COFFEE NEWS ROUNDUP: WEEK ENDING OCTOBER 19TH

Two hands clasp a latte atop a newspaper on a table

It’s October, the spookiest month of the year, a time for ghouls and goblins to come out and play. Or whatever they do. Stalk? Connive?

More pertinently, it’s also Pumpkin Spice Latte season, which usually means a plethora of terrible PR press releases detailing what kind of unholy concoction various coffee companies are releasing. This year, however, there’s been a notable absence of such nonsense—perhaps they’ve learned their lesson?

Or, more likely, next week every single story on the roundup will be PSL-related.

Anyway. What’s been going on this week?

California Agency Seeks to Remove Judge Over Prop 65-Related Injunction Case - via Daily Coffee News

This is turning into a proper courtroom drama.

First, there was the lawsuit in California, which claimed that because coffee contained acrylamide, a chemical that occurs in various cooked foods and at high doses can be carcinogenic, it should be labeled as such.

(Proposition 65 is an initiative which requires retailers to inform customers if the products they are buying contain known carcinogens.)

A gavel sits on a table.

Then came the ruling, which found in favor of the plaintiff (a “non profit” notorious for bringing lawsuits against other food industries).

It’s safe to assume the coffee industry wasn’t happy.

Then the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), which oversees Proposition 65 legislation in California, decided that coffee should be exempted from the warning label stipulation, saying that it poses "no significant cancer risk".

And now the OEHHA is trying to remove the judge who ruled against coffee from a related injunction case, citing “a perception of prejudice and a lack of impartiality.”

What’s next? Impassioned pleas to the jury’s sense of decency? Holding various people in contempt? Surprise witnesses?

We can only speculate wildly.

Read the full story here.

UK scientists turn coffee industry waste into electricity - via The Guardian

Coffee produces a lot of waste. You probably know about the waste from your morning cup of coffee—filters, grounds, that goddamn disposable cup—but there’s also a huge amount that happens before it gets to you. Before it even gets into the country.

Coffee cherries on a tree

Wastewater from coffee processing that takes place on the farm or at the mill is a big one, so too the leftover fruit pulp from the cherry. These have been used to make biofuels before, but now scientists have figured out a way to not only remove contaminants from wastewater, but generate electricity in the process.

The team, made up of UK scientists and Colombian researchers, developed a fuel cell that uses microbes to eat the waste matter and generate a bit of electricity in the process. How? I’m no scientist, but probably magic.

It’s a small step, but if they can be scaled to the point where it’s affordable to producers, these fuel cells might become an invaluable part of farm life—the team currently is waiting on funding to build a prototype in the field in Colombia.

Read the full story here.

Indigenous Indians fight deforestation threat with gourmet coffee - via Reuters

This is an interesting story. Coffee grown by indigenous people in southern India has won a prestigious Parisian award while at the same time combating the deforestation that is threatening their way of life.

Araku Valley Coffee won gold in the Prix Epicures OR Award in Paris this month, after the Naandi Foundation, which administers the cooperative behind the coffee, opened a fancy store in one of the hippest neighborhoods in Paris.

The coffee was produced by the Adivasi people of southern Andhra Pradesh state, who use biodynamic farming practices to grow the coffee, while also protecting their land from deforestation through the planting of millions of mango, papaya and orange trees as shade crops. (Deforestation is a major problem in India, where 14,000 square kilometers of forest have been cleared over the last 30 years.)

The Naandi Foundation wants to expand their retail offerings, with stores planned for New York and Tokyo, with profits being reinvested into the community.

Read the full story here.

Self-made millionaire: Here's how giving up coffee can make you rich - via CNBC

Stop drinking coffee. That’s it. Problem solved.

A latte being poured

All you need to do to be as rich as this rich guy is to stop paying $5 for a latte every day. Instead, invest that daily $5 in a high-yield investing account, wait a bit, something something compound interest and then boom, millionaire in forty years.

Never mind your crippling student loan debt, health insurance premiums, childcare costs, flat wages or few job prospects—it’s your coffee habit that’s holding you back.

You idiot.

Read the full story here.

Did you know you can make pasta in a coffee pot? via USA Today

Can you? Sure.

Should you? Probably not.

Watch the video here (but don’t bother).

Is coffee good for you?

Well, it can help with rosacea, but you’ll have to drink a lot of it. Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that afflicts about 5% of the population (and Bill Clinton, apparently) with facial redness.

According to the study, using data from a long term study of more than 80,000 women between 1991 and 2005, those who drank four or more cups of coffee per day had a 23 percent lower risk of the skin disorder than those who drank less than a cup a month.

Four cups per day might seem like a lot, but considering the many other health issues coffee has also been shown to help with, it’s probably worth it.

Oh, and the benefits appear to be caffeine-related—according to the researchers, decaf doesn’t work.

A man sits on a bench reading a newspaper, with a cup of coffee beside him

What to read

A New World Coffee Order by Luis F. Samper

An Open Letter From The Brazilian Coffee Community by Sprudge

The Rise of the Mini-chain Cafe Culture in London by Phil Wain

Until next week, drink good coffee. Spend that $5 on a latte—what’s the worst that could happen.

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