the wine list. While the list is truly extraordinarily curated and focused - it's also dramatically over-priced (even for such a good restaurant in such an expensive city.
I would eat here again in a heartbeat - and in fact hope to eat here every time I come to London.
Briketenia - Guethary, FR
This was my first time visiting the Cote Basque and let me simply say it will most certainly not be the last. I feel like a fool for taking so long to get here. The combination of Basque and French cultures - seasoned with Parisian chic and money and California surfer style and vibe create a truly unique and wonderful place. And all this in a setting that is beyond magical.
Given the reputation of Basque food in the world these days - it should come as no shock that the food in this region is excellent. And of all the places we ate at - Briketenia stood out as by far the most special.
We arrived before sunset and as a result had a meal in the (wonderful) dining room while the light softened, the sun set and the world outside the huge windows transformed to night.
To be blunt... if I were served this meal in a Parisian 3-star restaurant I would have been overjoyed. And if those Parisian restaurants had the sort of honest, authentic and soulful service that Briketenia has - I think we'd all be much happier.
Finally... this meal was truly a bargain. While not a budget restaurant in any way - it was an extraordinary value for what we got.
One final side note: Guethary is a truly amazing place, with consistently stunning food. I cannot recommend it more highly if you are into food, culture, beauty and the ocean.
Ostalamer - Acotz, FR
You could call this a seafood house. I mean... it sits on a bluff overlooking the ocean (overlooking one of the great surf breaks in Europe in fact). And it serves local seafood. But let's be clear... most so-called seafood houses only dream of being this good.
Finding somewhere that takes the best, freshest seafood and cooks it honestly, simply and perfectly is shockingly hard in much of the world. It's likely that most Americans haven't really ever had the pleasure of such an experience. If you are such a person - you need to go to Ostalamer.
And the setting... just incredible. Like something from a dream. Sitting here, looking out over the Atlantic and down to the Pyrenees, sipping a simple Basque rose or a glass of Sangria and eating local seafood that was likely still swimming in the waters of St Jean de Luz early that morning... this is the life I live in my dreams. This is also the only restaurant that we ate at twice. In fact... we ate here two days in a row. And we would have gone back a third day had we been staying that long.
The only weakness is the deserts - which should simply be skipped (have another round of anchovies instead).
We ate at a number of other good restaurants (Fish House in London, Le Cinq Mars in Paris) that would have been highlights of many other trips I've taken. But in this context they were simply good and thus not worth detailing. This is no slight to them - but simply an indication of just how extraordinary the above restaurants are.
To say I am fortunate is an understatement. To say that I am grateful for this experience should be obvious.
Will I go back to l'Arpege? This is a question a few people have asked - and it's one I struggle with. To be honest, the cost of a meal there is simply hard for me to justify... twice. Would I suggest that someone who hasn't been there (and can afford it) go? Good god yes!!!! In a fucking heartbeat. But twice? That's tough. It's just so pricey.
What was my favorite dish? This is another oft-asked question - and another hard one to answer. The candidates for me would be the Beet Sushi from l'Arpege, the Meat Fruit from Dinner and the Anchovies from Ostalamer. And to be honest... I cannot choose and don't want to.
What was the worst meal I ate? That would be the ramen I cooked in my hotel room in London one night in a jet-lagged fugue state. My only defense is that jet lag would be considered a major psychological disorder if it were not self-correcting. So I plead temporary insanity.
What is the best food city? By population? Guethary. That's an easy one. In terms of odds of getting an edible meal? That again is easy - Paris. But in terms of my (personal) taste it would be London.
My big fear is that nothing in the rest of my life will live up to the last 2 weeks.
Thank you for taking me with you Valerie. It was perfect.
So Noma is now doing high quality coffee service.
For many in the coffee world, this is huge (and long waited for) news. In case you've been living under a rock - coffee in high end restaurants sucks. Everyone in coffee has bitched about this for... well... for as long as I've been in coffee at least. And (again in case you've been cut off from society for years) Noma is generally considered the 'best restaurant in the world' by many.
So this is great, right?
You'd think so. But no.
After Oliver Strand penned a well thought-out analysis of both the Noma news and the (related) news that 30% of all Michelin-starred restaurants use Nespresso pods, Kevin Knox responded with his rebuttal. And the shouting began.
Rather than wading into the whole sour coffee vs burnt coffee debate; and rather than diving into the different dining behaviors in the US and Europe; and staying well away from getting bogged down in the difference between Scandinavian and American coffee preferences; and avoiding the whole difference between a restaurant that is purely a business and a restaurant that is also an artistic statement (like Noma); I'm simply going to get to the heart of the matter.
1 - Noma is one of the best restaurants in the world, and Rene Redzepi is one of the greatest chefs in the world.
