Why is Folgers Coffee bad

Americans love bad coffee

Americans prefer to drink comfortable and inexpensive coffee rather than good coffee

One summer morning in 1993, after a night of partying in San Francisco, I held on to a friend's kitchen table that morning, wondering how I was going to survive the day. I would have given my birthright for a cup of coffee, but that didn't seem necessary - because even though my friend was in the same deplorable condition, she offered to make us two. I nodded silently. What happened next, I haven't digested to this day.

She (who was just writing her doctoral thesis on Hannah Arendt) took a glass of Nescafé from the top cupboard, put two heaped teaspoons in a cup (even the slight bouncing sound of freeze-dried coffee on ceramic makes me wince; reigns, coffee must crackle or gurgle), turned it Tap on, waited for the water to change from cold to as-good-as-hot, and held the cup underneath. Then she put the brown colored broth down in front of me and asked "Sugar?". To this day she considers me a snob because I wordlessly refused to enjoy culinary delights.

Coffee culture? Thank you, but no thank you.

Since then, I thought, American coffee culture has made an evolutionary leap. It is impossible to turn around in the tiniest little town on the tips of Alaska without falling into a Starbucks. A new study by the international market research company Euromonitor claims the opposite: Americans still like to drink bad coffee. The fact that high-end coffee roasters line the streets of big cities and hipster magazines are celebrating the return of hand-celebrated filter coffee preparation does not seem to have changed this.

This small coffee elite is only the tip of the caffeine-needing iceberg: Only 8% of Americans currently buy whole beans at all. The masses of people still drink pre-ground, industrially processed coffee. Completely different things are important to her than having freshly ground, hand-brewed Arabica specialties poured into her cups by trained baristas. Instead of quality, they are concerned firstly with the lowest possible price and secondly with "convenience", i.e. the most convenient handling and quick availability.

Coffee capsules are the new American dream

This desire for "fast, fast and just no work" is embodied like few other products on the entire food market, small coffee pods, those aluminum bowls that have long been known to us, which contain exactly one cup portion and only fit in brewing devices made especially for them . Since 2005, the number of coffee capsules sold in the US has multiplied by (hold) 138,324 percent and continues to rise at a rate of 30 percent annually, according to Euromonitor.

Euromonitor has just published a 30-page study entitled "Coffee in the USA". According to her, capsule machines have overtaken conventional coffee machines (called “drip coffee machines” in English - and indeed, how can a morning start more peacefully than watching coffee pouring drop by drop through the filter into the pot) in terms of sales. In 2014, America-wide sales of coffee capsules were $ 4 billion. In the course of this, the manufacturer Keurig Green Mountain became America's best-selling coffee brand; not because of the outstanding quality of the beans, but because of the market-penetrating range of inexpensive capsule machines and their feed.

The coffee market leader: a hardware manufacturer, a fast food chain, a discounter

Keurig Green Coffee now controls more than 20% of the American market and co-finances many smaller brands such as Gevalia, which also offer capsules for the Keurig devices instead of producing their own hardware. The following competitors, Folgers and Starbucks together have a similarly large market share. Their products are also characterized by convenience on the one hand - the "to-go" culture of Starbucks branches - and competitive prices - Followers sells ground coffee in inexpensive XXL containers - on the other.

By the way: In 2014, the new Starbucks “credit cards”, an increasingly popular gift, were topped up worldwide with 4 billion dollars. An incredible 10% of all Americans are said to have received such a prepaid card as a Christmas present, according to a credible, representative survey. At the end of the year, $ 650 million of this had not yet been drawn, the company said.

Quality becomes a beautiful myth

The fourth-placed competitor, Maxwell House, even advertises the average quality of its product. In his current video, the manufacturer emphasizes that his aim is to make “good” coffee - as opposed to excellent or epically outstanding.

Howard Telford, one of the market analysts involved in the Euromonitor study, points to a growing, but still small group of enthusiasts who are really interested in excellent whole bean coffee and manual brewing methods. However, Telford compares their presence with the psychology of the beer market: While the Internet raves about small, independent quality breweries, actual sales are still reliably secured by industrially produced bulk beer.

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Coffee in the US