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Weekly Coffee News: USCC Qualifiers, Washington State Coffee Legend Dies and More

Welcome to DCN’s Weekly Coffee News. Keep up with all the latest stories by subscribing to DCN’s newsletter, featuring breaking coffee industry news and fresh coffee job listings.

2023 USRC Qualifiers Denver

Kiara Freysinger and other competitors qualifying for the 2023 US Roaster Championship taking place next month. Specialty Coffee Association press photo.

Final United States Coffee Championships Qualifiers Announced

The second and final United States Coffee Championships Qualifier took place in Denver last week, with finalists moving on to the 2023 US Coffee Championships alongside the Specialty Coffee Expo in Portland, Oregon, next month.

Seidy Selivanow of Kaflex Roasters (Vancouver, Washington) topped the US Barista category. Korachai Silpavitanku of Amberson Coffee (Indianapolis) was the top finisher in the US Brewers Cup category. Thomas Chandler of Black Oak Coffee (Ukiah, California) was the top US Cup Taster. Garrett VanWambeke (independent, Atlanta) took the US Coffee in Good Spirits category. Wenbo Yang of Artly Coffee (Portland, Oregon) ranked first in the Latte Art category. Kiara Freysinger of Huckleberry Roasters (Denver) took first in the US Roaster category. These and other competitors in each category will move on to Portland.

Beloved Mukilteo Coffee Founder Gary Smith Dies

Gary Smith, the founder of Washington State-based Mukilteo Coffee Roasters, died peacefully in his sleep on March 4, his family announced on Instagram. Smith, who had cancer, first got involved with coffee in the 1980s with an espresso cart that eventually grew into a roasting operation and several cafes that he developed with his wife, Beth.

Planetary Design Launches ‘Sustainable Coffee Club’

Montana-based storage equipment and coffee gear company Planetary Design has launched the “Sustainable Coffee Club” to encourage more sustainability and less single-use waste in the coffee industry. With a one-time $60 fee, members get a hat, a medium Airscape Coffee Canister and discounts on environmentally friendly products and the brand’s own “Sustainable Roaster of the Month” subscription.

The company also recently won a Retailers’ Choice Award at the 2023 National Hardware Show in Las Vegas for its Airscape Bucket Insert, which could potentially be used in coffee production applications.

Venezuela Joins the International Women’s Coffee Alliance

Venezuela is joining the International Women’s Coffee Alliance, bringing the international network to 33 chapters. The IWCA is a nonprofit that seeks to unite and support women in the global coffee community. The organization recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the United Nations’ International Labour Organization (ILO) for a partnership aimed at improving working conditions for women.

Starbucks Plans 100 New UK Stores

Reflecting an approximately $36 million investment, Starbucks plans to open 100 new stores in Britain this year, including small-format stores and drive-throughs, Reuters reports. The coffee chain said that UK sales increased 37% last year to reach pre-pandemic levels.

Starbucks Foundation Announces Grants

The Starbucks Foundation has announced a new round of grants aimed at helping women in coffee growing-communities. Since March 2022, the organization has awarded 10 grants with a total of $3 million to nonprofits across seven countries. The latest round of grants will benefit Costa Rica-focused Bean Voyage in supporting 150 smallholder women coffee farmers with tools, training, seed-grants and mentorship, and Kenya’s Village Enterprise in helping more than 500 women in the Mount Elgon coffee-growing region on the border of Uganda and Kenya.

Howard Schultz Agrees to Testify Before Senate Committee 

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has agreed to testify before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on March 29, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders announced. The CEO’s appearance follows a recent National Labor Relations Board ruling that the coffee chain engaged in “egregious and widespread misconduct” in New York.

L&K Coffee Co. Settlement Finalized

A settlement agreement between L&K Coffee Co. and a group of coffee farmers in Hawaii has been finalized. As part of the settlement in the class-action lawsuit that was first approved last fall, Kona farmers will get $6.15 million.

Fairtrade Foundation Warns of Coffee’s Uncertain Future

The UK-based nonprofit Fairtrade Foundation has released commissioned research as part of its Fairtrade Fortnight campaign showing the vulnerability of the coffee supply chain due to climate change. According to the report, more than 90% of Fairtrade-certified Kenyan coffee farmers in the study said they are already experiencing effects from climate change.

ICO Releases February 2023 Global Market Report

The International Coffee Organization has released its latest monthly Coffee Market Report. The ICO Composite Indicator Price gained 11.4% from January’s average to reach an average of $1.747 per pound. Global green bean exports in January 2023 totaled 8.69 million bags, down from 10.23 million bags in January 2022. The latest provisional estimate for total production in the 2021-2022 coffee year remains unchanged at 167.2 million bags.

In Case You Missed It

Here are some of DCN’s top stories from the past week…

Indoxyz coffee Snoop

Photo by Howard Bryman / Daily Coffee News

Snoop Dogg Launches INDOxyz Indonesian Specialty Coffee Line

Rapper, cultural icon and business mogul Snoop Dogg just dropped coffee like it’s hot, rolling into the specialty coffee industry with a new brand of Indonesian coffee products called INDOxyzRead more

The Nucleus Link Portable Sample Roaster is Coming to the US

A new portable sample roasting machine for green coffee buyers called the Nucleus Link is coming to the United States, courtesy of a North Carolina-based coffee equipment distributor GH Grinding & Brewing Solutions (GHGBS)… Read more

Coffee Packer NuZee Strikes Manufacturing Deal With Roaster Apffels

Texas-based coffee co-packing and single-serve manufacturer Nuzee has entered into a manufacturing agreement with longtime southern California-based coffee roasting company Apffels Fine CoffeesRead more

Andres Berron to Lead Starbucks Green Coffee Trading Company 

Longtime green coffee trader Andres Berron has been tapped to lead the Starbucks Coffee Trading Company (SCTC), the green coffee trading arm of Starbucks Coffee. Berron was recently named managing director and vice president at Lausannem, Switzerland-based SCTC… Read more

One of a Kind Guatemala Coffee Auction Returning in August

The Guatemalan national coffee association Anacafé is bringing back the One of a Kind Guatemala (OOAK) green coffee auction. With early bird sample kit reservations already underway… Read more

In New Orleans, Current Crop Cultivates the Home Roaster Market

Home coffee roasting has taken up high-profile residence along New Orleans’ busiest commercial corridor with the recent opening of Current Crop Roasting Shop. After a soft opening that followed the festivities of Mardis Gras… Read more

Rui Miguel Nabeiro Named Chair of Europe’s International Coffee Partners

Rui Miguel Nabeiro of Portugese coffee company Delta Cafés has been appointed chairperson of the European nonprofit International Coffee Partners (ICP). Nabeiro, who is the CEO of Delta and its parent organization, Grupo Nabeiro, takes over the chair position from Kathrine Löfberg… Read more