beer

The Health Benefits Of Beer And What That Means For Non-Alcoholic Drinks

Beer might improve gut health…sort of. Kind of. Definitely not your liver, though.

This study on Inverse is taking a look at the side-effects of casual beer consumption, one of which is a large amount of diversity in gut flora. This result is attributed to beer’s combination of polyphenols and antioxidants, both healthy nutrients and compounds in a balanced diet.

This study proceeds to emphasize these findings could be a real boon for supporting non-alcoholic drinks, which has me very curious. This niche is already seeing a huge boon in popularity for health reasons…

coffee

Giving Decaf Its Flowers: Fresh Cup’s Breakdown Of Specialty Decaf

We see a lot of people limiting caffeine for health reasons, and with wellness trends and more caffeine-conscious customers, I think we’ll continue to see an increase in decaf consumption.”

And there it is. The much maligned decaf coffee is actually quite popular and solving the problems of several demographics. Who would’ve guessed?

Sarcasm aside, Fresh Cup Magazine‘s breakdown of the specialty decaf popularity boom in the United States is a fantastic read. Not only do they analyze the history behind the drink’s poor reputation, they interview a specialty coffee roaster to understand their decision to add more decaf and half-caf options to their menu. The negative reputation of decaf is slowly, but surely, being put to bed.

People with heart conditions. People with anxiety disorders and caffeine sensitives. People who want a more stable sleep schedule or are watching their blood pressure. One way or another, decaf coffee provides a wealth of benefits and it’s about time this drink is receiving its flowers.

tea

What Makes A Cup Of Tea Stand Out? Fresh Cup Takes A Look At Custom Blends

I’ve been getting back into tea lately (shout-out to decaf Earl Grey). This blog has come off as pretty coffee-focused, but I’ve always been a fan of herbal goodness.

As such, this new article on tea from Fresh Cup Magazine immediately grabbed my attention. This piece explores the wealth of memorable combinations that can be created once coffee shop owners understand tea on a fundamental level. Cafes commonly add a few tea options for their clientele, though usually of pre-made varieties. The unique flavors and textures of roots, flowers, fruits, seeds, and leaves are all explored in great depth here.

Strong tea marketing is best done with improved menu options. I’d definitely come back to a café if they had custom and/or homegrown blends on display. In fact, I might just try putting together some of my own tea this summer.

Anyone else ever try making their own tea blend?

coffee

Coffee Packaging Favors Bold And Splashy Over Minimalistic

As a fan of maximalism and coffee packaging, this article is a match made in heaven. I’ve been collecting coffee packages for the past few years and I’m thrilled to say visual personality is at an all time high.

If you’re looking for a dose of artistic inspiration, check out this compelling article from the (newly revived!) Fresh Cup Magazine. The author takes a look at several specialty roasters and how they’re using packaging/branding to stand out on a visual level. There are some truly gorgeous examples of coffee packaging here, particularly Couplet and Felix Roasting Co.. My retro-and-classical loving heart is a-flutter.

This approach is style meeting substance. Not only is powerful visual design a must-have for any brand that wants to stand out, minimalism has garnered a rather meager reputation over the years. Too much of specialty coffee is modeled after the wine industry in terms of exclusivity and an ‘in the know’ attitude. Many of the roasters in this article hope that a fun, splashy approach will encourage people to get into a new passion.

Do you have any favorite coffee packaging designs? I’m always on the look for more bags and boxes to add to my collection, so let me know in the comments.

a pair of hands holding cocao beans
industry news, video

Cocao Farmers Are Giving The Chocolate Industry An Overhaul

There’s a ton of overlap between coffee and cocao. It’s not just in drink recipes, either: both industries face widespread criticism for harmful business practices. Small wonder why terms like ‘direct trade’ and ‘blockchain’ are gaining such traction, right?

Cocao farmers in several African countries have been struggling under poverty wages and brutal working conditions for generations. Business Insider took a deep dive into a Ghanian cocao farm looking to change things from the inside out. These farmers are not just creating the raw product, but also processing and packaging it within the country. This simple change does wonders for increasing their prices, while also eliminating greedy middlemen.

With many coffee farmers leaving the industry for adjacent fields like sugarcane and cocao, here’s hoping these business changes have a positive ripple effect.

coffee, industry news

Ireland Is Reducing Coffee Cup Waste One Fee At A Time. Is It Helping?

The coffee industry produces tons of waste. It’s mind-bending at times. From used coffee grounds to piles of accessories, daily coffee usage is hysterically unsustainable.

Ireland is going the extra mile to impose a fee on disposable cups to encourage businesses to start implementing greener alternatives. The bill comes into effect soon and aims to shrink landfills, reduce carbon emissions, and target illegal dumping. This country sees an average of 200 million coffee cups being landfilled or incinerated every year. That number isn’t even touching on accessories like sleeves, lids, straws, bags, or wrappers.

