Podcasts: what can’t they do?
Since launching the Coffee Sprudgecast in February of 2016, the show has become an increasingly important part of our publishing voice here at the Sprudge Media Network. The typical episode features news and notes from the world of coffee hosted by Sprudge co-founders Jordan Michelman and Zachary Carlsen, with a rotating cast of special guests, call-in questions from our readers (1-888-55-SPRUDGE), and a popular news segment, “Robyn Reads The News” hosted by Sprudge’s own Robyn Brems.
There’s a brand new episode in this style out today—that’s episode #52, natch—previewing the upcoming fun at the 2018 London Coffee Festival, looking back at some favorite moments from SXSW 2018, and talking through the news (coffee cancer!) of the day (Stumptown truck hijackings). We crack a coffee beer on air most episodes—this week it’s from Woodland Empire of Boise, Idaho—and Zachary usually brews up some decaf (like Intelligentsia’s El Mago).
But sometimes we deviate from the scheme, and right now there’s a blizzard of fresh and frosty content styles rolling out across our Podcast channel, which you should subscribe to iTunes. Subscribers don’t just get these regular episodes from our founders, oh no. They’ll also be receiving a clutch of very special Minisodes taped live at SXSW, featuring industry leaders like Andrea Piccolo of Swiss Water Decaf, Becky Reeves of Oatly, Ian Williams of Deadstock Coffee, Andy Atkinson of Intelligentsia, and many, many more. Our first Minisode dropped earlier this week starring Liz Turner of Stumptown Coffee. You should go listen to it now because it, not unlike Liz Turner, is great.
But that’s not all: our iTunes channel is the exclusive home for live Podcast events and special party tapings from around the world. From Sprudge After Dark’s late night talkshow realness to our recent live event with Department of Brewology during SXSW, our iTunes channel is bursting at the seams with live events from the front lines of the specialty coffee scene.
And coming soon, this channel will be the exclusive home for BLACK COFFEE, a new live podcast series from creative director Michelle Johnson. The event kicks off with its first live taping on April 24th, 2018 in Portland Oregon, sponsored by La Marzocco USA, Ace Hotel, Oatly and Stumptown Coffee, with proceeds benefitting Sankofa Collective and Brown Girl Rise. We’re also excited to announce some breaking news that this event will be supported by NXT LVL—much more about this new partnership early next week.
Between the live shows, the regularly scheduled episodes hosted by our founders, the wild field recording Minisodes taped at SXSW, and the upcoming premiere of Michelle Johnson’s BLACK COFFEE, it has never been a better time to subscribe to the Coffee Sprudgecast on iTunes and Stitcher. Best of all, it’s completely free. We rest our case.
Sign up now as a subscriber to the Coffee Sprudgecast and never miss an episode. The Coffee Sprudgecast is sponsored by KitchenAid craft coffee equipment, Urnex Brands, Hario, and Swiss Water Process Decaf. Sprudge’s coverage from the 2018 SXSW festival is supported by Falcon Coffees.
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The Glasgow Coffee Festival is coming back for its fourth year. Put together by Dear Green Coffee Roasters, the Glasgow Coffee Festival is a two-day celebration of the ever-growing coffee scene in Scotland. And this year, the festival has an eye towards eco-responsibility.
For the first time in the event’s history, the Glasgow Coffee Festival will take place with nary a disposable cup on the premises. Event organizers are asking attendees to bring their own reusable cup to “combat the 30,000 tonnes of coffee cup waste” created each year in the UK. And for those who forget to bring a cup, the GCF has teamed up with KeepCup to lend festival-goers reusable cups. “Everything we do is from an ethical stance, and we felt like it was time for Glasgow Coffee Festival to partner with KeepCup to lead the way with reusable cups,” event organizer and Dear Green founder Lisa Lawson stated, who opted for reusable cups over compostable ones due to the fact “they are usually disposed of in general waste.”
Even with this move towards a more eco-friendly event, you can still expect the same good times as with previous years, including cuppings, latte art clinics, masterclasses, workshops, demos, food, and more coffee than your body could possibly process in a single day.
It all happens the weekend of May 19th and 20th at The Briggait in Glasgow, Scotland. Tickets range from £14.50 to £22.50 for single-day and weekend passes, respectively, and can be purchased here. For more information, visit the Glasgow Coffee Festival’s official website or the 2018 Glasgow Coffee Fesitval Facebook event page.
Don’t forget to bring a cup!
*top image via the Glasgow Coffee Festival
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Imagine a feeling that encompasses coziness and warmth, but with an added sense of belonging and inner peace—that’s Gemütlichkeit, just one of many non-translatable German words (yes, we’re capitalizing the nouns like real Germans). There are many ways to achieve Gemütlichkeit: a comfy evening on the couch, a lazy afternoon spent cooking with friends, or a weekend getaway somewhere quiet. But the best example is “Kaffee und Kuchen“—literally, coffee and cake. It’s a ritual that’s all about gathering with family or friends on a leisurely afternoon for a chat over, well, coffee and cake. The secret ingredient, though? Losing track of time. Think of it as Germany‘s answer to Swedish fika or English afternoon tea.
In Germany, the habit of meeting over coffee and something sweet was first established in the late 17th century. Once coffee became more accessible, beyond the country’s elite, in the 19th century, Kaffee und Kuchen became a fixture for those seeking a little break from the everyday grind. The German pastime is practiced all over the country, but it’s perhaps best put to use in the vibrant capital of Berlin, as a way to slow down. To participate, simply find a friend, arrive on time (this is Germany, after all), and get lost in conversation, caffeine, and cake. Here are five cozy cafés where you can enjoy a short break with the best coffee and baked goods in Berlin—any day of the week.
