Coffees come in many different types; their worth comes from where the beans are grown, the size of the beans, their texture, and the way they are processed and roasted. Once they reach the open marketplace beans can be blended with coffee beans from other places to produce unique and exquisite aromas and tastes that mark each brand as unique. The cost of beans to the roasters is based on exactly where the coffee is grown.
Specialty coffee was born when roasters made consumers aware of the value, quality, and image of the location and quality of the coffee bean blends. The purpose was to market coffee to every person with distinct and rich flavors, including flavored coffees for the “soft drink generation.” Coffee for everyone. The flavor aficionados, the penny-pinchers, people on-the-go, and most definitely the senior population who were already big coffee drinkers and strong supports. Coffee was meant to infiltrate every aspect of life, and because of the response of the growers and retailers, it did. Smaller roasting companies and boutique brands found their own little niche, and the consumers that complained about paying just $3/lb for tasteless nasty coffee were more than willing to purchase specialty coffees for a higher price.
The birth of specialty coffees was taken up by small roasters, as they were seen by the specialty coffee crowd as boutique brands and not mass producers. It was felt that these smaller companies had a close relationship to the coffees and the coffee bean growers of the coffee they were trying to sell. These smaller producers were portrayed to have a more flavorful coffee experience. Many roasters dressed up less than impressive and flavorful coffees with fancy names. Other small roasters were able to establish a brand through their special blends of coffee, and the more aggressive of these companies, such as Starbucks were able to expand globally.
Coffees then became more personal, and more accessible. The group that the coffee marketers feared it had lost, the 20 somethings, had been brought back because of the specialty coffee market. People began to drink coffee because of its social appeal: a taste for everyone, a style for every lifestyle—we have been brainwashed to think it makes us cool to socialize over coffee and to look for a boost in energy and productivity from drinking coffee.
Most employers have a coffeemaker in the workplace. Sure, it may just make instant coffee, but it still provides you with a cup of caffeine when you need it. What about when you are at home, we have some way to make coffee. And how far away are the nearest coffee houses? Even if they are franchises or major chains, we’re surrounded by coffee drinks and caffeine. Why? We live in a society that demands productivity all the time, and if you live in a large urban center like Los Angeles, there is a demand for lots of productivity at all hours.
Our time is managed; it is not our own. 75% of adults over the age of 65 consider themselves morning people, and only 10% of those under age 65 feel that they can put in this category. Individuals over the age of 65 seem to perform better on tests of memory and concentration in the morning, while individuals under the age of 65 seem to perform better on these types of tests in the afternoon. This may be in part related to inconsistent sleep patterns over the course of the individual’s life and our accommodation of routines, but this phenomenon is not well understood.
Enter coffee, caffeine is perhaps the most widely used stimulant in our general population. It helps us get through those rough periods when we need productivity. Caffeine makes us feel alert, energetic and attentive. It is a highly lipid soluble, so it tends to cross from the bloodstream into the brain quickly and we feel its effects relatively quickly. In animals, caffeine has shown that it reaches peak accumulations in the brain within minutes of ingestion. And it hangs around in the brain, stimulating the regions that control sleep, mood, energy, and concentration, slowly going away over three to four hours, which is plenty of time for you to get through your morning tasks, survive the office meeting, handle phone calls, and then get ready for lunch. Coffee has become our number one go to to get through our daily routines.