A hand holds a latte resting on a newspaper.

Hello and welcome to another Coffee News Roundup, which finds Southeast Michigan deep into a bewildering winter where every single applicable weather event has happened bar a snow tornado. And, at this rate, we’re due for one.

It does make it hard to acclimatize and really lean into the season, because day to day there’s no telling what’s going to be going on outside the front door. Polar Vortex? Sure. Extreme 65 degree temperature swing and complete snow melt? Why not. Ice storm? Bring it on. Warm fog? I mean, I suppose? Oh, now it’s -4 again.


Well anyway. Here’s what’s been going on in the world of coffee.

ACE Cancels 2019 Nicaragua Cup of Excellence Amid Political Crisis - via Daily Coffee News

The Alliance for Coffee Excellence (ACE), the body responsible for putting on the Cup of Excellence competitions in producing nations around the world, has announced that it is cancelling this year’s event in Nicaragua due to the country’s ongoing political crisis.

Bags of coffee are stacked on a pallet awaiting export

Beginning in April, the uprising against the Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega and his government has led to hundreds of deaths and thousands of refugees fleeing the country.

In light of this, the ACE took the decision to cancel this year’s competition and subsequent auction, which rates the best coffees from the country’s producers and then sells them to buyers across the world, occasionally for record-breaking prices.

The ACE’s Executive Director, Darrin Daniel, told Daily Coffee News that the organization had tried to come up with alternative means of hosting the event, but had taken the decision to cancel due to safety fears for its staff members and a lack of viable hosting options.

Read the full story here.

Dunkin' shares drop after coffee chain focuses attention on espresso - via CNBC

Shares in Dunkin’ Donuts fell 6% on news that no one cares about their coffee.

A pile of donuts

In a shocking turn of events, taking bad coffee and sort-of fine donuts and then removing focus from the donuts leads to a drop in interest from literally everyone.

The brand has been trying to compete with Starbucks by removing the “Donuts” from its name and focusing more on espresso, because apparently millenials like espresso. That’s their actual rationale.

Somebody should tell them that it’s actually the syrup and milk on top of the espresso that makes Starbucks popular, not the coffee itself.

Read the full story here.

Farmers Are Making Bespoke Milk for Coffee Art - via Atlas Obscura

At a certain point, when you can’t improve the coffee any further, you turn to the other ingredients in the drink. You’ve got your water, which can be filtered and blended to the point of scientific no return. You’ve got your house-made artisanal syrups made with freshly ground herbs and honey from bees so local they occasionally sting the baristas.

And then there’s the milk.

There are plenty of coffee shops for whom milk is an afterthought, the cheapest stuff they can possibly buy—the coffee business is a low margin one, after all.

But what if you could source milk that was specifically designed for making lattes and cappuccinos? That’s apparently the new trend, featuring milk that is butterfat-enhanced (to complement the acidity in the espresso) and higher in protein (for more consistent steaming).

Dairy production is a loss-making business, in general, so expanding into a niche market is one way for farmers to stand out and make extra profit.

Barista milk just happens to be the nichiest of niches.

Read the full story here.

Willie Nelson Readies Hemp-Infused Coffee - via Rolling Stone

In the most on-brand and least surprising news of all time, the country singer Willie Nelson has launched a cannabidiol (CBD)-infused hemp coffee. It’s name? Willie’s Remedy.

Close-up of a lit cigarette

Willie’s Remedy is an extension of his marijuana line, Willie’s Reserve, which has allowed the 85-year-old to branch out from his particular blend of pleasant country music and harmless hippie stylings. Each 8oz cup of coffee contains 7mg. of hemp-derived CBD, which is certainly an amount.

CBD, much touted for its health benefits by the exact people you’d expect to tout it, is a non-psychoactive component of the cannabis plant. CBD oil is also, unfortunately, one of the key ingredients in bulletproof coffee which, as we’ve discussed many times, is a pointless waste of money.

But hey, good on you Willie—expand that brand.

Read the full story here.

This “Molecular Coffee” is Brewed Entirely Without Beans - via Futurism

Um, what.

That’s just hot water, you do know that, right?

OK, so a company called Atomo (because of course) says it has developed a coffee that requires no, well, coffee. According to Futurism, the makers “believe they’ve identified the 40 or so compounds found in the proteins and oils of coffee that represent the body, mouth feel, aroma, and color of coffee, and built a product made out of naturally derived sustainable ingredients.”


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?

You’ve got to hand it to the tech industry, they sure know how to reinvent things that don’t need reinventing.

Read the full story here.

Is coffee good for you?

Well nobody’s saying it isn’t good for you this week, so that probably means it is. That makes sense.

A man sits on a bench reading a newspaper, with a takeaway coffee cup on the table next to him.

What to read

Farmer Profitability And Prosperity: An Elusive Quest? by Dan McQuillan

The Price Of Coffee Is In Crisis. Here’s Why You Should Care by Michael Paul Light

Oh, and I write for Sprudge News now.

Until next week, drink good hot water with molecules in it. I mean, coffee.

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