COFFEE NEWS ROUNDUP: WEEK ENDING AUGUST 10TH

A hand holds a latte sitting on top of a newspaper.

Not a whole lot of news around the coffee world this week, but there are a couple of stories worth highlighting, plus the inevitable Starbucks mention and the crucial goofy story about something silly happening that's only tangentially connected to coffee. 

Let's dive in.

Have a takeaway coffee and help solve a missing persons case - via The Age

In an effort to help locate long term missing persons, an Australia charity, the Missing Persons Advocacy Network, has teamed up with a number of cafes in Melbourne to distribute takeaway cups featuring six people who have been missing for upwards of 25 years. 

It is a slight echo of the "milk carton kids" from 1980s America, although instead of stark photos and a basic description, these cups have an artistic representation of the missing people's likenesses, as well as a short story about them.

The hope is to keep these long term missing persons in the public consciousness, and to raise awareness of the plight of the families left behind.

Read the full story here.

New Starbucks partnership with Microsoft allows customers to pay for Frappuccinos with bitcoin - via CNBC

This story ran last Friday, after I'd finished writing last week's edition of the Coffee News Roundup

Basically, the gist is that Starbucks, Microsoft and ICE (no, not that one, that would be weird—Intercontinental Exchange operates, among other things, the New York Stock Exchange) are partnering on a new, cryptocurrency-centric electronic exchange called Bakkt. 

A Starbucks to-go cup sits on a wooden table

CNBC took that to mean that you will soon be able to use bitcoin to pay for drinks at Starbucks (the story is basically tailor made for internet SEO, combining as it does cryptocurrency nonsense and Starbucks—just add a mention of Tom Cruise or someone and watch the clicks roll in).

The point of the article is basically that a company as mainstream as Starbucks (and is there any company more mainstream than Starbucks?) would serve to legitimize bitcoin and all the related cryptocurrency hoopla that has been building over recent years.

But—plot twist—there's more to this than meets the eye.

Read the full story here. Wait, don't—read the story below first.

Starbucks Clarifies ‘Coffee for Bitcoin’ Media Reports - via CCN

Damn it, CNBC—way to jump the gun. 

A Starbucks sign hangs in front of a city street

It turns out that, if you actually read the press release from Starbucks quoted in the story above, they never said anything about using bitcoin to pay for your iced mocha or whatever.

The exact quote is: "As the flagship retailer, Starbucks will play a pivotal role in developing practical, trusted and regulated applications for consumers to convert their digital assets into US dollars for use at Starbucks."

The crypto news site CCN (which just sounds like something a production company had to make up to avoid licensing CNN or MSNBC for their low-budget sci-fi movie) provided an update from Starbucks, which stated: “It is important to clarify that we are not accepting digital assets at Starbucks. Rather the exchange will convert digital assets like Bitcoin into US dollars, which can be used at Starbucks.”

So no, you can't "pay for your Frappuccino with bitcoin". Get it together, CNBC.

Read the full story here.

Straw Ban Or Straw Man? Why Plastic Straw Bans Aren’t The Answer - via Sprudge

This isn't so much a news story as an excellent summary of the whole "straw ban" campaign and how misguided and potentially harmful it really is. 

It's definitely worth reading the article, which is balanced and restrained in a way I'm not sure I would be able to be (Starbucks stupid cold drink lids contain more plastic than the straws they're replacing! Fishing nets are a monumentally larger plastic pollutant of the ocean than anything else—ban fish!) and addresses the concerns of campaigners who say that these straw bans will disproportionately affect disabled people.

Read the full story here—it's worth your time.

Retired teacher buys coffee for stranger low on cash — and it's Keith Urban - via Today

I have no idea who Keith Urban is.

Read the full story here (although there's literally no more to it than the headline)

Is coffee good for you?

*shrug emoji*

A man sits with one leg crossed, reading a newspaper, with a cup of coffee beside him
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