Coffee News Roundup: Week Ending January 17th

An espresso sits on a white tablecloth beside a folded newspaper

The problem with writing a weekly coffee news roundup is that, some weeks, nothing happens.

At least, not in our industry—while the world roils with political, ecological, and societal crises, the only things happening in coffee are the release of another stupid cash-in coffee-based soft drink and some new Nestlé disaster.

So, as Michigan awaits an incoming snow-and-ice-and-also-rain-for-some-reason storm, we might as well take a look at those aforementioned stories.

Nestlé Launching the Roastelier, a Countertop Roaster for Coffee Shops - via Daily Coffee News

I first came across this news via Twitter, and believe me when I tell you that I was excited.

A mug with Nescafe written on the side sits on a table

Not for the Roastelier itself, which is ridiculous, but because of how much fun I envisaged having reporting on it (if you don’t already know my feelings about Nestlé, suffice it to say I’m not a fan).

Basically, the idea behind the Roastelier (what a name) is to give cafes the ability to roast their own coffee, in house, in small batches.

Because why would you want to outsource the manufacturing of your most important product to experienced professionals with years of knowledge and expertise, when you can do it yourself, only worse.

Nestlé wants you to think of the Roastelier as a comprehensive “solution” that incorporates sourcing, roasting, and QC into one compact (but actually quite large) package. Nestlé will provide the owner of the Roastelier with “top grade arabica coffees sourced from select coffee growing regions around the world”, whatever that means.

Top grade arabica coffee comes in a bag with a QR code that is read by the machine, which then “offers a range of roasting profiles defined by master roasters at Nestlé and programmed into its database.” All you have to do is push a button! How easy!

According to Reinhold Jakobi, Head of Nestlé Professional Strategic Business Unit, “With this artisanal on-site roasting solution, baristas can now offer hassle-free, freshly roasted coffee, with hundreds of personalized blends at their fingertips, to cater to the increasing diversity of consumer tastes and desires. This significantly enhances both authenticity and 'coffee cred' at their outlets. The novel solution will help passionate baristas become master roasters.”

Oh good.

What’s most odd about the marketing video is that the “barista” pours already-roasted beans into the Roastelier and then roasts them some more.

Is… is that what Nestlé thinks coffee roasting is?

Read the full story here.

Ocean Spray combines coffee and fruit juice in new beverage - via Food Business News

Cold brew is such a buzz word in the ready-to-drink (RTD) beverage world that it’s being incorporated into everything. Cold brew beer, cold brew whisky, and now cold brew fruit juice.

Wait, what?

Ocean Spray Brew, as this new drink is cleverly titled, will incorporate “100% Colombian coffee” into the cranberry lemonade or cranberry blueberry concoction, along with “40 mg of caffeine from green coffee beans” for some reason.

Because we all know that coffee and fruit juice are a famously complementary pairing.

“We’re bringing together the benefits of both health and energy in a delicious and innovative way,” says Rizal Hamdallah, chief global innovation officer for Ocean Spray. “Brew is another example of Ocean Spray’s commitment to accelerate innovation and focus on building a health and wellness portfolio.”


Read the full story here.

Alt Milk and Cold Brew Maker Califia Farms Closes $225 Million Round - via Daily Coffee News

Is this interesting? I think it might be. It’s hard to tell. It feels important that an alternative milk company had a $225 million investment round, even if some of it was from a Qatari state investment company.

A wall graffiti-d with the words “Greetings from Califia”

Alternative milks (especially oat milk) have a tiny carbon footprint compared to dairy, and the bigger their market share in general the better.

And, speaking as someone who is trying (trying) to go vegan, the bigger the variety and quality of alt milks the more interesting my coffee drinking adventures will be.

Califia Farms also sells canned RTD alt milk nitro cold brew, because of course they do, and this investment represents “one of the largest capital investments in the history of the branded natural foods segment” according to Daily Coffee News.

So that’s good.

Read the full story here.

Surprise! The Inside Of Your Coffee Maker Is Disgusting - via Delish

This is really just a reminder to clean your coffee maker.

Read the full story here.

The week in nation state reputation-washing

Check out this New York Times article, published January 15th, entitled Saudi Society Is Changing. Just Take a Look at These Coffeehouses.

The piece is broadly positive about the changes that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has initiated in Saudi Arabia, focusing on the fact that women can now work alongside men in coffee shops that are no longer segregated by gender. Just like many news outlets were positive about the lifting of the ban on women driving, even though women’s rights activists remain jailed for doing just that.

Saudi Arabia has been trying to improve its image of late, hiring influencers to promote a music festival as well as general tourism. Then there’s the sportswashing, where events like boxing matches and the Spanish Super Cup are held in the country (see also: Paris Saint Germain and Qatar). Saudi Arabia’s tainted image, of course, is because of things like human rights repression, the bombing campaign in Yemen and the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

It seems as though coffee might be next in line to help launder the country’s reputation.

Is coffee good for you?

This article sought to figure out if it was risky to drink coffee on an empty stomach. The result? Ehhh, you’re probably fine. Good to know, thanks Healthline dot com.

A person sits on a bench reading a newspaper

What to read

What's Next For Coffee Prices In 2020? by William “Bill” Murray (not that one)

Should Coffee Shops Provide Free Tampons? by Ashley Rodriguez

Meet The 9-year-old Entrepreneur Who Opened A Coffee Shop For People With Disabilities by Marie Cyprien

Art, Community And Coffee Find Equal Footing At Creative Grounds In Washington DC by Me!

Until next week, drink good coffee. Top grade arabica coffees sourced from select coffee growing regions around the world, if possible.

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