So here we stand at the edge of the abyss that is flavored coffee. Is this one of the decisions that defines our little company? Or am I making a big deal about nothing?
Yes, I’m talking about whether Muddy Dog Roasting Company should offer flavored coffees. You know the ones – hazelnut, Jamaican Me Crazy, Snickerdoodle, pumpkin spice, and all their brethren. As a foodie and a coffee roaster (maybe more importantly a green coffee buyer), every fiber of my being shouts NO!!! As a businessman, I recognize I leave money on the table by not offering it. If the choice were that simple, the decision would be made, and there would be no flavors except a beautiful citrus in the Yirgacheffe, or the chocolate tones in the Brazil. Or the occasional slice of orange in my iced coffee.
As a practical matter, I worry about the possibility of cross contamination in the shop. These flavorings are potent – you can smell them unopened, through the box. God help you if you grind flavored beans, the only way to clean it out is to tear down the grinder and scrub the burr set. Dedicated equipment seems in order – extra capital, extra maintenance, extra storage. Another nail in the flavored coffin. I do also have some concern that not all these flavors are exactly “all natural”, although I did find a line that is and I have some samples.
Even Debbie votes against it, and she’s as liberal as they come.
But there is another voice in my head that I cannot ignore (yes, there are at least three, and some days more. Shut up! No, you shut up!). Call it my “inner Libertarian”. It’s the part of me that’s not bothered by requests for pre-ground coffee. Not DEEPLY bothered, anyway. Or watching people add sugar to their coffee, or God forbid, even cream. After breakfast, no less. Yeah, at my core my attitude is do whatever you want to do as long as it doesn’t infringe somebody else’s freedom. So for the time being, this is the voice to which I will listen. People have spoken, and a lot of them seem to want the flavors. Cinnamon, especially.
And so it with great caution and reticence that I embark on the flavored coffee experiment. I have my taste testers lined up, as my palette is surely useless in this regard. Not to mention I can’t bring myself to put the stuff in my mouth, it just seems so wrong to me. But if you are interested in being on the taster list, drop me an email. And if you have thoughts on the whole flavored coffee debate, I’d like to hear your opinion. Am I a sellout, or a new age man? I’m not sure whether these coffees will ever make it to the menu. We’re going to take this one day by day.