A podcast episode on coffee, with Karen Blumenthal, George Howell and Corby Kummer.
Blumenthal, author of a book about Starbucks, isn’t mentioned in the show notes but she seems to have set the tone of the show, to a certain extent.
In the rest of the show, I quite like the dynamic between the three main participants: the host, Tom Ashbrook, along with Howell and Kummer. Howell often tends to sound much more forceful in his opinions than he did in this show. And the different takes about Starbucks were quite nuanced.
The show does put Starbucks in the centre of the coffee revolution in the United States and then focuses on newer developments. The current period in the history of coffee in North America is sometimes referred to as the Third Wave, in which is imagined a world of openness and transparency in the coffee-related industries.
As I got my taste in quality coffee from a very different source than Starbucks, I hope that we can now go beyond the Starbucks mentality. In fact, I also hope that we get out of the wine comparisons. Not just because they’re boring but because they miss the point about coffee as a diverse drink. It’s not a very American thing to say but knowing coffee isn’t just about being to tell what is the “best coffee ever.”
One thing the coffee world could import from the wine world, is the idea of pairings. It actually works better for beer than for either wine or coffee, but it can work quite well with coffee, especially with different brewing methods.
BTW, I have nothing against wine. I just think that much wine tends to be much less satisfying than several other drinks including coffee, beer, tea, cider, mead, juice, milk, and water.