Coffee News Roundup: Week Ending December 11th

An espresso cups sits on a table beside a folded newspaper. Via Unsplash

An espresso cups sits on a table beside a folded newspaper. Via Unsplash

This week’s Coffee News Roundup is brought to you by the weather report that has up to ten inches of snow forecast for most of Michigan but exactly zero for us suckers in the Southeast.

Alright, let’s look at the news shall we.

International Coffee Partners Creates $48,000 Hurricane Relief Fund - via Daily Coffee News

In a recent Roundup (two weeks ago, to be precise) we discussed the International Coffee Organization’s “mobilization” to “mitigate the impact of this climate-related tragedy on the life and work of coffee farmers in the regionwithout actually providing any details or, y’know, money.

Well, another organization with “International Coffee” in the name has stepped forward to create a fund that it says will directly benefit 400 affected producers in Guatemala and Honduras. How much is this fund, you ask? $48,000.

Which is good! Those 400 farmers need and deserve some cash assistance. The economic damage of hurricane Eta alone is estimated at more than $5.5 billion, with early reports forecasting damage to more than 10,000 hectares of coffee farmland just in Nicaragua and Honduras.

However. The eight massive European companies that make up International Coffee Partners, according to Daily Coffee News, had a combined revenue of $10 billion prior to 2020. Ten billion dollars!

In that context, $48,000 is so little that it’s almost laughable.

Read the full story here.

Starbucks Chief Bullish As Crisis Engulfs Smaller Coffee Shops - via Financial Times

There were a few stories this week about how Starbucks expects to “bounce back” in 2021, and how bright the future looks for a gigantic corporation that rescinded its employee hazard pay all the way back at the end of May even though the pandemic is still ongoing and in fact is worsening significantly.

However, at least this Financial Times article is honest about why the future is so bright for Starbucks.

“People will be back in Starbucks stores at a rate far beyond what they were pre-pandemic,” CEO Kevin Johnson told the paper. Meanwhile, 2,000 coffee shops in the US will close by the end of the year.

“There’s going to be a lot fewer coffee shops,” one expert told the FT. “Starbucks stands to benefit from that.”

Grim stuff all round.

Read the full story here.

Close up of coffee cherries ripening on the branch

Close up of coffee cherries ripening on the branch

More Headlines

Coffee Fest New York Postponed To July 2021 Due To Pandemic

NYC’s Coffee-Cart Woes Spur $2 Million Morgan Stanley Grant

The Week In Coffee Unionizing

The union drive at Wonderstate Coffee (reported on briefly a few weeks ago) is finally getting a bit more press coverage, with a vote coming up next week. Although the push is related to just one cafe with fewer than ten employees, it’s still worth paying attention to.

According to the latest, the ownership of Wonderstate (previously named Kickapoo Coffee, a coffee roaster with three cafes around Wisconsin) is not actively opposing the unionization drive, although there were meetings to discuss the issue, and Wonderstate did file a procedural legal challenge with the National Labor Relations Board (which didn’t work).

The Week In Corporate Coffeewashing

This week, “some of the world’s leading coffee companies” have committed to “transparency” to “promote a sector-wide move towards sustainable coffee and to show the progress being made.”

The Global Coffee Platform (yet another “multi-stakeholder membership association”) says that this Snapshot on 2018 Sustainable Coffee Purchases from Jacobs Douwe Egberts, Melitta, Nestlé, Strauss Coffee and SUPRACAFÉ is a “clear and confident step to support global progress in sustainable coffee sourcing”, according to its Executive Director Annette Pensel.

Anyway, remember back in March when George Clooney told us how “saddened” he was that Nespresso was buying coffee from farms that utilized child labor? And that Nestlé came third in the 2020 list of worst plastic polluters?

Probably unrelated.

Is Coffee Good For You?

According to Yahoo! News, “Coffee drinkers are ‘like addicts’ who don’t actually enjoy the drink more than others”. Additionally, the NY Post announced that “Coffee snobs are faking their love of fancy java, addiction study says”.

Both headlines refer to a study published in May that, according to a more nuanced look at the research by Daily Coffee News, “concluded that heavy consumption of coffee may carry more association with addiction to caffeine than with pure enjoyment.”

The DCN article is—obviously—the one to read.

What I’m Drinking This Week

It’s not what I’m drinking but rather the brewing device I’m now using on occasion. That’s right, thanks to my mother-in-law Susan and this fancy new Bonavita drip brewer, I now have the ability to brew (good) coffee for more than two people! Technology, amirite.

What To Read

The Twelfth Annual Sprudgie Award Finalists by Sprudge

How To Save Coffee From Climate Change by Adele Peters

Until next week, drink good coffee, wash your hands, and wear your mask.

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