Every so often the urge arises to concentrate on coffee. Is it good for you? Bad? A killer? We’ve covered the gamut of health possibilities, and the train will not stop with what has been written this year. Coffee is one of those magnetic buttons: It attracts a flurry of opinions, whether discussions about the way it’s ordered or the strength of the cup. I mostly get the response, you have how many shots in there? Yes, it’s true, the more the merrier for me with the espresso cuppa.
This blog is after all named All Before Coffee, and I have explained that thoughts occur along that caffeinated highway at any time, day or night. Yes, I like my coffee strong, frequent, and made fresh. Seasonally, I love a triple over ice, no water, but when the temperature falls into single digits, coffee cures: Hot.
This has been the year of the ultimate fights among the giants. As Starbucks was down and many called it a vulnerable player of an earlier, sound economic era, the company responded with its own belt-tightening strategy and a remaking of its image. VIA came along and did so well that it spawned flavored single paks. Who woulda thunk it?
McDonalds refused to sit still and watch people return to Starbucks. They created a coffee strategy of possibilities and convinced their customers that a latte could be enjoyed at a McD’s. The consumer was the coffee winner. Possibilities abounded and other fast food chains responded with their own coffee selections. Coffee was hot and selling. Dunkin’, Caribou, and other big name players rolled out a laundry list of selections.
Then the sensibility quotient: This was the year that the coffee cup came into play as the enviro cups made a more lasting impression on customers. More people were purchasing their own carry around reusable mugs. Just don’t try to take your holiday thermos to an airport!
Yet, the biggest news was probably that the consumer had become educated and wanted more for his money. “Don’t just hand me a cup and expect me to go to the pump machine: Make it. And make it they did with an impressive list of new equipment vying for customer attention and loyalty. The list goes on (walk down a Manhattan or Brooklyn neighborhood and see the little coffee guy’s new piece of high-end equipment) as we move into the new year as the home consumer wants to duplicate the coffee shop experience and several manufacturers are ready to accommodate. No, you do not need the $1,000 machine, but it’s great if you can have it. There are plenty of new approaches that promise to give the home user a coffee shop experience, a hand-brewed special of the house!
Whether before the first cup or from the smell of the in-home fresh-brewed awakens your sensibilities, one fact remains: Coffee’s vitality kicks it up a notch. The story goes on.
Let us hope that 2011 gives us numerous coffee pleasures.