COFFEE NEWS ROUNDUP: WEEK ENDING JANUARY 26TH

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This week was a busy one for coffee, what with studies and lawsuits and a puppy cafe. So without further ado, let's dive into the morass of caffeine, controversy and general weirdness that is the world of coffee.

La Marzocco Pledges $750,000 To The UC Davis Coffee Center - via Sprudge

In an effort to improve the scientific study of coffee, espresso machine manufacturer La Marzocco is gifting $750,000 to the UC Davis Coffee Center. The center is pioneering research into all sorts of coffee-related fields including climate change, coffee chemistry, and now, with the help of La Marzocco, building the first post-harvest coffee research facility in the United States. 

Following on from 2017, when the coffee company Peet's and the brewer manufacturer Curtis both donated $250,000 to the center, it looks like the coffee industry is finally getting serious about scientific research into a deeply complex and little-understood subject. 

Read more here.

Grumpy Cat owner awarded over $700,000 in lawsuit. Cat still won’t smile - via The Washington Post

Don't mess with Grumpy Cat. Or more accurately, her owner. After a beverage company called Grenade overstepped the terms of a licensing deal with Grumpy Cat Limited, the kitty's owner Tabatha Bundesen sued (as well she might).

Basically, the two companies signed a deal, to market something called a Grumpy Cat Grumppuccino, in 2013. Then in 2015 Grenade released Grumpy Cat Roasted Coffee, which wasn't part of the original deal. Naturally, Grumpy Cat Limited wasn't happy, and launched a lawsuit which it won even after Grenade counter-sued. 

In a throwaway line, the Washington Post story mentions that Grumpy Cat is worth millions (if not hundreds of millions) of dollars, which is amazing in itself.   

Read more here.

Fifteen US Coffee Roasters Win Good Food Awards with All Ethiopian Coffees - via Daily Coffee News

In a result that should surprise absolutely nobody, all 15 winners of the 2018 Good Food Awards' coffee category were of Ethiopian origin. From Vashon Coffee Company in Washington, with their Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Natural Daniel Miju, to New Jersey's Royal Mile Coffee and their Ethiopia Shakiso Mormora Farm, it just goes to show that the most interesting, diverse and delicious coffees emerge from the highlands of Ethiopia.

Read more here.

Four Barrel is back. Its name change lasted 11 days - via the San Francisco Chronicle 

Well that didn't last long. Despite claiming that they would re-brand as The Tide and begin to divest ownership, the remaining partners in Four Barrel coffee have done neither of those things.

After sexual assault allegations forced out founder Jeremy Tooker, the company looked set for a complete overhaul from the ground up. But, citing the wishes of an "overwhelming majority" of cafe customers, wholesale customers and staff, the remaining owners have decided to keep the original name. 

And divestment? Handing ownership and control of the company over to the employees? That could take "one or two years", according to the San Francisco Chronicle. 

Brilliant.

Read more here.

This New York City dog café is just about the cutest thing ever - via USA Today

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One of the most dispiriting things about American cities is their distaste for dogs in coffee shops. They're always tied up outside, looking in the window, looking sad. 

Now, though, a father-and-daughter team in New York City is opening a dog-specific cafe, complete with high-end puppy treats and a photo booth. 

The concept, modeled on the popular cat cafes that are beginning to spring up around the country, is designed to give dogs and their owners a chance to mingle in a setting outside the standard dog park, as well as negate the practice of leaving the poor doggo tied up outside while their selfish human runs in for a latte. 

However, a much easier move would just be to visit and/or live in Scotland, where almost all coffee shops are extremely dug-friendly and puppies are all over coffee Instagram

Read more here.

A Third of People Spend More on Coffee Than They Invest, Says Survey - via Extra Crispy

It's a stunning revelation, but according to the investment app Acorns, most people don't invest very much. They polled 3,000 people aged 18-44, and it turns out that 34% of them spent more on coffee in a year (the average is $1,100 per year) than invested in their future. 

Now, a lot of these stories have focused on millennials (I specifically chose to link to a story that doesn't) but the fact is that coffee is delicious and easy to access and investing is difficult and boring.

More importantly, there's the fact that student debt, skyrocketing rent, health insurance costs and the so-called "gig economy" mean most young people are struggling to survive from day to day. Maybe a cup of coffee is just something they need to make it to tomorrow. 

Read more here.

This $50 Cup of Coffee Is Made From Beans That Have Been Launched Into Space - via Money

And according to coffee expert Oliver Strand, it doesn't taste that good. So there you go.

Read more here.

IS COFFEE GOOD FOR YOU?

If you play sports it might not be. Or at least, drinking it on a regular basis might dampen the caffeine's effects when you actually need it during a game or race, according to a new study

Caffeine has been proven to improve endurance and increase muscular strength, meaning it's a popular performance enhancer among athletes. But drinking too much of it can lessen its impact, leading to lower performance compared with those whose intake was low. 

Well, at least this explains why I'm so rubbish at soccer.

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What to read

Forget Tea, Drink More Coffee: Can A National Culture Be Changed? by Lauren Gambino

How Coffee Bars Are Wasting Less by RJ Joseph

The Monk Of Mokha By Dave Eggers Review – Smell The Coffee by Tim Adams

The Humble Ascent Of Oat Milk by Bonnie Wertheim (although it's worth noting that oat milk has been a thing in British coffee shops for a while now)

Until next week, drink good coffee (and maybe pet a dog)