Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Try a new Gourmet Instant Coffee!

We are always looking for new products in the Instant Coffee class. Instant coffee in Asia is nothing like what we grew up with here in the States (move over, freeze-dried Sanka!). It is actually possible to create a gourmet instant coffee that is not brewed and dried and doesn't get bitter and flat-tasting.

G7 was the brand created by Trung Nguyen years ago, using a totally dry roasting process similar to the way Macha Tea is made. The green, unroasted coffee beans are powdered and roasted in the same operation, meaning the coffee does not go through the depleting process of brewing before being made into powder.

The process is now being imitated by makers like Starbucks in products like Via, but of course, they are charging 6 times or more what the original costs. Many people feel that G7 is still the landmark and best gourmet instant coffee in the world.

However, some people do prefer the taste of 100% Arabica in their instant. G7 is primarily Vietnamese gourmet Robusta, which for decades has been considered to be the best base for instant. Arabica tends to get tangy and bitter when you try to convert it into instant. However, new dry processing methods have greatly improved results with Arabica coffee.

Q Cafe is a brand produced by one of the largest coffee companies in Vietnam, Nhan Minh. We enjoy dealing with the people at this company, they are super. Q Cafe is a second-generation gourmet instant that really has nailed the process of eliminating the bitters in Arabica instant.

It's very hard to describe the differences between G7 and Q Cafe or any gourmet instant in words. You really have to just taste it. To make that possible we have purchased a starter quantity of Q Cafe 3-in-1 (coffee, sugar, non-dairy creamer), brought in by air cargo, for our customers to try. It's available in small trial packets of 4 sachets of 20 grams each for just $1 . Each sachet makes one 7-ounce cup of coffee just by adding hot water.

There are two blends. "Good Morning" is milder, sweeter and creamier. "Strong Taste" is bolder.

Try some today!

Coffee prices going up?

Most of us who follow such things know that coffee futures have hit record highs and that price increases are expected across the board. Starbucks and other coffee service companies have raised their prices substantially.

We have seen the costs go up steadily over the last year also but we have managed to talk our suppliers into not hitting us with any significant increases yet. It's likely that we can continue the current pricing for several months. Beyond that, we can't say.

We have had to inch up a few prices on single bags/boxes of coffee, such as the Gourmet Blend. But these tend to be coffees that we have artificially maintained a low price on for some time. We try to keep the Gourmet Blend as reasonable as possible because so many coffee shops and homes drink this coffee exclusively. It is the lowest margin coffee for us, though.

In most cases if we raise the price a little on a single bag or box, we also create a 3-pack or 4-pack in which the price per bag has actually gone down. This allows people who have a favorite coffee to buy a little more at a time and get an "efficiency" price benefit. When we pack and ship multiples, it's cheaper for us and we can improve the price for you.

We are going to be watching things carefully over the next few months and there are not going to be any substantial price increases.

We love the Regional Rate boxes!

There is also a wonderful development on the shipping front. The Post Office has created new Regional Flat Rate Boxes. As a result we have been able to lower shipping prices to more than 30 states by an average of 12%. So in fact, an average purchase on our website costs less today than a year ago. We take pricing seriously during this recession and we want you to know that we are always looking for ways to reduce our costs and keep your prices as low as possible. Enjoy!