Step inside ORA and you’ll find yourself surrounded by meticulously picked decor that pays homage to its past as an apothecary (think dark-wood medicine cabinets, high ceilings, and delicate stucco). Add to this some freshly baked goods and you’ve got one of the coziest spots in the city for a coffee break by candlelight. Be sure to try their cinnamon buns.
Oranienpl. 14, 10999 Berlin
Five Elephant is not only well-known for its in-house roasted coffee, but also for its cheesecake, made with a secret recipe. Just around the corner from the lush Landwehr Canal in the Kreuzberg district, the light-filled space invites conversation (no laptops allowed in the front room!). Indulge in one of their many cakes on offer, all rich and delicate at the same time, with that perfect crispy crust.
Reichenberger Str. 101, 10999 Berlin
Black Isle Bakery
What may appear like another sleek concept store in the central neighborhood of Mitte is actually one of the latest additions to Berlin’s café scene, a quiet haven bathed in all white, apart from a smattering of shiny copper accents. Black Isle Bakery (pictured at top) specializes in simple, traditional delights made to perfection. The fine selection includes sweet treats such as a well-balanced lemon cake, Scottish ginger cake, and dark chocolate brownies with sea salt—everything you could hope for to accompany that cup of post-lunch coffee.
Linienstraße 54, 10119 Berlin
Just off the famous airport turned park Tempelhof, Isla is the calm refuge its name suggests: Take a seat at one of the small wooden tables and enjoy a piece of simple (but delightfully moist) pound cake among the jungle of potted plants scattered around. But don’t mistake Isla for just another trendy café in super-cool Neukölln—fully committed to zero waste and sustainability, at Isla, coffee is served in mugs made from composted beans.
Hermannstraße 37, 12049 Berlin
If you’re after that old Berlin charm, look no further: Since 1852, Konditorei Buchwald has specialized in the fine art of Baumkuchen, the German version of traditional spit cake. It can be ordered with or without chocolate coating, as small slices or huge tortes. If that doesn’t charm you, the patterned wallpaper and satin-draped tables reminiscent of another era certainly will.
Bartningallee 29, 10557 Berlin
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The best entrepreneurs are like a good cup of coffee: fresh, strong, and bold.
Army Green Beret turned coffee brew master, Evan Hafer, is exactly that. As the CEO of Black Rifle Coffee, Hafer says they’re selling freedom, one cup at a time.
It’s a great tagline. You know what else? It’s an incredible business. The company roasts over a million pounds of coffee per year and grosses over $30 million annually. This isn’t a veteran with a hobby; this is a savvy businessman with a passion.
Here’s my 60 second interview with Evan, filmed recently at the White House.
As the CEO of StreetShares, my team and I fund America’s best veteran-owned businesses with veteran business loans and contract or invoice financing. The questions we get asked over and over again are how to break away from the crowd; how to stand out as an entrepreneur. Here’s how:
Lesson 1: Find your passion.
“I fell in love with coffee 20 years ago,” Hafer told me. “I was the only guy who invaded Iraq with a bunch of boutique, small-roasted coffees.” Eventually, he began roasting for his fellow soldiers; they even converted a gun truck into a spot where they could grind coffee every morning.
To be a successful entrepreneur, the first thing you need to do is hone in on your passion. What’s going to make you want to get out of bed every day and hit the pavement until you can’t work anymore? If you’re not passionate about your business, why would anyone else be? Find out what drives you, then figure out how to make money doing it.
Hafer told me, “When I got back from the Middle East, all I wanted to do was roast.” That’s exactly what he did.
Lesson 2: Be clear in your vision.
Hafer knew his passion had potential. He teamed up with some friends at Article15 Clothing and did a test-drive of his Freedom Roast coffee on their site. They sold about 500 pounds of coffee, and it inspired him to launch Black Rifle Coffee in December 2014. “Conceptually, guns and coffee go together very well,” he said. “Every range that I’ve been to, coffee has been part of shooting.” He knew what he wanted to create: A lifestyle brand centered on supporting the 2nd Amendment in conjunction with great coffee. “You’re not going to find that anywhere else,” Hafer added.
Hafer’s time in the Army served him well in transitioning to life as an entrepreneur. “In the military, you have to push yourself past mental and physical limits, every day to the point where you’re almost desensitized to the work,” he explained. “Now I feel like I have an endless capacity to just always work. The military gave me the context to reach into basically a bottomless well of endurance.
Lesson 3: Be fearless.
One of the most important assets veteran entrepreneurs bring to the table that their civilian counterparts don’t always have is perspective. “While serving, you’ve been in the worst places,” Hafer offered. “The worst business you are put in will never compare to the worst experience that war puts you in.”
That realization is ultimately what encourages Hafer to be fearless. He explained, “I’m not going to lose my life or kill anyone. That allows me to fail and fail fast, so I can learn from my mistakes. At the end of the day, I don’t care. It doesn’t harm my ego – I just embrace the failure and move on.”
Any entrepreneur will tell you that failure is a part of the game. How you handle risk and incorporate it into your business model will dictate whether or not you’ll be successful.
Lesson 4: Be you.
Hafer always wanted to roast coffee. Now, he wants to make other people a lot of money doing it. “I’d rather make 100 people millionaires than make $100 million dollars myself,” Hafer shared. “This company is a good opportunity to make money.”
One of Hafer’s first hires was a soldier who served alongside him in Afghanistan. With 86 employees, 60 percent are veterans . That was a big part of Hafer’s vision. “It’s not PR – it’s who we are,” Hafer said. “This company is about freedom. It’s not about social issues. The premise of the company is, ‘You do you.’”
