COFFEE NEWS ROUNDUP: WEEK ENDING OCTOBER 26TH
There’s no getting away from it: this week’s roundup is going to get political.
Not by choice, you understand—it’s just the news. Some weeks, it’s all sunshine and lattes: “Starbucks opens new flagship roastery in Azerbaijan” or “This Golden Retriever is a barista now” or “New study says coffee can treat gout” (that one’s actually true).
Some weeks, however, it’s more serious.
The coffee news this week has been political, and there’s really no hiding from it. So consider this a warning.
Trump Vows to Cut Foreign Aid to Three Major Coffee-Producing Countries - via Daily Coffee News
A few thousand desperate, scared families, who left Honduras and traveled north through Guatemala to Mexico, fleeing poverty and gang violence in search of a better life.
In retaliation, Trump has threatened to cut aid to three of the countries where the caravan originated. Those countries—Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador—just happen to be three of the biggest coffee producers in Central America, and a large portion of US aid goes towards their agriculture sectors.
And there’s no escaping the fact that the bulk of the labor on coffee farms is performed by the poorest, most vulnerable people—the very people who decided to risk their lives by making the several thousand mile trek north to the US.
So, cutting aid to the people who need it is supposed to, what, discourage them from leaving?
US State Department Confirms Withdrawal from the International Coffee Agreement - via Daily Coffee News
Because why not?
This was actually announced back in April, and took effect in June, but it’s finally been confirmed and with excellent timing.
The United States, for reasons, has withdrawn from the International Coffee Agreement, a commodity accord administered by the International Coffee Organization (ICO) with the goal of supporting the production and consumption of, well, coffee.
The ICO told Daily Coffee News that the shortfall in the budget caused by the United States’ withdrawal would be met by other importing member countries, and that it would still be able to meet its obligations to its members despite the setback. The organization’s mission, per its website, is to “strengthen the global coffee sector and promote its sustainable expansion in a market-based environment”.
And the reason given for the United States withdrawal? It wasn’t “an effective use of taxpayer dollars”.
Which would make the next story deliciously ironic, if not for the fact that those dollars could have been spent to help the poor migrants currently walking north, and maybe kept them from leaving in the first place.
The US Air Force Can’t Stop Breaking Their $1,280 Coffee Cups - via Sprudge
See the irony here?
The US Air Force has spent $326,785 since 2016 replacing specially made coffee mugs for use aboard their air refueling tankers. That’s $1,280 per mug.
Apparently the handles break easily, and because replacement parts aren’t available the whole mug has to be bought anew.
Your tax dollars at work, folks.
Lin-Manuel Miranda is trying to revive Puerto Rico’s devastated coffee industry - via Miami Herald
Last year, Hurricanes Maria and Irma devastated Puerto Rico, a prolonged disaster it is still recovering from even today.
The hurricanes also devastated the island’s coffee industry, destroying upwards of 80% of last year’s harvest. And, because the government seems unwilling to help, it appears it’s up to Lin-Manuel Miranda to do something to assist the 4,200 farmers who rely on the crop for their livelihood.
The Hispanic Federation, which was founded by Miranda’s father Luis, is partnering with Starbucks and, ugh, Nespresso to provide climate-resistant seeds, infrastructure and expertise to help a coffee industry that, even before the hurricane, was already ailing.
Miranda, for his part, will reprise his role in Hamilton for it’s Puerto Rico run in January, funds from which will benefit the island’s recovery. In the meantime, he’s doing what he can to help the coffee sector get back on its feet: “We are all pitching in to bring coffee back to Puerto Rico,” he said.
This Georgia Coffee Shop Is “Definitely Haunted” - via Sprudge
Next Wednesday is Hallowe’en, the spookiest night of the year. And what better place to spend said night than a haunted coffee shop?
Cool Beans Coffee Roasters in Marietta, Georgia, has been officially declared haunted by a team of paranormal investigators—high praise indeed.
Spooky goings-on include, but are not limited to, a “ghostly whisper” from the pastry rack, knocked over chairs, and some sort of taco-loving presence.
Spirits or not, a coffee shop seems as good a place as any to spend Hallowe’en, getting nice and caffeinated to prepare for a night of spooky festivities.*
*sitting at home with the porch light off, eating all the candy that was reserved for trick-or-treaters and watching Treehouse of Horror episodes on a loop.
Is coffee good for you?
Not a whole lot going on in the health sphere this week.
Although I would like to point out this headline from the Daily Express (sigh) which, a little over a month since they published almost the exact same article, is back with a blood pressure riddle.
“High blood pressure: Cut down on this popular beverage to lower your blood pressure” runs the headline. To which popular beverage could they be referring? Port? Seltzer water? Red Bull?
Actually, probably that one too.
What to read
Coffee Futures: Investor Behavior Overwhelms Market Fundamentals by Paul Hicks
Until next week, drink good coffee. And maybe think about the people who grow, harvest and process the beans that make your daily cup.