[Video Transcript] Turning Point: Freshness, Ageing, and Planned Obsolescence

Seb Prosser: Hello and welcome to Turning Point by Timely Coffees and my name's Seb, I'm one of the co-founders here and this is a video series we use to talk about different aspects of the coffee industry and kind of how we approach them and timely. One thing that we spoke about a few weeks ago was the idea of coffee freshness. You know, someone asked, you know, is our coffee roasted fresh to order? And we said, you know what our kind of standards are in terms of aging and what we believe is adequate in terms of coffee freshness. But it's important to understand why we have these expectations as consumers and as an industry, why we're kind of adhering to them as well, and what it really means in terms of what we're perpetuating and what we're encouraging from our customers. So to go back a couple of years when coffee was first served in the way that it really is now, in terms of like in cafes and in restaurants, coffee freshness was never really a thing. So coffee was roasted generally a couple of times a year, kept in really big warehouses and just sent out to cafes and restaurants all around the world. And no one really considered whether or not the coffee was roasted fresh or not. It was similar to other dry goods, kind of like cereals and flour and and things of that nature. You know, the idea of freshness was not really seen as an important factor in quality. And then as some things start to happen, especially in Seattle, in America, and David Schomer is someone who's seen to be is kind of at the forefront of this in a lot of ways.

Seb Prosser: And, you know, there's no real evidence for this. But anecdotally, David Schomer of Espresso Vivus is sometimes credited with the idea of fresh roasted coffee. One of the first people to say to their provider, Can you please give me coffee roasted within certain dates or not, you know, like a year old. And this did a few things for the industry. It made people really consider the idea that the coffee that we're serving is based around the product that we are actually creating coffee from. So the beans that we're using have the potential to make great coffee if they themselves are great as well. So this is obviously a huge step forward in terms of creating great coffee that we have today and we would never be where we are without it. But it also did something else, and that was the idea that we as coffee roasters could encourage people to demand a coffee that was a certain age, which meant that if it was not that age, if it was too old, those people felt like maybe they had to throw the coffee away. So this created the idea of a lot of industries. This is called planned obsolescence. This is the idea that you create a product that you know is going to break in about a year because you want that person to buy it a year later and have to replace it. Seb Prosser: So this is the exact same thing that kind of happened with coffee. We created this idea of freshness because we wanted better tasting coffee, but then we created these standards or really unattainable. And then what happened was we encouraged people to end up wasting a lot of coffee. They really didn't need to. And it's not that coffee that is one day old or seven day old or seven days old or ten or 30 tastes better or worse. It's the coffee like a lot of these products has a lifecycle. You know, when it's roasted yesterday, it's going to taste a certain way. And then in ten and 15 and 30 days time, it's going to taste a little bit different. And sometimes it's going to be more towards your preference at a certain age and sometimes not. But the idea that, you know, coffee is 15 days old and I have to get rid of it or it's you know, it's 30 days old and they have to get rid of it is just not the case. We really need to be tasting these coffees and deciding whether or not we actually enjoy them and not just going on what we've heard from other people or heard throughout the industry. Really the idea of freshness has to be in line with what we expect from our product, expect from our coffee, both in terms of quality but also sustainability. So if we really love the taste of coffee or maybe we get to a certain point and we think that it's not as good, we have to decide is it worth throwing it in the bin? Because this coffee was especially in terms of timely, you know, comes from the other side of the world. Seb Prosser: It was hand-picked by a human being in most cases. It was processed really intentionally. It was designed with care. It's come so far and through so many different hands. And everyone has had such an impact on making it taste as good as it possibly can when it comes here to a consuming country, it's roasted in and delivered. And then, you know, 15 days later, it's like, well, you know, it's too old for me. It just goes in the bin, kind of puts all of that hard work to waste. So don't get me wrong, there is a point when coffee is going to taste not great. You know, maybe it's you know, it's going to take quite a while. But we really need to think about whether or not the ideas we have of freshness are relevant and are important to what we want to achieve, both in the industry and also environmentally. So that's what we have to say here, timely and. Everything is just about trying to taste the coffee first and really coming up with your own standards about freshness. So that's what we have from Turning Point today. We have another video coming out very soon. And for more content like this, we've got it on YouTube channel and the blog. Thanks very much. I should've shaved before doing this, f— h—. Look like a bloody...lumberjack.

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