French Laundry offers Esmeralda

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French Laundry offers Esmeralda

Postby JavaJ on Tue Oct 30, 2007 10:25 am

Well the good news is that French Laundry will be offering Esmeralda.....

CHEF THOMAS KELLER'S
THE FRENCH LAUNDRY AND PER SE
ESTABLISH ONE-OF-A-KIND COFFEE PROGRAM


The French Laundry and Per Se announce a one of a kind coffee program beginning in October 2007. Each restaurant will offer Panama Esmeralda Geisha, which is a premiere estate coffee from Equator Coffees & Teas. The program is extremely unique, as The French Laundry and Per Se are the only restaurants in the United States serving the Geisha coffee. Service will be a la minute, or brewed-to-order, with a light roast designed to bring out the coffee's brightness.
Characterized by a jasmine-like fragrance and citrus clarity, this celebrated coffee has garnered 10 first place awards in the last four years including recognition as the world's best coffee by the Specialty Coffee Association of America.
Grown at the highest altitude of Hacienda La Esmeralda, in the Boquette region of Panama, the coffee beans develop a flavor so unique, the taste has not been experienced anywhere else. Only 215 sacks of this rare coffee were produced in 2007 and sold for an incredible $130 a pound at auction - making it the most expensive coffee in the world.
Paul Roberts, Master Sommelier and the Wine and Beverage Director for the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group notes, We're delighted to have the opportunity to bring our guests such a rare and extraordinary coffee as the Panama Esmeralda Geisha. The coffee is a truly a gold standard, and a wonderful compliment to our fall menu offerings. ?

The Panama Esmeralda Geisha service will begin at The French Laundry on
October 8th, 2007 and at Per Se mid-month. Both service programs will be available until the supply ends however consumers may have another opportunity to enjoy the program in 2008. For additional information, please contact:


Press Office
PR Consulting
Hillary Cassarino
(212) 228-8181
tkpress@prconsulting.net

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Re: French Laundry offers Esmeralda

Postby nick on Tue Oct 30, 2007 10:32 am

Only 215 sacks of this rare coffee were produced in 2007 and sold for an incredible $130 a pound at auction

Oooh... painfully misleading.

But otherwise, that's awesome!!! Is it happening? Are they getting it?
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Postby Jimmy Oneschuk on Tue Oct 30, 2007 12:05 pm

The only restaurant in the US, huh?
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Postby Sandy on Tue Oct 30, 2007 12:32 pm

Who is roasting for them?

I wonder what they'll charge per cup.
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Re: French Laundry offers Esmeralda

Postby Mark Prince on Tue Oct 30, 2007 3:50 pm

JavaJ wrote:Well the good news is that French Laundry will be offering Esmeralda.....

Only 215 sacks of this rare coffee were produced in 2007 and sold for an incredible $130 a pound at auction - making it the most expensive coffee in the world.


Sigh.

Prediction: Next year, there'll be more Esmeralda Especiale sold to consumers than the entire production of coffee produced by Panama. :evil:

Mark
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Postby JavaJ on Tue Oct 30, 2007 4:59 pm

Painfully misleading on MANY levels....

There was a similar thing from Peet's about their Esmeralda non-auction that was even worse. I've been meaning to post it for a while...maybe I will now.

Funny, I don't recall Equator being on the list of auction winners....
http://auction.stoneworks.com/includes/pa2007/final_results.html

And only 215 sacks huh? What's a bag of Panama? 132ish? So 215 x 132 = 28,380. What a small micro-lot! That's $3,689,400 worth of Esmeralda.

I think you're right Mark...I've been seeing Esmeralda popping up all over the place, claiming to be the auction lot, and I can't see exactly how. Maybe someone at Intelly or Zoka, etc. can shed some light on that.

And to think some people were fussing when we were very clearly offering the Non-auction lot as an SO.

BTW, let's not forget to applaud Keller's step in the right direction, even if the implementation isn't up to our standards. Maybe...just maybe you won't get thrown out as a stalker on you next visit Jay! :D

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Postby Mark Prince on Thu Nov 01, 2007 3:51 am

And more Esmeralda shows up. And on a Clover "VacuumPress (tm)" to boot (so, when did it get the new name?).

Not saying that it isn't the real auction stuff or not, but, well, I'm just saying. It'd be nice if they actually listed the source of the coffee (ie, one of the winning auction bidders) in the PR, if what they're selling (or giving away) is actually auction lot stuff.

Next year, there should be a gazillion pounds of this stuff available. Maybe 7-11 will get some.

Mark.
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Postby Jimmy Oneschuk on Thu Nov 01, 2007 4:33 am

I believe Smiling Goat was setup with their clover by a certain Vancouver supplier... which might explain how they got their Esmerelda Special.
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Postby onocoffee on Thu Nov 01, 2007 12:26 pm

Has anyone here sent a message to Hillary challenging their claims?
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Postby Tim Dominick on Thu Nov 01, 2007 2:39 pm

The program is extremely unique


as opposed to just plain old "unique?" Sorry, my George Carlinitis just acted up.