Next time you go to order a latte, think about the lessons you can learn from Evan Hafer. Then order your coffee like a good entrepreneur: fresh, strong, and bold.
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Dunkin’ Donuts is holding a nationwide tasting session Friday morning for its cold brew coffee—and yes, that means free coffee this morning and lunchtime.
The promotion is live from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. local time, giving people a chance to try the coffee, which the chain says is “crafted by hand in small batches, prepared by steeping a special blend of coffee in cold water for 12 hours.”
With that kind of preparation time, it’s no surprise that this is a “while supplies last” kind of promotion.
Cold brew coffee is a trend that’s taken off over the last few years. As opposed to iced coffee, where espresso is cooled with ice and generally mixed with other things like milk and syrup, cold brew coffee uses a whole different brewing process.
The lengthy process supposedly brings out different characteristics of the grounds, compared with traditional hot brewing techniques. Cold brew coffee is supposed to be smoother and less bitter, with more of a floral profile. Due to that lack of bitterness, it’s easier to drink black and sugar-free.
Dunkin’ Donuts has been offering cold brew coffee since August 2016, but with the seasons changing, it’s clearly decided that now is a good time to remind people about it.
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I love coffee books, I don’t know why. Probably because I’m a sucker for anything coffee-related. If you put coffee in front of anything, I’m probably going to want it. A coffee circular saw? Sure, I can see how that would be a useful additional to my pour-over bar. But you don’t have to be that head over heels for gear to appreciate a nice coffee book, especially one that is primarily photography-based. And Beber Mi Sudor—a new book from Nordic Approach and photographer Jake Green being released tomorrow, April 6th—is just that.
This is the first in a series of books that will “document [Nordic Approach’s] epic journeys with speciality coffee at origin, starting with Colombia.” The name, Beber Mi Sudor, literally translates to “drink my sweat,” a colloquialism “used by Colombian coffee workers to reflect the incredible effort and energy that goes in to producing their crops.”
Along with Green’s photography, the book will include “interviews with farmers, roasters, and our long-time friend Tim Wendelboe, as well as essays on Colombia’s unique environmental conditions, the intricacy of cupping, and Nordic Approach’s philosophy and experience as a green coffee sourcing company.”
To celebrate the release, Nordic Approach is holding a book launch party this Friday at their Oslo headquarters, starting at 7:00pm. But for those unable to attend, the book will be available for purchase via the Nordic Approach website. For more information on the Beber Mi Sudor or the launch party, visit the Beber Mi Sudor Facebook event page. And pick up a copy for you old friend, Zac. You know he likes coffee things.
*top image via Nordic Approach
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It’s true! The 2018 London Coffee Festival kicks off in just a few short days, bringing with it the sights, sounds, smells and slurps of the world’s premiere consumer coffee event. This is Sprudge Media’s astounding fourth consecutive year attending and covering the event, and we’re thrilled to be back again for a wild whirligig of a good time in the city that never sleeps…er, the city that sleeps after a nice long lunch.
That would be London, global capital of coffee culture (with heaps of great wine). It’s a city that leads the world in cafe cool, and at the center of it all sits the London Coffee Festival. What began in 2011 as a new event is today Europe’s leading coffee festival, drawing exhibitors from across the UK and EU and more than 30,000 attendees annually. It is a hot bed of brand exhibitions and product launches—the work we do covering London Coffee Festival each spring informs content all year long on Sprudge.
An important facet of the fest is its work with Project Waterfall, an international water charity focusing on bringing drinkable water to coffee growing communities. 50% of ticket sales at this year’s festival will be donated to Project Waterfall. This ethical approach to hosting coffee festivals is inspiring and a big part of why we’re proud to continue supporting the London Coffee Festival in 2018.
So what’s on at the fest? Heaps, to put it mildly. There is of course the 4th annual running of the Coffee Masters Tournament at London Coffee Festival. This year’s tournament promises to be the biggest and best yet, drawing an international cadre of top flight competitors to the stage at LCF. Sprudge Media Network has expanded its coverage of the Masters this season to include live content via the Sprudge Live Twitter and web hubs—you’ll be able to follow up to the minute coverage from the event all weekend long, with coverage supported by Cafe Imports, Acaia, Assembly Coffee, Oatly UK, and Faema. Follow Sprudge Live on Twitter and visit our Sprudge Live coverage hub for content all weekend long form London.
The showfloor itself is an enviably deep bench of brand activations, product launches, pop-up bars, and educational opportunities. It’s hard to figure out where to start with the highlights, but we’ll do our best by diving straight in.
- La Marzocco UK’s popular True Artisan Cafe experience is back, featuring an ever-rotating roster of top roasters from across the UK, Europe and beyond. Expect a focus on signature drinks and espresso blends, and stop by throughout the festival—there’s always something new on the bar.
- The Lab is boasting perhaps its most robust collection of speakers in festival history. Across a stunning series of talks and panels you learn from the likes of Tim Wendelboe, BBC Good Food writer Miriam Nice, Richard Corney and Jessie May Peters of Raw Material, home coffee roasting expert Geoff Woodley of Ikawa, Coffee Masters champion James Wise, Curators Coffee co-founder Catherine Seay, and many, many more.
- A lively and surprise-filled exhibitors showfloor featuring pop-up cafes, cuppings, hot new gear, and much, much more.
