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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Four Barrel Publishes "Friendo" Blend Recipe On Internet

Posted By on Tue, Feb 21, 2012 at 9:00 AM


There was a time when the ubiquitous "house blend" was a perennial favorite for lovers of fine coffee products. House blend signified a standard, the ground equivalent of "just a good cup of coffee" that so many caffeine-thirsty consumers looked for.

Now though, with big-money, low-quality coffee purveyors like Starbucks and Peets wrestling with the comeuppance of single-origin-minded roaster-retailers like Sightglass and Verve, the house blend has come to symbolize the worst qualities of large-scale coffee production.

Tal Mor, head buyer for Four Barrel, wrote on the company's website recently, "Blends have traditionally been dumping grounds for cheap or poorly sourced coffees." Yet, almost every high-end roaster still serves a house blend, creating a paradoxical problem: how does one serve the notorious blend while still assuring customers that they are consuming well-sourced, top notch-quality coffee?

If you're Four Barrel Coffee, you eschew the secrecy often connected with blended coffee, and you publish the recipe for your flagship espresso blend on your website for the entire world to see.

As of last week, the recipe for Four Barrel's popular Friendo Blendo Espresso has been posted on their website. Mor writes, "We want to be as transparent with you as we are with our producers, so we're making the Friendo recipe public." As seasons change, though, bean varieties disappear, and blends are altered. Four Barrel's online recipe will change to reflect the alterations in the Friendo. "You can see exactly what we're using in Friendo" Mor writes, "Sometimes that will change each week; sometimes it won't change for two months. Either way, we want you to know what you (and we) are paying for."

Matthew Hein, a Four Barrel employee, informed us that this was "the first fancy coffee roaster I've ever heard of to publicize its flagship blend." Though Four Barrel's move to lessen the gap between consumer and purveyor knowledge seems the outlier now, we can only imagine that in the future it will shift from oddity to the norm.

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Noah Sanders


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