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Weekly News Tasting: Wild Arabica's threatened future, Peet's new CEO, a coffee fugitive

Weekly News Tasting: Wild Arabica's threatened future, Peet's new CEO, a coffee fugitive

Posted: Nov 13, 2012

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Here’s your weekly look at what’s gone down in specialty coffee and tea as of late:


SOME DON'T LIKE IT HOT. In specialty coffee circles, one of the most discussed global topics in recent years has been the fact that global warming could seriously squeeze the world’s supply of quality Arabica. That news has now gone mainstream: Scientists from England’s renowned Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew last week released a study stating that by 2080, the world’s collection of wild Arabica plants could be extinct due to the new world climate order. Sure, the coffee industry can still exist without the wild-growing plants located in South Sudan and Ethiopia, but those natural stockpiles continue to hold undiscovered strains that could play a key role in strengthening their domesticated brethren planted all over the world.

REMEMBER WHEN COFFEE COMPANIES WERE RUN BY COFFEE PEOPLE? Peet’s Coffee & Tea has a new CEO, but he’s not someone you’ve likely met around a cupping table. David Burwick, the new papa Peet’s, comes to the company from Weight Watchers, and he worked at PepsiCo before that. Peet’s, which has struggled financially of late, was recently purchased by a German investment group for $1 billion.

THIRSTY FOR A THIRD PLACE. Starbucks last month opened its first shops in India, a seemingly bold coffee push in one of the world’s tea hot spots. But according to some residents, it’s not the drink that matters—the mere notion of a café environment will bring in many young Indian consumers. Says one retail consultant in the country: “You could be serving lemonade in Starbucks in India but people will still come.”

GROSSEST MOST WANTED. In June, someone seriously crossed the line at the Anaconda County Courthouse in Anaconda, Mont., adding urine and feces to a coffee maker. Nearly half a year later that someone is still on the loose. For the love of all that’s decent, find this person! Find this person now! And sentence him/her to years of the only thing worse than drinking poo coffee—drinking no coffee at all. (Actually, now that we think about it, poo coffee is way worse than no coffee.)

SALUTE YOUR LATTE. A number of cafés followed the lead of national chain eateries by offering past and present military personnel free cuppas on Veterans Day (Sunday, Nov. 11).