And that’s just scratching the surface! There’s also epic off-site parties from the likes of Mavam (Thursday), Sprudge Wine (Thursday), and many more events to come. There’s also an epic OATLY takeover at Boxpark from Monday April 9th thru Sunday April 15th, featuring free oat milk lattes, prize drawings, an epic latte art throwdown on Wednesday the 11th, and complimentary “Big Leb-Oat-Ski” (!) cocktails on Friday and Saturday night. If you’re hosting an off-site party or event during London Coffee Festival and would like it listed on Sprudge, please get in contact.
We’ll see you in London at the 2018 London Coffee Festival!
Sprudge Media Network’s coverage of the 2018 London Coffee Festival is supported by Cafe Imports, Acaia, Assembly Coffee, Oatly UK, and Faema.
Photos by James Bryant for London Coffee Festival.
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ZUG, Switzerland and CAMBRIDGE, MA., April 04, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — CRISPR Therapeutics (NASDAQ:CRSP), a biopharmaceutical company focused on creating transformative gene-based medicines for serious diseases, announced the appointment of Steve Caffé, M.D., as Head of Regulatory Affairs. Dr. Caffé brings to CRISPR a 25-year track record in global product development and regulatory affairs, having held senior leadership positions at many leading biotechnology and pharmaceuticals companies.
“Steve’s extensive experience in regulatory strategy and operations across multiple therapeutic areas and geographies will be a tremendous addition to the CRISPR team,” said Samarth Kulkarni, PhD, Chief Executive Officer of CRISPR Therapeutics. “We are thrilled to have Steve join us at such an important time for our company as we advance multiple programs to the clinic.”During his career, Dr. Caffé has demonstrated exceptional leadership in global regulatory affairs. He has contributed to over 40 new drug approvals and major new indications worldwide in a wide range of therapeutic areas including oncology, hematology, cardiology and rare diseases. Prior to joining CRISPR Therapeutics, Dr. Caffé most recently served as Senior Vice President at Ra Pharmaceuticals, where he led Regulatory Affairs, Pharmacovigilance, Quality, and Patient Advocacy. Before that, he held senior level regulatory positions at a number of publicly traded biopharmaceutical companies including Sucampo Pharmaceuticals, AMAG Pharmaceuticals, MedImmune (Biologics Division of AstraZeneca), Baxter International, Sanofi-Aventis and Merck. Dr. Caffé received his M.D. at the Université Pierre et Marie Curie. About CRISPR TherapeuticsCRISPR Therapeutics is a leading gene editing company focused on developing transformative gene-based medicines for serious diseases using its proprietary CRISPR/Cas9 platform. CRISPR/Cas9 is a revolutionary gene editing technology that allows for precise, directed changes to genomic DNA. The Company has established a portfolio of therapeutic programs across a broad range of disease areas including hemoglobinopathies, oncology and rare diseases. To accelerate and expand its efforts, CRISPR Therapeutics has established strategic collaborations with leading companies including Bayer AG and Vertex Pharmaceuticals. CRISPR Therapeutics AG is headquartered in Zug, Switzerland, with its wholly-owned U.S. subsidiary, CRISPR Therapeutics, Inc., and R&D operations based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and business offices in London, United Kingdom. For more information, please visit www.crisprtx.com.CRISPR Forward-Looking StatementCertain statements set forth in this press release constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, as amended, including, but not limited to, statements concerning: the timing of filing of clinical trial applications and INDs, any approvals thereof and timing of commencement of clinical trials, the intellectual property coverage and positions of the Company, its licensors and third parties, the sufficiency of the Company’s cash resources and the therapeutic value, development, and commercial potential of CRISPR/Cas-9 gene editing technologies and therapies. You are cautioned that forward-looking statements are inherently uncertain. Although the Company believes that such statements are based on reasonable assumptions within the bounds of its knowledge of its business and operations, the forward-looking statements are neither promises nor guarantees and they are necessarily subject to a high degree of uncertainty and risk. Actual performance and results may differ materially from those projected or suggested in the forward-looking statements due to various risks and uncertainties. These risks and uncertainties include, among others: uncertainties regarding the intellectual property protection for our technology and intellectual property belonging to third parties; uncertainties inherent in the initiation and completion of preclinical studies for the Company’s product candidates; availability and timing of results from preclinical studies; whether results from a preclinical trial will be predictive of future results of the future trials; expectations for regulatory approvals to conduct trials or to market products; and those risks and uncertainties described under the heading “Risk Factors” in the Company’s most recent annual report on Form 10-K, and in any other subsequent filings made by the Company with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which are available on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov. Existing and prospective investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date they are made.MEDIA CONTACT: Jennifer Paganelli
WCG for CRISPR
[email protected]INVESTOR CONTACTS: Chris Erdman
[email protected]Chris Brinzey
Westwicke Partners for CRISPR
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Caffe Vittoria on WGBH
Behind the vintage coffee makers and clinking of mugs and spoons inside Caffe Vittoria in Boston’s North End is a man who first arrived in Boston as a 17-year-old immigrant — but not from Italy. https://t.co/oZEqYBF8aa
— WGBH News (@wgbhnews) April 2, 2018
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A dozen international coffee experts shuffle around a long wooden table, pausing at each steaming cup, head dipping, sniffing deeply, and shuffling on once more. Then the raucous slurping begins. In the wings hangs Yang Fan, the coffee farmer, watching the judges circle intently, awaiting a verdict on her latest crop of beans.
“This is the most international farmer coffee cupping we’ve ever had,” says Samuel Gurel, CEO of Torch Coffee roasters in the southwestern Chinese town of Pu’er, Yunnan province, referring to the weekly coffee grading process he hosts for local farmers.
