Coffee News Club: Week of October 3rd

Announcing the 2022 World Coffee Champions, Brazil admits coffee projections are flawed, and Nespresso enlists George Clooney to warn us about climate change.

A lot happened this week! Let’s dive in.

‘Melburnian Crowned World Barista Champion at 2022 World Coffee Championships’ – via Good Food

? Anthony Douglas of Australia is the 2022 World Barista Champion! ?

The World Coffee Championships took place in Australia during the Melbourne International Coffee Expo (MICE). The competition, essentially the Olympics of coffee, is an annual event that brings together dozens of national champions from across the world to compete for the title of World’s Best Barista. 

Douglas is a barista trainer for Axil Coffee Roasters, and he used “cutting edge techniques including cryo desiccated milk (a pressure and slow heating method to concentrate flavor) and aroma discs (to enhance coffee aromatics).” Douglas said that winning the trophy on home soil was extra special, sounding every inch the winning sportsperson does when conducting a post-game interview.

“It’s such an honor,” Douglas said before someone poured a cold brew over his head to celebrate—we presume, at least. He is a champion, after all, and if athletes get a celebratory Gatorade dump, we think champion baristas should get the same with cold brew. “It’s something I certainly don’t take for granted,” he continues, “but we put a lot of work into this, and I’m incredibly proud of myself and the team for this to finally happen.”

Morgan Eckroth, representing the United States, came second, and the United Kingdom’s Claire Wallace finished third.

The final of the World Brewers Cup took place in tandem with the barista competition, with Shih Yuan Hsu (Sherry) of Taiwan taking home first place. Elika Liftee of the US and Elysia Tan of Singapore rounded out the top three.

Read the full story here.

‘From Colombia to California, Verve Coffee Roasters’ Nursery Project Bears Fruit’ – via Daily Coffee News

Four years ago, Verve Coffee Roasters helped 23 coffee farmers plant 60,000 seedlings in the remote Urrao region of Antioquia, Colombia. The Farmlevel Nursery Project has now produced its first crop of coffee.

Planters chose to plant Caturra Chiroso, an heirloom variety singled out for its quality, disease resistance, and resilience in the face of climate change. Verve also selected the variety in collaboration with the participating farmers. “The long-range thought process behind this is, ultimately, let’s help producers go do what they do, and not be in the way, and not tell them how to do it,” said Verve co-founder Colby Barr.

Verve committed to buying the entire lot of the Caturra Chiroso, and Barr notes how many of the younger members of the participating farm families were interested in the project, in some cases using the seedlings to start their first lot. “It sort of became a generational thing, which we didn’t anticipate.”

Barr said the company will continue collaborating with producers to develop the nursery project. On its website, Verve says it will next look to expand the program to Honduras.

Read the full story here.

‘Exclusive: Brazil Admits to Problems With Coffee Crop Views, Plans Revision’ – via Reuters

Conab, Brazil’s national agricultural agency, admits that its coffee production estimates have been incorrect in recent years, leading to notable discrepancies.

For example, Conab estimates Brazil will produce 50.4 million 60-kg bags in 2022, while the USDA expects 64.3 million and Rabobank expects 63.2 million. This issue has been going on for years, with Conab’s projections consistently showing significant differences compared to other estimates.

Brazil is the world’s largest coffee producer, and any change in its output, or perceived output, can impact the commodity price for all coffee. Conab says it will hire more staff to help with projections and use satellite data to better calculate coffee yields.

“We’ve been talking to co-ops, farmers, and exporters,” said Sergio De Zen, Conab’s director of agricultural policy, “trying to work together to be able to have a crop projection that better reflects the reality.” 

Read the full story here.

‘Inspiring and Caffeinating Screenwriters, The Lost Draft Debuts in New York’ – via Daily Coffee News

More themed coffee shops, please.

The Lost Draft is a new New York City cafe based around filmmaking, designed to be inspirational and communal for the city’s television and film writers.

Owned by “an anonymous New York City-based filmmaker,” the shop includes a rentable private room “set aside for table reads and events,” while design details include bathroom tiles inspired by the Overlook Hotel from The Shining. There’s also a mailbox for aspiring writers to deposit their spec scripts “that owners say will be read by members of a production company.” You can even buy movie theater-level popcorn to accompany your latte, which is fun.

All this information comes from a Lost Draft representative who remains anonymous, naturally. Although there are no plans for expansion, we’d guess we’ll soon be seeing locations in star-studded locations like Hollywood or Park City (for the Sundance indie crowd). I will now spend the rest of the day trying to guess who the mystery movie maker benefactor could be.

Read the full story here.

More News

‘Uganda Reports Record 2022-23 Coffee Crop on Weather, Planting’ – via Bloomberg

‘NCA Report: More Young Adults Than Ever Are Daily Coffee Drinkers’ – via Daily Coffee News

‘You’re Probably Going To Want These Coffee Playing Cards’ – via Sprudge

‘Typhoon Noru to Bring Heavy Rains to Vietnam’s Coffee Belt’ – via Bloomberg

‘Robot Barista Brand Artly Lands $8 Million, Plans Retail Expansion’ – via Daily Coffee News

The Week in Coffee Unionizing

The Week in Corporate Coffeewashing

This might be the ultimate example of coffeewashing.

Nespresso will launch a new advertising campaign featuring George Clooney holding an empty cup to highlight “the threat that climate change is posing to global coffee production.” The “iconic brand ambassador” will urge audiences to “‘think outside the cup’ in order to fight climate change.”

Here’s some random, not at all related, stuff about Nespresso: one article found that only 5% of Nespresso pods ever get recycled, estimating that “12,600 tonnes” of aluminum from pods go to landfills yearly. Nespresso is a subsidiary of Nestlé. Nestlé is a company consistently ranked among the worst plastic polluters in the world, is sucking water from California aquifers during a historic drought, whose cocoa production has contributed to the deforestation of national parks in Ivory Coast and Ghana, and so on and so on.

According to their press release, they’re “highlighting the threat” to coffee from climate change, “shining a spotlight” on ways to protect the Earth—and choosing to spend money on George Clooney and shiny ads instead of doing something meaningful. Welp. 

Is Coffee Good For You?

Another week, another study claims that drinking coffee will extend your life.

This one was published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. It found that people who drank two to three cups of coffee each day—specifically ground, instant, or decaffeinated—had “significant reductions” in risk of cardiovascular disease and death from all causes compared to those who didn’t drink coffee.

Nearly half a million participants from the research database UK Biobank without cardiovascular disease were followed for over a decade as they self-reported their coffee intake. Afterward, researchers looked at their medical and death records and found that coffee consumption was linked to a reduction in death from any cause.

“The results suggest that mild to moderate intake of ground, instant, and decaffeinated coffee should be considered part of a healthy lifestyle,” said study author Peter Kistler of the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute and head of electrophysiology at Alfred Hospital in Melbourne (hello again, Melbourne!).

CNN quotes a nutritional sciences lecturer as noting that the study, like so many before it, is observational and therefore can’t prove a direct cause and effect. “Does coffee make you healthy, or do inherently healthier people consume coffee?” Dr. Charlotte Mills asked. “Randomized controlled trials are needed to prove the relationship between coffee and cardiovascular health.”

Beyond the Headlines

‘Can You Run a Zero-Waste Coffee Shop?’ by Janice Chinna Kanniah
‘A Chat with Gregory Zamfotis of Iconic New York Chain Gregorys Coffee’ by Nick Brown
‘Can Lasers Change The Way We Make Cold Brew?’ by Fionn Pooler

Coffee News Club is written by Fionn Pooler and the Fresh Cup editorial team.