How much is your coffee costing you?

Use this online calculator to see how much your coffee is REALLY costing you.

Brought to you by USA Today.

5 things you need to know about your coffee

Five hundred billion cups of coffee are consumed every year worldwide, but few people know much about the world’s second most traded commodity (behind oil!). So here are five quick facts about how coffee gets from farms around the world to you.

1.     Coffee comes from a fruit. If you’ve never seen a coffee plant in person, it’s pretty amazing. Coffee plants grow around the world, but the best coffee is grown in mountainous regions that receive predictable and abundant rain. Once a year, these plants sprout a bright red, cherry-like fruit. Farmers in Central America, for example, spend two months harvesting the brightest red cherries, before the coffee “bean” (the seed of the fruit) is picked, washed, dried, hulled, sorted, graded, polished, packed, and shipped off to U.S.-based coffee roasters.

2.     The coffee supply chain is completely broken. Because coffee is a perishable item, ideally it would come directly from the farm to your doorstep, with as few intermediaries as possible. However, the current coffee supply chain is antiquated and inefficient, with up to 20 middlemen and six months between the farmer and you. Many coffee farmers have little market access, forcing them to rely on middlemen to bring their green, unroasted coffee to the market. With so many intermediaries, the typical coffee supply chain excludes farmers from the most profitable activities and is in dire need of optimization. Middlemen, and especially roasters, capture nearly all of the profit after the crop leaves the farm. It’s a stunningly disproportionate reward compared to the amount of time, labor, and know-how farmers put into their product.

A coffee farmer in rural Brazil. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

3.     Coffee farmers have it rough. Of the millions of coffee farmers worldwide, nearly 80 percent are small scale, often living on less than two dollars per day. In the communities we work with in northern Nicaragua, we have seen mothers choosing which of their two children can afford to go to school, women and men walking several kilometers to fetch water, and people flocking to the community center on the one day a doctor visits every few months. Although coffee farmers around the world spend years cultivating their crop and do an incredible amount of labor to grow and harvest their product, they typically receive less than $1.00 per pound (or the equivalent of about $0.03 per cup of coffee), which is then sold in the US for upwards of $20.00 per pound, keeping them trapped in a cycle of subsistence farming.

4.     Not everybody is excited about Fair Trade—and few people know what “direct trade” means. The coffee industry is changing rapidly, and, while Fair Trade remains an important tool to protect against price busts in the coffee commodity market, it can be cost-prohibitive for small-farmers and imposes burdensome administrative requirements on its certified farmers. Accordingly, Fair Trade  is facing increasing questions, criticism and backlash as coffee lovers around the world look to engage solutions that offer a more substantive and sustainable means of improving farmer livelihoods. With respect to direct trade, there is no standard or commonly accepted definition of what direct trade actually is. Direct trade should mean that your coffee roaster or shop is buying coffee directly from farmers, but what it usually means is that there are fewer middlemen, or simply that the importer can verify the exact farm of origin, even though the coffee still passes through just as many middlemen. What’s more, only a tiny fraction of farmers have the resources to make connections in the coffee-buying world to secure direct market access and take advantage of the direct trade movement.

5.     Central America was hit by a fungus that will affect coffee output for years. About two years ago, a fungus called roya (or coffee rust) decimated crops throughout Central and South America. Coffee rust has been present for years in coffee growing communities, but in 2012, because of irregular weather, the fungus exploded throughout the region. The New York Times estimates that in Guatemala alone, production has decreased by over 25 percent and 100,000 jobs directly tied to the crop have already disappeared. Given that coffee seedlings take five to seven years to produce beans for production, replacing the plants and getting back to pre-roya output levels is a daunting task for the four million people in Central America who rely on coffee for their livelihood.

The good news is that, as the plight of coffee farmers gains prominence and the public becomes increasingly aware of their struggles, more and more organizations are getting involved to substantively transform the economic conditions of farmers. For example, Root Capital recently invested $23 million to fight the coffee rust plague. This initiative comes on the heels of years of investing in infrastructure in coffee growing communities, strengthening cooperatives and developing processing capacity.