It is a cosmopolitan gathering — joined by industry aficionados hailing from Thailand, Guatemala, India, Russia, Vietnam, Laos, the Philippines, Kenya and more nations besides. They came together to judge the first ever Pu’er International Specialty Coffee Expo, which ran from Jan. 28-31 and drew more than a thousand attendees. The event spotlights China’s burgeoning repute as a top coffee producer in the spiritual home of tea — an industry that is swelling even as economic pressures bite.
“Yunnan coffees are very elegant, the acidity is clean, and the post-harvest processing gives special flavors,” says Srikanth Rao, a visiting expert from Bayar’s Coffee gourmet roasters in Bangalore, India. “Some are buttery and with the flavor of strawberries.”
Still, Pu’er remains synonymous with tea. This bustling town surrounded by undulating green hills scored with tea plantations is just a stone’s throw from the border with Laos, and produces an eponymous variety of tea that is considered one of China’s most refined.
But the temperate climate of Pu’er is also perfect for growing arabica coffee. Yunnan accounts for 95% of China’s coffee harvest, with half coming from the mist-shrouded landscape around Pu’er. As China’s fast-living millennials move away from traditional tea in favor of the invigorating jolt of coffee, Pu’er’s farmers are catering to the demand. Today, China is the 13th biggest coffee producer in the world — rising from zero output three decades ago to 110,000 tons annually today.
“I used to grow tangerines but a disease harmed my crop,” says local farmer Huang Dabao, 51. “So I switched to coffee as there’s no major disease and the yield is very stable.”
And gaining serious acclaim. In April, China will be showcased as the portrait country of origin in Seattle’s annual Specialty Coffee Expo. It follows on the heels of Starbucks launching its first single-origin Yunnan coffee last year following four years of partnership with Yunnan farmers. In November, Starbucks also opened only its second Reserve Roastery anywhere in the world in China’s freewheeling megacity of Shanghai.
“Coffee has huge potential in China,” says Liu Ying, who swapped her life working in private equity investment in Beijing to grow coffee in Pu’er five years ago. “The younger generation prefer to drink coffee in their offices much more than tea.”
In fact, the story of coffee in China is a century old, with the bitter alien brew first introduced by French missionaries drifting over the border from Myanmar around the early 20th century, chiefly for personal consumption. But coffee’s commercial success in China began exactly 30 years ago and owes much to a familiar name: Nestlé.
In 1988, the Chinese government asked the Swiss-headquartered multinational — the world’s largest food and beverage company — to help poverty alleviation efforts by cultivating coffee in far-flung rural areas, partnering with the United Nations Development Program and the World Bank. By 1994, the first commercial plots took off and Nestlé has worked closely with farmers since that time, distributing generic material, offering practical advice and instilling codes of social, economic and environmental responsibility.
“There has been a huge transformation,” says Wouter de Smet, who has spent ten years helping farmers in Pu’er for Nestlé. “I visited all of the coffee areas, focused a lot on the village communities to make sure they could produce quality coffee and sell it directly to us.”
Today, farmers from 1,448 smallholdings, including representatives of 25 ethnic minority groups such as the Lahu and Wa, bring their crops to Nestlé’s spanking new Pu’er headquarters. A sample from every 70kg bag that arrives is logged and tasted by resident experts. Coffee that meets the grade is purchased according to international commodity prices set by the New York Stock Exchange, which farmers can monitor via smartphone, cutting out greedy middle-men and ensuring transparency.
But transparency doesn’t much help when global coffee prices are at record lows. At Nestlé’s cavernous warehouse, only one truck was unloading beans when TIME visited, a testament to prices wallowing at 14 rmb ($2.20) per kilo from highs of 40 rmb ($6.30) just a few years ago. With production cost alone around 17-19 rmb, most farmers are staying away until the price rises — or so they hope.
“Some days we have nothing and then the next day we can have 300 tons because the price of coffee in New York has risen,” says de Smet. Uncertainty doesn’t bode well for local farmers, however, and many are now turning away from commercial coffee to specialty varieties that can fetch up to 50 rmb ($7.90) per kilo.
“At current coffee prices, I can’t even feed my family,” says the farmer Yang. “My only way out is to produce specialty coffee, to make the best coffee beans.”
To do that, cherries from the same trees are picked and processed in bespoke ways to create distinct flavors and aromas. The upside is much higher, more stable prices compared to the global fluctuations of commercial coffee; the risk is bumped up production costs and the greater care required to make the grade.
“Right now with the coffee prices at 10 year lows, it’s not sustainable, which on one hand is horrible for coffee farmers,” says Gurel. “On the other hand, these challenges are what spur innovation.”
That means letting beans dry in their cherries, thus imparting a wild, fruity flavor via environmental fermentation. Or allowing them to “honey” in their sugary inner mucilage layer, which adds a subtle sweetness.
“Post-harvest processing is the most effective and fastest way to impact coffee quality and so also price,” says Torch business director Marty Pollack, who is about to open a new school in Saudi Arabia.
Back in the cupping room, Yang waits to hear the experts’ verdict on whether all that extra effort was worthwhile.
“If I told you this was Colombian or Panama coffee nobody would argue me with,” says Gurel, as Yang breaks into a huge grin. “It’s a great example of how Chinese coffee is evolving.”
— With video by Zhang Chi / Pu’er
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The owners of a café have sparked an online debate after criticising customers for not spending enough.
Lured in by free wi-fi and no time restrictions many of us set up temporary offices at unsuspecting café tables but just how long can you get away with ordering tap water before your luck runs out?
This was the debate sparked when a woman posted on the Wallington, Surrey Facebook group that the owners of family-run Henry’s Bistro Café told her she and her 16 friends did not spend enough money during their visit.
