Coffee and a newspaper on a wooden table

Hello and welcome to another edition of the Coffee News Roundup. Not a lot going on this week, aside from the usual Starbucks nonsense and the ongoing and deeply worrying drop in green coffee prices. 

So this week, I urge you to check out the three articles listed at the bottom under "What To Read": each is fascinating in its own right, and absolutely worth your time.

In the first, George Monbiot takes aim at the (sadly pervasive) idea that a more environmentally friendly disposable coffee cup is the answer to all our problems. In the second, Jenn Chen looks at the trend for marketing the Geisha coffee variety with the Japanese geisha imagery, and why we should stop. And finally, a lovely (and overdue) New York Times obituary for Melitta Bentz, the woman who invented the coffee filter all the way back in 1909. 

And with that, on to the news.

Starbucks ‘Humbly’ Enters Italy with a 25,000-Square-Foot Coffee Spectacle - via Daily Coffee News

That's right, Milan now has a Starbucks. It's taken over forty years, and expansion to almost every block and back alley in the world (even Yosemite National Park), but the coffee behemoth has finally worked up the courage to test itself against Italy's famously hard-to-please coffee connoisseurs. 

A mug of coffee on a wooden windowsill, with the Starbucks logo

And oh my have they not been subtle about it. It's huge, and ornate, and faintly ridiculous. It's got a production roastery in the middle, several floors with various different coffee offerings, marble just everywhere, and even a bakery. 

The best part about this whole thing is that Starbucks, a company worth $30 billion, has been too scared to open in Italy until now.

Read the full story here.


Reptile Coffee: Inside the Cambodia cafe offering up a firsthand look at exotic animals with a cup of Joe - via ABC News




No thank you.

Moving on.

Read the full story here.

Coffee’s Price Collapse: How Did We Get Here and What Can We Do? - via Daily Coffee News

Coffee cherries on a branch

A couple of weeks ago, this roundup mentioned that, due to the drop in the coffee price, Colombia was considering how to support the huge number of people in the country who rely on coffee production for their livelihood.

Even two weeks ago it was hard to find news stories covering the issue, but thankfully that's changed, and this article from Daily Coffee News is an excellent primer on the problems faced at origin. The authors delve into the reasons behind the drop, what it means and what we in consuming countries can do.

The whole thing is worth a read, but if nothing else here's the view of Rodolfo Peñalba, general manager at COMSA, a farmer's cooperative in Honduras:

"It is hard to believe that the price of coffee barely reaches $1 per pound. Producers are worried, disappointed and frustrated, because with this price, their hopes die. They cannot cover their debts and, therefore, cannot obtain other debts to cover the urgent family needs and the maintenance expenses of the farms."

This is real, and it's affecting people's lives.

Read the full story here.

We compared Dunkin' Donuts' 'store of the future' with Starbucks to see which was a better coffee shop. Here's the verdict - via Business Insider

Neither. Neither is better. Support your local coffee shop.

Read the full story here.

Is coffee good for you?

The consensus is still "yes", obviously, but the Daily Express (sigh) wants to warn you about the risk of high blood pressure. And it has the National Health Service to back it up.

Well, sort of. "It's fine to drink tea and coffee as part of a balanced diet, but it's important that these drinks are not your main or only source of fluid," says the NHS. Not a specific doctor, just the whole NHS.

So yeah, drink some water or something.

A man sits on a park bench reading a newspaper