Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Saving Bean Burn Out with Fresh Coffee

RJ Note: All the recent cold weather has me taking stock of my coffee supplies at home. I do have to admit I do like my coffee done in a coffee press and saving my precious pennies is always an attractive idea. Right now, a fresh steaming cup of hot coffee sounds like a winner.

Former Big-Coffee Chain Patrons Saving Money Brewing at Home

/PRNewswire/ -- The economic and financial angst consumers are feeling has them ratcheting down spending, cutting back on luxuries such as the daily cup of premium coffee. In fact, 4 in 10 Americans who left a coffee shop without making a purchase did so because the coffee was too expensive.

But even as big-chain coffee houses are feeling the pinch, closing hundreds of stores, one Seattle-based coffee company is attracting new customers by providing luxury and quality ... affordably.

"People are discovering they can brew coffee at home that's higher in quality than most high-end coffee shops," says Chad Turnbull, co-president of Storyville Coffee Company. "Unless you're going to sit down and enjoy the atmosphere and the free Wi-Fi, you're better off making it yourself."

This can have a big impact on your wallet. Cutting out just one "Tall" latte each day and replacing it with a premium coffee you brew yourself and enjoy in your favorite mug can save you more than $1,200 a year.

Despite the economy, business is perking up at Storyville, which caters to the home market by shipping fresh-roasted beans directly to members of its "Private Reserve" program.

"This December was the best month we've had in the history of the company," Turnbull says.

But will customers really spring for coffee in the best and worst of times? Ask Yvonne, one of Storyville's customers in Tennessee.

"Things may be tough, but I will not be canceling my membership, until death," she declares. "My family loves Storyville. There's no way we'd go back to icky, burnt, bitter coffee ... never!"

It's the sort of reaction that Turnbull hears again and again. That's because unlike Storyville, most coffee on the market is over-roasted to add shelf life.

"We've actually had people come up to us and say, 'You've changed my life,' because all of a sudden, this concept of a coffee break becomes a moment that allows for space to be inspired, to remember what we're about."

So what are the keys to brewing up perfect coffee at home?

1. You've got to the buy the right beans. Storyville is unique in that it only offers one blend, Prologue, and its decaffeinated twin, Epilogue. "We're committed to one blend, so for us, it has to be flawless," Turnbull says.

2. Use a French press, as this allows for better extraction of the coffee's flavor.

3. Use bottled or filtered water. If you put tap water in, it's going to affect the taste.

4. Enjoy with others, and repeat as necessary.

Turnbull concludes, "Coffee is the drink that invites us to come together. It's an affordable, soul-enriching luxury."

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