COFFEE NEWS ROUNDUP: WEEK ENDING SEPTEMBER 28TH

A hand holds a latte atop a newspaper on a table

If you hadn’t already heard, this Saturday (the 29th) is National Coffee Day, which is absolutely an attempt to raise the profile and promote the culture of our favorite beverage, and is certainly not a craven attempt by big corporations to convince you to buy more coffee*.

With that in mind, it turns out to be quite hard to put together a roundup of coffee news when every second story is a press release extolling the virtues of Krispy Kreme’s new pineapple-flavored atrocity or how you can get 50 cents off a large flat white at wherever.

Thankfully, good old Starbucks is here to save the day again.

Oh and for the record, this is attempt number two at writing this week’s entry—attempt one ended with me doing something and deleting the whole thing. So if this seems lazy, rushed and a little flat, that’s why. That’s why.

*Who knew that people needed convincing to buy more of what is essentially a drug? Strange.

Starbucks Committing $20 Million to Farmer Assistance Amid Price Crisis - via Daily Coffee News

Last week, this roundup relayed a story about a Starbucks-certified farm in Brazil being accused of slave labor. This week, Starbucks is pledging $20 million to help farmers affected by the recent plunge in coffee prices. It’s almost as though the world, and multinational corporations, are massive and complicated.

A Starbucks sign in the foreground, with city streets behind

That being said, Starbucks is the first major coffee company to commit to aiding the people upon whom we all depend for our daily cup of coffee.

Daily Coffee News quotes Michelle Burns, senior vice president of Global Coffee and Tea for Starbucks: “A majority of the coffee we purchase comes from smallholder farmers and the coffee crisis in Central America related to low prices cannot be ignored. We have a role and responsibility in helping smallholder farmers sustain their livelihoods. Their success will help ensure the long-term health of coffee productivity.”

And Daily Coffee News itself has put forward an alternative to the standard commodity pricing scheme, which you can read via the link in the What To Read section at the end of this article.

Read the whole story here.

Starbucks Supplying 2 Million Coffee Seeds to Puerto Rico - via Daily Coffee News

They’re at it again.

Last year, after Hurricane Maria had devastated Puerto Rico, Starbucks commissioned the non-profit World Coffee Research (WCR) to conduct a survey of the island’s coffee industry. WCR found that around 18 million mature coffee trees had been destroyed by wind and floods, accounting for approximately 80% of the coffee plant population.

Starbucks estimates that it would take upwards of 20 million seeds to completely rebuild the island’s coffee industry, but admits that due to (understandable) infrastructure problems that number isn’t possible just yet.

Two million is at least a start.

Read the full story here.

Trump’s Trade War Includes Multiple Tariffs On Coffee - via Sprudge

That’ll show ‘em.

Read the full story here.

Coffee is Rapidly Losing Its Resistance to Rust, Says WCR Science Director - via Daily Coffee News

This isn’t good.

Coffee leaf rust disease is, according to the American Phytopathological Society, “the most economically important coffee disease in the world.” It was discovered in the 1860s and has wrought havoc in the coffee world ever since—in 1892, for example, the island of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) was devastated by the disease, which wiped out the entire coffee crop and forced farmers to switch to tea cultivation.

Hands holding freshly-picked coffee cherries

For decades, scientists have been working on ways to improve genetic resistance to the disease, with different varieties variously touted as the solution. Now, though, World Coffee Research’s scientific director says that rust resistance is expected to break down in “most” of the varieties previously considered rust-resistant in as soon as five to 10 years in “many countries,” according to Daily Coffee News.

What can be done? Well, as WCR says in their announcement: “A crucial part of rust-control strategies going forward, according to World Coffee Research and others in the scientific community, is the promotion of plant health in coffee production, which has been overlooked in the past.”

That, more research into rust-resistant varieties, which WCR and a number of other institutions are working on, and crossed fingers.

Read the full story here.

Is coffee good for you?

Who knows. But this week, it’s nice to discover that I’m not alone in being perpetually confused by the conflicting research coming out about coffee.

Either it’s going to cure cancer, or cause cancer (or if you’re the Daily Mail, possibly both at once).

Refinery 29 has had the same questions, and this week they published an article trying to make sense of it all. Does the writer come to any conclusions? Take one guess.

Much like Starbucks and their contradictory actions regarding, well, most things, it’s worth remembering that health is complicated, and coffee is complicated, and science is also complicated. Yes, the Pourover’s Coffee News Roundup is the place to come for hard-hitting analysis.

Person reading a newspaper on a bench, with a coffee cup on the table beside them
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