What’s more, social enterprises have a real opportunity to disrupt the coffee supply chain with market driven solutions. For example, my own company, Vega, is working on an innovative model to enable farmers to capture more of the value chain. Vega empowers farmers to roast coffee themselves, so that all of the processing is done on the farm and farmers earn up to four times what they currently do selling raw green beans alone.

So, next time you go to buy coffee, take a few moments to think about its journey. Try to find information about the producers that make your coffee and where they fit in the supply chain. You have the power to affect a farmer in Nicaragua, or Ethiopia, or Indonesia simply through your decision of which coffee to buy and drink. It’s one extra step, but just imagine if each of those 500 billion cups of coffee consumed every year contributed to a more sustainable future.

Source: Forbes.com

Almost half of the world actually prefers instant coffee

Americans’ taste in coffee might be getting more high-end—with a growing fixation on perfectly roasted beans, pricier caffeinated concoctions, and artisan coffee brewers—but it turns out a surprisingly big part of the world is going in the opposite direction: towards instant coffee. 

Sales of instant coffee—the kind that dissolves in hot water and has been popularized by brands like Nescafe—have nearly tripled since 2000, according to data from market research firm Euromonitor. The world consumed nearly $31 billion-worth last year, and is expected to drink more than $35 billion-worth by 2018. Instant coffee accounts for more than 34 percent of all the retail brewed coffee consumed around the world.

The rise has been as steady as it has been substantial.

Who exactly is drinking all this instant coffee?

Well, a lot of people. But also, a very specific type of people: amateur coffee drinkers.

"The markets where instant coffee is most popular tend to be the ones without a strong tradition of coffee drinking," Dana LaMendola, and industry analyst at Euromonitor, said in an interview. "It's basically an entry point."

As the firm's new industry report puts it:

In newer coffee-drinking regions, instant coffee is appealing because of its ability to satisfy the needs of new coffee drinkers and their evolving tastes. Unlike established coffee markets, where coffee is a product with well-defined perceptions of taste, strength and origin, in emerging coffee markets, coffee is viewed as a multi-purpose product with endless functional and flavor possibilities.

Perhaps that helps explain why India and China are two of the fastest growing markets, or why Asia Pacific is the world's largest instant coffee consuming region by sales.

But the appeal of instant coffee hasn't been lost on other, more developed markets. Almost half of the world actually prefers it.

Australians like the stuff more than anyone else—instant coffee accounts for over 75 percent of retail brewed coffee consumed in Australia and New Zealand, the highest percentage registered for any region. Even those regions more often associated with coffee snobbery are still guilty of giving in to the more convenient kind, too. Europeans might favor fresh beans, but they certainly appreciate the occasional instant coffee indulgence. In Eastern Europe, instant coffee accounts for over 50 percent of overall retail brewed coffee consumption; in Western Europe, it accounts for more than 25 percent; and together, the two regions drink 40 percent of the world's instant coffee.

Read the rest of the article at the Washington Post 

The Scoop® Single-Serve Coffee Maker by Hamilton Beach

If your playing with Keurig K cups...this will pay for itself in no time!
Sell your Keurig on Craigslist and buy this! Start saving money brewing REALLY good coffee!

The Scoop® Single-Serve Coffeemaker goes where no coffeemaker has gone before, brewing hotter, faster and better-tasting coffee than most gourmet machines out there. And, its benefits don’t stop there. The Scoop® Coffeemaker utilizes the simplicity of ground coffee and brews a customizable cup quickly: an 8 oz. cup in less than 90 seconds or a 14 oz. travel mug in under two-and-a-half minutes. 

Aside from its versatility in using inexpensive coffee grounds to brew a great-tasting cup, The Scoop® Coffeemaker is designed for ultra-simple preparation in three straightforward steps: 1) Scoop 2) Place 3) Brew. It features a steel mesh scoop for filtering freshly ground coffee and comes with a built-in, adjustable stand that flips to accommodate a standard-size cup or a taller travel mug. 

