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Soluble Gets Its Due

I had to laugh when I heard Starbucks has introduced an instant coffee product. Now don’t get the wrong idea; I’m happy Starbucks did this…finally soluble coffee is getting and will receive its just and fair recognition. Instant coffee isn’t garbage. Of course there are inferior soluble products, but there are also inferior R&G products.

Early in my editorship here, I was surprised by the good taste of an instant coffee product I was served in England. While speaking with the multinational’s U.S. coffee buyer, I explained that I didn’t find the same taste in their soluble product. He informed me the U.K. had better soluble products; their consumer palate was more discerning.

Soluble coffee has always been considered an embarrassment in the specialty world. At an early SCAA show, one SCAA director told the audience that soluble coffee was totally substandard - a joke. At the end of the speech, a soluble coffee importer went up to him privately and told him there was indeed good soluble coffee out there. Now the two gentlemen do business together and the naysayer has publicly stated he was wrong.

So let’s see if Starbucks has the golden touch and makes instant coffee not the dirty word it has been. Specialties editor, Donald Schoenholt attended a blind tasting minutes ago. Donald was pleasantly surprised by Via Ready Brew’s taste and impressed by Starbucks’ efforts in producing the beverage. Where will Starbucks take the soluble industry? Consumers will let us know.

Discussing new trends will be some of the topics being discussed at the NCA in March. Educational sessions will address a wide range of germane subjects including “From Seed to Cup: Strategies for Success in Unprecedented Times, a panel discussion featuring different segments of the supply chain; an update on U.S. involvement with the International Coffee Organization (ICO); “Sustainability as a Strategic Business Approach” and a scientific update on issues related to coffee and health, led by the NCA’s Scientific Advisory Group and “The Trend Relationship between Coffee and Other Beverages.” There will be specific tea-related topics as the NCA has invited the U.S. Tea Association to participate in their convention for the first time.

Shows are showing strength in numbers for the coffee and tea industry. Business, introductions and socializing still need to be included in our business-to-business interaction.

Jane McCabe
Editor & Co-Publisher



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Tea & Coffee - February, 2009

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