Omnivore - Lavazza update; fertility outbreak at Ansley Starbucks

LAVAZZA UPDATE: Our espresso nightmare is over. Whole Foods on Ponce de Leon is stocking Lavazza's Qualita Oro again, but you really are not going to find any of the Italian company's blends of robusta and arabica beans. I received this e-mail of explanation from Darrah Horgan of Whole Foods' PR team:

"Whole Foods Market has specific quality standards for everything we carry, and our coffee is no different. We will continue to carry other Lavazza coffees, just not the ones containing the robusta beans. As our coffee coordinator explains it, arabica species is widely accepted as the best bean, and yields the best fruit.

Robusta beans are seen as an inferior bean, often used to mask certain flavors in other coffees. The bean is typically more harsh and bitter, and there is little accountability for the quality and source of these beans. It is grown predominantly in Vietnam, is often used for ground cover because it grows much like a weed, and is over-harvested, which, as I’m sure you know, is terrible for the land.

The robusta does generate more of a crema, or frothiness, produced in brewing, but our brand, Allegro, blends different types of Arabica beans to achieve this same quality crema."

OK, well, far be it from me to recommend that anyone drink coffee that is like fruit of the kudzu vine. I wonder if Mrs. Olson (pictured above) knew her robusta-tainted Folgers was contributing to erosion in Vietnam. I'm just glad I can resume buying my coffee in the same place I feel guilty when I ask for plastic bags.

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