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The Sciences

Sometimes it just tastes good Felix

Gene ExpressionBy Razib KhanJuly 6, 2010 9:26 AM

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The more you know, the better it tastes:

People like LaForge don’t want altitude information on their coffee because they prefer 1700m coffee to 1400m coffee. Instead, Intelligentsia is supplying something much more important and valuable: a unique narrative. It’s the same thing that’s going on in the wine world....

I agree that the "story" or our understanding of something (e.g., whether it's $100 or $10) can affect our perception of the hedonic experience. But sometimes coffee just tastes better. So the first time I had a Stumptown roast I was blown away, without knowing anything of the roaster's history or reputation (it has a good reputation). I wasn't even much of a coffee snob then (and really, I'm not much now). Though I think that the narrative of civet coffee might make me avoid it, even I if accept that objectively it has a better taste. Note: Naturally Felix takes wine as an analog. But I think the 'narrative' is a much bigger deal in that case because people have far less objective discernment when it comes to wine.

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