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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?

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, industry news

The First Coffee Chain From A Coffee-Producing Nation?

A tall order to live up to, but more than possible. Kopikalayan is an Indonesian coffee chain with their sights set on becoming a global household name.

Their biggest difference? They don’t just distribute coffee, but source it from home.

The implications of major coffee corporations being located in the West is uncomfortable at best, damning at worst. Today’s biggest coffee producers by sheer volume are Brazil, Colombia, and Vietnam, yet local coffee culture has struggled. It’s hard to develop an interest in coffee when most of it is exported to other countries, right?

This article is a lengthy read, but worth every second. It breaks down key details into why several Asian nations are seeing a boom in local coffee culture and consumption. The main factors are:

– Generational shifts (namely, Millennial and Gen Z)
– Rise of the middle-class
– Growing awareness of local businesses, inequity, and sustainability
– Online trends (particularly on Instagram and TikTok)
– Rise in homebrewing during the pandemic

While some of these trends are definitely in response to increased social isolation, most shifts were bound to happen. Awareness of our impact on the planet is going to keep increasing as climate change and social inequity continues to push our collective backs against the wall.

I’m very interested in seeing where Kopikalayan goes from here.

coffee, industry news

The Classic Coffee Cup Gets A Clever Makeover

The coffee cup is an iconic staple of day-to-day life. It’s also loaded with unsustainable bells and whistles that create a lot of waste every year.

Just how much waste? According to a study by The Guardian, the UK alone tosses over 2.5 billion paper coffee cups every year. Even worse, a mere one out of every four hundred cups is actually recycled. That means towering landfills, worsening air quality, and, of course, the omnipresent threat of irreversible climate change. Being presented with yearly figures like these makes sustainability conversations feel like a useless loop. It’s all a lot of positive fluff with little to actually show for it.

This redesign to the classic coffee cup has a few thoughts on the matter. Fast Company shared an interview with the creators of this Kickstarter-backed coffee cup, hearkening to Chinese takeout and origami in its lid-free and sleeve-free design. It’s easy to fold and unfold, without fear of spilling, and cuts into the dismal statistics left by wasteful coffee culture.

One of my favorite details are the lovely animal-focused prints by Alexis Kandra, chosen specifically to keep buyers mindful of the very environment they’re supporting. Now that’s mindful packaging design.

alcohol, beer, industry news

No More Mystery! Craft Beer Explained

Craft beer isn’t the easiest to jump into for newcomers. Not when you can go for what’s familiar and just grab a Budweiser on your way to the checkout.

Never fear! This brief breakdown by CStore Decisions explains craft beer at its most simple, stressing its focus on small batches and unique flavors. Now, these breweries don’t exactly have to be tiny. A craft brewery can still create up to six million barrels and still qualify as craft beer, with the best known examples being Blue Moon and Samuel Adams. I’m a fan of both brands myself (and I can’t recommend the Samuel Adams Brick Red hard enough).

If you’re feeling a little adventurous, check out local craft breweries in your state. You might be surprised at some of the neat flavors you find.

American craft beer is at an interesting crossroads lately. There’s a spike in interest, and subsequently a spike in sales, but also pervasive problems in marketing and shipping that could see individual businesses struggling. I’ve got a lengthy guide coming up soon, tackling these issues one-by-one from my perspective as both a copywriter and a longtime beer lover. Until then, I’m going to go browse the Schilling Hard Cider catalog and get myself a treat for April. Their Grapefruit And Chill is just splendid.

What are you drinking lately?

coffee, industry news

Like Hawaiian Coffee? You’ve Probably Been Ripped Off

The coffee origin topic is a seed that sprouts a thousand branches. Fair pay. Quality beans. Environmentally sustainable farming techniques.

Kona coffee, a rare and famed Hawaiian origin, has been struggling with an image problem for years. Every time I’ve searched for it I would see countless advertisements insisting just how much more authentic they are than the competition. Little bit of a red flag, right? This ‘hidden in plain sight’ issue has finally reached a head: Daily Coffee News has posted a report on the staggering $13 million lawsuit targeting several roasters and wholesalers for false advertising.

A lot of Hawaiian coffee on the market barely has any Kona beans. Some have none at all. Today’s coffee businesses are well aware, using sly marketing campaigns that actively bank on consumers having little to no clue what goes into coffee sourcing, much less why it’s even important. Several cash settlements have already been made, though the issue is ongoing and is including such industry titans like Safeway and Wal-Mart. Expect to hear more about this.

Coffee origins aren’t just a series of trendy buzzwords to be recited at a party. They give us a bigger picture on what we’re buying, as well as who we’re supporting…or rather, not supporting. I want to support the delicious and unique coffee that comes from Hawaii, not exploitative tactics that bolster big business at the expense of local farmers.

coffee, industry news

How Many Calories Are in Black Coffee, Answered — Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine

How many calories are in a cup of black coffee? The short answers are: either about 5 or about negative 100, depending on how you drink down the science. You may…

How Many Calories Are in Black Coffee, Answered — Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine

Coffee and health is a regular conversation, particularly if you’re like me and drink nearly every cup with milk and sugar.

As it stands? Black coffee, on its own, is pretty darn low on the calorie count. According to this brief piece by Daily Coffee News, the calories come more from the caffeine than anything else. That’s right alongside caffeine helping you burn calories due to the increase in your metabolism and heart rate. Confusing? Give this a read if you’re curious about the chemical breakdown of your morning cup.

coffee, industry news

Now Roasting, Sip & Sonder Builds Community Through Coffee in Inglewood — Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine

A two-woman team of attorneys is now arguing on behalf of community, Black culture and fresh, high-quality coffee in Inglewood, California, through their coffee business, Sip & Sonder. After COVID-19…

Now Roasting, Sip & Sonder Builds Community Through Coffee in Inglewood — Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine

It’s inspiring reading about small businesses still chugging forward in this economic climate. Sometimes you forget the world doesn’t actually stop turning, you know?

This is a great review from Roast Magazine on a new black woman-owned coffee shop and roastery, one I hope to buy from if they release a decaf bag in the future. They come from a legal background and have a very zesty website filled to the brim with all their goals and inspirations. Check this piece out if you want a little dash of hope to go with your daily doomscrolling. …Seriously. Take a break from social media and get some fresh air.

coffee, industry news

Certified Or Not? USDA Updating Its Regulations For Coffee Brands

It’s difficult to figure out which brands are legitimately organic and which aren’t. That’s the point.

It’s hard to demand better when you don’t even know where to start, right? The coffee industry’s supply chain has long since danced on a thin line between necessary and highly convoluted, with many today calling for ‘snipping the links’ to improve transparency. This could mean farmers also operating as roasters. This could mean importers receiving less money. It’s a lot of talk with not much action…but the USDA has had about enough.

Short for the United States Department of Agriculture, the USDA is a well-known organic label on many specialty coffee brands. So well-known, in fact, it’s starting to lose meaning entirely. New standards are now being implemented to better manage a severe lack of oversight on ethical and eco-friendly farming standards in the coffee industry. Inconsistent implementation, misinterpreting the rules and a lack of consequences for those that shirk responsibility are cited as common issues with the label.

You can never ask too many questions. Do you often look into organic labels when buying a product? If so, do you go the extra mile to see if they’re legit?