Coffee News Roundup: Week Ending August 30th

An espresso cup sits on a table next to a folded-up newspaper

How is it Friday, again? Already? Shouldn’t there be other days in between?

This whole “life speeding by” thing isn’t fair. When you’re a child time moves at the speed of moss: idly floating down a river on a barge; playing hide and seek in an echoey country mansion; long summer days spent running through wheat fields or whatever.

Adulthood seems to consist of waking up and thinking, “Oh god it’s September already?! I’m not done with summer!” and then getting up and rushing through the week like a startled sheep, only to wake up in a month and think, “Oh god it’s November now!?” and so on until the heat death of the universe, or at least the planet.

Anyway, where were we? Oh yes, coffee.

Indonesian Millennials’ Coffee Craze May Spur Record Consumption - via Bloomberg

Coffee consumption in Indonesia has more than doubled over the past decade, with much of the demand driven by younger people in the majority-Muslim country, for whom alcohol-free zones in which to socialize are of increasing importance.

With the continued slump in coffee prices causing problems for producers worldwide, this increased demand should theoretically tighten supply and lift the C price.

This would be extremely welcome in Indonesia, with Al Jazeera reporting this week that many farmers fear bankruptcy if the coffee market doesn’t pick up.

Read the full story here.

London Coffee Juggernaut Will Revive Taylor St Baristas in the City - via Eater London

Remember last month when it was announced that Black Sheep was buying Taylor St Baristas’ cafes in London as part of the latter’s administration?

A barista pours latte art into a cup

Might be tricky to recall, as there are about two stories like this every week.

Well, as it turns out Taylor St Baristas kept hold of the roastery and brand, and that part of the business has been acquired by Department of Coffee and Social Affairs, another of the UK’s newly-takeover-happy specialty chains.

Department of Coffee plans to revive the brand and open new cafes across London this year, although none of the staff from the original Taylor St Baristas is being kept on.

It all sounds suitably sordid. As Eater London reports:

A barista at Taylor Street and a second source close to the company have told Eater that since Wednesday, shops are being directed to serve Black Sheep sourced and roasted coffee out of Taylor Street branded bags, contravening the ethos of the original brand, as well as the operating license agreement signed with Black Sheep. This has led a large number of staff members, including the entire staff at the Bank and St Pauls cafes, to resign.

Read the full story here.

Starbucks Just Launched Its First New Pumpkin Coffee Since The PSL—The Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew - via Delish

Oh no.

Oh no thank you.

Read the full story here (if that’s your thing).

The week in corporate greenwashing

I wasn’t sure that this little section of the Roundup really had legs when I first introduced it. I mean, could there really be a weekly supply of big coffee-related companies acting all green and ethical while they continue asset-stripping the natural world for venal profit?

Haha, how idealistic and naive I was back there four or five weeks ago.

A pile of coffee capsules

I must have forgotten about Nestlé. There’s always Nestlé.

The CEO of everyone’s favorite possibly-child-slavery-using, definitely-slave-labor-using multinational food and beverage conglomerate this week gave an interview lauding his company’s sustainability efforts.

That’s right, the same company that thinks pumping water out from under poor communities for a pittance like some sort of Swiss Mr Burns seems to believe it can hoodwink people into viewing it as a sustainable pioneer.

“One of our big themes is recycling,” said Nestlé boss Mark Schneider about Nespresso pods in an interview with CNBC’s Jim Cramer. “There’s lots of uses where aluminum can have a useful second life for consumers and we have been a pioneer in recycling schemes for aluminum.”

Great. Good for you, Mark. If you can get people to actually return the capsules instead of throwing them in the trash, that is. And that doesn’t really help the billions and billions of pods already sitting in landfills around the world, or floating about in the ocean.

Now, some more questions:

How about the story last week about your palm oil suppliers using forced labor?

How about the claim that your company is trying to extract over a million of gallons of water a day from a fragile natural spring in Florida?

Mark? Are you there, Mark?


Is coffee good for you?

Nothing particularly new this week, but a study published in May and reported on this week by something called (love local news acronym names) says that drinking a bunch of energy drinks can cause your heart to *checks notes* uh explode.

Well, not quite, but a lot of caffeine definitely puts a strain on the ol’ ticker, causing heightened blood pressure and heart rhythm disturbances.

All this to say, don’t overdo it on the caffeine, friends. And maybe put down that third can of THUNDER or RATKICKER or whatever they’re calling those abominations nowadays.

A man sits on a park bench reading a newspaper

What to read

Coffee Growers Help Reforest Mozambique’s Mount Gorongosa by Andrew Meldrum

What Creates Coffee Aroma? Understanding The Chemistry by Verônica Belchior

Until next week, drink good coffee. And hey, it’s basically fall—eat a cider doughnut!

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