Coffee News Roundup: Week Ending June 14th
Hello and welcome to another Coffee News Roundup, brought to you by the mixed emotions of seeing Scotland qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 21 years (hope, pride) and then narrowly lose their first two games (despondency, resignation).
But let’s take a look at this week’s coffee news, such as it is.
Falling coffee prices driving Guatemalan migration to the United States - via The Washington Post
“I’m leaving in 11 days. There’s no money in coffee anymore.” - Rodrigo Carrillo, coffee farmer.
“What we’ve seen is that the migration problem is a coffee problem.” - Genier Hernández, head of the Hoja Blanca coffee cooperative.
“A huge part of the migration America is seeing at its southern border is because of the falling price of coffee.” - Ric Rhinehart, former executive director of the Specialty Coffee Association of America.
Yikes. These stories are heartbreaking, and also a sobering reminder that the coffee price crisis is not some esoteric market function (or, god forbid, an investment opportunity).
It has a real impact on real people and, if nothing else, without serious and immediate reform there’s a good chance coffee from some of our favorite regions might just… disappear.
The Massively Popular Construction Guy Influencer Account Was Actually Created By An Ad Agency To Sell Coffee - via BuzzFeed News
The title pretty much says it all.
The parody influencer Instagram account @justaconstructionguy was supposedly set up by a construction worker after his daughter told him what an influencer was and he claimed anyone could become one.
After it was the subject of a viral tweet (because of course), the account has exploded in popularity, racking up 445,000 followers despite posting just 18 photos.
The account features “Omar” posing wistfully with a cigar, taking photos of his food, and drinking coffee. Quite a lot of coffee, actually….
Well, it turns out the account was set up by the owner of Austin-based Cuvée Coffee to promote his company. And hey, it worked.
It’s safe to say he didn’t expect it to get this much traction: "This has taken a life of its own," he told Buzfeed. "None of us expected this. I think it's super cool. We're all having fun with it."
The world is a weird, weird place.
The week in corporate greenwashing
Welcome to a new semi-regular segment that will cast a quizzical eye over the latest attempts by big companies to make you think they care about anything other than making as much money as possible.
This week: Starbucks and Gatwick Airport have teamed up to launch a reusable coffee cup scheme at the UK’s second busiest air hub.
Never mind about the climate emergency, the destructive environmental cost of air travel or the growing popularity of long-haul weekend trips—your low-quality, somehow-already-cold latte will now be less wasteful.
Is coffee good for you?
Yes! And not just the bean, either. A researcher working in Vietnam to help farmers diversify their income streams and cut down on waste found the coffee pulp (the fruit that surrounds the bean, which is usually discarded) to be full of opportunity.
The main benefit found was in topical healing, with the pulp doubling wound closer speed over 24 hours, but possible benefits could also be seen in treatment for skin conditions, inflammation, and even brain function.
If these uses are commercialized, it could offer coffee farmers a desperately needed additional source of income (see the Guatemala story above) and cut down on waste and pollution considerably.
In other coffee health news, parents of a boy with a rare genetic disorder known as ADCY5-related dyskinesia found that drinking coffee kept his symptoms—involuntary jerking, twitching, tremors and muscle spasms affecting the face, neck, and limbs—under control.
When they accidentally bought decaf, his symptoms returned for four days before they realized, effectively performing a real-life double-blind study on the effects of caffeine on his disorder.
What to read
21 Of The Best Coffee Shops In Detroit by Craig Batory (that’s so many! I only managed 10 in my recent guide)
Until next week, drink good coffee. Maybe you too can become an influencer.