Brewing A New PR Campaign
By Brian Martell
There will always be the same amount of “stuff”
By Brian Martell
In the world of science there is a
principle known as the Law of Conservation of Matter. Essentially, it
states that there will always be, terrestrially speaking, the same
amount of “stuff” on this planet as there was 100 million years ago,
give or take a few tons to account for asteroid strikes.
In the world of science there is a principle known as the Law of Conservation of Matter. Essentially, it states that there will always be, terrestrially speaking, the same amount of “stuff” on this planet as there was 100 million years ago, give or take a few tons to account for asteroid strikes.
It also states that when you create a new compound by melding two elements together, there will be no loss, nor gain, just a transformation in the form of two different types of matter into one new type.
So, no matter how you slice it, we have had and will always have the same amount of water (for example) on Earth as we always had and will forever have, although it may be in different forms (ice, steam, hydrogen, oxygen, etc.).
So what does the law of conservation have to do with coffee? Well, plenty.
You see, there are certain inescapable truths about coffee; one of them being strength predicated on, among other things, coffee weight in the brew basket. Coffee strength is measured in TDSs (total dissolved solids), which is the ratio of water to coffee oils that have been dissolved in the liquid coffee during the brewing process.
When TDS meters are used to evaluate coffee, they usually give readings measured in percentage of coffee oil – where 1.2 per cent would be a reasonably strong cup of coffee. All other things being equal, the more coffee you use in the brew basket, the stronger the coffee will be.
Strength is also inextricably combined with the quality of the end product. Very good ground coffee brewed at a low weight will not yield a good cup of coffee just as surely as a poor quality ground coffee brewed at the proper weight will also yield a bad cup.
Now at this juncture, it is really important to stress that when it comes to coffee strength it is the weight that counts and not the volume of coffee used. Certain coffees will have more volume depending on the roast (the lighter the roast the greater the density), but by and large, the weight in the brew basket determines strength.
Some coffees may be made to seem stronger with a darker roast and therefore a more bitter brew, or by grinding the coffee finer for the application that it was intended; these have been called “high yield” and have not been part of the foodservice business for many years (thankfully).
High yield was first introduced in the late ’70s following a spike in green coffee prices. The idea was to mitigate the cost increases per pound by reducing the cost per pot or cup in the brewed form by reducing the weights. Unfortunately, this had disastrous effects as the quality of coffee suffered under the high yield regime.
It now looks like Folgers is introducing a coffee that sounds like high yield all over again. The typical can of Folgers in the United States is a 39-ounce product that now will be sold in a 33.9-ounce format – with the claim that the same amount of cups can be produced with less weight but the same amount of volume.
Part of the Folgers’ claim is that a new roasting technique has been developed to reduce the moisture levels in its coffee through a “pre-roasting process” developed over the last 10 years.
Again, it seems what was once old is new.
Many years ago, it was possible to buy (and may still be) “par-roasted” coffee, which was slightly roasted but before the point where the cell structure of the coffee was altered forever (thus making the coffee oils available and rendering the coffee volatile in the freshness sense of the word) to reduce the moisture content and therefore make the beans lighter for transport. The idea never really caught on, but it did have the effect of reduced cost on shipment, but greater processing costs at the point of origin.
Folgers’ point is that by reducing the moisture content in the coffee through the pre-roast cycle, the coffee will have more soluble oils by weight to extract and therefore yield a stronger cup of coffee.
Now it should be noted that moisture in coffee usually runs between three and four per cent, so there isn’t a lot of room to move in further moisture reduction, especially on the low end.
Folgers now points out that its buyers will be placing fewer orders for green coffee as their new product will satisfy the consuming public.
This may not seem like a big deal on a macro level as it is only one company, but if Folgers is right this would mean a reduction in green coffee purchases by 13 per cent from one of the largest coffee companies in the world. The industry impact would translate to many millions of pounds of green coffee not being purchased.
Will this have an effect on the overall world market price? Perhaps yes – if Folgers’ new marketing campaign is successful.
Questions or comments? Visit Brian at www.heritage-coffee.com.