Talking About Coffee

Over on James Hoffmann’s blog, (jimseven.com) where he is under a self-imposed video blogging marathon, he recently had a post up about the different ways people talk about their experiences with food versus with coffee. Primarily, he says, when talking about food, most people immediately talk about the texture they’re experiencing. Conversely, when talking about coffee, most coffee professionals want to first talk about flavor, though most typical consumers may want to talk about texture.

Texture, of course, when describing a liquid, can be a little difficult to elaborate on, especially if the consumer is not used to being asked to describe their experiences to begin with. So Hoffmann recommends making a cappuccino and discussing that with the consumer since milk foam can quickly be identified as good or bad based on its texture, even by a consumer with little experience.

I thought that was fairly interesting, and it made me wonder about how larger brands market their coffee. With their huge marketing budgets and reams of research, surely they’re already on top of this, and have a clever strategy to capture the consumers’ interest and therefore their purchase. Perhaps they rely more on texture words instead of flavor when describing their coffees? Or as explained by blogger Matt Yglesias, at least in the case of Nescafé maybe not.

Consider this:

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Say what?

About the Author

Ken

Kenneth R. Olson is co-founder and publisher of Barista Magazine the worldwide trade magazine for the professional coffee community. He has written extensively about specialty coffee, traveled near and far for stories, activities, and fun, and been invited to present on topics important to coffee culture. He is also an avid fan of the Portland Trail Blazers and the Washington Huskies. Go Blazers! Go Dawgs!