March 4, 2008

So for whatever reason, we have one of these at the roastery. Lavazza B.L.U.E. stands for “Best Lavazza Ultimate Espresso!” Or “Lavazza! Proudly lowering the bar!” You can have an espresso, a lemon tea, or a consomme (which I’m told is chicken stock. Who knew?). Tim says the tea tastes like Schneider’s (you know, the kind that comes in a big cardboard container), but the consomme tastes like Kazansky’s matzoh ball soup. Without the matzoh.

I made myself a nice little macchiato.

Well, by macchiato, I mean “steamed milk” with “espresso” And by “nice”, I mean the first sip was palatable, mostly because there was a bunch of hot milk in it. The second sip? Well…it went here.

So I’m just going to say a very little bit about convenience. The way this particular machine works is by putting a little capsule of ground or dehydrated coffee/related product into the machine, the top is punctured, and then you get espresso (or tea-drink, or chicken stock, as the case may be). Great for those who don’t have the time to be bothered with good things. The thing is, an espresso takes about a minute to make and serve. Maybe two minutes from ordering. A cappucino might take two and a half minutes, which is not very much time. So there’s all this money being made by selling people shit things they have no need for. This is not news. Since the decline of the American production economy, there has been a glut of unnecessary product dumped onto the market. Why? In order for capitalism to survive, the economy must always grow; this means that market expansion ventures into realms of created needs, which don’t do much of anything for anybody except make them feel like these supposed needs are finally met when they buy a product or service. I found this book helpful in formulating this particular opinion.

Why all the convenience? I think it’s a complex nexus of marketing, rampant economic speculation, the search for the easy dollar, the false security of money, the glorification of the self and probably a thousand other factors that I won’t really get into right now because I’m at work and not in school.

So I would like to encourage people, coffee professionals included, to take care with your craft and explain (emphasize?) why your beverage is not ready in twenty seconds and does not come from a capsule.


5 Responses to “B.L.U.E.”

  1. Rich said

    I hate to admit this, but back in 1999 when I was still in the internet startup biz, my company was an early adopter of the Keurig K-cup machine. Coffee was from Green Mountain I believe. It wasn’t awful – a giant improvement over the industrial pre-ground brew sitting in an open carafe on a burner for three hours. And it was better than going out to Dunkin’ (although the first Dunkin’ cup in the morning was ritual).

    At the time (this being Boston and both Coffee Connection and Torrefazione having been bought by Starbucks a couple years earlier), I was drinking some of the best coffee in Boston.

    I got better though.

  2. Russ said

    I would say industrial capitalism, rather than just capitalism. Agrarian capitalism has a rather different bent.

  3. tmcclearinghouse said


    Forgive my broad paintbrush; it’s been too long since I’ve actually studied practical economics. That said, I think the 21st century is dealing with a number of brands of mutated capitalism including (but not limited to) neo-liberal global capitalism (Exxon) and small-scale hippie capitalism (Beleza), just to name a few.

    Alls I’m saying is convenience is overrated and there must be a reason why.

    I blame the media. (Jokes. Kind of.)

  4. michelle said

    I was reading your comment about Rich’s expertise in Easton and then got linked to your website…it is truly a good read. Loved the last post. Thanks,

    Novice barista at aldo’s

  5. ward said

    I followed the link to Lavazza, and I think you are missing the point. See, if we all looked like their concept of coffee/consumme/tea drinkers, quality wouldn’t matter because it’s not about the quality, it’s about looking marvelous (for full impact, say it like Billy Crystal… ma-va-luss).

    These people may be onto something. Less time to produce and satisfy (sigh), less energy consumed. Less energy consumed, we solve global warming. Do ignore the wasted plastic pod per cup made, and the amount of unfinished product due to tasting like crap, and the (assumed) ridiculous price of the equipment and individual pods, and the shipping containers used to transport the pods…

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