The customer posted the letter on the town’s Facebook group which complained that the party of 17 spent just £55 between them during a three-hour long catch-up.
The owners claimed that the group left the café with a “financial loss” and that each person spent “less than the price of a cup of tea every hour.”
“Larger companies and organisations may have a financial structure to ‘balance off’ these losses, and some can even be slightly loose with their morals in the way that they conduct their business,” the letter read.
“We as a start-up, a new and totally independent business, cannot afford to, and will not behave in that manner.”
The owners add that the group’s £55 bill didn’t cover the national minimum wage of its staff, cost of materials, rent or administration charges and implied that the group would no longer be welcome unless they were willing to shell out.
“At present, for the business there is no incentive or obligation to carry on with this relationship,” the letter concluded.
The post quickly sparked debate among the Facebook group members with many siding with the owners of Henry’s Bistro Café.
Food and drink news
“We all want independent businesses to succeed, so we must play the game by spending a fair amount too,” one person commented.
Another added: “It is not a public meeting room, next time maybe you should take it in turns to host at home.”
However, some people thought the café had overreacted accusing the alleged letter of being “rude”.
“Seriously? These peeps need an urgent lesson in customer care,” one person wrote.
“It’s a café and no café tells anyone how long they can stay.”
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The La Marzocco Cafe—the Sprudgie Award winning Seattle coffee shop and showroom inside the KEXP Studios—has announced their Year Three Roasters in Residence, and there’s a pretty signficant international bent to this year’s lineup.
Like with previous years, each roaster gets to takeover the cafe for a month; this isn’t just a guest roaster spot, mind you, this is a wholesale change. Roasters decide the drink menu, bar design, flow, etc., in order to provide patrons a cafe experience that most resembles that of the roaster’s home shop.
For Year Three—though really it is Year Three and Four-ish, running from May 2018 through February 2020—the La Marzocco Cafe has tapped seven international roasters of the 20 total to inhabit the KEXP coffee shop. The international list includes: Allpress Espresso (Auckland, New Zealand), Seesaw Coffee (Shanghai, China), Bonanza Coffee Roasters (Berlin, Germany), Onibus Coffee (Tokyo, Japan), Ditta Artiginale (Florence, Italy), The Coffee Collective (Copenhagen, Denmark), and Five Elephant (Berlin, Germany).
For US-based roasters, La Marzocco has selected: Cuvée Coffee (Austin,TX), La Colombe Coffee Roasters (Philadelphia, PA), Kuma Coffee (Seattle, WA), Metric Coffee (Chicago, IL), Dapper and Wise (Portland, OR), Equator Coffees & Teas (San Rafael, CA), Port of Mokha (Oakland, CA), Fourth Dimension Coffee (Durham, NC), Elixr Coffee (Philadelphia, PA), Onda Origins (Seattle, WA), Linea Caffe (San Francisco, CA), Sweet Bloom Coffee Roasters (Lakewood, CO) and Verve Coffee Roasters (Santa Cruz, CA). That last two are my mom’s favorite coffee roasters, just in case you thought your parents’ coffee game was better than my mom’s. It isn’t. Hi Mom!
It all kicks off with next month with Cuvée Coffee. Will they bring with them their assembly-line style of drink ordering (featured here in Sprudge) or will Cuvée owner Mike McKim stand in front of the cafe slinging cans of nitro cold brew to passersby (a thing he has been known to do)? Who knows. Maybe both. That’s the fun of the La Marzocco Cafe. For more information about the Roaster in Residence program, view the announcement of the Year Three residents via the La Marzocco Cafe and Showroom official website.
*top image via La Marzocco
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On Wednesday, March 28th 2018, a California judge tentatively ruled that coffee must come with a cancer warning label in the state of California. If you work in coffee, you definitely heard about this, but it’s been a hot topic in the mainstream media as well, making for features in The New York Times, CNN, NPR, BBC, and even Snopes, a website dedicated to fact checking urban myths. But this is no fable; the ruling is for real, and now leading California coffee companies are left wondering what new costs and regulations the next few months might have in store for them.
The decision came after a lawsuit that’s been underway since 2008, when the California nonprofit Council for Education and Research on Toxics filed suit against Starbucks and dozens of other coffee purveyors under the 1986 Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, which requires companies with over 10 employees to warn their customers about the presence of carcinogens or toxins in their products. The carcinogen in question is known as acrylamide, a chemical compound produced during the coffee roasting process, which, when isolated (ie. not actually consumed inside coffee) has been shown in massive doses to cause cancer in animals, and is therefore found on California’s list of chemicals known to cause cancer. The question the lawsuit sought to answer was whether this chemical is truly harmless in coffee, and the burden of proof fell on coffee purveyors—who, the judge said, were unable to prove that acrylamide in coffee posed no significant health risk, as reported by Associated Press and others.
This decision arrives at odds with a growing body of medical research showing that coffee is not only harmless, it actually provides significant health benefits and reduces cancer risk, including reports from the International Agency for Research on Cancer, National Center for Biotechnology Information, and American Gastroenterology Association. Even the American Institute for Cancer Research has stated decisively that coffee does not need a cancer warning because scientists say it protects from cancer. The coffee trade organizations National Coffee Association and Specialty Coffee Association have both put out responses condemning the tentative ruling and providing resources for coffee people whose families, friends, coworkers, and customers may have questions about coffee’s carcinogenic potential.
It’s not quite over yet; the judge has given coffee companies a few weeks to file objections before the tentative ruling is finalized. Some defendants in the coffee lawsuit have already settled, including 7-Eleven, and a third phase could determine civil penalties of up to $2,500 per person exposed each day over eight years.
