John Gozbekian is a coffee and tea genius. We are truly lucky to have him on our team at CULT Coffee Roaster. We asked John for his take on the current coffee industry –and to look ahead at 2017. Here’s what our Vice President of Innovation has to share!
What is your favorite part of your role at CULT? What I most enjoy is the creation of new things and seeing the reaction of people trying them for the very first time, especially when it’s a new and often times foreign thing.
Why has the coffee industry boomed so much in recent years? I’ve been in specialty coffee snce 1976. Coffee has always been an integral part of American culture. Ever since the Boston Tea Party, the colonists needed another beverage to replace what was being used in a protest to taxation. The consumption of coffee has been declining on a per capita basis since the 60s. Mostly due to large scale mass producers of roasted coffee with an eye to the bottom line. Specialty Coffee has always been in a growth trend, even sonce the 60s and 70s. There are “mini booms” like booster rockets that make surges about every 10 years. The growth of coffee over these decades has been fueled by the want and need of good quality and great tasting food and drink. Enlightened consumers are not afraid to spend money but that money had better retrn the value they want and demand. Over the more recent years the newer generation of consumers have been driving all things good. Cold beverages driving a newer category of coffee, tea and other coffeehouse centered beverages. In good and bad economies, coffee has always done well. Good coffee especially.
What makes CULT different from other coffee roasters? I don’t know if I can really say why CULT Coffee is different. It’s like comparing why 2 great wineries are different. There may be differences but more similarities. What is different about CULT Coffee Roaster than the company and company name we shook off is that we believe, feel and breath the soul, ethics and personality of who we are and represent. Before then we were more a company without a place. That is moreso considering we are so little known in our own community. We are different now. We know what and who we are. We know what we can do. We know how good we are. We know we can kick the asses of any other coffee and tea company.
What are some trends you see on the horizon? The trend I see is in parrallel to the trend in the culinary world; better, fresher, tastier, reasonable, approachable beverages. All a part of a community type setting and centers. The coffeehouse is going back to the Boston Tea Party Colonists with the coffeehouse a gathtering and meeting place to see, enjoy, and sometimes decate with your neighbors. Making coffee and tea at home, without the use of expensive and impersonal K-cup type pods, is and will continue to get back to its roots from only 20 years ago. But away from home consumption of great tasting beverages that are whole and natural will grow, contiue to grow. The crossover and fusion of different ethnic food cultures will be one of the direct influencers of this trend.
Is there such a thing as “over roasting” beans—is the trend of bitter coffee still going strong? Why or why not? There is such a thing as overroasted coffee. There is such a thing in any part of culinary. Overdoneness of things. It takes a proper, skilled and intuitive hand and mind to make truly perfect optimal culinary treats. Coffee is no different.There will always be people that want “bitter” just as there are people that want low level low quality and poorly prepared food and beverages. People will want well done and dry steak. Can’t help that or them. I say more power to them if that is their preference and they enjoy it. In coffee and tea, getting it right will be a driver in our category of the market. We will pick up where others can’t, won’t or don’t know how.