Coffee News Roundup: Week Ending October 2nd

A woman holds a coffee cup with latte art resting on a newspaper. Via Pxfuel

A woman holds a coffee cup with latte art resting on a newspaper. Via Pxfuel

This week, I’d like to begin by saying goodbye to Fresh Cup Magazine, which will be suspending operations after its next issue. The announcement doesn’t say why it is shutting down, leaving us to speculate on the numerous reasons why a coffee magazine couldn’t make it in 2020.

Fresh Cup provided me with several opportunities to contribute, gave me my first byline in print as a professional (haha) writer, and also—importantly—paid. I enjoyed reading the magazine during my time as a barista and roaster, and enjoyed working with the editorial staff when pitching and writing pieces. Best of luck to them all.

And now, on with the news.

Disturbing Arson Attack Delays Opening for New Black-Owned Cafe and Community Center - via Eater Seattle

One day before it was scheduled to open, a new Black-owned coffee shop in Seattle was hit by an arson attack, in which several Molotov cocktails were thrown at the building.

Black Coffee Northwest, in addition to serving coffee, planned to be a community gathering space, by “develop[ing] a barista training program, an after-school study hour, a youth outreach initiative, and a series of cafe conversations revolving around current events.”

Asked by local news outlet King 5 whether she thought attack was racially motivated, co-owner DarNesha Weary was frank in her assessment: “Absolutely. I think people know who we are. We’re unapologetic for who we are. We have shown up for the Black community, especially in this area where there is not a lot of representation.”

The business still hopes to open later this month, and you can help them out via their website or using PayPal:

Read the full story here.

Breville Acquires US Grinder Maker Baratza for $60 Million - via Daily Coffee News

Not necessarily shocking or even groundbreaking news, but grinder maker Baratza’s acquisition by Australian appliance-maker Breville should still interest anyone who owns a Baratza grinder.

The question of whether Breville will continue Baratza’s stellar reputation for customer service and maintenance is one that most owners are interested in, at least if you take the comments under their Twitter announcement and this Reddit thread as an indication.

There are some quotes in the Daily Coffee News story from various people with acronym job titles about synergies and revenue streams and all that nonsense, but honestly who cares about that. Will they fix my grinder?!

Read the full story here.

Researcher Creates Ransomware Attack That Can Target Smart Coffee Makers - via Latest Hacking News

Maybe you’re convinced that the Internet of Things will bring us the Star Trek world we’ve all dreamed of. Perhaps you enjoy the convenience of being able to order toilet paper while baking bread. Or maybe you just like having someone/thing to talk to.

Either way, most of us have some sort of “smart” technology in our homes, hooked up to the internet at all times to regulate our home’s temperature, spy on our neighbors, or simply read us the news.

But did you know they make internet-connected coffee machines? And that those machines can easily be hacked?

That’s right, with a few relatively simple steps that I still somehow don’t understand, a security expert for Avast showed how hackers, if they so chose, could take control of your smart coffee maker and, I don’t know, make your coffee bad?

Apparently there’s the threat of ransom, although a lack of coffee in the morning isn’t quite the same as the prospect of your car crashing at high speeds.

Read the full story here.

Coffee cherries ripening on the branch

Coffee cherries ripening on the branch

More Headlines

La Nina Heat Is Scorching the World’s Largest Coffee Crops

Fresh Cup Farewell

Help LaNisa Williams Bring Hustler’s Cup Coffee To LA

The Week In Coffee Unionizing

Spyhouse Coffee, where employees have been fighting for a union for months, has now come up with a weird offer: buy the five cafes and run them as union-owned business.

Quite why the company decided to send out a press release about this, rather than, hmm, talking to the people involved, is perplexing but probably not surprising. And those involved agree.

“This feels like a real stunt,” Sheigh Freeberg, secretary-treasurer of Local 17, told Twin Cities Business. Had Spyhouse actually been serious, “the best course of action would not be to send it to a bunch of news media before they talk to workers or the union.”

He added: “From the beginning, Spyhouse has done what they can to to bust this union.”

“This is not what we were asking for,” said Matt Marciniec, a barista at Spyhouse. “We simply wanted the company to recognize the union, open up transparency, and give us a seat at the table.”

The thing about minimum wage service industry workers is that, as a rule, can’t afford to buy five cafes. That’s one of the reasons they’re unionizing.

The Week In Corporate Coffeewashing

Does Nespresso, a company with a long history of dodgy supply chain issues and which is, you know, owned by Nestlé, and the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC), which has its own allegations of profiting off climate change, issuing a joint statement to “highlight and celebrate the role of Colombian female coffee growers” count?

Is Coffee Good For You?

It might be better to wait a little while for your morning cup, especially if you haven’t slept well the night before. A new study, reported on by CNN, found that drinking coffee “first thing” can have a negative effect on blood sugar control, which is a risk factor for diabetes and heart disease.

It should be noted here that the study only included 29 people, so there’s that.

“We know that nearly half of us will wake in the morning and, before doing anything else, drink coffee – intuitively the more tired we feel, the stronger the coffee,” said Professor James Betts, Co-Director of the Centre for Nutrition, Exercise and Metabolism at the University of Bath who oversaw the research.

“Put simply, our blood sugar control is impaired when the first thing our bodies come into contact with is coffee especially after a night of disrupted sleep. We might improve this by eating first and then drinking coffee later if we feel we still feel need it. Knowing this can have important health benefits for us all.”

What I’m Drinking This Week

Still working my way through Steampunk Coffee’s Peru Herminio Ramirez from last week, but I also panic-ordered a bunch of coffee when I thought I was going to run out so now I have a backlog to get through. It’s a hard life.

A person sits on the floor reading a book. via Unsplash

A person sits on the floor reading a book. via Unsplash

What To Read

'It's Been A Terrible Fall From The Mountain Top': How A Coffee Capital Copes Without Cafes by Various in the Guardian

Notes From The Coffee Coalition For Racial Equity Launch Event by Jordan Michelman

West Coast Cafés Endure Smoke, Wildfires, COVID-19, And Rolling Blackouts by Mark Van Streefkerk

Until next week, drink good coffee. Wear your mask!

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