Coffee News Roundup: Week Ending August 16th

A hand holding a latte resting on a newspaper

Welcome to the middle of August, where here in Michigan it is foggy and cool. It’s felt like fall for a few days now, which is a little unnerving considering, again, that it’s the middle of August. And this weekend is forecast to be muggy and hot. I knew climate breakdown was going to change the weather, I just didn’t expect it to be so… odd.

Anyway, enough talk of the weather. Let’s buckle up and get down to business, and other cliches.

Here’s the news that’s fit to print.

SCA Unveils Its Coffee Sustainability Program - via Daily Coffee News

Coffee is, as you hopefully already know, under significant threat from climate breakdown. It’s a delicate plant, takes upwards of seven years to produce fruit once planted, and is susceptible to frost and pests.

A barista pouring a latte, seen from above

If we want this delicious fruit to survive, it’s going to take a lot of work on the part of those in the industry (and a readiness to accept higher prices from consumers).

The Specialty Coffee Association is doing its best to help with the first part, this week launching a sustainability training program similar to its more general Coffee Skills Program, which comprises barista training and sensory skills among other things.

The Coffee Sustainability Program will cover, at the Foundation Level, “the major sustainability issues facing the coffee industry today and offers baseline knowledge of what the term ‘sustainability’ means, how it is connected to power dynamics, current and historical events, and practices, as well as a variety of coffee projects.”

The Intermediate and Professional levels go into things in more depth, obviously, and will be launched presently.

Read the full story here.

Luckin Coffee's Breakneck Expansion Comes at a Price - via Yahoo! Finance

Well nobody saw this coming.

It turns out, expanding your coffee business at blistering speed in the hopes of competing with Starbucks for some reason is not the most sustainable plan.

After going public back in May, Luckin Coffee this week announced its first earnings report and, well, it’s a bit all over the place.

On a positive note, average monthly customers grew 475% over the quarter, as the company added 593 new stores to bring its total to 2,963. Total net revenue grew 698.4% year-over-year, mostly because of those new customers. That’s so many percent.

On the flipside, shares dropped 17% after the report was released, possibly because of the net loss of 681.3 million yuan ($97 million).

Luckin plans to open 1,000 more stores by the end of this year in order to overtake Starbucks, the reason for which is opaque at best.

1,000 stores in four months. Burning through cash. A trade war raging.

This’ll end well.

Read the full story here.

Facebook Is Opening A Coffee Shop In London That Will Encourage Privacy Checks - via We Are Social Media (yeah, me either)

The irony in that headline is blinding.

A computer screen with Facebook’s login page

Facebook, the company best known for allowing Cambridge Analytica to harvest your data and use it for nefarious political purposes, giving us, among other things, the nightmare of Brexit, wants to help you protect your privacy.

With coffee.

A pop-up cafe in London at the end of August, and others around the UK through September, will give you free coffee if you let Facebook teach you about privacy settings.

Makes sense.

Follow me on Facebook.

Read the full story here.

‘Molecular Coffee’ Startup Atomo Coffee Receives $2.6 Million Seed - via Daily Coffee News

Oh good, another cheerful story about tech companies here to save us from ourselves. This time, someone has decided that coffee is too harmful for the planet, so they’ve reverse-engineered it to something something molecules something.

Now they’ve raised a bunch of money to further their goal to disrupt the coffee industry or whatever.

The Coffee News Roundup actually covered these dudes back in February, so I’m just going to copy/paste what I wrote back then, as it definitely still applies:

“Because the solution to coffee’s admittedly myriad problems is to get rid of the coffee? Rather than, say, pay more for it so that the farmers can feed their families, and pay their workers, and protect their land?”

Read the full story here.

University shuts its SU bar because students prefer coffee to beer - via The Telegraph

The kids are alright.

Read the full story here.

The week in corporate greenwashing

Oh look, it’s everyone’s favorite cartoon villain coffee conglomerate, back once more to show us how earth-friendly their products are.

This time, they’ve made a bike from their capsules.

See? Nestlé cares about recycling—all you have to do is simply take your leftover Nespresso pods and *checks notes* make a… bike out of them?

Yeah that seems feasible.

Is coffee good for you?

Well the Mormon church doesn’t think so, and this week it clarified its rules for the benefit of its younger members.

In the August issue of its New Era magazine, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints wrote that “Drinks with names that include café or caffé, mocha, latte, espresso, or anything ending in -ccino usually have coffee in them and are against the Word of Wisdom.”

The Word of Wisdom, a church guide to healthy eating and drinking, has always forbade hot beverages like coffee and tea, and also prohibits the use of tobacco.

The New York Daily News thinks the clarification is being released now because Starbucks recently announced the opening of a new location across from Brigham Young University, a Mormon-run school in Utah.

So there you go.

A man sits on a bench reading a newspaper

What to read

Coffee Child Labour: Under-Researched And ‘Undetected’ by Oliver Nieburg

Coffee Farmers Are Searching For Innovative Solutions To Climate Threats by Ashley Andrews

Funding Your Cafe Dreams by RJ Joseph

Until next week, drink good coffee. Unless you’re Mormon, then probably stay clear altogether.

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