So where does all of this leave coffee companies? This lawsuit went after large companies with legal teams and substantial funds, but what about the small businesses that make up the vast majority of California coffee? I spoke to a small handful of coffee company owners and managers across California to hear their reactions and concerns.
Tony Konecny of Yes Plz in Los Angeles reports already seeing labeling from bigger coffee companies since the ruling dropped last Wednesday, including a sign on the bar of Intelligentsia’s Silver Lake location. “I’m assuming any company with money will know they’re a potential target and be proactive; I just wonder what’s going to happen to the little guys.” He also raised concerns around the optics of shipping roasted product from CA to the other parts of the country. “For my business, I don’t know what the impacts are going to be.”
Brian Gomez of The Roasted Bean in San Dimas also expressed uncertainty around potential impacts, but he expressed confidence that coffee lovers will continue to place their trust in the many studies that demonstrate the positive impacts of coffee consumption, as well as their coffee purveyors. “When customers ask, I give them my honest opinion and I make sure to say that it’s my opinion. Based on everything I’ve read, it is safe to drink—not only safe but beneficial. Honestly, if I didn’t believe in my heart that coffee was safe, I wouldn’t be in the coffee business.”
San Diego-based Cafe Virtuoso’s Savannah Phillips agrees that this likely won’t have a huge impact on whether or not current coffee consumers skip their daily brew: “I consider this a non-issue that will have very little or no impact on our business. Coffee drinkers will not change their habits because we are a pretty smart group of individuals.”
Kyle Glanville of G&B Coffee in LA expressed similar frustration at the perceived baselessness of the warning labels. “If the goal is a more informed consumer, mission not accomplished; what an incomplete story to tell consumers. I mean, that’s the thing about coffee, right? It’s almost too good to be true; you can drink so much of it every day and it only makes your life better, and it doesn’t give you cancer—that’s why we love it! It’s a unicorn product.”
Sam Sobolewski of Bartavelle Coffee and Wine Bar in Berkeley echoed the sentiment: “It would be nice if these labels reflected some sort of scientific consensus, but since they do not I will happily tell my customers that we have no idea what it’s all about.”
Wendy Warren of Chromatic Coffee in San Jose is less worried; she’s currently ahead of the game, having put up signs in her Santa Clara cafe a couple years ago. “No one has even commented on it. There’s so much good news health-wise out on coffee that we’re not expecting a change in consumption, just the added cost due to labeling changes.”
Both Glanville and Konecny expressed hopes to see major coffee trade organizations take on the battle of appealing this—as NCA has stated they may—and providing the necessary resources for small companies to get organized. “It feels like if you want to do business you’re just in open water surrounded by sharks,” said Glanville, expressing frustration that a safe, beneficial product like coffee could be targeted as a safety concern while dangerous weapons still abound on the open market. “There are people out there who litigate for a living, and right now it seems like small companies could end up very exposed without the resources to protect themselves.”
It’s early days yet, but the people who will face the real impacts of this new legislation have legitimate concerns around how this will affect not only their costs and operations, but also the public perception of coffee in the long run. But, despite the challenges this ruling may bring, each of the business owners I spoke with are hopeful that no matter what, coffee drinkers will continue to follow the research and enjoy their favorite caffeinated beverage, warning sign be damned.
RJ Joseph is a staff writer for Sprudge Media Network. Read more RJ Joseph on Sprudge.
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Walnut Hills’ new coffee-shop-by-day, jazz-lounge-by-night is now open and we’ve got your first look inside.
Caffè Vivace at 975 E. McMillan St. in the ground floor of the Trevarren Flats development is now open for business and will host a grand opening party April 6-7. Flip through the photos for a look inside.
Keeton told me the couple had wanted to open their own jazz lounge since they got married but got serious about it when they moved to College Hill four years ago.
“It’s one of those things you talk about and think it will never happen, but it did,” she said.
They chose Walnut Hills because their spot in the Trevarren Flats is in the middle of that neighborhood’s redevelopment efforts, which has seen a barbecue restaurant, speakeasy bar and sneaker shop open on that block alone. It will soon be home to Esoteric Brewing, Cincinnati’s first minority-owned brewery.
Caffè Vivace has a breakfast menu with bagels and breakfast sandwiches, and it will serve sandwiches and salads for lunch. In the evening it will switch to a tapas menu with five or six small plates.
The beverage program consists of coffee and espresso drinks as well as mixed drinks and craft beer. Caffè Vivace will host live music Monday through Saturday nights with local and national acts. During the day Gallaher intends for it to serve as a station for people who work remotely. To that end, he plans to have a corner space with a blackboard for meetings. He also wants to reserve one night a week for younger or student musicians.
Keeton said the interior design was meant to walk the line between casual and upscale. Behind the bar is a rippling brass-colored wall meant to evoke water or music. Rope lighting around the room splashes onto the ceiling to give an underwater feel.
“The bar area is kind of masculine and rustic, but in a way that makes people feel comfortable and like they’re in a special place,” she said.
Caffè Vivace will mark the opening of the final retail tenant of the $9 million Trevarren Flats by developer Model Group. Other storefronts include the Cure Cincinnati, a high-end sneaker store; Just Q’in, a barbecue restaurant; and Video Archive, a speakeasy bar. Leasing was handled by Urban Fast Forward working in conjunction with the Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation.
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‘The coffee lid’s entire purpose is to prevent the loss of coffee due to movement of the cup, but it still must have a penetration to enable drinking.’
