COFFEE NEWS ROUNDUP: WEEK ENDING APRIL 19TH

An espresso sits on a newspaper, seen from above

It’s a rainy spring week here in Michigan, as Easter approaches (I’d forgotten) and my soccer rec league begins (I’m so unfit).

In terms of coffee there’s not a whole lot going on, as the industry exhales after last weekend’s Specialty Coffee Expo in Boston. There’s a couple of good summaries of the expo and the earlier and more science-based Re:co Symposium listed at the bottom under What to Read, if you’d like to find out what went on.

If not, let’s get going with the news.

Citing Cultural Appropriation, Kickapoo Coffee to Change Name - via Daily Coffee News

Kickapoo Coffee, the 14 year old roaster based in Viroqua, Wisconsin, has announced that it is changing its name. Citing cultural appropriation, the company says it will stop using Kickapoo, the name of a river in the region but is also a name for the Algonquin-speaking Native American and Indigenous Mexican people of the Kickapoo Nation, early next year.

According to Kickapoo Coffee Co-Founder and Co-Owner TJ Semanchin, “By using Kickapoo, we claimed a name that was never ours to take. The decision to use the name, and to continue to roast under it, was an act of appropriation.”

Currently, three Kickapoo tribes are federally recognized in the US—in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas—and there are also indigenous Kickapoo people in parts of Mexico.

The company says it will release new branding in early 2020, after reaching out to the three Kickapoo tribes to apologize for using the name. According to the company’s release, they had not been aware of the existence of the tribes, and upon contacting them found out that they were also not aware of Kickapoo Coffee. Although, as Daily Coffee News points out, some light googling would quickly have cleared that up.

All in all, it’s refreshing to see a company so openly admit wrongdoing, even if it was unintentional, and pledge to grow and change. More of this sort of thing, please.

Read the full story here.

Health check: can caffeine improve your exercise performance? via The Conversation

The answer, it turns out, is yes. Well, a bit.

According to a recent umbrella review, which summarized all meta-analyses exploring the effects of caffeine on exercise , sports performance following caffeine intake improved between two and 16 percent.

A cup of black coffee and a glass of iced coffee sit on a table, seen from above.

While the 16 percent was an outlier, reserved for those most sensitive to caffeine, a more usual range was between two and six percent for the average person. And while that might not sound like a lot, for professionals and those who take exercise so seriously that they buy those $100 running shoes with the weird toes, that six percent can make all the difference.

Caffeine was found to enhance the ability to run further for longer, as well as lift more weight if you’re into that sort of thing. 300 primary studies were, well, studied for this research, with more than 4,800 participants in total.

In the end, this research is mostly just something I can show people next time they question why I’m chugging a cold brew before my rec league soccer match. And, as someone who is rather sensitive to caffeine at the best of times, I’m looking forward to gaining that 16 percent edge on my opponent.

Science!

Read the full story here.

Nestlé, Okinawa Soccer Team Set for Coffee Cultivation - via Nippon.com

Speaking of soccer and coffee, this is a faintly strange story wherein Nestlé (ugh) has partnered with Okinawa SV, who play in Japan’s Kyushu League, to grow coffee for some reason.

Ripe coffee cherries on a branch

According to the (extremely brief) report, it is part of Nestlé Japan’s “campaign to support coffee farmers all over the world, in preparation for rising demand for coffee, associated with improvements in the economic level of emerging countries.”

Nestlé will apparently supply Arabica plants for free, and the Okinawa SV players will cultivate and harvest the coffee on a farm in the city of Nago, presumably in between training and playing matches.

Why? For the players “to grow as people and as soccer players, through contacts with local people," according to Okinawa SV head coach and CEO Naohiro Takahara.

What does it all mean? Absolutely no idea, but this is the sort of nonsensical coffee news that gives this weekly roundup life, so I’m going with it.

Read the full story here.

Jooyeon Jeon Of South Korea Is The 2019 World Barista Champion - via Sprudge

The World Barista Championship happened last weekend, after this roundup went to press*, and 2019’s winner is Jooyeon Jeon of Momos Coffee in Busan, South Korea.

For a full explanation of her routine it’s worth reading the whole piece on Sprudge, as it’s very in-depth and technical, but to summarize: Jeon’s final performance was “one of the most memorable routines to ever grace the World Barista Championship stage” according to Sprudge’s reporter.

Says it all, really.

*I hit “save & publish”, but that doesn’t sound as cool.

Read the full story here.

Is coffee good for you?

I guess if you exercise it is?

Well, between two and six percent good for you.

Every little helps.

A man sits on a park bench reading a newspaper
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