I ran this bill over my head a few times and actually think it could be a little more strict. A big problem with eco-friendly initiatives is the pervasive myth they’re ‘optional’. A similar news story dropped a few years ago on cafes phasing out reusable cups to much success, though it took a while to catch on because of the small fee. Some customers still bought the paper cups because they didn’t care about the higher price and prioritized their convenience over long-term change.

Now, don’t get me wrong. The Irish law’s fees will add up mightily over time, but we’re past the point of incremental alternatives. We simply don’t have the time needed for slow-yet-steady change. Not with climate change deadlines on our doorstep.

What do you think about this new law? Do you think it’s too harsh or not harsh enough?

banner of a black crow in autumn
coffee

What Happens When You Rescue A Baby Crow? They Become A Coffee Fan

Why do I sing the praises of decaf coffee? Because without it, you couldn’t have a cup of joe with your crow baby.

I’m being 100% serious here. In this three-minute video from The Dodo, a man rescued a baby crow — he taught him how to be comfortable around humans, nursed him back to health, and now has him as part of the family. He makes his little crow a cup of decaf, specifically, because caffeine isn’t good for birds. These are the kinds of stories that sound straight out of a whimsical children’s book.

The next time some coffee snob blathers about the evils of decaf coffee, I’ll ask: “But can you give it to your winged children?”

Speaking of once-in-a-lifetime segues, check out my recent coffee review of Talking Crow Roasters’ Decaf Sampler Pack. I’ll be updating with a sequel soon reviewing the rest of their portfolio.

banner for talking crow roasters decaf sampler pack
coffee, review

Decaf, Decaf Everywhere: Talking Crow Roasters’ Decaf Sampler Pack

Am I dreaming? I must be dreaming. A coffee roaster that specializes in decaf…with decaf sampler packs?

It’s no secret that being a decaf drinker means being comfortable with disappointment. When we’re not faced with The Token Decaf Bag while scrolling through a roaster’s portfolio, we’re sometimes faced with no bag whatsoever. To top things off, we’re inundated with lazy marketing tactics that treat decaf coffee like a punishment, a joke, or a cryptid to be whispered about.

It’s a little obnoxious, to say the least.

This purchase is a lesson in great coffee marketing. Talking Crow Roasters has eschewed the silly approach with a celebration of decaf as a coffee category worthy of nuance. They’re also Washington-based, which means I really had no excuse to take this long.

What do Talking Crow Roasters bring to the table other than a commitment to decaf coffee? Let’s take a look:

Continue reading “Decaf, Decaf Everywhere: Talking Crow Roasters’ Decaf Sampler Pack”
coffee, industry news

A Tiny Cafe That Unfolds Like A Present

Step aside, hole-in-the-wall shops. We now have a business that’s so small it could give Polly Pocket a run for her money.

Miharashi is a tiny cafe is designed much like a toy box, able to be situated just about anywhere due to its small size and ability to unfold like a present. Japan is well-known for being densely concentrated, with its metropolitan Tokyo and Osaka regions taking the cake. As such, they need to get extra creative just to put down basic locations such as coffee shops, parking lots, or one-bedroom apartments.

This rooftop cafe comes fully equipped with all the bells and whistles to deliver delicious coffee quickly. This is a novelty I can see catching on very quickly. As populations expand and space becomes increasingly expensive, these locations provide a much-needed middleground.

Or…one-fourth of a middleground, anyway!

coffee cherry
coffee

Big Island Coffee Roasters Debunks Hawaiian Coffee Myths

Last month I took a look at a growing lawsuit concerning Kona coffee, the unique Hawaiian coffee variety, and how it’s been a hotbed for marketing exaggeration and low quality.

Big Island Coffee Roasters, a small-batch roaster specializing in Kona coffee, has a lot to offer to the conversation. Their recent blog post on Hawaiian coffee tackles a common myth about the ‘inherent magic’ of the origin. Too many people believe you can grow your coffee in Hawaii and voila! It’ll automatically be delicious and tick off a high score on the grading scale. Clearly, that’s not how it works.

The roaster proceeds to discuss their recent experience with a Hawaii-based food manufacturer, who had brought up a concern about the bad flavor of the Kona coffee they had sourced. Turns out the beans were overloaded with defects and, despite multiple roasting sessions, always tasted sour and metallic. I’m pretty open-minded, but aluminum flavor notes don’t sound very appealing.

While some coffee drinkers may think it’s a lot of fuss to worry about details like single-origin, altitude, and storage, they all mean the difference between a fantastic coffee bag and a bag you can’t finish. As of recently, a new bill is being proposed to improve quality control in Kona Coffee. There is also keen interest in providing financial consequences to businesses who try to circumvent honesty in their marketing campaigns.

I recently tried one of Big Island Coffee Roasters‘ coffees, which I’ll be reviewing soon in my Decaf, Decaf Everywhere series. While it’s sourced from Peru, I enjoyed it quite a lot and commend it as one of the best darker-roasted coffees I’ve had.

Maybe someday I’ll get to try an authentic decaf Kona coffee, but until then…