As I see it there are several factual errors worth writing to Hillary about and perhaps one other quote that should never have been released by SCAA. I think the more people who write her, the better.

The other gaff goes back to the PR from SCAA about "world's best coffee" This was distressing to many people involved in the Cupping Pavilion who understand that one weekend of cupping in May cannot possibly produce a title like "worlds best coffee" Only a fraction of the world's origins are cupping at their peak in early May, Panama is one of them.. This was a PR from a new SCAA staffer that has been called on the carpet by several people as misleading. Next year the winner won't earn this title.

Those 215 bags were available at the starting rock bottom price of $18 a pound. Perhaps some were more, but not by much.

Would Paul Roberts, Keller's Master Sommelier sell a Cru Ch?teau Clarke Rothschild under the banner of a Grand Cru Ch?teau Lafite Rothschild? Same kind of thing in my book, and if people are trying to take coffee as seriously as other libations, this is a real problem despite the advance of getting a great coffee prepared tableside.

I have to think that this was an example of a PR firm taking some press releases and POS info from a roaster and putting together something that is riddled with errors, then sending it out without the anyone in the know reading it first. I seriously doubt that Equator is trying to mislead their accounts, but on the other hand they are not doing a good job explaining the details either.
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Postby trish on Thu Nov 01, 2007 5:55 pm

Mark Prince wrote:And more Esmeralda shows up. And on a Clover "VacuumPress (tm)" to boot (so, when did it get the new name?).

Not saying that it isn't the real auction stuff or not, but, well, I'm just saying. It'd be nice if they actually listed the source of the coffee (ie, one of the winning auction bidders) in the PR, if what they're selling (or giving away) is actually auction lot stuff.

Next year, there should be a gazillion pounds of this stuff available. Maybe 7-11 will get some.

Mark.


This coffee for Smiling Goat is coming from Zoka...and we were one of the group that bought for $130 at auction this time around. As for the "vacuum press", I dunno.

Hope I didn't step on Smiling Goat's toes in revealing the source of their coffee. They'll get certificates of authenticity for each bag- signed by Rachel Peterson and me.
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Postby trish on Thu Nov 01, 2007 6:00 pm

PS: Zoka will also be offering the NON-AUCTION lot Hacienda La Esmeralda Especial this holiday season. It will be priced accordingly and will be marketed a bit differently. We will try our best to make the point that these were two different buys for us.
The non-auction lot green is not even in our roastery yet. No where near the auction bag...you dig?
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Postby trish on Thu Nov 01, 2007 6:09 pm

PPS: I just ate a bunch of baked cheetos.
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Postby Mark Prince on Fri Nov 02, 2007 3:12 am

trish wrote:This coffee for Smiling Goat is coming from Zoka...and we were one of the group that bought for $130 at auction this time around. As for the "vacuum press", I dunno.


Glad you pointed this out, Trish - it helps to know that what they are selling is the real deal.

If I seem all grumpy about Esmeralda these days, maybe this will shed some light on why. I won't print the person's name, but this is an email I got not so long ago from one of CG's readers. I've deleted the cafe in question

Hi Mark!

<skip> I have a question for you. I have heard you on the coffeegeek podcast talk about the Panam Esmeralda coffee and I also read your recent articles where you talk about the coffee and how some companies market it. On your podcast you talked about a cafe that was claiming their Esmeralda was hand delivered by the Petersons from their personal stock. Was that cafe _________ ?

I visited _________ last week and they infact had Esmeralda brewing on the clover. I was talking to the barista and they were talking about how their coffee was only $8 and how Artigiano was selling it for $15, and how their Esmeralda was better because it came from Price Peterson's personal stock and he arranged for delivery of it to them. They talked about brokering a special deal for it and how it would blow away the VAncouver Esmeralda. I was dubious of what they said but I did not feel an argument was worth it.

Is this the same cafe you were talking about? I hope there isnt more than 1 cafe doing this kind of thing. I did buy a cup and it was a really nice coffee, but it seemed a bit stale and I dont think it was worth the $8.


I'm like --><-- this close to saying fuck it and out this place, this being the second time I've heard about this rideyercoattail marketing. I'm pretty sure the owner of the shop reads coffeed so I'm hoping he'll read this and smarten up a bit. This kinda BS will make the name "Esmeralda Especiale" about as powerful as "gourmet" in a few years if this isn't checked.

And to be brutally frank, I think it's up to Price, who also has a coffeed account, to start playing the bad cop a bit more with the "mark" and make sure that it isn't used and abused, like with Peets having their big push for their NON AUCTION coffee, but mentioning the number $130 a bazillion times to the press (I know cuz to date, I've been interviewed by three major papers about Peets' push); or this PR release from French Laundry.