2 - Noma is a representation of Rene Redzepi's beliefs, palate, vision and when it comes right down to it, his ego and identity.
I have a hard time seeing anyone disagreeing with either of the two statements above.
So given this - why the fuck would Rene Redzepi choose to serve something (in this case coffee) that doesn't taste good to him?
Given what Redzepi has accomplished and created... shouldn't we give him the benefit of the doubt when it comes to what he serves?
He's earned at least that much.
I tend to think a lot about some of the challenges facing craft or artisan coffee. Over time, these challenges have changed. Whereas once upon a time simple relevancy was a huge challenge, the last three years have seen a widespread market adoption of the high end of coffee in the US.
Much of this adoption has been driven by more effective marketing by the coffee businesses themselves, but the increasing demand for "authenticity" amongst the growing hipster market (and their serious use of social media to promote their brand decisions) has also been a driving force. Hipsters are the early-adopters of this world and are creating a huge market as the followers stream in after them.
Unfortunately, the hipster market is a challenging one.
In a number of ways.
For coffee companies, one of the big challenges is, in fact, in the intersection of marketing / branding and "authenticity."
Because hipsters are so vulnerable to being marketed to with either authenticity based messaging (or cynical "faux-thenticity"messaging in many cases), we are seeing decision-making around coffee based not upon coffee, but upon marketing - while being presented as being about coffee.
Tonx! Tonx! Tonx! Tonx! Its everything Blue Bottle and Stumptown were before they got bought! @xeni @frauenfelder
— Jason Weisberger (@jlw) December 6, 2012
While I'm a huge fan of Tonx - this statement is deeply troubling to me -- and sadly ALL too common right now.
The implies a false equivalency - that Blue Bottle and Stumptown are (or were) comparable. And, in fact, they are comparable in a number of ways. But the implication is that their coffee is equivalent. I am confident that no-one at Blue Bottle or Stumptown would agree on this point. But the hipsters would argue to the death that they are.
And for the hipsters -- this is true. Both Blue Bottle and Stumptown (prior to the investments placed in each) represented the sort of faux-thenticity beloved by hipsters (and used to communicate their hipster cred).
The trouble is that hipsters talk about these brands not based upon their messaging, branding or market position - but rather about their coffee.
And this confuses everyone in the market - due to hipsters' aggressive use of social media among other things.
I mean... there is even a Flickr Hive Mind for "The World's Newest Photos of Blue Bottle and Stumptown" for god's sake!!! And blog posts. Foodies wonder. Even mainstream media has gotten in on the act.
There were a few years (before hipsters discovered speciality coffee) where it seemed like coffee was about to become about the coffee (rather than the brand and the marketing).
What we are seeing is the coffee version of gentrification. And I'm sure it makes the owners of companies like Stumptown and Blue Bottle very happy - as it is resulting in massive business opportunity.
But it's making it harder and harder to actually get good coffee - and harder and harder for coffee businesses that are interested first and foremost in coffee and customer experience to succeed.
In addition, because hipsters are (inherently) opposed to anything that attracts non-hipsters, they tend to reject the things they love once uncool people adopt them. This trend creating / destroying behavior is deeply frustrating as it's not based on anything the coffee companies do (coffee quality, customer experience, etc) but is instead effectively a form of punishing success.
This, in the end, is my hope. Sooner or later, the hipsters will move on and the businesses left behind will need to compete based upon things other than faux-thenticity. And some of them (sadly too few) will probably (I hope) choose to compete based on coffee.
In the meantime, beware the false equivalency.
I have a plea for the dozen or so people who still read this blog.
I need to source a new (replacement) brew switch for my vintage La Marzocco GS.
Sadly, the little plastic retaining tab snapped off (as they are likely to do).
And, of course, this part is no longer in-production.
It is the red "on" (or brew in fact) switch as illustrated below.
If anyone happens to have a line on such a switch, can you please let me know?
I've talked to the usual suspects, and no-one seems to have one.
Thanks in advance!
Over the last few years I believe we have seen a sustained and dramatic increase in quality of brewed coffee from the top (artisan speciality) coffee businesses. There are numerous potential causes, and it would be very interesting to debate what combination of forces has created this change - but that is not the topic of this piece (it would be more suitable for a lively conversation over beers).
In my opinion, the improvement in brewed coffee (while starting to slow down in pace) is still continuing and we are likely to see truly unparalleled coffees over the coming year.
