Millennials Want Decaf Coffee More Than Previously Thought

You ever think about how the stigma toward decaf coffee is a self-fulfilling prophecy?

“People don’t want decaf because we don’t offer decaf options and it’s hard to buy what isn’t there hence why they don’t want decaf.”

This mountain of stigma is less a natural side-effect and more built brick-by-brick by people who really need to get their priorities straight. Decaf tastes bad…because many in the past didn’t give it the same care and attention as caffeinated coffee. Decaf is only for puerile, shallow coffee drinkers…because snobbery is more important than personal preferences. One way or another, decaf coffee gets bumped to the bottom of the pile, resulting in few options and a lot of rolled eyes.

The Perfect Daily Grind takes a look at how decaf coffee has seen a rise in interest among Millennials, actively preferred for its lower caffeine content with statistics that only continue to grow. The article takes a look at several fairly recent studies ranging from 2013 to 2017, noting that decaf hits many high notes for the demographic. Reduced caffeine addiction is one. Fewer jitters, crashes and, yes, drowsiness are more. Cafes are being called upon to meet this significant percentage halfway, and, of course, I’m all for it.

I mean…decaf’s my default. Has been for several years now. It keeps heart palpitations and nausea at bay without sacrificing delicious flavor. I’ll sing its praises all day long and, with any luck, more voices will be added to this choir.

Is Shortening The Coffee Supply Chain The Answer?

Discussions around sustainability in the coffee industry redefine patience.

When we’re not being faced with the reality of dismal farming wages, heads are spinning on aaall the different intermediaries in the coffee supply chain. Producers, importers, exporters, retailers, roasters…and here we were just figuring out the difference between a macchiato and a latte. It’s an average day slicing apart the noise to get meaningful action that changes lives for the better. The convoluted nature of it all starts to feel intentional after a point.

Knowledge is power. I recently checked out this video by Cedro Alto Coffee on the coffee supply chain — Karl goes into great detail concerning the jobs in-between the producers (farmers) and the consumers (us). He takes a patient and critical look at the understandably frustrated conversations on the supply chain and how many want to snip out a few intermediaries. He notes that there are still many administrative and shipping roles that get coffee into stores in the first place, not all of which can just be squished into one job.

I exist as both a link in the chain and an end consumer. My copywriting niche is coffee (as well as tea and alcohol), helping professionals in the industry reach the right people…and I purchase coffee and coffee equipment. My interest is more than just a good cup of joe on my desk: it’s a deep investment of the veritable knot this industry has tied itself into and all the fingers needed to detangle it. I may not be around in the next fifteen to twenty years, but I do know I want coffee to stick it out.

Change is possible. We can see with our own two eyes that what’s happening in the coffee industry just isn’t working. The only question is what, exactly, can be done…and the only surefire wrong answer is to do nothing at all.

Easy And No Longer Cheap: Why Specialty Instant Coffee Is On The Rise

Coffee is as varied as the people who drink it. Some prefer to take their time on a lazy Sunday crafting delicate home lattes. Others barely have enough time to toss a packet in a mug before rushing to work. I regularly look forward to my home coffee set-up, choosing between decaf beans and brewing methods alike.

That’s what makes coffee so wonderful: it adapts to fit us, in every shape and size.

That doesn’t stop instant coffee from being somewhat of a dirty phrase in the coffee industry, however, conjuring up comparisons to caffeinated dirt and being brushed to the side as only fit for the tasteless among us. Several businesses today are challenging that notion, offering specialty instant with gentler brewing methods and more subtle tasting notes. This piece on Vinepair looks at the history of instant coffee over the decades and how it’s starting to break through its stained reputation. Dalgona, the online coffee craze often made with instant coffee crystals, is just the tip of this iceberg.

I’m definitely going to check some of these out soon. I’ve never had specialty instant before (one step at a time!) and am very curious about some of these flavor notes. Cashew, red wine or toffee with just a stir of the spoon? Sign me up.

How to support local cafés and businesses during quarantine — Coffee with the Queen

“A small business is an amazing way to serve and leave an impact on the world you live in.” -Nicole Snow This statement by Nicole Snow is true — but, as a small business owner, I think she only captured half of what it means to be a small business. Small businesses contribute to their […]

How to support local cafés and businesses during quarantine — Coffee with the Queen

A quick little guide on how to support your love of coffee beyond the (increasingly) rare trip to the grocery store.

I recently bought some decaf beans from local roasters (which I’ll be reviewing within the next month), as well as some much needed coffee equipment for my kitchen. With the American economy already showing similar statistics to the Great Depression, though, I’ll also emphasize you don’t need money to show your support. An email or supportive comment on social media will go a long way to show these cafes and roasters you’re thinking of them.

roasted coffee beans

Bitter Foods Make Sweet Foods Sweeter…In Other Words, The Sky Is Blue

A recent study from Danish scientists have found that the oft-bitter flavor of coffee helps sweet foods taste even sweeter. Yes, this mundane knowledge apparently has to be ‘discovered’ by a university to be valid.

There are entire fields dedicated to pairing or contrasting flavor notes to enhance the experience. Hell, you see a similar logic at work when ordering pizza online and being offered a variety of sugary sodas. What has been ‘found’ here isn’t new in the least.

I love deep-diving into all the fascinating facets of coffee. Over the months I’ve kept a close eye on scientific articles analyzing coffee’s antioxidant count and how it does — or doesn’t — translate into healthy results. I’m endlessly curious about the process that goes into picking, washing and packaging green coffee bean varieties. Never mind the unique histories behind each origin! There’s always something new to learn and I’m thrilled to be part of the journey…

whiiich is why I’m having a rather hard time getting excited over basic information being rebranded as a surprising discovery. Are people really that starved for content?

You don’t have to be a sommelier to know bitter notes change your palette, no more than you have to be a painter to know that yellow contrasts blue. Now, the study does have an interesting angle in how this knowledge can be used to help diabetic and extremely overweight patients change their diets. That’s a fantastic focus that could help a lot of people! All I’m asking is that we don’t take basic knowledge and pretend it’s something else. If the approach of this study had leaned closer to ‘confirming’ or ‘pivoting’ rather than ‘discovery’, I wouldn’t have rolled my eyes quite so hard.

Pro-tip from a copywriter with several years of experience…words mean things. Trying to reinvent the wheel sounds appealing in an oversaturated world increasingly defined by people screaming the loudest, but it’s a myth best left in the dust.

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.