Coffee News Roundup: Week Ending January 3rd

Two hands cupping a coffee cup with latte art atop a newspaper, seen from above

Hello and welcome to a brand new year.

It’s… it’s not started well, has it?

However, with geopolitics and the very future of the livable planet out of our control, we might as well look at the things within it—specifically, coffee news.

After last week’s 2019 Year In Review (which you obviously read) it’s time to delve back into the here and now.

There’s… there’s not much going on.

What May Be the World’s Oldest Probat is Alive and Roasting in Washington State - via Daily Coffee News

This is a pretty cool way to start things off, at least.

Although the age is still up for debate, this Probat is still being used to roast coffee by Pull Caffé in Washington state. It’s either from 1896 or 1909, depending on whom you believe, but either way it’s powered by wood (originally coal) and looks like it was just dragged out of a skip.

As an aside, I want to try some Pull Caffé because, for one thing, they only produce a Moka Java blend. Which is retro enough, but also check out the branding and tin.

As for the roaster’s age?

“Here’s what we know for 100% sure,” Pull Caffé owner Todd Millar told Daily Coffee News. “Our vintage roaster has two distinctive markings: ‘Original Emerich’ on an emblem, and another, casted in cast iron, ‘Probat.’ The other much smaller vintage roasters only have the one emblem, ‘Original Emerich,’ and not the ‘Probat’ anywhere. So, we know for sure, to the best of our knowledge, we have the oldest known Probat, branded as such. For the record, all of the last surviving roasters are not of this large capacity, as well.”

Read the full story here.

Court orders Cuppa Joe co-founder to pay for $170,000 worth of coffee beans - via Vancouver Sun

So it turns out that you can’t cash out of a business and fail to tell the people you’re leaving behind that you owe hundreds of thousands of dollars to one of your suppliers.

Who knew?

Read the full story here.

18-Year-Old YouTube Phenom Emma Chamberlain Launches Chamberlain Coffee - via Daily Coffee News

First things first. I have no idea who Emma Chamberlain is. Apparently she’s some sort of YouTube influencer, which is a thing, and she’s also a big fan of coffee.

Such a big fan, in fact, that she’s started her own instant coffee brand. “Brand” being the operative word in this case, as she’s outsourcing production of the teabag-like sachets to Bixby Roasting Co. for the coffee and Steeped Coffee for the bags.

You can buy a pack of 30 sachets for $60, which doesn’t seem too bad compared to other specialty instant coffees, but some of her fans are mad. According to Buzzfeed News (because of course), people are complaining online and calling it a scam, which it isn’t. It’s just expensive.

Is this news? I don’t know. It’s been a slow week.

Read the full story here.

The week in corporate greenwashing

This section of the Roundup is always tricky, because a lot of the greenwashing campaigns by big corporations do real, tangible good for the world. They build schools, they dig wells, they help the underprivileged and underserved.

A Starbucks coffee cup and a jar of Nescafe Gold in a composite image

That’s all great!

But they also advance the specific goals of the corporation underwriting them. Which is, always, to make money.

A million dollars is a lot of money to most people, but to the Starbucks and Nestlés of the world it’s just another part of the marketing budget.

It enhances their image, portrays them as generous and helpful, and makes customers feel better about buying from them. That’s the goal.

But those same companies loot the world, pollute the seas, and don’t pay their fair share of taxes.

In a just world, big corporations wouldn’t need to use their greenwashing foundations to burnish or protect their image, because they would be sufficiently regulated and taxed to the point that their image wouldn’t need any help.

They need to greenwash their image because their image is bad.

Anyway, all this to say that Starbucks giving Grounds For Health a $175,000 grant is admirable and everything, but maybe we should be asking ourselves why they feel the need to do so.

For context, Starbucks’ annual revenue in 2019 was $26.51 BILLION.

Is coffee good for you?

Caffeine can help stave off obesity, apparently, so that’s good.

This was from mate tea, rather than coffee, but we can probably assume coffee will have a similar effect. Also the study was done on rats, so best not take the results too seriously yet.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign scientists fed a high fat and high sugar diet to a bunch of rats, and then gave some caffeine from mate tea and the others decaffeinated mate tea.

According to the article, “The rats that consumed the caffeine extract gained 16% less weight and 22% less body fat than those that consumed decaffeinated mate.”

The amount of caffeine was the equivalent of a human drinking four cups of coffee per day (again, the size of cup was unclear).

A person sits on a bench reading a newspaper

What to read (stuff I’ve written edition)

Five Minutes With: Sam Schaefer by Me! (this is a follow-up to my previous interview with Sam in Fresh Cup from a few months ago)

City Roots Coffee Bar Powers Up At The Electric Depot In Baton Rouge also by me!

20 Of The Most Exciting Coffee Shops In 2019 by Daily Coffee News Staff (including me!)

Until next week, drink good coffee (or possibly some mate tea)

You Might Also Like                                  

Coffee At The Movies Episode 6: A History Of Violence

          Apr 9, 2017                                Coffee At The Movies Episode 6: A History Of Violence        Apr 9, 2017                       Apr 9, 2017                                

Coffee At The Movies Episode 5: Pulp Fiction

          Dec 15, 2016                                Coffee At The Movies Episode 5: Pulp Fiction        Dec 15, 2016                       Dec 15, 2016                                

Coffee At The Movies Episode 4: Ghost World

          Dec 8, 2016                                Coffee At The Movies Episode 4: Ghost World        Dec 8, 2016                       Dec 8, 2016                                

Coffee At The Movies Episode 3: Looper

          Dec 1, 2016                                Coffee At The Movies Episode 3: Looper        Dec 1, 2016                       Dec 1, 2016                                

Coffee At The Movies Episode 2: The Big Lebowski

          Nov 24, 2016                                Coffee At The Movies Episode 2: The Big Lebowski        Nov 24, 2016                       Nov 24, 2016                                

Coffee At The Movies Episode 1: Scott Pilgrim Vs The World

          Nov 17, 2016                                Coffee At The Movies Episode 1: Scott Pilgrim Vs The World        Nov 17, 2016                       Nov 17, 2016