Mark
PS (added next day) - even though I'm grumpy about esmeralda, the cafe in question is not Grumpy Coffee in NYC. It's not any of the typically "highly praised" cafes most of us know.
Last edited by Mark Prince on Fri Nov 02, 2007 1:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby trish on Fri Nov 02, 2007 7:10 am

Mark,
I would definitely let the owner of this shop know what was being said in his shop before you out him. It could be just a barista popping off. A little bit of information can be a very dangerous thing, and it would be the proprietor's responsibility to train the baristas properly. For sure the buck stops with him. Still, give the guy a call and let him know that coffeegeeks are not so easily sold.

Believe me, I sympathize with your frustration. Imagine seeing a bunch of names attached to the $130 price when they weren't in the buying group...insult to injury-your own name is absent...then it happens in a major mainstream magazine. Ouch!
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Postby Reggie on Fri Nov 02, 2007 7:37 am

Hi Mark,

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:
Esmeralda Especial,
Boquet Valley,
Jaramillo Panama,
Gesha Varietal
Altitude 1600m and higher
6.75 /12oz
8.00/16oz
8.50/iced
$36/lb

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?

Regards,
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Postby terry on Fri Nov 02, 2007 8:32 am

Very nice response Chris. Quick and to the point. Cafe Grumpy once again steps up to a challenge. Nice work. Cheers.
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Postby onocoffee on Fri Nov 02, 2007 8:51 am

$8 at some unnamed cafe
$15 at Artigiano

What does that matter?

I've got Mexican Coke for $1.25. My friend Spike is selling the same bottle (I sourced it for him) for $3.00. Is there a difference between the Cokes? No. He's just got the environment that allows him to charge more.

I would expect that the Esmeralda (non-auction lot) will sell for more than $15 at The French Laundry.

However, reflecting on the quote in Mark's post, it seems to me that the issue is not whether the coffee in question is the auction lot, but rather the distasteful bashing by the barista of another company's coffee. That's in poor taste.

If a barista is standing behind the bar and making grand claims that their Esmeralda is "better" than those other peoples' Esmeralda and stating that it comes from the personal stock of the farmer, then the issue is something completely different than the retail price or whether or not the coffee is auction lot.

A friend and I were recently discussing the emergence of old bottles of Petrus wines and how there were many parties revolving around certain vintages of Petrus. It seemed remarkable that these recent parties of certain vintages totalled more bottles than were produced of that vintage.

Sounds like Esmeralda is the new Petrus...


Still, I wonder if anyone has contacted TFL about the mis-claims?
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Postby terry on Fri Nov 02, 2007 10:45 am

onocoffee wrote:However, reflecting on the quote in Mark's post, it seems to me that the issue is not whether the coffee in question is the auction lot, but rather the distasteful bashing by the barista of another company's coffee. That's in poor taste.

If a barista is standing behind the bar and making grand claims that their Esmeralda is "better" than those other peoples' Esmeralda and stating that it comes from the personal stock of the farmer, then the issue is something completely different than the retail price or whether or not the coffee is auction lot.



Jay,

Gotta remember that this was only hearsay and not a fact. The email printed in this forum is assumed to be factual, but we can't say for sure.

Is anyone safe from these online call outs?

I wonder if Britney has custody today :D
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Postby onocoffee on Fri Nov 02, 2007 11:41 am

Terry-
Without a doubt, it's hearsay. However, if someone came up to me (as the purveyor of coffee) and stated that he (or someone else) had been subjected to one of my staff berating the coffee of another shop in the context presented above, I certainly would (at the very least) go within my ranks and make it clear that such activity is not part of our modus operandi and would not be tolerated.
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Postby Mark Prince on Fri Nov 02, 2007 11:54 am

The cafe in question is not Grumpy.

Mark
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Postby Reggie on Fri Nov 02, 2007 12:46 pm

Mark - In that case, I owe you an apology. A few other people also thought your comments were directed at our store, including 4 of our regular customers this morning who happen to read this forum, which was why I was quite quick with the riposte... a little too quick in this case it would seem. So, my apologies.

Best regards,
Chris Timbrell
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Postby terry on Fri Nov 02, 2007 3:16 pm

onocoffee wrote:Terry-
Without a doubt, it's hearsay. However, if someone came up to me (as the purveyor of coffee) and stated that he (or someone else) had been subjected to one of my staff berating the coffee of another shop in the context presented above, I certainly would (at the very least) go within my ranks and make it clear that such activity is not part of our modus operandi and would not be tolerated.


Agreed.
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Postby barry on Sat Nov 03, 2007 10:28 am

Mark Prince wrote:And on a Clover "VacuumPress (tm)" to boot (so, when did it get the new name?).


fwiw, "VacuumPress" does not show up in the trademark database of US or Canada.
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Postby nick on Thu Nov 22, 2007 12:24 am

trish wrote:PPS: I just ate a bunch of baked cheetos.


Now are "baked cheetos" part of the Third Wave?

Sounds like bullshit to me. :evil:
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