Sunday, February 13, 2011

Power to the percolators!


Would you like to see the definition of insanity?

The epitome of consumerism run wild?

The alpha and the omega of insane faddishness?

Yet another example of planned obsolescence in the name of unnecessarily separating suckers from their no-longer-so-expendable income?

Making a damned cup of coffee a lot more complicated than it has to be?


HERE YOU GO, courtesy of Reuters:
Starbucks Corp, the world's biggest coffee chain, on Sunday said it plans to announce a new product for the single-serve market "in the near future."

Analysts long have expected Starbucks, which also sells Via instant coffee packets, to make a more aggressive move into the small, but fast-growing single-cup brewing segment.

Word of its new plan comes as Starbucks is getting ready for the March 1 termination of an agreement by which it provides coffee discs for Kraft Foods Inc's Tassimo one-cup home brewer.

Kraft's Tassimo brewer won some loyal fans with its bells and whistles, but it was bested by Green Mountain Coffee Roasters' generally lower-cost Keurig brewing system that now has a near-monopoly in the single-cup category with roughly 80 percent market share.

While several analysts expect Starbucks to begin providing coffee for the Keurig system, some also have concerns about expiring Green Mountain patents, patent challenges and whether curr
ent Keurig users will migrate to the company's new machine.

"Starbucks is currently exploring all options to expand its presence in the premium single-cup coffee category, beyond our initial entry with Starbucks Via Ready Brew," Starbucks spokeswoman Lara Wyss told Reuters.

"Single-serve is still in the earliest stages and no clear delivery system has been established as the gold standard so it is important for us to look at all options," Wyss said.
HERE'S THE PROCESS: People threw out their old drip coffee pots and percolators because somebody invented the Mr. Coffee, which was way better because it was NEW! And because it cost more.

But the Starbucks took over the world with espresso drinks and other gourmet coffees, which you couldn't have at home unless you bought an expensive espresso machine, which was better than a $25 stove-top espresso pot because it,
like, cost 10 times as much. Duh!

Espresso makers, though, were too complicated. What was needed was something as simple as a stove-top espresso pot, but would make only one cup of coffee using high-priced, proprietary little packets that fit in little coffee makers that cost $200. This was real progress, which is defined as quadrupling --
through technology -- what the average consumer might have paid in Luddite days for an espresso pot and a hot plate.


ENTER
the Tassimo single-serving coffee maker, for which Starbucks supplies overpriced coffee in little proprietary packets. The Tassimo represented a tenfold leap in progress, as measured by the cost of making a cup of decent coffee increasing from roughly a dime to a dollar.

Progress, however, requires obsolescence. Thus, the inevitability of Keurig -- shoving Tassimo to the margins of java history, and the need for your average coffeeaholic to shell out another $120 bucks -- Look, Marge! Economical coffee at home! The new coffee machine is $80 cheaper than the one we bought last year! -- for the new coffee-making system that's incompatible with the old one.

AND STARBUCKS will be there with a product that we know will be superior to whatever swill you're drinking now . . . because it will cost so much more.

It's
The American Way.

As a card-carrying Democrat, however, I have no interest in The American Way. So you'll see me in the kitchen of our little collective here in Omaha,
by God, Nebraska, spitting in the face of bourgeois society by making myself a cup of communist coffee in a proletarian pot.

On a prehistoric contraption called a stove.

2 comments:

Richard L. Kent, Esq. (MichiganSilverback at gmail dot com) said...

Dude, you're engage in reverse proletarian snobbery.

I've had percolator coffee. I've had stove brewed coffee. And yanno what? They taste like battery acid compared to the stuff I can make with Mister Coffee (who may or not be related to Mister Data, but never mind).

Now battery acid will do in combat, but I don't want to serve it to my clients.

I am perfectly happy with Mister Coffee. I won't pay $200 for a glorified hot water heater such as you describe; altho my wife has one for her own use--but she got it as a present. She uses it to make hot water only without bothering with those single serving thingies. Not snobbery on her part; the damn things simply cost too much and don't taste good enough to justify the cost in her opinion, one I share.

However, if someone else wants to do so, they can knock themselves out. This is after all a free country.

The Mighty Favog said...

No, I'm engaging in telling people they're wasting their #$%&@! money.

There is no difference in the process of making coffee in a drip pot and a Mr. Coffee, except that a Mr. Coffee is an electrical appliance that eventually will go gesphincto and a drip pot won't, unless you smash it to bits with a maul or drill a hole in the bottom.

I'm not a fan of percolator coffee, but it doesn't get really bad unless you leave the damn thing on too long.

The main problem here is that people have lost the skill of making coffee without a robot to make it for them. Furthermore, most coffee in the United States north of Shreveport and east of Pascagoula (apart from some restaurants, coffee shops and a few private purveyors) is swill to my Gallic taste buds.

Give me a 60-year-old French-drip pot, a bag of Community Coffee (which costs radically less than Starbucks and is better stuff) and a kettle on the stove, and you'll think you're drinking espresso.

When I was a kid, EVERYBODY made coffee just like that. It wasn't -- and isn't -- brain surgery.

It is, however, a lot cheaper -- assuming you can find a drip pot anymore. Mine are all hand-me-downs or have been snapped up at estate sales.