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Weekly Coffee News: Embracing Robusta, Roaster Giveaway, and More

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robusta coffee

James Freeman Makes a Case for a Robusta Embrace

James Freeman, the influential founder of Nestle-owned Blue Bottle Coffee, penned a piece for Saveur arguing for robusta coffee’s place in the world of high-quality specialty coffee. While Blue Bottle has dabbled in selling high-quality robusta, Freeman also points to the efforts of fellow robusta champions Miguel Meza of Paradise Coffee Roasters (which recently launched a specialty robusta subscription) and Sahra Nguyen of Nguyen Coffee Supply (which just made its way into every U.S. state that has a Whole Foods). Writes Freeman:

A few weeks ago, a fellow coffee geek handed me a cup of something that stopped me in my tracks. It tasted like toffee, cedar, and forest floor and was unlike anything I was used to drinking. I thought I’d seen it all (if my name looks familiar, it’s because I founded Blue Bottle Coffee 21 years ago), but I was confused. What on earth was in that cup?

You can probably guess. Read the full story: Saveur

Primo Giving Away a New 5-Kilo Roaster

California-based coffee roaster manufacturer Primo Roasting Equipment is giving away a 5-kilo roaster called the Xr5 through an Instagram marketing campaign. The U.S.-made Xr5 and its smaller 3-kilo sibling recently launched as part of the company’s reimagined equipment lineup. The promo deadline is Sept. 19 and a winner will be announced Sept. 21.

Software Provider Toast Launches Cafe-Specific Solution

Restaurant ordering software provider Toast has launched a new service specifically for cafes, coffee shops and bakeries called “Toast for Cafes & Bakeries.” The platform includes solutions for catering as well as for retail sales of products like branded coffee bags or merchandise.

Howard Schultz Leaves Starbucks Board

In an unexpected move that Starbucks said is part of a “planned transition,” longtime Starbucks leader Howard Schultz stepped down from the company’s board of directors, effective yesterday. Laxman Narasimhan replaced Schultz as CEO in March, after Schultz occupied the role on an interim basis following the departure of Kevin Johnson in 2022.

Quintal Coffee Becomes Origin Roasted, Adds Coffees from More Countries

With a focus on coffees roasted at or near the farms on which they’re grown, the coffee subscription provider formerly known as Quintal Coffee has rebranded to become Origin Roasted. The company offers different coffees based on harvest seasons, while it recently expanded to include offerings from more countries in Central and South America.

ICE Enlists Meridia for EUDR Compliance Service

The Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), which oversees the commodity coffee futures market for arabica coffee, announced it is collaborating with agricultural tech agency Meridia Land B.V (Meridia) for the launch of its ICE Commodity Traceability (ICE CoT) service. The service is in response to the EU deforestation regulation (EUDR).

Coffee Variety NFTs Support CATIE

In a project supported by the Specialty Coffee Association of Costa Rica, NFT marketplace Biocnft and the tropical agriculture center CATIE have launched sales of NFTs inspired by 12 different coffee varieties. Starting prices range from US$27 up to more than $10,000 for a “Geisha Gold.”

Ground Control Earns CE Marking and CB Certification for Sales Abroad

United States-based commercial coffee brewer maker Ground Control told DCN via email that the company’s core Cyclops model has earned CB Marking and CB Certification, allowing the unit to be sold and operated in key international markets, including Europe.

Bad Ass Coffee Signs Deals for Eight More Franchise Locations

Bad Ass Coffee of Hawaii has signed deals with two separate franchisees with plans for Texas. One agreement will bring three new stores to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, and the other is expected to bring five new Stores to the San Antonio market. Bad Ass Coffee has 30 franchise locations in the U.S.

New CFO for Black Rifle Coffee

Salt Lake City-based Black Rifle Coffee Co. has named Stephen Kadenacy as its new Chief Financial Officer. BRCC described Kadency, the former CEO of infrastructure consulting business Aecom, as a “significant shareholder” of the coffee company.

More RTD Hard Cold Brew Hitting Shelves

Lexington, Kentucky-based coffee-flavored whiskey maker Kentucky Coffee is rolling out a line of canned hard coffees. Canned hard coffee drinks have historically struggled to find widespread appeal, although Dunkin’ recently rolled out a new line called Dunkin’ Spiked.

In Case You Missed It

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

Coffee varieties

A cross section of WCR’s new coffee varieties poster.

WCR Made a Free Arabica and Robusta Coffee Varieties Poster

Humans are imperfect and we all tend to get a bit scatter-brained every now and then. For example, you may be a professional coffee roaster, going casually throughout your day while contemplating the complex genetic and geographic history of the very coffee that you are turning from greenish to brownish…

Coffee Coalition for Racial Equity Names Executive Director

The nonprofit Coffee Coalition for Racial Equity (CCRE) has named Kim Dreux-Kelly its first executive director…

Blanca Castro Named Executive Director of International Women’s Coffee Alliance (IWCA)

Longtime international coffee professional Blanca Castro is taking over the top executive spot at the nonprofit International Women’s Coffee Alliance (IWCA)…

Rival Bros. Provides the Coffee Punch at New Philly Cafe Enswell

Coffee roasting company Rival Bros. Coffee has a new ally in Philadelphia, partnering with the New Liberty Distillery to launch a coffee, restaurant and cocktail concept called Enswell

Study: Music and Coffee Can Make Brains Work Better

New research suggests that drinking coffee and listening to music are two everyday activities that can improve cognitive performance, specifically in tasks requiring concentration and memory…

SCA Unveils Coffee Skills Diplomas for Coffee Professionals

The Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) today unveiled its revamped diploma system, featuring four separate diplomas associated with different skills and job-readiness: Café; Roastery; Coffee Trade; and Sustainable Coffee…

In San Francisco, Outset Coffee Finds a Ripe Market for Fruit Lattes

Immediately perking up the San Francisco Mission District is Outset Coffee, a new shop whose fruit-forward and Asian-inspired coffee drinks are raising the bar for creative flavors and textures…