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Little things that make life so much more fun…

08 Apr

http://futurity.org/science-technology/electronic-coffee-snob-sniffs-out-brands/

Oh so now there is a gadget for this! Perfect! I want one.

Basically, someone has invented an electronic nose, to “scientifically” grade coffee’s quality. Like a cupper, but without human errors, biasses, or catarrh problems. Since the ‘human impartiality’ element is the main problem I have with coffee cupping, this is a very good device.

But it is still DOOMED.

As we are hoping to find out next week at The Great Coffee Taste Test, it is not necessarily the *quality* of coffee that drives sales. It would be great if it were – and on a personal note, I think it should be, given the sheer amount of skills and hard work that goes in to producing good quality – but from my own research so far, the coffee that people actually prefer the taste of is not always the good quality stuff. Just look at the success of chain coffee shops. The Taste Test next week will involve our participants trying one very low quality coffee, and one very high quality – and getting them to say which one they prefer. I am expecting a large number to claim they can’t tell the difference. And if they low quality one is the preferred option, then this could have major implications for the whole industry, let alone just my own business! If this is the case – if lower quality tastes the same, or better than the other, then what is the point of this gadget? Indeed, what is the point of cupping or all the other procedures to enhance the quality in the first place?

If, on the other hand, this electronic nose does work and its results are meaningful to the consumer, then it may prove to be extremely unpopular with some big coffee brands. I wish the developers all the luck in the world trying to get funding to produce these!

 
2 Comments

Posted by on April 8, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

2 responses to “Little things that make life so much more fun…

  1. Dad

    April 14, 2010 at 10:18 pm

    Do you know how the electronic nose is calibrated? It would be my guess that they’d take an average of human ‘expert’ coffer sniffers and calibrate the nose’s scale against that. So the device would inherit all the foibles and prejudices of the cuppers. When I was a medical technician I used to calibrate both electronic blood pressure machines and the good old sphygmos -the rubber bag that they wrap round your arm and blow up then listen to your pulse with a stethoscope. The scale of the electronic one was developed by asking a group of doctors what pressure reading they got from their sphygmos, taking the avarage and then marking that on the scale of the electronic one. Most patients would assume that the one with digital readout would give the more accurate result, but its the other way around.

     

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