The team at home roasting equipment and green coffee seller Sweet Maria’s has released a new YouTube video intended to help owners of one of the most popular home roasting machines, the Behmor 1600 Plus, to achieve ideal light roasts. While all home roasting machines have their limitations compared to larger commercial roasters, Sweet Maria’s has done much of the trial-and-error work to help roasters find at least one way to lean lighter:
National Coffee Association President and CEO William “Bill” Murray penned a piece for the professional membership association’s blog last week about coffee prices. While prices have remained a hot topic throughout financial and agricultural news spheres over the past two years, Murray reminds NCA members that an uptick in prices doesn’t necessarily mean supply chains everywhere are all-of-a-sudden healthy and sustainable:
The reality is that many of the challenges facing coffee farmers are not unique to coffee. Price volatility, poor infrastructure at home, a lack of information, and other factors are the same issues facing small-scale famers in all agricultural sectors.
And while there are common elements bedeviling all small-scale farmers, there is no simple, appealing, one-size-fits all “solution” for helping coffee farmers improve their lot.
The owners of a small, craft-focused coffee company in Kelowna, British Colombia, have chosen to rebrand after receiving a cease and desist letter from a large American corporation, according to a story this week from CBC News. That’s the bad news. The good news for Canoe Coffee Roasters — which DCN profiled a year ago after they moved into their beautiful new roastery cafe — is that the public outrage buoyed the company as it begins to rebrand, with full hopes to keep paddling forward. CBC spoke with co-owner Jen Upshaw:
“I think what we’ve really learned is that you can rally and you can get around anything,” she said.
“Owning a small business is difficult, but fighting isn’t always the way forward, sometimes it’s just easier, and better, and nicer to just roll with the punches.”
A piece dense with historical quotes in the environmental news site Treehugger this week repeatedly cited coffee — particularly retail coffee — as a kind of idealogical battleground, where the personal responsibility and shame for the use of, say, disposable cups are weighed against corporate culpability. The question is, essentially, “do personal consumption habits really matter in a climate emergency?” The answer is a complicated, “yes”:
But we do have an option, and it is not just to avoid taking a straw, it is to not buy what they are selling, the whole damn cup.
That’s when individual actions can add up to mass movements that change markets permanently. One only has to look at American history, and why so few Americans drink tea, going right back to the original Tea Party boycotts.
Coffee made its way into Benjamen Walker’s Theory of Everything podcast, with the host tracing a pourover in Paris back to its source in Kenya. In the process, Walker talks coffee — and how consumers can seek more sustainable coffee consumption — with Patrik Rolf of April Coffee in Denmark, Jonas Brunsas of African Coffee Roasters outside of Nairobi, Kenya, and Klaus Thomsen of Denmark’s The Coffee Collective.
Los Angeles public radio station KCRW this week aired a segment in which reporter Jerome Campbell and coffee consultant and Chocolate Barista Founder Michelle Johnson toured three coffee shops in historically black neighborhoods in South Los Angeles. One major question addressed is how coffee shop interior design may act as a signifier of gentrification and, in some cases, exclusion:
Michelle Johnson notices, “We’re in a black neighborhood and there aren’t that many black people here. And I don’t know where these white people came from.”
Black and Latinx people make up nearly 80% of residents in West Adams, Baldwin Hills and Leimert Park, according to 2018 US Census. However, white people make up at least 75% of customers inside this shop on this day.
The New York Times has published a fascinating feature (paywall) on a new wave of modern coffee shops in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, that have been made possible by a changing social climate towards gender segregation, as well as reforms established in December by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Picture this: Women and men drinking coffee in the same room!
Some women whose families might previously have allowed them to work only in the privacy of offices, if at all, now hold barista jobs. Saudis can now mingle with the opposite sex not only at home but also at movie theaters, concerts and even wrestling matches. Young entrepreneurs are opening places where Saudis can meet like-minded people of both sexes, whether they are artists, filmmakers or entrepreneurs.