Two hands cup a latte, resting on a newspaper on a table.

Another week is over, another weekend begins. The big annual coffee expo is underway in Boston, at least according to my Twitter feed. Here in the Midwest, well, nothing much is underway. Open mics and karaoke, I suppose.

There are lots of good articles in the What To Read section down below, but let’s start with this week’s developments.

2019 Philippines Brewers Cup Champion Dead In Tragic Shooting - via Sprudge

Unfortunately, we begin with some sad news. On Wednesday, 2019 Philippines Brewers Cup Champion John Michael Hermoso was shot and killed inside Good Cup Coffee Company in Cebu City, Philippines, alongside a colleague.

Hermoso was managing partner, roaster, and head barista at Good Cup, and was supposed to be competing in the 2019 World Brewers Cup in Boston this weekend, but his visa application was rejected by US Immigration.

It’s a heartbreaking reminder that coffee is a global, disparate industry full of people doing their best and living their lives, and those lives are sometimes cut tragically short. A crowdfunding page has been set up for the families of those impacted, and a moment of silence will be held this weekend at the World Brewers Cup and World Barista Championship.

Read the full story here.

Coffee not essential for life, Swiss government says - via BBC News

Between the two World Wars, Switzerland began stockpiling various foods (sugar, rice, animal feed) in case of shortages. Sandwiched as it is between various large European powers with a tendency towards militarism, that’s not a bad idea (it also has mandatory military service, a lot of guns but very few gun deaths, as well as bridges and hillsides rigged to explode in case of invasion).

Since the beginning of this stockpiling, coffee has been included on the list of essential items (and for good reason too). It currently has 15,300 tonnes of coffee warehoused, enough to keep the country going for three months.

A village in the Swiss alps

But now, the Swiss government wants to remove coffee from the list, deeming it “not essential for life”. According to the Federal Office for National Economic Supply, "Coffee contains almost no calories and therefore does not contribute, from the physiological perspective, to safeguarding nutrition."

While this may technically be true, coffee is full of antioxidants and other whatnots, so it’s clearly healthy in that regard. Also, it’s psychologically important—this article in Quartz goes into it in more detail—and just plain delicious.

Although, hang on. Swiss coffee… Hmm. You know what enormous conglomerate is headquartered in Switzerland and likes to pretend it’s a coffee company? That’s right kids, Nestlé (boo).

If they’re stockpiling Nescafé then they’d be better off throwing it all into a lake and drinking tea.

Also, if they’ve been collecting coffee since the 1920s, that coffee can’t be good anymore anyway. Insert joke about Nescafé here.

Read the full story here.

Who's Winning and Losing From Coffee's Slump - via Bloomberg

No one is winning, you ghouls. There are only losers and speculators.

Coffee should not be this cheap.

Read the full story here.


Surprising news now, as a new survey concludes that 48 percent of customers in UK coffee shops choose the non-dairy option. Additionally, a further 44 percent said they would be drinking more coffees with plant-based milks in 2019.

A barista pouring latte art into a cortado glass, possibly using non-dairy milk.

This is encouraging news, until you look at who conducted the survey: Alpro, the international dairy-free food company. They wouldn’t be biased about something like this, would they?

OK, let’s take a look at this research. How many people were surveyed? What questions were they asked? Were they offered an incentive to take the survey? How was the survey conducted?

Oh look, there’s literally no information about it whatsoever. It’s just a glorified press release from Alpro itself, with some choice quotes from the company’s head of UK marketing.

It’s definitely true that plant-based milks are becoming more and more popular (and not without justification: have you tried chocolate Oatly?) and are being carried by more and more coffee shops. Even the big chains have moved away from only offering soy milk, which is something.

To take advantage of this explosion in demand for alt milk, Alpro says, “Baristas and coffee shop owners should add a broad choice of plant-based options to their menu.”

The subtext here is “Buy More Alpro”.

Read the full story here.

Is coffee good for you?

Well the Swiss don’t seem to think so. Not from the physiological perspective, anyway.

Otherwise, the news this week is mostly outlets catching up on that story from last week about coffee and lung cancer.

A man sits on a park bench reading a newspaper

What to read

Why Cheap Coffee Means More Migrants At The Border by Paul Hicks and Dan McQuillan

The Best $20,000 I Ever Spent: Starbucks Every Day Of My Adult Life by Mae Rice

Sahra Nguyen Wants To Change The Trajectory Of Vietnamese Coffee by Bettina Makalintal

Opinion: Fair Prices Desperately Needed To End Coffee Farmer Poverty by Pierre Ferrari and Daniel Speckhard

The Inaugural Sprudge Twenty Class Of 2019 by Sprudge Staff

Until next week, drink good coffee.

You Might Also Like                                  

Coffee At The Movies Episode 6: A History Of Violence

          Apr 9, 2017                                Coffee At The Movies Episode 6: A History Of Violence        Apr 9, 2017                       Apr 9, 2017                                

Coffee At The Movies Episode 5: Pulp Fiction

          Dec 15, 2016                                Coffee At The Movies Episode 5: Pulp Fiction        Dec 15, 2016                       Dec 15, 2016                                

Coffee At The Movies Episode 4: Ghost World

          Dec 8, 2016                                Coffee At The Movies Episode 4: Ghost World        Dec 8, 2016                       Dec 8, 2016                                

Coffee At The Movies Episode 3: Looper

          Dec 1, 2016                                Coffee At The Movies Episode 3: Looper        Dec 1, 2016                       Dec 1, 2016                                

Coffee At The Movies Episode 2: The Big Lebowski

          Nov 24, 2016                                Coffee At The Movies Episode 2: The Big Lebowski        Nov 24, 2016                       Nov 24, 2016                                

Coffee At The Movies Episode 1: Scott Pilgrim Vs The World

          Nov 17, 2016                                Coffee At The Movies Episode 1: Scott Pilgrim Vs The World        Nov 17, 2016                       Nov 17, 2016