Coffee News Roundup: Week Ending January 15th

Two hands cradle a coffee cup with latte art, resting on a folded newspaper. Via Pixabay.

Two hands cradle a coffee cup with latte art, resting on a folded newspaper. Via Pixabay.

Hello and welcome to another Coffee News Roundup, where this week there’s actual news! Huzzah!

News, reports, articles, reportage, stories, studies—it’s all here, and it’s all about coffee. Lucky us.

Let’s take a look.

Pandemic Erased Nearly A Quarter Of US Coffee Shop Market, Report Shows - via Daily Coffee News

$11.5 billion in sales. That’s how much the US coffee shop market has lost over the past year, according to the latest report by Allegra World Coffee Portal—24% of the total market value.

For the first time “in modern history”, according to Daily Coffee News, the number of total coffee shops also fell, with a net decrease of 208 shops in 2020.

The “coffee shop market” cited in this report includes big players like Starbucks and Dunkin, which between them make up 66% of the US coffee market by number of stores. And if you’ll remember from a few months ago, these two are also the most excited about indie cafés shuttering.

According to another article on the report by Reuters, the US market is only expected to return to pre-pandemic levels by 2023.

Read the full story here.

Shoreline’s Black Coffee Northwest Shutters Temporarily Following Racist Graffiti and Other Threats - via Eater Seattle

Well this is horrific.

Back in October there were reports of an arson attack delaying the opening of Black Coffee Northwest in Seattle.

The café did in fact open, but just a few months later has been forced to close temporarily after swastikas were drawn on the outside of the building and the company was targeted with abuse and threats on social media, via email, and in-person. “People will come through the drive-thru and say the most hateful things to them and just leave,” owner Darnesha Weary told local news channel KIRO 7 about the abuse suffered by the company’s teenage baristas.

The owners say they’re closing in order to install new security measures like surveillance cameras and bulletproof glass in the drive-thru, as well as providing their staff mace and hiring security.

“We’re baristas serving coffee,” Weary said. “At the end of the day, no one should have to come to work and be called racial slurs every day.”

Read the full story here.

COVID-19: 'Don't Let A Coffee Cost A Life,' Warns New Government Advert - via Sky News

It’s probably fair to say that the UK government is doing a bad job of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But really, you know, it’s not the government. It’s actually your fault for going out for a takeaway coffee, and also the coffee shop’s fault for being open.

Stay home. But go into the office. But don’t go outside. Unless you’re a barista. Or something.

Read the full story here.

Long shot of Colombian coffee farms with mountains in the distance

Long shot of Colombian coffee farms with mountains in the distance

More Headlines

2020 Specialty Coffee Transaction Guide Shows Price Data From 51K Contracts

The Twelfth Annual Sprudgie Award Winners, Honorees, And Finalists

C-Market Coffee Prices Expected To Rise In 2021 (For Terrible Reasons)

5 Keys to Staff Retention for Coffee Shop Operators — N.B. step 6, Just Pay People More What Is Wrong With You, is oddly missing from this list.

The Week In Corporate Coffeewashing

Here’s some news that I’m sure will shock you: according to an article in Reuters citing a new report from a group of global NGOs, “There is little evidence efforts by the world’s top coffee roasters and traders to prevent human rights and environmental abuses are having any impact.”

Most coffee producers, the report observes, are “operating at a loss and unable to produce sustainably.”

The biennial report is produced by a group called the Coffee Barometer, made up of stakeholders including Oxfam, Conservation International, and Ethos Agriculture, and has been published since 2006.

The report, which is worth downloading and reading, says that “While some companies have comprehensive (sustainability) policies in place, many large traders and roasters remain unclear about their commitments (and about) any progress on commitments. No one is doing enough.”

The report also looks at deforestation, saying that “While to date coffee has played a relatively small role in global deforestation . . . climate models and field evidence show that climate change will gradually drive production into new areas that will become suitable in the coming years and decades.” Already, 25% of deforestation in Peru is linked to coffee production.

Increased global demand for coffee over the next few decades is expected to double or triple production, assuming a business-as-usual approach. This would require an additional 10-20 million hectares of land—much of which will come from currently forested areas, and would lead to an estimated 1.65-3.3 gigatons of additional carbon emissions.

As the report states, “This scenario directly undermines the climate commitments and emission reduction targets of traders and roasters like Olam, Nestlé and Starbucks.”

Is Coffee Good For You?

A new meta-analysis has found an association between increased daily coffee consumption and decreased risk of prostate cancer.

This is not necessarily new info—coffee’s impact on prostate cancer has been discussed previously on this roundup, and in many other places—but this new review looked at 16 different studies with over a million participants to determine whether there really is a link between drinking coffee and your chances of developing the cancer.

Although it doesn’t say why this is the case, the study noted that the highest levels of coffee consumption were associated with a 9% decrease in risk of prostate cancer, when compared with the lowest levels.

The authors hazard some guesses as to the reasons, writing that “Coffee improves glucose metabolism, decreases concentrations of plasma insulin and insulin-like growth factor-1, has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, and affects sex hormone levels, all of which may play roles in the initiation, development, and progression of prostate cancer.”

The other interesting thing to note is that, according to the analysis, the more coffee you drink the lower your chances of developing prostate cancer—1% decreased risk for each additional daily cup, in fact.

What I’m Drinking This Week

This week I was sent a few bags of coffee by Sabbath Coffee Roasters in Clawson, MI. So far I’ve been enjoying a delicious Costa Rica La Perla Del Café which I tried yesterday, and a fruity Ethiopia Guji Sere Saba which I brewed up this morning.

What To Read

So You Want To Design A Home Coffee Bar by Jenn Chen

Empowering Women At Origin by Emily Meneses

How The Coffee Industry Is Addressing Global Poverty by Courtney Bergsieker

Until next week, drink good coffee. Support your local baristas. And, as my mum says, Keep the heid.

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