Another slow week in the world of coffee—perhaps it's the weather, or maybe the relatively steady pace of the coffee industry puts the constant insanity that is the rest of the news cycle into perspective.
Nonetheless, things continue to rumble along, so let's check in with the latest news which, surprisingly, happens to include a story about Trump.
After Trump’s incendiary comments, D.C. cafe offers free coffee to Haitians, Salvadorans, Africans — and Norwegians - via The Washington Post
An immigrant-run coffee shop in Washington D.C. is offering free coffee to the subjects of President Trump's "incendiary" remarks last week. (during a meeting with lawmakers, the President wondered why the United States had to accept immigrants from "shithole countries".)
Albanian Gjergj Dollani, owner of Cafe Chocolat, placed a sign outside his four-month-old shop reading: "Free drip coffee for Haitians, Salvadorians, Africans, and Norwegians" the day after Trump's remarks. Dollani even employs a DACA recipient from Honduras in his cafe, pointing out that immigrants create jobs and pay taxes.
Read more here.
Four Barrel Coffee Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Out of Court - via Eater SF
The sexual harassment lawsuit brought against the San Francisco coffee roaster Four Barrel by former employees has been settled out of court.
Four Barrel has announced plans to relaunch the company under a different name—working title The Tide—and transition towards a 100% employee-owned structure, although the move has received criticism from some in the industry.
Coffee Comes To SXSW - via Sprudge
Sprudge, the world's most popular coffee publication (their words) is partnering with SXSW to bring a coffee exhibition to the esteemed Austin-based music/film/arts/tech/food/culture festival in 2018. It'll take place from Saturday, March 10th through Monday, March 12th, as part of SXSW's SouthBites food exhibition.
The highlight is probably a panel moderated by Sprudge co-founder Jordan Michelman featuring Dave Eggers and Mokhtar Alkhanshali, who is the subject of Eggers' new book The Monk of Mokha.
Specialty coffee has long been derided for its association with the ultra hip youth, so it's good to see a festival as cutting edge as SXSW finally embrace it and bring it into the fold. Might as well go with it.
Read more here.
Olympia Coffee Launches Pioneering Direct Trade Scheme, Fair For All - via Daily Coffee News
There's been a lot of debate during the past year over the pros and cons of Direct Trade, as well as what that term even means. Now, however, Washington state roaster Olympia Coffee is trying something new—namely, a truly transparent and innovative coffee buying scheme they're calling Fair For All.
As well as publishing their costs and their relationships with importers, delivery companies and more, Olympia plans to more than double the price paid per pound, as well as working with farms and co-ops to ensure strong protections for workers.
Best of all, they're also pledging to guarantee a sustainable minimum wage to all farm workers, from pickers to processors. "We want to provide a higher quality of life for every individual in the story, including every part of the supply chain," Olympia owner Oliver Stormshak wrote in the announcement. "We seek to be pioneers in this effort, setting an example we hope that many companies will follow.”
Read more here.
An NYC coffee shop is now serving pitch-black lattes - via Time Out New York
At the end of December, we relayed a story about "glitter coffee" being a new trend among terrible people on Instagram. Of course, then came the backlash. You would assume that would put an end to the ridiculous Instagram-fueled-coffee-trend phenomenon.
You would be wrong.
Because there's always something weird happening in the world of coffee, now we have the "pitch-black latte" being sold in New York City. This abomination is made with iced espresso, 98% cocoa powder, chocolate syrup, almond milk (of course it's vegan) and, to top it off, something called "coconut ash".
The Time Out article reported on the taste, which was "a little chalky from the coconut ash."
Read more here.
Is Coffee Good For You?
At least the superfood trend people think so, judging buy this piece on "coffee flour" in Men's Health. It's gluten free, for a start, and apparently has more antioxidants than regular coffee as well as a bunch of fiber and other assorted health benefits probably. However, it seems like the main reason people like it so much is, once again, due to Instagram.
In stating the obvious news, Public Health England has warned coffee drinkers to wash their reusable cups after every drink, rather than letting the flavors build up into a delicious milky coffee layer.
Oh, and don't mess around with those horrendous orange energy drinks. A Canadian study found they can cause headaches, chest pains and even seizures (!) in young people. Best to just leave them alone and stick to coffee.
What to read
Also, you can still read my latest article for Sprudge, a coffee tour of Glasgow
Until next week, keep drinking good coffee.