Our store purchased a bag of the non-auction lot Esmeralda (from Counter Culture), which we happened to sell at $8 a cup, pressed on our clovers. The store also happens to exude grumpiness, so my wildest guess is that our store (Caf? Grumpy) is the subject of your vitriol. Thank you for your innuendo, and your half-assed attempt to out us ? publicly, without actually coming forward and naming us, or making any effort to contact us directly to express your concerns.
These are the facts:
--we committed to purchase a bag of coffee from the Hacienda La Esmeralda through Counter Culture Coffee sometime in April of this year. We clearly knew at the time that this was not the auction lot coffee, as the auction was still several weeks away.
--We sold the coffee on our August menu under the following description:
Altitude 1600m and higher
We also included a flyer from Peter G. in our marketing material that was taken from the CCC website as they were selling another bag purchased at the same time to customers online.
--Rachel and Daniel Peterson gave a presentation at our Chelsea store sometime around mid August to a crowd of about 30 people, where they talked about the Esmeralda, the history behind it, the auction results, the Panamanian coffee industry, and the geography and terroir of their farm.
--My wife Caroline was interviewed by Conde Naste Portfolio magazine amongst others. These are the quotes attributed to her:
On a leafy side street in New York's Chelsea neighborhood, other discoveries are showcased at Caf? Grumpy, where cheerful baristas preside over steady sales of individually brewed, single-origin coffees and espressos. Coffeehouse co-owner Caroline Bell says she secured a bag of the prized Esmeralda beans before May's recordbreaking auction, through a roaster who had a direct relationship with the farm. A 16-ounce cup of the famous java was the most expensive item on her August menu and, at $8, was far closer to what nearby restaurants were charging for a glass of pinot noir.
With its notes of Italian bergamot, orange rind, lavender, and jasmine, the coffee was worth every cent, according to Caf? Grumpy barista Jay Murdock. Customers apparently agreed, snapping up about 80 pounds of the caf?'s 100-pound allotment before Labor Day. (The caf? is saving the rest for the holidays.) Bell says that ultra-discriminating coffee drinkers are akin to those who shop at farmers markets: It's the difference between buying waxy tomatoes in a supermarket and springing for a Brandywine heirloom cultivar. Or perhaps it's the difference between the aroma of a boxed wine and the toast-and-cherry-tinged nose of a '95 Shafer cabernet sauvignon. ?
Caroline also referred the Conde Naste journalist to the Petersons.
We never held out the coffee to be from the auction lot, never advertised it as such, and certainly did not price it as such (it is not even the most expensive coffee we have offered at the store. That record goes to Aida's Grand Reserve).
As far as the comments that have been attributed to one of our baristas, I am a little bit confused, as no one at our store (including me) know who Price Peterson is, and the part about personal stock ? is a little bit left field for me to respond to.
So, what exactly is it that we have done that has so offended your third-wave sensibilities?
The reason for the whole ambiguity lies solely with the Petersons, and their decision to sell both the auction lot and non-auction lot Esmeralda under the same name. Once we purchased the coffee, we have a responsibility to sell it, without making any misrepresentations. I stand to be corrected, but having done everything but name us in quite a public forum, please indicate specifically where we have crossed the line?