Yesterday my boss went for a jaunt into the City where we had a meeting and during the course of the meeting we went to a certain franchise coffee house, where five out of the six of us had coffee with added syrup except me who ordered my usual "long black". Nobody else seemed to mind about the quality of their coffee, but mine was utterly horrid. As a result of this, there is only one conclusion that I can come up with - This franchise coffee house uses rubbish coffee but masks it with syrupy badness.
I can see a parallel with this and the reasons (I suspect), for the use of a lot of spices in certain kinds of cooking. If meat had gone off or was beginning to turn, by spicing the meat to the point of utter ridiculousness, people could no longer taste that the meat had gone off.
Coffee is made from the seeds or pit in the middle of the fruit of the coffee plant, technically coffee is a cherry of sorts so I suspect that like every other fruit, that if it is left out for a long time, it's probably likely to go bad.
There might be some degree of truth that maybe this particular franchise coffee house either keeps its coffee in storage for a longer time, or it could also be the case that in the chase for ever greater profits, they're simply using a cheaper grade of coffee.
I already object to coffee houses milking and frothing up coffee in an effort to justify charging so much for their coffee. Adding syrup is just extra addition which can be marked up 500%, thus sending even more money into the hands of Franchise Coffee House™ Inc.
One thing I found in the United States was that because of the prevalence of Franchise Coffee House™ Inc. many smaller operators simply couldn't play the margins any more and shut down. Some hotels even boasted about having Franchise Coffee House™ Inc. either on their premises or even in the room. Admittedly I never stayed in any of these hotels, but I found generally that either because most of the coffee in the United States was drip coffee (which itself should be a crime), or Rival Franchise Coffee House™ Inc., one could never find a decent cup of coffee anywhere.
I have travelled through France and Italy and I can tell you from first hand experience, that the best coffee (and even from poor quality beans to begin with) is made by baristas who have turned it into an art. Even in the UK, you can still find greasy spoons where the coffee might not be world class but the atmosphere is cosy and warm instead of being blasted with the latest chart entry.
There is hope though. Franchise Coffee House™ Inc. closed two-thirds of its "stores" in Australia with some market analysts citing that they failed to understand the "European coffee culture" in Australia. I however think that the reason is far more obvious than this. The point being that if you sell a product which is horrid, then less people will want to buy it in the first place.