COFFEE NEWS ROUNDUP: WEEK ENDING JUNE 8TH

coffee-mug-and-newspaper

Well, it's been a busy week in coffee. Volcanoes, resignations, broccoli, not to mention more bad news about the impending coffee climate catastrophe. And to top it all off, my family is off gallivanting around Crete while I'm in Michigan with the humidity and mosquitoes, reading about coffee. 

Let's get to it, shall we?

Anacafé Responds to Guatemala Coffeelands Volcano Eruption - via Daily Coffee News

The eruption of the Fuego volcano in Guatemala last Sunday, which has killed 109 people so far, with hundreds more missing and thousands displaced, has also caused significant damage to the coffee communities that surround it. Now, the country's national coffee association, Anacafé, has moved to help those affected by the disaster, setting up relief centers at its regional offices and headquarters.

After the tragic human toll of this eruption has been counted, and displaced people have been able to return home, the rebuilding effort will have to begin. According to Anacafé, around 2,500 hectares of coffee-planted lands have been covered in ash. Volcanic ash in the soil is one of the reasons for the high quality of Guatemala coffee, contributing to mineral-rich growing conditions. However, when that ash (along with soot and debris) falls from the sky and covers the plants, it causes problems. 

Anacafé does say that rain in the area has mitigated some of the damage, but that farmers are encouraged to clean off any ash that remains on their trees. 

PBS has a rundown of ways you can help the victims of the volcano here.

Read more on the story from Daily Coffee News here.

Howard Schultz steps down as Starbucks leader, doesn’t rule out presidential run - via Seattle Times

The man who built Starbucks into the world-straddling corporate coffee behemoth you know (and probably dislike somewhat) today has announced that he will be leaving the company. He is stepping down in order to maybe enter public service, and very possibly run for president in 2020. 

blur-clouds-coffee-639132_edited.jpeg

Who cares, I hear you mutter to yourself. Well you should, because, as this fascinating article in New York Magazine points out, Howard Schultz is a corporate centrist whose ideology includes opposition to universal health care and a predictable insistence on economic growth at all costs. 

Schultz has hinted at running for public office before, and was allegedly going to be Hillary Clinton's pick for Secretary of Labor if she had won the presidency.

Read more here.

Starbucks Quietly Raises Prices—Again - via Fortune

Maybe stop going there then. Find a good local independent coffee shop. It's not hard. 

Read more here.

Caffeine high? Climate-hit Ethiopia shifts coffee uphill - via Reuters

If you ignore the truly terrible pun in the headline, this story is actually very scary. The Ethiopian government is encouraging farmers to move coffee production to higher altitudes to reduce the impact of climate change. 

Coffee is hugely important to Ethiopia. It is the country's single largest source of export revenue, bringing in more than $860 million in the 2016-17 growing season. And climate change is already having negative effects. The Reuters piece states: "Coffee-growing areas in eastern Ethiopia have seen the average temperature climb 1.3 degrees Celsius (2.3 degrees Fahrenheit) over the past three decades, according to the Environment, Climate Change and Coffee Forest Forum (ECCCFF), an Ethiopian non-governmental organization."

This has led to a years-long drought, which in turn has destroyed thousands of hectares of traditional coffee-growing land. From Reuters: "The country’s government is now encouraging farmers to grow coffee at higher elevations - up to 3,200 meters (10,500 ft) above sea level, about 1,000 meters above the norm."

Yikes.

Read more here.

Coffee Waste May Become More Valuable Than Coffee Itself - via Good

Coffee prices are falling. Oversupply of Arabica beans (as well as lower commodity prices more generally) means the market value of green coffee has been decreasing for the past few years, impacting the farmers who grow the plant most of all. 

However, a former waste product of coffee processing—cascara—has been transformed into a hip new drink at the likes of Blue Bottle and, ugh, Starbucks. Cascara is the dried husks of the coffee cherry, and it can be brewed into a tea or other inventive drink. Previously, the husks were discarded or at best used for composting on the farm. 

And the best news? The article in Good states that it is selling for upwards of $7 per pound, compared with $1.20 per pound for green coffee, which is good news for coffee farmers.

Read more here.

Broccoli coffee: scientists create new way to eat more greens - via The Guardian

coffee-2592469_1920_edited.jpeg

Speaking of repurposing. Scientists in Australia have turned unfancied or leftover broccoli florets into a nutrient-dense powder which contains, in two tablespoons, as much nutrition as one serving of regular, non-powdery broccoli. 

And, of course, someone decided to make coffee with it. 

Reviews were, understandably, mixed: one drinker said that it tasted like “a bowl of green, milky mush.”

You don't say.

But, at least it was made for health reasons and not because it looks good on Instagram or whatever. 

Read more here.

 

Is coffee good for you?

No concrete evidence this week. But it makes you a better coworker, apparently. And, for those interested in staying awake forever, the US Army has calculated the perfect amount of caffeine, and the perfect time to ingest said caffeine, for optimal alertness. You can even get an app that will help you figure out the best time for yourself, if that's your thing.

Because there's nothing scary about giving a bunch of personal data to the military for no good reason. 

What to read

Howard Schultz at Starbucks: Coffee, Activism and Controversy by Tiffany Hsu

#shestheroaster: The Grassroots Movement Grows for Women in Coffee by Lily Kubota

Until next week, drink good coffee. At the exact right time.