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Does food taste better if it cost more?

by Liv | Published on January 25th, 2010, 6:16 pm | Food

So I just got home from World Market and Moe's Monday. I used a $25 gift card, dad had given me for my birthday. Of almost any gift I've ever gotten, this was one of my favorites. To roam the isles and purchase anything I wanted without much concern to the cost. I however, still being quite thrifty came upon a dilemma when I got to the coffee. I had the capacity to buy almost anything there. We usually stick to the $9 bags which by a lot of people's opinion would be "up-scale" anyhow. Then on the bottom shelf was an Italian chrome canister with about half as much coffee for $13.99. I started to grab it. My first thought, well if it's $14 then it must be better, it must be great. The idea of sipping on imported Italia coffee was instantly romanticized in my head. The truth is, I really don't know if it's any better. To be honest it could be the Italian's version of Food Lion's crap coffee? In the end I settled for a Peruvian blend of about $9, which allowed me to get some other goodies like Danish wafer crisps, fermented English cider, stuffed olives, and red wine sausage.

It really bothered me when I got to the car. Am I passing up on the ultimate coffee experience of my life, or would I have made it better in my head just because it cost more?

I do realize with most things the cliche' "you get what you pay for" is probably true. If I buy a Mercedes, it's going to be better than my Taurus. I also know I can order a hot-dog at a 5-star restaurant and it will never be as good as a $5 hot dog at Pink's in Los Angles. It's further complicated by the fact, if you've never eaten a cheeseburger, then you might never actually crave one. I never had fish and chips till about two years ago, never would have even cared about it till I did, but how my mouth salivates at the idea of a London style fish and chips. While I have had some stateside since that date, I can tell you none of them taste as good as when you hop a $700, 8 hour flight to London and spend £6 for the real deal. Now there's an expensive fish.
I would have to say ...

How much coffee do they grow in Italy? The answer - none. So you are largely paying for the coffee to to be shipped to Italy, roasted, packaged and shipped to the US. Italians invented espresso to make fast coffee not to make better coffee, so unless you have your own espresso machine and wanted the authentic Italian roast, I think you're likely to get better coffee from Peru, where they actually grow coffee. Europeans tend to roast their coffee darker which gives more coffee per bean but IMHO spoils the taste of coffee, it ends up being just bitter not flavourful. Espresso doubly so - it all tastes the same to me.

One of my favourite coffees is a shade grown mountain bean from Mexico with a light to medium roast. It has a complex nutty, chocolaty, citrus flavour mix. For a change I like to get some Sumatran and Kenyan coffee - all medium roast. Each has a unique flavour- the Sumatran has earthy, mushroom tones and the Kenyan is spicy with hints of cloves.

While it's usually true that if you don't pay you won't get quality, it's often not true that you get what you pay for. You need to be a discerning consumer at all levels. I seriously considered buying a diesel Merc R350, until I read consumer reports. The reliability isn't good and after sales service is notorious.
All stupid ideas pass through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is ridiculed. Third, it is ridiculed
January 25th, 2010, 7:34 pm
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