Coffee News Roundup: Week Ending July 22nd

An espresso cup sits atop a magazine on a table, seen from above. Via PxHere

Welcome to this week’s Coffee News Roundup.

Let’s round up the news.

‘Starbucks Weighs Selling Its UK Operations, Times Reports’ - via Bloomberg

Starbucks has tasked its advisers with assessing interest in its UK operations as the company “evaluate[s] strategic options” for its international business, according to reports this week.

As the UK struggles with high inflation and a cost of living crisis, it makes sense that perceived luxuries such as coffee could suffer—it’s already happening in the US, where Starbucks and Dunkin have both seen drops in traffic this year.

Starbucks has hired the investment bank Houlihan Lokey to explore its options in the UK, where it has nearly 300 company-owned stores and a further 700 run by licensees. The deal “could attract interest from a specialist franchising group or a private equity company,” according to the Financial Times (paywalled).

The company’s UK business, which employs around 4,000 people, had sales of £328 million for the last fiscal year, returning to profit after posting a £41 million loss the year before. The FT quotes Starbucks’ own accounts as describing a difficult trading environment, “contending with operating cost increases at the same time that competition intensifies.”

Asked for comment, Starbucks told Bloomberg that it “is not in a formal sale process for the company’s UK business” and asserted to CNN that it wants to stay in the region.

Read the full story here (or a non-paywalled version on Yahoo! News here)

‘US Coffee Championship Preliminaries Return’ - via Global Coffee Report

Dates and host cities for the 2023 US Coffee Championships preliminary rounds have been announced by the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA), the first time in two years that preliminaries for all six events have been held across the country.

27 different competitions for Barista, Brewers Cup, Coffee in Good Spirits, Cup Tasters, Latte Art, and Roasters championships will begin at the end of August and span the next few months, spread across 14 events in 12 different cities.

“After missing two years of preliminary events due to the pandemic, we are so excited to see these member-driven events returning to coffee communities around the country,” US Competition Committee Chair Lauren Lathrop said.

Competitor registration hasn’t opened yet, but the US Coffee Championships website will have all the details and updates.

Read the full story here.

‘Russia Faces Retail Shortages of Coffee and Tea’ - via STiR Coffee & Tea

Imagine your country just… running out of coffee. You finish your bag of beans and there’s no way to replace it because there’s no coffee available.

Obviously this is a consequence of the sanctions imposed on Russia after its invasion of Ukraine, but it’s still quite astonishing to think about a country of 145 million people potentially losing access to what we all consider to be a staple of modern life.

Although the sanctions imposed on Russia don’t include food imports, the coffee and tea shortages are “due to bottlenecks in logistics as well as other factors like exchange rate volatility, the disappearance of trade finance and the block on international transfers via the SWIFT banking network.”

Scheduled imports of tea and coffee declined 50% during March and April, according to the general director of the Russian Association of Tea and Coffee Producers, who expects increased supply issues in the coming months as existing stockpiles are exhausted.

Russian companies are now looking to alternative import routes, such as through its far eastern port at Vladivostok and via China, but the capacity of these routes remain limited and attempts to find new transport corridors will take time to implement.

Until then, supplies will continue to dwindle.

Read the full story here.

A person sitting on a park bench reads a newspaper. via Wikimedia Commons

More News

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Take The Sprudge Summer 2022 Coffee Inflation Poll

Starbucks China Rival Seeking Funds at $1.2 Billion Value, Sources Say

ICO Holds Third World Coffee Producers Forum

The First-Ever Womxn-Powered Coffee Summit Is Coming To Costa Rica

Legesse Boats Dikale Wins Ethiopian Cup of Excellence

The Week in Coffee Unionizing

The Week in Corporate Coffeewashing

An article in Veg News applauds Starbucks “upping its sustainability efforts” by expanding its “plant-based menus globally in an effort to pursue its carbon reduction goals.”

The piece highlights the company’s Japanese menu items that are “part of Starbucks’ wider goal to innovate its menu to help reduce its carbon footprint, along with incorporating more greener store features such as more efficient energy use, using recycled building materials, and reducing in-store waste.”

An example includes giving used coffee grounds to local farmers who use it to help grow matcha green tea, which is then used in Starbucks’ dessert items.

Meanwhile, in 2018 Starbucks was responsible for “emitting 16 million metric tons of greenhouse gases, using 1 billion cubic meters of water and dumping 868 metric kilotons—more than twice the weight of the Empire State Building—of coffee cups and other waste.”

Is Coffee Good For You?

Lots of stories about coffee being good for you (or not) this week, but sadly none of them are addressing anything new—or at least, new to regular readers of the Roundup.

In the Washington Post and Axios, news of a study we talked about back in early June that linked coffee drinking with a 29-31% lower risk of early death.

Daily Coffee News has a story about a study discussed here in mid-June that found limited coffee consumption causes no increased risk during pregnancy.

And the Independent, The Hill, New Food Magazine and several others all report on the study we already examined a month ago that found drinking coffee right before shopping makes you buy more—and more impulsively.

So there you have it: subscribe to the Coffee News Roundup and learn about coffee health studies before Axios readers.

What To Read

On The Growing California Coffee Movement by Rachel Sandstrom Morrison

What Is Coffee Creamer? By Liz Clayton

Until next week, drink good coffee.