Unfortunately, during this same time period I would argue that we have seen an equally dramatic decline in the quality of espresso coming from the high end of the coffee market. There are, of course, exceptions to this. In the last year or so I've had fantastic espresso from Tim Wendelboe, from Square Mile, from 49th Parallel and from Stumptown. But these are anomalies. The espressos from most if not all of the other leading companies have, to my taste and in my opinion, declined over this time. And many of the newly emerged coffee companies (despite often having fabulous brewed coffee) have produced sub-par espresso from the get-go. Again, the conversation of Why this is happening is something that is not well suited to a blog - and would be far better suited to a bar. So I will move on to my point.
As with brewed coffee, I don't see any signs at present that the trend is reversing. As a friend said when I ran this by him, "don't worry - it will come back into fashion." The trouble is that I love espresso - and I'm not very patient.
So... the point.
If you are in the coffee business and are producing espresso - make it taste good. Seriously. You'd be shocked by how many espressos out there fail this simple test.
If you are in the coffee business and are producing espresso - give a fuck. If you don't care about espresso - don't do it. Just stick with brewed coffees.
2011 in coffee... where do i start?
I recently helped a long-time friend (not in the coffee business) with his initial dive into the world of home espresso.
I thought that making espresso would be more like an art - with a lot of self-expression going on. But it's not really like that. It's also not like science - because it's really about producing something that tastes good (an inherently subjective goal). It requires right brain and left brain thinking.
I love reading people bitching about the poor quality of espresso they get in coffee bars.
I went to one of the top coffee bars in NYC last week and the espresso I got was terrible. I'm no longer going to coffee bars because I can make better coffee at home.
I'm not going into details.
- I used to work at Stumptown.
- I used to work at a Corporate Venture Fund.
- I'm a serial entrepreneur who has started multiple (externally funded) companies (two of which were sold to other companies).
- I am not writing this based on any sort of "insider information" on the deal. My relationship with TSG is purely second hand, and while I'm still a friend of many folks at Stumptown (including Duane) and a fan of the company and its coffee I'm neither involved with the company nor involved in the deal in any way. In fact, my guess is Duane and the Stumptown family are going to probably wish I'd not said anything.
- This is purely my opinion based on the points listed above under Perspective. In other words - I'm writing this as pure speculation (like everything else written in this thread -- and for that matter in the various press pieces covering this deal to date).
For me, there are two key things about this deal.
First - this is a huge validation for the high-end sector of the speciality coffee market. The fact that a fund like TSG is making a bet on Stumptown at this time says that they see significant potential for growth in the whole sector. This sector has long been ignored not just in the investment world (of course) but in the larger coffee world as well (the "less than 2% of the market" comment has been made a million times). For the other companies that have also been building the space, and for consumers of high-end coffees, this is great news. Sadly - as far as I know this has not be covered in the press. Given that it should be the main story, that makes me both sad and frustrated.
Second - that being said, there is one group of people out there who should be very nervous about this deal. And no... it's not Stumptown customers or Stumptown employees. It's competitors of Stumptown. In looking at the stated and rumored goals (open more retail locations in NYC, open business in Chicago, open business in SF) you can model this out to mean that (if successful) Stumptown will be at least doubling the volume of green coffee they are buying within 24 months. Where is that coffee going to come from? From other high-end roasters. And who will they be selling the roasted coffee to? That's right - customers of other roasters. And who will be working in these new roasteries and new retail locations? Yeah... you get the idea. Combining Stumptown's brand, relationships and expertise with a whole big stack of new capital... yeah, if I were running a competitor I'd be nervous.
Now... after talking to folks and reading all the crazy shit that's been out there - there are a couple things that I feel like I need to comment on. Again... these are just my opinions. But... well... I think I'm probably more right than most people.
- the idea that Duane is going to "cash out" and leave in a year or two is something that only someone who doesn't know him could ever come up with. The man has no hobbies. His entire life is coffee and Stumptown. He truly loves what he does - and he loves Stumptown. In the time I worked at Stumptown he never took a vacation longer than a 3 day weekend that I can remember. There is absolutely no way that he would (or perhaps could) do something else (and that includes not working). As a result, I feel like we can absolutely assume that his motivation was something other than "cashing out" -- which fundamentally changes the structure and tenor of the deal (given that it changes the motivation).
- everything I hear says that Stumptown was doing better financially than it ever had before. In other words, financial hardship (another common motivator for capitalization deals like this) was not the driver.
- given this, I have to assume that the motivation was in fact capitalization for growth and opportunity. This makes sense to me. Duane used to always say he wanted to bring great coffee to everyone in the world who loved things that taste good.
- now, while it's entirely possible that TSG was talking to other roasters in order to pursue a roll-up strategy, it's perhaps more likely that this was simply a pricing and competition exercise for TSG. I know it sounds sleazy but many serious investors do it. I've done it. Yeah... it causes bad feelings if the companies that are not the investment target take things personally and feel like they were either used or jilted in the process. That's life. That's business.
