A hand holds a latte on top of a newspaper

Hello and welcome to 2019. The year Akira, Blade Runner and the Running Man are all set.

And honestly, it’s not that big of a stretch to imagine the world turning into those movies by the end of this year.

Hell, the techno-futurist apocalypse might already be here, depending on your views on Facebook, reality TV shows and the current political landscape.

Anyway, that’s all speculative terror. What are we here to discuss? Oh yes, what happened in coffee this week.

Why Your Morning Coffee Might Cost More in 2019 - via Fortune

Well, here we go. Happy new year! Your coffee is going to cost more.

Sacks of green coffee await export

Demand for coffee continues to skyrocket, while the steep drop in commodity prices last year means some growers might decide to produce less.

Even with increased production in Brazil and elsewhere making up some of the shortfall, it looks like demand will continue to outpace supply through this year, leading to a rise in the cost of green coffee worldwide.

Which is good. Coffee is too cheap, as has been written before both here and elsewhere. It takes a frankly astounding number of steps to get that latte into your hands, and people need to understand that.

Once coffee is priced closer to wine, things will improve. Until then? Continue searching out the best coffee you can, and be prepared to pay for it.

Read the full story here.

Coffee start-up Luckin plans to overtake Starbucks in China this year - via CNBC

This’ll end well.

Luckin, the Chinese start-up which only officially started up at the beginning of last year, is already planning on overtaking Starbucks to be the biggest coffee company in China.

With a goal of opening an additional 2,500 stores by the end of 2019, which would take its total count to 4,500, Luckin would surpass Starbucks piddling 3,600 stores by some distance.

It has taken Starbucks two decades to reach this point. If all goes to plan, it will take Luckin two years to overtake them.

How will Starbucks respond? Drone delivery? In-app subscription payments? Other buzzwords? Only time will tell.

Read the full story here.

London coffee chain to train Wormwood Scrubs prisoners as baristas - via London Evening Standard

It is notoriously difficult for newly-released prisoners to find work, with only a fifth of convicts finding a job within six months of release in the UK. Almost half are reconvicted in that time.

A hand holds a trier to inspect coffee during roasting

A coffee company called Redemption Roasters in London is trying to change that with a barista training and work-release program at Wormwood Scrubs, which the company hopes to expand to other prisons around the country.

All the coffee that Redemption sells at its cafes and through its wholesale program is roasted by young offenders at HM Prison Ayelsbury, with barista classes also provided for those who work at the roastery.

As one of the founders told the Standard: “We know from our work in Aylesbury that inmates will work harder than anyone else. They know that when they are released and are applying for jobs they will be up against people who don’t have records.”

Hopefully this program helps.

Read the full story here.

Costa Coffee Launches Almond Milk Due To Vegan Demand - via Plant Based News

It’s amazing how normal these sorts of stories have become, how accepted. Of course Costa Coffee has three alternative milk options. Why would they not?

A Costa coffee cup sits on a table

But it is a big deal, even though almond milk isn’t the most environmentally friendly of alt milks. Cutting down on dairy products is an important step towards a sustainable lifestyle, and, like it or not, lots of people get their coffee from places like Costa.

And if nothing else, the visibility of more plant-based milk alternatives at a chain the size of Costa helps to normalize the prospect of enjoying a latte sans cow.

Read the full story here.

Has Meghan Markle Banned Prince Harry from Drinking Tea and Coffee? - via Vanity Fair

What? Who cares?

Just the fact that this story comes from the Daily Express, citing an unnamed “royal insider”, means it’s definitely a load of bunk.

Also, Prince Harry giving up tea and coffee (and, more importantly, alcohol) in solidarity with his pregnant wife is, if true (it’s not), hardly the same as Meghan Markle “banning” him from partaking in said beverages.

Way to frame the story in a purposefully sexist manner, British tabloids.

You know, for a change.

Read the full story here.

Is coffee good for you?

Not if you put a bunch of weird butter in it, apparently. A dietician writing in something called Body + Soul says that the hype around Bulletproof Coffee (that’s coffee with added butter and medium chain triglyceride oils) is misplaced, and it isn’t particularly good for you. No doi.

She points out the saturated fat, calories and negligible nutritional value of butter in her argument, noting, "Adding butter by the tablespoon to your coffee is just not rational."

Other people agree.

Bulletproof Coffee has been in the news over the past year, with a $40 million investment in August that drove Daily Coffee News to explore their coffee-related claims. Turns out they don’t stand up.

Plus, amongst many other dubious products (and there are many), is something called FATwater, a “refreshing cognition supplement”.

Or water with fat in it.

A man sits on a bench reading a newspaper with a coffee on the table beside him.

What to read

Juan Váldez Actor Carlos Sánchez Remembered As A Hero To Colombian Coffee by Nick Brown

Italy Invented Coffee Culture. Now It’s A Coffee Time Capsule. by Chico Harlan

The Death of the American Coffeehouse by Keith Pandolfi

5 Reasons Why Wage Transparency Works by Ashley Rodriguez

Until next week, drink good coffee. Maybe with some FAT in it.

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