roasted coffee beans

What Makes Mexican Coffee So Special?

Stepping into the coffee world is a lesson in multiculturism.

Variety doesn’t end at whether you prefer lattes or cold brew, but rather, where the coffee comes from and how it’s made. Are we talking about hearty robusta from Vietnamese coffee farms or floral Arabica from Ethiopia? Are we doing wash processes or a honey method? If you need something to read while stuck at home, this in-depth piece from Daily Coffee Grind will catch you up on the magic of Mexican coffee. I was fascinated reading about the subtle flavors found in the region, with some coffee tasting like jasmine and bergamot.

As a long-time tea lover, that’s music to my ears. Mexican beer is also seeing some interesting developments for their unique approaches to craft brewing and flavor varieties. If you’re thinking of expanding your horizons a little, don’t miss this piece.

Third-wave, gourmet, and artisan coffee — learn which labels are legit. — Coffee with the Queen

A quick glance through the coffee aisle of your local market shows the many ways to describe coffee, and many likely sound interesting but are they all legitimate indicators of quality? Today we are going to cover three often-used, seldom-described coffee labels: third wave, artisan, and gourmet.

Third-wave, gourmet, and artisan coffee — learn which labels are legit. — Coffee with the Queen

A fancy label does not a fancy product make. This is the vice of the average consumer, faced with a thousand different products all desperately screeching for attention. Coffee is a particularly tough nut to crack, in this regard.

This post cites several sources on its way to narrow down common terms in the coffee sphere, from the borderline meaningless ‘gourmet’ to the increasingly common ‘third-wave’. Check out their last post on the definition of specialty coffee and all the work that goes into achieving the title.

What is Specialty Coffee? — Coffee with the Queen

You’ve seen the descriptor. You may have even drank it but unless you are an obsessive coffee buff, you likely don’t really know what Specialty Coffee is. Specialty Coffee is a globally recognized coffee grade that signifies coffee quality, cleanliness, and uniqueness. To qualify as a Specialty Coffee…

What is Specialty Coffee? — Coffee with the Queen

A helpful and concise post on the definition of specialty coffee, which is a little more rigorous than an oversaturated market might suggest. Even several years after working as a barista and being trained by roasters, I’m still learning just how subtle a single cup of coffee can be depending on what seems like infinite factors. Growing conditions, bean type, amount of defects, aroma, body…the list is quite happy to go on.

Arabica coffee is the cream of the crop, but recent news suggests the less-popular Robusta might have an edge on the competition. A big part of this has to do with its more resilient nature in shifting weather conditions, compared to its more sensitive cousin. It also has a lot of potential for subtle flavor varieties; supporters insist it simply needs to be judged on its own standards, rather than constantly be compared to a different bean with different needs.

Supplement your lunch coffee with some additional coffee knowledge.

Everyone Has A Role To Play With Sustainability Labels

Sustainability has become a pretty convoluted word. It sounds nice on paper — and looks pretty snazzy — but the moment you start to scratch the surface, you run into trouble.

Which sustainability labels are actually inciting meaningful change for farmers? How are these certifications approved and maintained, much less reinforced by outside parties? Do consumers actually have any power when it comes to encouraging fair trade? These are just a few of the questions that The Week takes a look at: their illuminating piece goes into the nitty-gritty behind sustainability certification and what it actually means for farmers, traders and consumers.

Government initiatives versus non-profits. The issue of premium demand and production. The flaws in the reporting system and which standards are used to measure in the first place. There’s some good, insightful commentary here to pierce the labyrinthine tangle of fact and fiction. While the sustainability conversation won’t be ended with just one article — indeed, the oversaturation of certification labels is the problem — this article will give you a better idea as to what you’re looking at while shopping.

Just yesterday I was looking for coffee to stock up my shelf and wondering whether or not I should buy K-cups, thanks to recent recycling issues. I’m also planning on making the switch to a French Press for home coffee so I can focus on purchasing specialty, small-batch coffee. It’s not much…

…but change has to start somewhere.

cute mug of coffee

A Dash Of Different: Five Fun Twists On Coffee And Tea

One of the genius details about coffee and tea is just how flexible they are. You can really come up with almost anything. …Almost. I really don’t want to read the news one of these days and find out liquid gold is now being called the ‘new espresso’.

I keep an eye on stories like these because I want innovation to be just as fun as it is necessary. Stories on climate change and the impact it leaves on entire livelihoods is an essential conversation, yes, but it’s also a little draining. Making the world a better place to live means embracing it all. Change as complex as coming up with new farming methods…as well as thinking about how to chill coffee quicker. Change as vital as planting millions of trees in one day, as well as a faster, cuter way of recycling.

Let’s take a look at some recent developments in coffee and tea, from low-calorie alcoholic tea varieties to caffeinated popsicles.

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Growing Confidence From The Ground Up: Building Trust In The Coffee Industry

Trust doesn’t happen overnight. It can, however, be lost overnight.

The coffee industry has been coming face-to-face with trust issues in the past few months alone. Green Mountain Keurigs, an easily recognizable grocery store coffee brand, has been hit with a customer lawsuit citing dishonest marketing practices. News reports having been honing in on how farmers are left out of coffee buying and distribution conversations. Studies have cropped up finding consumers disillusioned with green labels, despite environmental certifications coming in many varieties and requiring a lot of work to obtain. Starbucks, the titular coffee behemoth, has been cagey concerning details on how much the corporation has been paying farmers.

All this information is overwhelming…and rightfully so. Whether you are a distributor, roaster or cafe owner, you literally cannot afford not to build trust.

Buyers can sniff dishonesty a mile away. Keeping tight lips may seem wise in the short-term, but in the long-term can and will affect everyone up and down the coffee line. There is no quick answer when it comes to building trust, either. Not when you have to cultivate the individuality of the people you work with and the people you hope to buy from your business. There are, however, obvious pitfalls that should be avoided moving forward.

Let’s take a look.

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