COFFEE NEWS ROUNDUP: WEEK ENDING AUGUST 3RD

A latte sitting atop a newspaper

Welcome to another edition of the Coffee News Roundup, this week brought to you by a Spotify playlist of alternative 90s rock—The Cranberries, Manic Street Preachers, No Doubt, Radiohead—and a Chemex's worth of coffee

Let's go.

Revelator Coffee Offering Five Sponsorships for Upcoming US Coffee Competitions - via Daily Coffee News

Competing in coffee competitions can be hugely expensive. Yes, they give access to networking, brand-building and potential career advancement for baristas, but there are training costs, travel and accommodation costs, equipment costs, etc.

And that's not even contemplating international travel for the very best. 

A barista pours a latte, seen from above

Revelator Coffee, the Atlanta-based coffee company with 21 cafes across the American south, is looking to change that by offering five sponsorships for the upcoming 2019 competition season, in addition to supporting their own staff who wish to compete. 

In an effort to foster inclusivity in the industry, Revelator is encouraging applications from "people who identify as minorities in terms of race/ethnicity, gender, gender presentation, sexual orientation, refugee status, veteran status or disability," according to Daily Coffee News.

The deadline for applications is midnight Eastern Standard Time on August 31st, and all the details can be found here.

Read the full story here.

Starbucks Ties Up With Alibaba to Deliver Coffee in China - via the New York Times

Starbucks isn't getting its own way in China anymore. Fierce competition from homegrown brand Luckin Coffee, as well as the expansion of Tim Hortons has seen Starbucks' sales fall by 2% in the last quarter (gasp).

The coffee behemoth is being seen as slow to adapt to new trends and technologies—it introduced digital payments later than other companies, and is only now getting into the coffee delivery game.

A white Starbucks takeaway cup sits on a wooden outdoor table

However, it has a distinct advantage in the latter, and that advantage comes in the shape of Alibaba, an enormous Chinese e-commerce, technology and retail conglomerate. Starbucks is teaming up with an Alibaba subsidiary, Ele.me, to trial a coffee and pastry delivery service based out of Alibaba's Hema supermarkets

China seems to be the final frontier for the coffee giants, with a huge market of possible new coffee drinkers just waiting to be tapped. Luckily, there is an ever-growing specialty coffee scene in the country, as well as a move towards growing high-grade coffee in a country more known for its tea production.

Read the full story here.

South Carolina’s York Coffee Offers Job Training For People With Disabilities - via Sprudge

Over the last year of writing this series, there have been a heartening number of stories about coffee companies looking to hire and train people with disabilities—the owner of Bitty & Beau's Coffee even won a coveted national award for her efforts.

York Coffee Roastery in South Carolina is another of these businesses, this time grown out of the work done by MaxAbilities, a residential and vocational support non-profit.

York Coffee acts as a job training facility in addition to a working coffee roastery, teaching people with various intellectual, mobile and neurological disabilities the skills needed to go on to find more permanent work elsewhere—from computer skills and developing resumes to filling out job applications. 

Read the full story here.

Who Is Daniel G? A New Suspect Emerges - via Sprudge

It might be too hyperbolic to refer to this ever-so-slightly-weird story as a "mystery", but it is undeniably compelling, if a little pitiful. It involves a series of letters, seemingly sent over multiple years and to multiple coffee roasters, complaining of "stale" coffee and requesting recompense. 

A hand writes using a quill

The smallest and saddest of scams, if that is what it is, it nonetheless piqued the interest of Sprudge who have set out to solve this minor puzzle and find out "Who is Daniel G?" 

This week, Sprudge have unearthed a series of similar letters, from someone they're calling Person T, stretching back to 2013, written to various coffee companies asking for a price list. Similar oblique tone, similar odd request, similar utter lack of context or footprint.

Is it connected to Daniel G? Are they in cahoots? Does any of it matter?

Read the full story here.

McDonald’s Roasted Speciality Coffee, Now Wants to Brew It - via Eater London

Oh piss off, McDonald's.

You don't get to denigrate proper coffee shops for an ad campaign, and then turn around and try to foist "barista coffee" on an unsuspecting London just because you want a share of the booming specialty coffee market

What the hell is "barista coffee" anyway. Get out.

Read the full story here.

Is coffee good for you?

Coffee fruit. That's what a bunch of articles are referring to Cascara as. Coffee fruit. Which just sounds a little bit gross. Coffee cherry, please. 

It's a superfood, don't you know. Apparently Cascara is so healthy you should be tossing your coffee down the drain and drinking it exclusively—and even rubbing it into your skin. You know, because antioxidants. 

And speaking of antioxidants, have you heard of Bulletproof Coffee? It's a brand that uses "a proven blend of ancient knowledge and brand new technologies" in order to convince people to spend a lot of money on its weird products. For example, they're one of the main proponents of putting butter in your coffee, for health reasons, as well as a bunch of other products, including something called Fatwater which I refuse to research further.

Anyway, they recently announced another $40 million in investment, which prompted Daily Coffee News to investigate some of their, shall we say strange, claims about their coffee.

It's worth a read

An old man sits on a park bench reading a newspaper