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Some of Our Favorite Non-News Stories of 2018


Photo by Xavier Hamon. Courtesy of Gender in Coffee.

Of all our year-end coverage, this may be the most loosey-goosey category yet. These are the stories that don’t fit neatly into any single box, yet we had too much fun putting them together to not revisit them one last time before ringing in the new year.

Consider it light reading for the coffee obsessed — stories best consumed on a bus, or while casually sipping a questionably sparkly latte, or even while taking a light breather from smashing coffee’s patriarchy:


Food Safety Experts Shine Some Light on the Glitter Coffee Trend

Whether they needed it or not, what lattes got in 2017 was a sprinkle of fairy dust. In early November, reports began to emerge about shiny gold and holographic-looking “diamond cappuccinos” made at Coffee by Di Bella in Mumbai. A reflection of the shimmery rainbow trend in baked goods and unicorn-themed blended frozen drinks, these blingy capps looked like latte art made with a melted disco ball.

The Bosses Behind Boss Barista: Smashing Coffee’s Patriarchy One Episode at a Time

“I was raised in a conservative Christian cult and was sheltered from most of the world/community around me. In 2006 when I was 16, I convinced my mom to let me work at the Starbucks a few blocks away from our home. It was my first taste of freedom from the clutches of evangelicalism. And in that cafe is where I got to talk to customers who were different than me, work with some amazing women, and began my own transformation into the queer, feminist witch that I’ve become.”

Bulletproof Just Got $40 Million More, So Let’s Explore Their Coffee Claims

While Bulletproof has positioned itself as a full-on lifestyle and “content” brand, its bread and butter, so to speak, remains coffee. Unfortunately, despite all the fancy branding and claims related to quality and physical benefits, little is known about Bulletproof’s core product.

Dunkin’ Overhauls its Espresso Program, Whatever That Means

Unfortunately for people who are interested in espresso, the company is being thoroughly vague about what that might mean for the finished product. Dunkin’ describes its new espresso as having a “rich, smooth, balanced taste” along with a “stronger and more robust flavor profile.”

Everything Seemed Normal with This Starbucks Holiday Menu Until the Snowy Cheese

Every once in a while, even now — when some coffee drinks seem more like the result of madcap buffoonery than of legitimate culinary experimentation or, in coffee parlance, “sig bev” development — something so spectacularly unappealing comes along that it can’t help but awaken the senses.


Can We Talk Seriously About the Obsolescence of Pourovers?

Of course, anything having to do with coffee — which has been roasted, ground, combined with hot water and filtered from hot water leaving a drinkable brown liquid for millennia — runs in cycles. It’s as if to say, “Pourovers and manual brewing are good, but the coffee industry has just discovered something even greater: Coffee machines!”

Streaming Music From Personal Accounts in Coffee Shops is Not Really OK

But why pay when you can stream from your personal account for free? Because the latter is straight-up stealing, even under the conditions of the newly enacted Music Modernization act, designed to dramatically update U.S. copyright law to meet the realities of the streaming age.


A Chat with the Author of “Coffee and Wine: Two Worlds Compared”

The rise of specialty coffee over the decades has seen it evolve from guzzled commodity stuff into something more refined, traceable and, importantly, enjoyable beyond the mere function of caffeine delivery. Through this time, it’s taken innumerable cues from the world of wine.


New Documentary Provides a Profoundly Human Perspective on Gender in Coffee

While most films about coffee’s journey from seed to cup are designed as marketing tools to eventually move product, a relatively new hour-long coffee documentary seeks to move something far more important: a fundamentally human understanding of gender equity.


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