- as noted at the start, my relationship with TSG is purely second hand (I have friends who know them, who are at companies that have worked with them or co-invested, etc). That said, once I heard about the deal I asked around and came back with 100% positive responses. And - just to be clear - in the PE world that is not common. In fact, an associate I know at one of the most highly regarded early stage VC funds said that TSG was his dream gig. And the reputation that Alex Panos had amongst these folks was equally impressive.
- so... Very good investment firm puts money into thriving growing private company because that company wants to grow rapidly in an expanding new market. Pretty damn common, yeah? And I think we can at this point say that the usual rules, metrics and models of a deal like that probably also apply to this particular deal, okay?
To be frank, I'm kind of shocked that Stumptown was able to scale as it did without investment. As far as I know, they were the largest high-end speciality coffee company that didn't have outside investment. I'm guessing that this exact success was one of the main reasons TSG was so attracted to them.
Of course, the deal is also a validation of Stumptown. And that is an important point. No good investors are going to put money into a company based on its success and then destroy what has made it successful.
- Stumptown has kicked ass to date
It has done so with no external capitalization (straight bootstrapping)
The entire market sector is primed to grow over the next 5-7 years
Stumptown is best positioned to take advantage of that
Let's accelerate Stumptown's growth to take advantage of these circumstances.
This will result in Stumptown being the dominant player in a newly expanded market sector at the end of this time period.
To do this, let's use external capital (investment) in order to massively expand Stumptown's geographic footprint.
At least... that's my perspective and (unfounded and speculative) opinion.
Oh... also... I used to write for the NYTimes.
I believe strongly in journalistic ethics.
Suffice it to say that there are people who have been involved in the coverage of this "story" who should not only be ashamed but should not ever be considered in any way "journalists" of any sort.
So everyone is excited about the news baskets hitting the market, in particular the VST baskets that are coming with the new LM Strada.
A quick message to the folks working at and running the high end, quality focused craft coffee companies in the US.
So this morning was my first day with the incredible Espressoparts La Marzocco GS.
- Will Intelli Chicago be able to keep their best employees?
- Will Stumptown's indy punk rock vibe sell in the midwest?
- Will Intelli open in Portland?
- Will Stumptown go for a beer and wine license?
- Will Intelli try to better leverage Ecco now?
- Will Stumptown be Stumptown without bike messengers?
- Who will Alinea use?
I am the luckiest person in the world.
For many reasons.
Today just brought me another reason.
This is a hugely important step for the coffee industry and I am so incredibly happy about it happening.
So, the demo Anfim is boxed up and about to be shipped away.
Rather than doing a retrospective analysis of 2010 (too obvious and there are people better than me at doing this), or doing a set of predictions for 2011 (my ego isn't THAT big) - I'm instead going to share my hopes for coffee in 2011.
I'm going to structure this quite simply...
What I hope happens with coffee in 2011
- Volume of sales
- Green bean purchasing and management
- Marketing (coolness, buzz, brand, etc)
- Preparing coffee the right way
So I've been running a little experiment over here.
I'm glad to be able to announce that my long dreamed of product is now available.
Now that was a nice table!
As mentioned earlier, I was lucky enough to be selected as one of the judges for the coffee track of the Good Food Awards.
I'm incredibly honored to be judging the coffee category for the Good Food Awards.
Anyone who pays attention to coffee will have noticed the (welcome) trend away from darker roasted coffee in the high end ("craft") segment of the speciality market.
- While underdevelopment is in no way tied to light roast degrees, roasting light is harder than roasting dark. I've had underdeveloped coffees roasted to a Full City+ roast degree - and I've had coffees that were roasted to a Cinnamon degree and were wonderfully and fully developed. But it does seem like a lot of the underdeveloped coffees come from folks who are (bluntly) still learning how to roast to a light degree.
- That being said, there are even more underdeveloped coffees coming out of roasters who only think in terms of roast degree and have a black and white simplistic view of coffee (light roast degree == good; darker == bad). These roasters do not seem to have "development" on their list of things to care about.
- There is a large segment of the coffee industry that follows short-term trends. These folks seem to be following the over-simplified "light roast degree == good" roasters without really thinking about the implications.
- A huge challenge is that there is a somewhat large (and vocal) group who are unquestioning cheerleaders of the "light == good" school. I've had folks defend severely underdeveloped coffees with statements like "grassy can be good - like fresh cut lawns" and "well that coffee just tastes like lemon and artificial sweetener."
- And of course - perhaps the largest challenge is the (never-ending) culture in speciality coffee of not airing dirty laundry in public (and never speaking ill of your competitors). This lack of honesty continues to do immeasurable damage to the entire industry.