COFFEE NEWS ROUNDUP: WEEK ENDING APRIL 20TH

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After last episode's relative peace and quiet, coffee news came back with a bang this week. It's almost as if the news runs in cycles or something.

Let's get to it, shall we?

Starbucks to close 8,000 stores for racial-bias education on May 29 after arrest of two black men - via The Washington Post

It's funny how quickly things can change. Case in point: because of this coffee news roundup series, and the nature of the news stories I write about, I have been passively researching Starbucks for a while. And, you know, it seemed pretty good. 

This week, I was beginning work on an article with a rough title of "Why Starbucks Isn't That Bad" or "In Defense Of Starbucks" or something similar. It was going to be a look at Starbucks' business practices, its ethics and treatment of workers and suppliers

Then, a video appeared on Twitter showing police handcuffing and removing two African American men from a Starbucks in Philadelphia: 

The manager called the cops and complained that the two men hadn't ordered anything. They were waiting for a friend, but apparently that didn't matter (it later turned out that this phone call was made two minutes after the men entered the cafe). 

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It's safe to say that this story went viral, and Starbucks was forced to issue a (not entirely satisfactory) apology; the CEO, Kevin Johnson, even flew to Philadelphia to apologize to the two men in person.  The company eventually announced that it would be closing all 8,000 stores on May 29th to enable staff to attend racial bias training. Oh, and the employee who called the cops "no longer works at the location", whatever that means.

There have also been reports of fake coupons specifically targeting minority customers circulating on the Internet in the wake of the controversy, although it's not exactly clear why. The Internet is weird. 

Read more about the store closures here and the arrests themselves here.

Durham black-owned coffee shop sees boost in business after Starbucks boycott - via ABC 11 News (and others)

In the wake of the Starbucks controversy and calls for a boycott, people have evidently been taking the campaign seriously, and it's already making a difference: in Durham, North Carolina, Beyu Cafe has seen an increase in sales and foot traffic as customers vote with their wallets and look to support more minority-owned businesses. In Philadelphia, where the original incident happened, residents have been taking more of an interest in black owned coffee shops. There are a couple of other similar stories, but as they're on Fox affiliate websites, I won't be linking to them.

For those interested, the website Shoppe Black has a list of 47 black owned coffee and tea companies for people to support across the country. 

Costa Coffee to recycle equivalent of all its takeaway cups each year - via The Guardian

Every year in the UK, 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups are thrown away (in the US, it's 25 billion). That's a lot of cups, a lot of waste, and a lot of landfill.

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In a bid to tackle a problem they very much helped to create, Costa Coffee, the largest coffee chain in the country, has committed to recycling up to 500 million cups by 2020—the equivalent of its entire annual usage. 

They plan to offer incentives to recycling companies in order to make recycling the cups attractive, which it currently most certainly is not. Costa already allows customers to hand over other brands' cups for recycling, so this move is another positive step, and a sign that the big coffee chains are finally starting to take waste seriously. 

Read more here

Spreadable Coffee, An Espresso Marmalade, Is Here To Make Your Bagels WAY More Energizing - via Bustle

NOPE.

Read more here.

Ewoks Are Coffee Farmers According to Star Wars Canon - via Inverse

Although they call it 'caf' rather than coffee for some reason, it turns out that the Star Wars universe is a caffeinated one—and it is grown by Ewoks on Endor. This is, at least, according to a new book about the adventures of Han Solo and Lando Calrissian called Last Shot: A Han And Lando Novel—which makes it technically canon.

In a throwaway (and rather clunky) passage, it is revealed that those adorable Ewoks are expert coffee farmers:

“Coagulating the finest Endorian caf beans,” he chirped jauntily as one of his appendages swung open a floor hatch and another plunged into the crawl space below, appearing moments later with a scoop of the dark-brown beans. “Ah! Picked from the cliggs of the Campalan mountain range on the southeastern peninsula of the forest moon by well-compensated, humanely treated Ewok caf farmers!”

Delightful.

Read more here.

Is coffee good for you

This week, it could help with heart trouble, as new research has found that coffee (and tea, to be fair) can lead to decreased rates of heart arrhythmia. But don't go necking enormous cans of energy drink, as the researchers point out (sensibly) that people with pre-existing heart conditions shouldn't overload on the caffeine. 

And in another win for coffee, one dentist has claimed that tea actually stains teeth worse than its bitter rival. So there!

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