Just had some more thoughts on this. And more analogies (sorry Trish!).
Let's equate coffee with cars. Cars are where people will spend insane amounts of money as well.
So, let's say that the typical high quality coffee coming out of CCC or Intelly or Stumptown is your BMW 320i level of coffee. Well built, expensive but not terribly so, fast, smooth, overengineered, tasty.
If that's our starting point, then the 5 series (despite it's terrible current design) is the ultra premium stuff.... this is the Latitudes line, or the Intelly micro-lot of coffees, and is priced to show the improvements. The price is what, 50, 60% more than the 320i.
So equated to coffee, you took this $12lb of coffee, and made it $18 retail. We're still in the analogy ballpark.
But you want something REALLY racy. Really unique. Really well done. So you go to the M5. You're paying a 120% premium over the low end 320i. Translated to coffee, it'd be as if you're paying up to $30 for that unique, super high end, 'leet model.
(yes, I'm going somewhere with this).
But you want more. Well for bimmer lovers, there isn't much more. the M5 is the top of the 5 series line. You could get it further customized, tricked out even more, and probably add another 50% to the price. If you want something totally unique and individual, you'd have to get one shop tuned or the like, but even then, it's going to be about 250% to 300% higher than the base 320i. Or you could go ferrari, and pay a quarter mil or higher.
But even then, translated to the coffee world, that $12 baseline specialty coffee that pleases would then have a $40 to $50 ultra mega premium, unique, one of a kind, limited time only for real kind of equivalent.
(here's where my analogy makes sense:)
Then look at it. Those who pay a quarter million or a half million for a car are usually looked at, by the general public, as having too much money to burn, or being foolish with their money, or being selfish, or being non-sensical. Yes, within the car community, they are envied and admired and even regarded jealously.
But outside of the community that buys at Barrett Jackson, they're looked on at best as being eccentric, or more likely as being strange, too rich for their own good, "playboys" or foolish. Whateve words used, it's not an overall "good" impression.
This is what I fear the general public, the ones we're all trying to reach and preach about quality coffee, about quality coffee as a culinary item and not a commodity, will think about coffees bought for $50 a lb bulk, green at auction. Even the $50 would be shocking to them. Translate that into retail lb pricing at (again, following the conventional formula of at least 100% increase) at $100 a lb, and we'll lose more converts than we'll gain.
If we're going to really win over the public, we first have to move them from the Yugos to the BMWs, then from the BMW entry vehicles to the mid ranges (insert your favourite quality car brand here). But telling them that every once in a while, there's a half million dollar bimmer that really should be tried to be believed, and you'll be a convert will just make them roll their eyes and go back to the yugo.
Last edited by Mark Prince
on Wed Jan 11, 2006 5:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.