The Coffee

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The Coffee

Postby dumpster.penguin » Mon Sep 25, 2017 4:50 pm

Took a Northeast Regional and a long-haul Empire Service last week. Two surprises! The Regional's business class seats were new (non-cloth, non-porous, wipe-clean; a gray theme), and the coffee was no longer Green Mountain served in a medium-size paper cup with a post-consumer insulating jacket, but rather Dunkin Donuts served in a nearly liter-size vessel that felt like insulated plastic.

These changes are obviously linked. People will spill more coffee from the taller, more capacious cups, and it's gratifying to know it won't soak in as much.

On the bright side, the Dunkin Donuts coffee seems to be a dark roast, delicately caffeinated, sturdy, with notes of tamarind and an unhurried finish.

A change for the better? The Green Mountain was not bad, but I am convinced that some of it went missing somewhere along the supply chain and what was served did not always match what was written on the menu... One hopes the Dunkin Donuts branding will make the new coffee less susceptible to substitution.
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Re: The Coffee

Postby mtuandrew » Mon Sep 25, 2017 5:13 pm

Dunkin' Dark is a solid coffee imo, better than their Original blend.

We've talked about supply chain "irregularities" a few times here. If I understood correctly, it's implied that certain OBS employees have substituted their own third-party product (purchased from grocery or warehouse stores) for Amtrak's vendor-supplied stock in cafe cars, and have likewise directed payment into their own pockets. Is there any truth to this, or is this a dark fantasy from the Micascope? (For younger members, Rep. Mica R-FL being extremely interested in eliminating all Amtrak waste and subsidy, especially food service.)
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Re: The Coffee

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Tue Sep 26, 2017 12:34 pm

Coffee is coffee, what's wrong with Folgers?

Let us not say "wine is wine", please.
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Re: The Coffee

Postby Greg Moore » Tue Sep 26, 2017 1:28 pm

Coffee is coffee exactly as much as wine is wine.

There's a LOT of variation that can go into it and people can get very defensive about their favorites.

Heck, even vanilla ice cream isn't that simple. There's a place down the street from here that serves a bowl called "around the world" with 7 scoops of vanilla, all made from vanilla beans from different parts of the world and each has a distinct flavor.

I see coffee being no different. Roast times can make a difference. Source can make a difference, heck serving temp can make a difference.
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Re: The Coffee

Postby jonnhrr » Tue Sep 26, 2017 1:38 pm

Gilbert B Norman wrote:Coffee is coffee, what's wrong with Folgers?

Let us not say "wine is wine", please.


Folgers is to coffee what Sutter Home is to wine - OK if that's all there is but you can do a lot better.

Personally I prefer Mystic Monk.

Great that Amtrak is doing this. The little things are important.

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Re: The Coffee

Postby mtuandrew » Tue Sep 26, 2017 3:07 pm

If coffee is coffee, then music is music (I'll trade your CSO tickets for a high school recital) and cars are cars (if you'll kindly drop off the keys for Lexie, Mr. Norman, my econo-Ford keys will be waiting.) :-D

Still halfway surprised that Amtrak hasn't hopped onto the espresso train, what with the large price markup possible.
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Re: The Coffee

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Tue Sep 26, 2017 4:22 pm

One more from me; "beer is beer"; a beverage I have not had with any regularity since college.

With all this excitement about these "craft" beers, Amtrak could sell 'em and laugh all the way to the bank (standing about the open bar United offers in their Polaris class, a guy offered me a swig of some craft beer; "just beer" if you ask me).

Expresso I guess they could also charge Fort Knox for, but it's mighty labor intensive, and Amtrak tried it out in the Pacific Parlour car. They scuttled that one.
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Re: The Coffee

Postby OrangeGrove » Tue Sep 26, 2017 4:59 pm

If coffee is coffee and music is music, then I take it a train is a train? There is then no difference in service, amenities, or experience between the Canadian and the Carolinian?

If a coach & snack bar train were to serve east Tennessee, I'd ride it.
If a long-distance train with diner and sleepers were to serve east Tennessee, I'd ride it.

If Dunkin coffee is being served for breakfast, I'll drink it.
If JFG coffee is being served for breakfast, I'll very happily drink it.
If Starbucks coffee is being served for breakfast, I'll have a glass of water. :-D
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Re: The Coffee

Postby Alcochaser » Tue Sep 26, 2017 5:18 pm

Coffee? Beer?

In my experience the hard liquor is pretty popular in the lounge car. Usually dumped in with some other drink the lounge car sells.

I never saw a lot of canned beers sold on Amtrak, but that is just me.
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Re: The Coffee

Postby Arborwayfan » Tue Sep 26, 2017 5:44 pm

Oddly enough, I have a proof sheet of a newspaper page Nov. 1941 (Terre Haute Star or Tribune, don't remember which one) that shows a fluted steel car and says something like "wives should learn from trains. They always have good coffee because they serve Folgers." I don't drink coffee but I doubt that that ad had much basis in fact. But I guess that fits with the "we've replaced the coffee this famous restaurant usually serves with Folger's Crystals" TV ads from the 80s.
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Re: The Coffee

Postby kitn1mcc » Tue Sep 26, 2017 6:39 pm

Dunkin Donuts is awful coffee.

The green mountain they were serving was very good.
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Re: The Coffee

Postby R36 Combine Coach » Tue Sep 26, 2017 6:45 pm

kitn1mcc wrote:The green mountain they were serving was very good.

Green Mountain is a premium brand, but seems to be disappearing. Friendly's Restaurants in the Northeast switched away from Green Mountain as well (perhaps Green Mountain's largest customer).
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Re: The Coffee

Postby JimBoylan » Tue Sep 26, 2017 8:01 pm

As for kinds of beer, when the debut of the Acela trains was being much delayed, there were press releases that the new Bistro cars would have local or craft beers on trap. It may have been tried for a short time, because someone in the Federal government complained about Amtrak's purchases of half kegs of beer.
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Re: The Coffee

Postby TomNelligan » Tue Sep 26, 2017 8:39 pm

The Acela cafes did indeed serve draft beer when they were new. As a beer drinker I thought that was pretty neat, but I'm not sure how long it lasted.

As for the Great Coffee Controversy, I'm definitely partial to Green Mountain over the standard Dunkin' Donuts coffee, but DD's dark roast isn't bad. Given that the cost of the beans represents a small part of the couple bucks Amtrak charges for a cup, I hope they stick with a quality brew.
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Re: The Coffee

Postby STrRedWolf » Tue Sep 26, 2017 8:49 pm

R36 Combine Coach wrote:
kitn1mcc wrote:The green mountain they were serving was very good.

Green Mountain is a premium brand, but seems to be disappearing. Friendly's Restaurants in the Northeast switched away from Green Mountain as well (perhaps Green Mountain's largest customer).


I would think they would be making more money on the Keureg machines now that the major brands of coffee are making licensed K-Cups.

That said:

  • If it's Folgers, eh, sure.
  • If it's Chesapeake Bay Roasters, yes please! (it's what's served in the Odenton MARC stations' museum)
  • If it's Starbucks, then it better be from the K-Cups because those baristas can't make coffee!
I ride the (MTA Maryland) Penn Line (between Odenton and Baltimore). I used to work for MTA Maryland's IT department, and out of professional courtesy my responses may be limited. Wikimapia is wonderful (for track/interlocking locations)!
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