COFFEE NEWS ROUNDUP: WEEK ENDING DECEMBER 21ST

A coffee cup sits next to a newspaper on a wooden table.

Welcome to another week’s end, and with it the Coffee News Roundup.

Where, thankfully, there is actual news to report.

Barista Guilds of America and Europe Become One Big Barista Guild - via Daily Coffee News

Over the past few years, both the US and European versions of the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) and the Roasters Guild have merged to create single entities. As the world of coffee has grown more connected, so the need for separate organizations has diminished, and the Barista Guilds of America and Europe have decided to follow a similar path and become, simply, the Barista Guild.

A barista pours latte art

The Barista Guild of America has, as an official trade guild of the SCA, been responsible for educating, training and certifying baristas across the country. It also hosts events such as Barista Camp and Bloom on a yearly basis. The Barista Guild of Europe was founded more recently, in 2014, with a similar purview to its American sibling but concentrating on, y’know, Europe.

Updated bylaws, positions and organizational structure will be put into place, and more international events are sure to follow as the restructured guild moves forward.

Read the full story here.

Colombia Is Beginning To Experiment With Growing Robusta - via Sprudge

Robusta coffee has long been, at least in the self-identified specialty coffee world, a poor relation of the classier and more delicate Arabica.

Hands holding freshly picked coffee cherries

Hardy and prolific, Robusta is most popular with big companies prizing reliability and volume over subtlety and taste. It yields more, can grow in less optimal climates, and is more resistant to the diseases and pests that have wreaked havoc on farms dedicated to Arabica.

Colombia has always been wary of Robusta, with concerns that growing the lower-quality version might harm its reputation in the specialty coffee world. It is also seen as having an inferior taste, with people describing it as tasting like “the tears of children”, which, let’s be honest, doesn’t sound great.

But, in the face of climate change and growing interest in coffee in Asia, where Robusta has a less damaged reputation, some farmers in the country are experimenting with growing the bean. While it doesn’t sell for as high a price as its fancy shmancy sibling, producers can grow and harvest more and are more immune to the issues that continue to plague Arabica.

Whether it will catch on in Colombia remains to be seen, but with climate breakdown in full swing and the coffee market so volatile, it might not be long before other countries get similar ideas.

Read the full story here, and the Wall Street Journal article here (although it’s behind a paywall).

Nestlé plant gets cool welcome from coffee growers in Veracruz - via Mexico News Daily

It turns out that saying you’ll open a factory or plant and promising jobs doesn’t really mean very much.

Nestlé this week announced plans to invest $154 million in a coffee processing plant in the Mexican state of Veracruz, claiming it will process 20,000 tonnes of coffee each year and directly employ 1,200 people.

This hasn’t gone down too well with local coffee growers, however. The Coatepec Regional Coffee Council said that Nestlé (along with Starbucks and others) has exploited coffee farmers in the region for a long time, and that this new plant won’t change anything. Meanwhile, members of the Plan de Ayala National Coordination, a group which defends farmers’ rights, said that the government should have consulted with producers before agreeing to the investment.

In related news, Mexico’s government slashed its own funding for the coffee sector by 50% in the 2019 budget, which means growers will have to rely even more heavily on companies like Nestlé in order to make a living.

Plus, Nestlé is, well. You know. Not great.

Read the full story here.

7 minutes of Tommy Lee Jones' fabulous Japanese coffee commercials - via Boing Boing

You’re welcome.

Watch the video here.

Is coffee good for you?

Well, it’s not bad for you. Even if you drink a lot. The US Food and Drug Administration has said that there is no danger associated with drinking even 4-5 cups of coffee per day.

Which seems like a bit much, but hey. You do you.

A man sits on a park bench reading a newspaper

What to read

A Sustainable Coffee Industry? Not Quite by Hanes Motsinger

The Coffee Price Crisis And Price Volatility: Can We Tame the C Market? by Janina Grabs

Until next week, drink good coffee. And enjoy whatever holiday you celebrate next week too, but mostly the coffee.

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