— From “Coffee Lids: Peel, Pinch, Pucker, Puncture” (Princeton Architectural Press, 2018, Page 24), by the architects Louise Harpman and Scott Specht.
We are surrounded, on all sides, by design problems — not only the obvious triumphs and failures of our toasters and staplers and laptops and pants and phones and chairs and stairs but also deeper problems that define our very lives. The human body, to cite the nearest example, is an evolutionary Rube Goldberg machine composed of the intricate clockwork of our cells and the globular light boxes of our eyeballs and the tubes and slots and holes and valves of our vital organ systems — all elaborate design solutions that have been perfected, more or less, over eons of grinding trial and error.
Modern designers, unfortunately, don’t have the luxury of deep time. And so, very often, they fail. Consider, for instance, the humble coffee lid. We expect from it a small miracle: It has to be simultaneously open and closed, to block all of the coffee we don’t want and release exactly the coffee we do.
This paradoxical challenge has bedeviled generations of designers, whose struggles are showcased in great detail in a beautifully odd new book called “Coffee Lids.” There is something inherently comic in watching such a trivial object be dissected so thoroughly. The authors go deep into the patent registry to extract strange nuggets of industrial poetry: “mouth comfort” and “sealable coupling” and “frangible closure” and “upstanding thumb catches.” Some lids have elaborate swiveling splash blockers and secret flavor chambers and recessed drip catchers. After all these decades of ingenuity, however, the coffee lid remains imperfect. And yet the designers keep trying — a tribute to the human mind’s perpetual struggle to make the world align with its needs, one layer of molded plastic at a time.
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Peace Coffee, a “fair-trade” coffee company established by a nonprofit in its basement, has been purchased by its longtime CEO and a business partner.
“What’s not going to change is our culture and mission of being a great locally owned company,” said CEO Lee Wallace. “We’re in business for all the stakeholders, including customers, employees and coffee farmers. We’re going to invest and continue to grow.”
Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Wallace is joined in the buyout by Kent Pilakowski, a veteran consumer-food marketer who spent years at General Mills before running his own company, which worked with small, specialty-food producers who needed sales and marketing strategy and services.
Peace Coffee was launched in 1996 by the Minneapolis-based Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), and a group of impoverished Mexican coffee farmers during a period when prices had bottomed out.
By 1999, Peace Coffee was one of 24 U.S. “fair-trade” coffee roasters that formed Cooperative Coffees, which worked with farmers from Guatemala to Rwanda to meet fair-trade international certification and bypass coffee brokers. They paid higher prices and also inspired a North American movement among many coffee companies to treat growers better.
This year, Peace Coffee expects revenue to top $8 million, more than 80 percent generated from wholesale sales to retailers, including Kowalski’s, Coborn’s, Lunds and Byerlys, Target, food cooperatives, coffee shops and colleges.
Wallace said the company is growing sales more than 10 percent annually, a strong showing in a coffee-saturated market, thanks partly to the recent addition of a retail shop near its headquarters in south Minneapolis, and a first-floor and skyway cafe in the Capella Tower in downtown Minneapolis.
The company has 58 employees.
“IATP has a long history of incubating and developing innovative projects and setting them free as successful enterprises,” said Juliette Majot, executive director of IATP. “We are pleased that Peace Coffee will continue to thrive under the leadership of Lee Wallace.”
Peace Coffee is a public-benefit corporation, among a growing group of about 100 “socially conscious” Minnesota businesses. The 2015 Legislature created the new business category, in which owners commit to doing some sort of social good.
Public-benefit corporations pay taxes and can make a profit. But they let shareholders, customers and clients know that they may, at times, put social principles over profits.
Some are startups, while others — including Peace Coffee and St. Paul-based Sunrise Banks — are established companies that chose to become public-benefit corporations when lawmakers created the new class.
Wallace noted that Peace Coffee pays entry-level workers more than minimum wage and exceeds local-benefit standards.
“If we can sell more coffee and do better things for coffee growers, we also do more for our employees,” Wallace said.
Peace Coffee always has had an eco-friendly bent, including delivering some of its coffee by bicycle-powered carts.
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A forthcoming wellness center, Alive + Well, out in Bee Cave, will include a gluten-free cafe with involvement from Contigo staffers. Elle’s Cafe & Coffee will be located at 3944 South Ranch Road 620, opening on Monday, April 16.
Behind the restaurant’s menu are Andrew Wiseheart, the owner, chef, and co-founder of Chicon and Contigo, and PJ Edwards, who is the chef and culinary director of Edgewise (which runs Contigo and Chicon’s catering department). The head chef of Elle’s is Shandon Brockett, who was previously at Chicon and the quickly shuttered Al Fico.
Elle’s will serve breakfast and lunch, offering plated dinner events and cooking classes. There will also be a grab-and-go case. The dishes will be health-focused, with minimal sugar and dairy, and completely gluten-free. Breakfast includes paleo pancakes, hashes, and frittatas, while lunch is mostly grain bowls and salads, with some larger proteins like grilled sirloin bavettes.
Alive + Well founder Adam Metcalf tells Eater that the cafe is “designed to take on one of the most important parts of health, which is the food we eat. Too often healthy snacks and meals are an afterthought that are only healthy, not tasty. We want to elevate healthy food to the level of intensity and satisfaction that we’ve come to expect from chef-driven cuisine.” Metcalf is a pharmacist who also founded Hill Country Apothecary and Drip Drop IV Vitamin Bar, which will both offer services at the wellness center.
The cafe is designed by Matt Fajkus Architecture, who also did the Juice Society space. Alive + Well itself offers a variety of services, including wellness consultations with a registered dietitian, yoga, acupuncture, a float tank, and more.
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