New Consumer TV item on FT/Organic Supermarket Coffees

A while ago some people rang up and asked Anette if she wanted to cup some supermarket and branded FairTrade and Organic coffees for a short tv item. She said no and passed them on to me, and for some reason I said yes.

Cafe Direct had heavy involvement and the other cupper who I would be tasting with was Thierry from TWIN (who source for Cafe Direct). We were to cup 6 coffees blind and initially supposed to give them a score. However I felt quite uncomfortable giving them a score as the best wasn’t even a 4/10, so instead we gave a this is the best of them and this the worst.

I am glad I brought my own spoons as you can see the presenter using the ones they supplied, and amusingly Thierry (who brought the ladles spoons) ended up asking to use one of mine.

I am hesitant about posting this here as I figure I look pretty stupid most of the time so why broadcast that, and I didn’t really have anything to do with how the cupping was done but hopefully I don’t say anything that is too foolish. No, I have no idea why I am listed as “Coffee Expert”, and Yes – I do talk posh.  An Yes – some of the coffees are so bad that the poker face is completely lost.
The coffees on the day were:

  • M&S Fairtrade Organic Kenyan Medium Roast. (£2.69)
  • Percol Fairtrade Organic Guatemala. (£2.49)
  • Taylors of Harrogate Fairtrade Guatemalan Cloud Forests. (£2.89)
  • Clipper Papua New Guinea Roast and Ground Arabica Organic. (£2.99)
  • Cafedirect Machu Picchu Organic Fresh Ground Coffee. (£3.19)
  • Sainsburys Fairtrade Colombian Ground Coffee. (£2.49)

(Prices for a 227g pack of preground)

Please make fun in the comments…..


8 Comments New Consumer TV item on FT/Organic Supermarket Coffees

  1. Jason

    Is that the Starbucks logo on your tee shirt??

    “Hmm.. That one tastes a little odd to me”, great.

  2. jim

    Its an Albina Press T-shirt, based on the Sex Pistol’s cover, except here the text says “God Save the Barista.”

  3. Mark

    I’ve turned down more than a few of these “opportunities” over the years – on radio, television, and print.

    They always seem to be fuelled by a specific importer’s / roasters’ push to get a media source to promote their offerings.

    I haven’t outright turned them all down though – I have a “show your balls” test of sorts in response. If I find out that there’s a tasting evaluation for, say, a range of Fair Trade coffees from roaster XYZ, I say I’d love to participate, but only if you’re willing to put up coffee so and so (usually an award winner, like CoE, or in the case of FT, which was usually mostly Africans back in the day), some standout Ethiopian or Kenyan I was aware of at the time. I’d argue that in a cupping evaluation, it’s important to have a mix on the table, and perhaps have one coffee that the specialty industry considers a thoroughbred.

    In pretty much every case where I’ve suggested it, two things have happened. Either its turned down outright by the show’s producer / director / host (rare – usually they like the idea), or it’s initially accepted, but then rejected later on when the article / show’s main contributor / backer / pusher gets wind of the idea, and staunchly rejects it.

  4. Mike

    You missed an opportunity…. when she said “so how do they rank?” the correct answer would be “well, they all are…..”

    The guy from MOZZO was great too eh? He managed to combine fairtrade, organic, Colombian and Arabica in to one sentence, which he summarised as ‘quality’, yet actual coffee quality is the one thing they seem to have no measure of or regard for!

    It’s a shame you couldn’t get a CoE on the table… the dizzy tart may have begun to understand what coffee is actually about.

  5. rob berghmans

    the girl looked better than the coffee’s.

    happy you guys sticked the right names on it. this gives cupping a more serious reputation to the wider public.

    good luck in Tokyo.

    Antwerp Barista

  6. Sarah Allen

    James, you’re so nice. I always appreciate how polite and patient you are with people who don’t know coffee as well as you do, but want to learn. It’s that kind of humility that opens the door for consumers who might otherwise be intimidated by the process. You rawk.

  7. Grendel

    This was fascinating James – I’m constantly amazed that retailers ignore so much of what is important in the product in favour of what is important on the package.

  8. jason dominy

    Love the shirt! Will try and find one. And congrats on the win for all baristas!

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