Hello and welcome to another edition of the Coffee News Roundup. This is the time of year when resolutions are quietly abandoned, gym memberships begin to gather dust and the urge to comfort eat to ward off the winter blues grows ever stronger.
The good news is that coffee has very few calories—if you drink it black, that is—and is being shown over and over to actually benefit your health in the long term. So don't worry, at least your coffee habit is one less thing to feel guilty over.
The same can't be said of the coffee industry itself. Read on to see what's been happening in a tumultuous week for coffee.
Amid Harassment Suit, Four Barrel Abandoning Name and Transitioning to Employee Ownership - via Daily Coffee News
After news broke last week that Jeremy Tooker, founder of San Francisco-based roaster Four Barrel, was facing allegations of sexual harassment and/or abuse from multiple women, the company has been scrambling to deal with the fallout. Press releases, statements, a hurried name change, and now the remaining partners have announced that the company will transition to 100% employee ownership.
The civil suit, first reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, alleges sexual misconduct by Tooker going back a number of years, and a generally toxic workplace culture for female employees at the influential coffee company.
The rise of the #metoo movement has inspired a similar campaign in specialty coffee, labeled #coffeetoo. Begun by industry veteran Molly Soeder, #coffeetoo is a volunteer-run grassroots project whose mission is "to gather and share information about 1) our rights, 2) our legal options if our rights are violated, and 3) how to take care of ourselves if we are put through an unwanted or traumatic situation,” Soeder told Barista Magazine.
The Puppy Bowl Now Has An Official Coffee - via Sprudge
In happier news, the Puppy Bowl, the nation's favourite bowl-related sporting event featuring puppies, now has its very own coffee. Animal Planet has teamed up with Grounds & Hounds Coffee Co. to produce a blend—Guatemala and Papua (Puppy?) New Guinea, since you asked—which will help to raise awareness for dog adoption as well as raise money for the cause. 30% of the proceeds will go to help find new homes for shelter puppies.
Grounds & Hounds itself is dedicated year-round to helping dogs—its tagline reading "Every pound saves a hound" sums it up. It's a noble cause, as in the United States alone around 3.3 million dogs enter animal shelters (alongside 3.2 million cats). Of these, only approximately 3.2 million are adopted each year (equally split between dogs and cats). If Grounds & Hounds can help increase that number, then it should be applauded.
Read more here.
Starbucks Is Not Welcome at Yosemite, Say Nature Enthusiasts - via Eater
Yosemite National Park is one of the most famous—and most visited—of America's national parks. (I'm also led to believe that it's the home of a certain gun-wielding mustachioed cartoon character with anger issues.) A record 5 million people visited the northern California park in 2016, and now Starbucks wants a piece of that sweet, sweet tourist action.
They are reportedly working with Yosemite Hospitality to open a location in the food court at the Yosemite Valley Lodge, according to the Fresno Bee.
But now a petition has been started to oppose this move, with over 11,000 signatures so far. According to Eater, one petition-signer named Luke notes: “Their coffee is trash and apparently so is their respect for the environment.”
In true petition tradition, Yosemite Hospitality plans to ignore it completely and move ahead with its coffee-based plans.
Read more here.
‘Gilmore Girls’ Star Launches Scotty P’s Big Mug Coffee Company - via Daily Coffee News
Anyone familiar with the long-running television series Gilmore Girls will remember Luke, the grouchy diner-owning love interest for Lauren Graham's character Lorelai. Now the actor who played him, Scott Patterson, is launching his very own real-life coffee company, intriguingly titled Scotty P's Big Mug Coffee Company.
Based in New Jersey, the company says it aims to offer “premium-quality coffee at half the price,” but as Daily Coffee News drily notes, 'it remains unclear at half the price of what, or what is the definition of “premium-quality.”'
Read more here.
Is coffee good for you?
This week, well, it depends what you're doing with it.
A while back we reported on a story about glitter coffee, the stupid trend to sprinkle edible glitter onto lattes to make them look good on Instagram or whatever. Now, however, food safety experts are weighing in (most of them sounding distinctly bemused by the whole situation). Daily Coffee News asked several for their take, and the takeaway is that most of the really vibrant glitter lattes in the most popular photos were probably made using toxic glitter designed not for consumption but to delight small children and pollute the oceans. Edible glitter isn't that sparkly, apparently.
Also, please don't use coffee in an enema. Last week we relayed a story about Gwyneth Paltrow's website Goop hawking $135 coffee enema machines—but incredibly it turns out actual scientists and doctors are warning people not to try it. Well, duh.
What to read
The Coffee Lover’s Guide To Glasgow, Scotland by Fionn Pooler (oh hey that's me!)
Until next week, drink good coffee—perhaps try a natural-processed Brazil.