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Weekly Coffee News: Artist Series Coffee, Quitting En Masse, and More

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Camber Coffee artist series

Photo by Ryan Russell, courtesy of Camber Coffee.

Camber Coffee Pairs Limited Coffees with Original Art

Celebrated Bellingham, Washington, roasting company Camber Coffee has launched the Artist Series, a new product line that pairs limited-edition coffees with packaging and merchandise featuring works of art. The first drop in the series includes a box set of two coffees from the same lot called Ecuador La Papaya, augmented by the colorful artwork from Canadian illustrator and muralist Paige Bowman. “Their illustrations are visceral and animated, drawing inspiration from folklore, mythology, the occult, and the natural world,” Camber Co-Founder David Yake said of Bowman’s work. 

ICO and ILO Join Forces for International Coffee Day Campaign

The International Coffee Association and International Labor Organization — which both broadly strive for improved conditions for laborers and agricultural producers — are teaming up for a campaign this International Coffee Day (Oct. 1) under the banner #CoffeePeople. The awareness campaign is designed to promote “the right to a safe and healthy working environment in the coffee supply chain.”

Kansas City Coffee Shop Employees Quit En Masse

All but one of the employees of Second Best Coffee in the Waldo neighborhood of Kansas City, Missouri, quit last week, leaving behind a note citing “an escalation of toxic behavior,” as reported by KCUR. The employee exodus caused the shop to temporarily close, according to a Kansas City Star report. An Instagram account believed to be led by former baristas at the shop is promoting a fundraising campaign for the staff that has pulled in more than $8,000, as of this writing.

Unite Here Seeking to Unionize Boston Coffee

A union group called Unite Here has created a contract template that it hopes can be used to drive unionization efforts throughout the Boston-area coffee industry, according to a report from Restaurant Dive. A Unite Here representative told the outlet, “People think that being a barista is not sustainable and not something that you would do as a career. And we’re trying to change that piece-by-piece.”

Unionized Philly Coffee Shop Workers Granted Re-Vote

Workers at two Philadelphia coffee shops who began organizing two years ago with the union group Workers United have been given the go-ahead by the National Labor Relations Board to hold a de-certification vote. The group of employees at two Good Karma Cafe locations is seeking to cut ties with the union organization, according to a report from Restaurant Business.

Kribi Coffee Buys Buzz Café Location in Chicagoland

Kribi Coffee has acquired Oak Park-based Buzz Café from founder Laura Maychruk, who launched the single-location business more than two decades ago, as first reported by the Wednesday Journal. With direct coffee ties to Cameroon, Kribi coffee has expanded to multiple locations throughout Chicago’s western suburbs.

Study: Paper Cups Just as Toxic to Aquatic Larvae as Plastic

New research shows that the two most popular types of single-use cups for coffee — PLA-lined paper cups and all-plastic cups — are essentially equally toxic to aquatic midge larvae. The authors use the results to discount the notion that some cups are “safer” or “more sustainable” in specific littering environments.

Royal Botanic Gardens Kew Highlights Veracruz (Mexico) Cloud Forest Project

A team from Royal Botanic Gardens Kew has summed up the first phase of an ambitious multi-stakeholder project design to protect shade-grown coffee cultivation in the cloud forests of Mexico while mitigating the effects of climate change and ensuring farmer prosperity.

Cotti Coffee Reaches 500 Stores, International Expansion Underway

China-based Cotti Coffee, the quick-service coffee chain led by former Luckin Coffee executives Charles Lu and Jenny Qian, has reached 500 outlets while international expansion is underway in South Korea, Indonesia, Japan and Canada. Lu and Qian were both ousted from Luckin after the Securities and Exchange Commission found $310 million in fabricated sales. Lu, who co-founded Luckin, announced plans to open the competing chain last September.

Pret Bringing Monthly Subscription Service to US

Coffee and sandwich chain Pret A Manger is introducing its subscription service to the United States and France following success in its home market, the UK. The U.S. version is expected to launch next month, according to a Reuters report. The UK version allows for up to five drinks per day plus 20% discounts on other purchases with a flat monthly fee. Pret was acquired by JAB Holding Company in 2018.

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Good shot bad shot

Good shot (left) vs. bad shot (right). Free-falling coffee within the grinder en route to the portafilter produces an uneven extraction.

Column: In Search of the Perfect Espresso Grinder

My hope is to reach expert baristas — from Seattle to New Zealand to China — to implore them to raise their voices and demand on-demand grinders that meet each of the following criteria… Read more

Three Questions with María Andreé Negreros de Durán of Artista de Café in Guatemala

When María Andreé Negreros de Durán was creating Artista de Café, her coffee shop concept in Antigua, Guatemala, she envisioned a space that would honor coffee, not just serve it… Read more

GCP Brazil Study Outlines Living Wage Disparities Among Growers

Major “living income” research in Brazil found that while most types of coffee producers throughout the country’s two largest growing regions are able to earn a living income through coffee, the overwhelming majority of smallholder family farmers are not… Read more

Fair Trade USA Names Partners in Coffee Certification Program Renewal

Fair Trade USA has unveiled the inaugural advisory board and key project partner,, for its “Innovation for Impact Initiative,” which is expected to result in transformations to the Fair Trade USA sustainability certification scheme for coffee… Read more

The DiFluid Brew Control System Digitizes Coffee from Roast to Cup

Chinese technology company DiFluid has launched a set of precision-oriented electronic coffee analysis tools called the Brew Control System… Read more

Volt Coffee is Leading a Specialty Coffee Charge in Northeast Alabama

Alabama roasting company Volt Coffee is helping to spark a small coffee revolution in the greater Gadsen area with the opening of its first brick-and-mortar cafe in Southside… Read more

With New Owner, Method Coffee Roasters Opens Second Denver Cafe

Under new ownership, Denver’s Method Coffee Roasters has opened its second retail cafe, a colorful hub for freshly roasted coffees alongside literature and art… Read more