A macchiato with latte art sits on a newspaper

Hello and welcome to another edition of the Coffee News Roundup, this week brought to you by springtime allergies.

That’s right, over the last week Southeast Michigan has exploded into bloom, bringing with it the colors and aromas of spring. And the pollen. Just so much pollen.

Anyway, let’s talk about coffee and distract ourselves from the airborne menace.

Coffee waste 'could replace palm oil' - via BBC News

This story feels like it was written specifically for me. In fact, I’m annoyed I didn’t come up with the idea myself, especially as the two people involved aren’t even scientists or engineers, they’re just coffee people.

Palm oil is a pretty terrible substance, what with the environmental degradation, deforestation, and all those poor orangutans. But it’s also cheap, and plentiful, and it’s in everything. I’ve been trying to avoid it for years and it’s hard. Seriously, eschewing palm oil means depriving oneself of the majority of tasty things.

So, two Scottish blokes decided to see if the oils in used coffee grounds—40,000 tonnes is produced every year in Scotland alone—could be extracted and turned into a palm oil-replacement.

Can they? Well.

“We're developing a process to extract and purify these oils," says Revive Eco founder Fergus Moore.

Whether or not it pans out, it’s a good idea. One I should have come up with.

Read the full story here.

To beat Starbucks, Luckin Coffee plans to open a store in China every 3.5 hours - via Quartz

Holy moly that’s a lot of coffee shops. Who’s planning this? Who’s designing them? Do they ever sleep?

Luckin Coffee is trying to take on Starbucks in China, and to that end is opening stores at a blisteringly fast rate. One every four hours in 2018 wasn’t enough, apparently, so this year they’re trying to do it even faster, in order to have a total of 4,500 stores open by the end of this year.

Why? Who knows, they just want it. They want it bad.

Read the full story here.

The latest culprit in El Salvador’s coffee industry decline? Climate change - via PRI

These stories are becoming more and more common. Climate change is devastating the global coffee supply and, combined with the plummeting commodity price, is forcing more and more people to migrate north to look for a better life.

I don’t really have much to add, except to say that I’ll be highlighting these stories as often as I can going forward, even if they become repetitive. The more we read and understand the causes of these varied crises, the better prepared we can be to help mitigate them (like, for instance, not cutting aid to those countries for no reason).

Two hands holding freshly picked coffee cherries

With that being said, here are some quotes from the story (which I highly, highly recommend reading):

“Coffee exports, once the backbone of El Salvador’s economy, have fallen by more than half in the last 10 years, according to the Salvadoran Coffee Council. And as production has plummeted, work has dried up. El Salvador’s coffee industry has lost more than 80,000 jobs over the same period, contributing to the wave of migration north."

Nearly 20% of the population of this tiny Central American country now lives in the US.”


"‘There used to be tons of people who worked here,’ said Óscar René Turcios, the overseer who estimates he’s been working on the farm for 45 years. He said in the 1970s, the farm produced around 4,000 tons of coffee. This year, it’s producing only around 300 tons, a decline even from the last couple of years, when production was already low.”

Read the full story here.

Nossa Familia’s Nudge: Portland Roaster Initiating 25-Cent Cup Fee - via Daily Coffee News

Another vaguely repetitive story, but again these sorts of stories are worth highlighting as, hopefully, they inspire more companies (and customers) to think about their effect on the natural world. Nossa Familia, the Portland, Oregon-based roaster retailer, is introducing a 25 cent charge for takeaway cups in order to encourage customers to bring their own reusable mug.

A takeaway coffee cup held in front of a wall

Taking on the disposable cup is becoming more normalized, although with mixed results—Tandem Coffee in Portland, Maine, introduced a 25 cent charge recently but also dropped their prices by 25 cents to offset the cost to customers, while Boston Tea Party banned disposable cups completely and promptly lost significant revenue.

The possibility of losing customers, or at least annoying them, is a definite worry for companies looking at implementing similar schemes. But Nossa Familia say it’s also about encouraging change: “The real goal here is to help people think more consciously about their decisions,” said Nossa Familia founder Augusto Carneiro, “and offer a little nudge to help them make a better one for the planet and our community by using a reusable cup over one that becomes trash.”

Read the full story here.

SKYY Infusions Cold Brew Coffee Vodka Is Here To Upgrade Your Boozy Brunches - via Elite Daily

“You know what, liquor is kind of a downer. What can we add to it to make people more lively?”

Read the full story here.

Is coffee good for you?

Well probably not if you’re infusing it into vodka.

A man sits on a bench reading a newspaper

What to read

The Accident That Led To The Discovery Of Climate-Change-Proof Coffee by Diego Arguedas Ortiz

Harvesting The Value Of Processing Methods: A Marketing Opportunity For Roasters And Farmers by Justin Will

Until next week, drink good coffee.

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