"A coffee by any name would smell as sweet," — What? You're doubting us???

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I hope no one is surprised to read that we think that our coffee is the finest there is. We’re constantly cupping new green coffees and trying out new blends; we’re also continuing to tweak our roast profiles to bring out the best in each of the coffees. If you disagree let’s at least state that we’re trying REALLY hard.

But does it matter?

We’ve long found that our ability to sell a coffee has a lot to do with what the label says. For instance, our variation of the Mocha Java, the Obama Blend, has been one of our best-sellers ever since we introduced it last November; when we renamed our Atlantic Blend into Seattle Sunrise, we immediately saw a significant up tick in sales of the very same coffee. 

The big packaged-good companies know the drill much better than we do: a can of cola consists mostly of very expensive aluminum packaging filled with water and sugar and trace amounts of flavor, color and caffeine. Most shelves in a regular supermarket are full of this kind of stuff: it’s all about the art of selling an inferior product with the help of expensive and good-looking packaging. Wall Street types, immune to immoralities such as endangering half the nation with obesity, have made great money with this deceptive practice. It also comes as no surprise that our corporate competition in the coffee business, the one with the green logo, has a number of consumer-good veterans on its board.

Even though we’ve smelled the success potential of good packaging, we’ve concentrated most of our efforts on the stuff that’s inside the bag. Turns out, there is a chance we might be working in vain. In an experiment at MIT, participants were asked to describe the smell of rose pedals concealed in two separate paper bags. One bag had a positive label on it, along the lines of “deliciously fragrant roses;” the other said something about lawn clippings. To everyone involved the first bag smelled much better than the second. What gives?

Is possibly Katie’s artful description the real reason why we have a hard time keeping our delicious Sulawesi Toraja in stock?

Photo Credit: Shabby Chic