COFFEE NEWS ROUNDUP: WEEK ENDING DECEMBER 7TH

Two hands holding a coffee cup with latte art atop a newspaper.

As we move inexorably towards the holiday season, coffee news tends to slow down. News in general tends to slow down too, but we’re not so interested in that.

Luckily, there’s always something written about coffee each week. Coffee is one of those things that is essentially a bit clickbait-y, kind of like celebrities walking around in public like humans. And if you can combine those two things, mentioning no names, then you’ve got journalistic gold, my friend.

Anyway.

Let’s look at the news, then, such as it is.

This $8 reusable K-cup filter saves me more than $1,000 a year on coffee - via Business Insider

OK, so here’s the thing. Keurigs are bad, but the pods they use are even worse.

One in three American homes had a K-cup machine in 2015, which is just a flabbergasting statistic. Add on all the dentist waiting rooms and salon lounges, and they’re basically everywhere.

Even if we ignore the terrible coffee that makes up most K-cup pods, the little thingamajigs themselves are just a disaster for the environment.

K-cup pods on a table

So much so, the guy who invented them regrets that he did. He doesn’t even own a Keurig.

Most K-cups are technically recyclable, assuming you’re willing to disassemble each one into its component parts after each use. But people don’t do that kind of thing, and with roughly 10 billion K-cups sold each year, that’s a lot of trash.

However, you can buy reusable filters for those machines. And then you can buy your own coffee, and refill your little tub each time.

Save money! And the environment! Well, a bit anyway. And drink better coffee!

The thing is, wrapping these sorts of arguments in financial rather than environmental terms is probably more likely to have an effect on the majority of people.

So: $1,000 a year, for an $8 investment. That’s not a bad return.

Read the full story here.

Innovative Equipment Maker Alpha Dominche Ceases Business Operations - via Daily Coffee News

It’s difficult to break into the coffee equipment market—you need funding, but also a new idea.

Coffee brewing is a pretty simple activity, and there are already plenty of companies and devices available that allow water to drain through ground coffee, or push water through ground coffee, or allow ground coffee to sit in water, or… you get the idea.

Alpha Dominche was heralded as just such a new player six years ago, when they appeared with the Steampunk brewer—a weird pressure immersion thing with four glass “crucibles” (their word) and levers (obviously), with which coffee is brewed quickly and, apparently, tastily. La Colombe were smitten, and bought some for their cafes.

Then the founder left and started Saint Anthony Industries, Alpha Dominche opened a fancy retail store, and crowdfunded the design of the FLASK, a fancy home brewing system inspired by the Steampunk.

And now it’s gone.

Effective the 4th of December, Alpha Dominche stopped trading. Deleted all its social media. Disappeared.

Maybe it was just too innovative.

Read the full story here.

Armed with coffee, Uganda's women, youth look to secure land tenure - via Reuters

It can be difficult for young people in developing countries, especially in rural areas, to start new ventures, with little support or financing available.

Because many coffee farms are family-run enterprises, having parents give or loan land to their children is a good way to encourage more young people to get involved in farming, as well as supporting the coffee industry more generally.

Coffee cherries on a branch, with leaves

This new project in Uganda, funded by the European Union and run by a consortium of local charities, hopes to convince parents to give small parcels of land to their younger family members to grow coffee, allowing them to branch out on their own and at the same time boost Uganda’s coffee sector.

The goal is to have 3,600 young people involved in coffee farming over the next three years, which should also impact Uganda’s high youth unemployment rate in the process.

Having more young people, and especially women, involved in coffee farming can only benefit the industry, and the diversification of farmland more generally is good from an ecological standpoint.

It’s impossible to be sarcastic or glib about this project—it seems genuinely positive all round.

Oh well, plenty more news stories to go. I’m sure the opportunity will arise.

Read the full story here.

Here’s How Much Money Each Character on ‘Friends’ Spent on Coffee - via Fortune

Aha, here we go.

This is an utterly pointless entry, but it’s more than slightly amusing that someone took the time to not only count how many cups of coffee each character had per episode of Friends, but then calculate how much they must have spent on said beverages.

Turns out it’s… not a lot.

Apparently coffee in New York in the 90s cost $1.50 per cup, which seems low, but as I didn’t live in New York in the 90s I’ll have to take their word for it. There’s no way to research and definitively find out, after all.

According to Fortune, the friends from Friends spent a total of $2,077.20 on coffee during the course of the show ($3,340.23 in 2017 dollars). The show ran for 236 episodes over 10 seasons.

Assuming each season is one year (is that a thing?), then that’s only $207.72 per year on coffee. Between six people. And they spend a lot of time in that cafe, hogging the comfy seats, talking loudly, and generally being pretty unlikable people.

Fortune even put a 20% tip for Gunther into that number to try to beef it up, when we all know they absolutely did not tip the poor man.

The only conclusion to be made is that the friends from Friends were worse than we thought, and actually stole coffee from Central Perk.

Those bastards.

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

Do you owe a tip to the barista who poured your black coffee? New payment systems leave some in a quandary - via Chicago Tribune

And speaking of tips.

Yes. Yes you do owe your barista a tip.

A barista pours latte art, seen from above

It doesn’t matter if you only ordered a black coffee—if you’re too lazy to make your own coffee in the morning, tip your barista.

“But all they did is pour it into a cup!” Sorry, you don’t get to argue this.

Baristas work extremely hard, not just brewing coffee and wiping down counters but cleaning bathrooms and being unpaid counselors to regulars. It’s hard work, they’re on their feet all day and they don’t get paid enough.

Oh, and the point of the article, about how it’s awkward having to tip on those tablet thingies most cafes use nowadays?

Yeah, well if you’re paying for your $2 cup of coffee with a credit card, you deserve to be uncomfortable.

Read the full story here.

Is coffee good for you?

No news for or against this week, but with winter well and truly upon us (kind of, anyway), why take the risk—just assume it is, and keep warm and awake on these horrible dark mornings.

Science.

A man sits on a park bench reading a newspaper
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