All in all, The Scoop® Single-Serve Coffeemaker offers affordability and no fuss with lots of options. There’s no need for extra equipment, high-tech buttons or extra equipment, either.

Costs pennies per cup, compared to leading competitors' single-size packs
Proportions coffee exactly with single-serve scoop filter
Brews an 8 oz. cup of coffee in less than 90 seconds
Built-in adjustable stand holds standard-size cup and taller travel mugs
One steel mesh scoop filter included; no need for paper filters
Wide drip tray on base acts as a spill-resistant drain for excess coffee
Settings for REGULAR (automatic drip) and BOLD coffee
Durable, stainless steel features ensure coffeemaker's longevity
Automatically shuts off after brewing

Allowing for Various Coffee Grind Types The Scoop® Coffeemaker doesn’t need pre-packaged K-Cup® packs or coffee pods, which can get expensive, and not to mention stale, over time. Instead, it comes with a mesh scoop filter that gives users the choice of any flavor (caramel, hazelnut, vanilla, etc), any brand (Starbucks™, Dunkin Donuts™, etc.) and any strength (Regular or Bold) pleasing to their taste.

Differing Boldness Levels With The Scoop® Coffeemaker, versatility is key. Whether you decide to go with a mainstream brand coffee or stronger premium-brand coffee, you need a machine that understands and quickly adapts. Use the REGULAR setting for a quick basic, automatic drip coffee, or get an upgrade and choose BOLD for more fine grinds, decaf or stronger flavors premium-brand coffee like Starbucks™ or Melitta™. Just remember that the finer the grind, the longer it takes to brew. For bolder coffee, the water passes through at a slower rate, but allows more contact time and better flavor extraction for a better-tasting cup when done brewing.

Measuring Proportions Appropriately Not sure how much coffee to add when brewing? No worries — each scoop filter is labeled with two measuring lines for exact serving amounts. And more isn’t necessarily better, in this case. Overfilling the scoop doesn’t allow room for brewing and water can overflow and spill over, ultimately meaning weaker coffee.

Adjusting the Cup Size Before brewing, adjust the L-shaped cup rest to make sure your cup is as close to the dispensing nozzle as possible. For travel mugs, fit the cup rest against the coffeemaker and place your mug on top of the drip tray.

Easy Dishwasher Cleanup Unlike leading coffeemakers with confusing attachments and high-tech buttons, The Scoop® Coffeemaker has only three removable parts—a scoop filter, a secondary filter and a cup rest—and all are dishwasher safe. For consistent trouble-free maintenance, it should be cleaned internally once a month, by pouring ½ cup plain white vinegar and ½ cup cold water into the water reservoir, brewing and then running 2 to 3 cycles of cold tap water before making coffee.


Coffee could prevent retinal damage in people with Diabetes

While a recent study reported that coffee might help to prevent type 2 diabetes risk, here's another reason to stick with your morning caffeine fix: New research suggests it might help prevent eyesight deterioration that can occur in diabetics.

The key ingredient responsible for this protective benefit is chlorogencic acid (CLA), a powerful antioxidant, say researchers from Cornell. The team studied mice whose eyes were treated with nitric oxide, a substance that would create oxidative stress and free radicals, thereby contributing to retinal degeneration in the eyes. Mice who were pretreated with CLA, however, showed no signs of retinal damage after being exposed to the nitric oxide.

Diabetics can often suffer loss of eyesight due to tissue damage, as the retina is one of the most metabolically active tissues that requires high levels of oxygen, the researchers explained.

Coffee eyedrops?
The researchers next want to determine if drinking coffee helps CLA to cross the blood-retinal barrier. If coffee consumption can help deliver CLA directly to the retina, they said, scientists might be able to develop a treatment that prevents retinal damage.

"Coffee is the most popular drink in the world, and we are understanding what benefit we can get from that," said study author Chang Y. Lee, professor of food science at Cornell.

The study is published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Your Coffee Pods' Dirty Secret

Coffee brewing is in the midst of a revolution, and I'm not talking about the AeroPress. It comes in the form of a small 2-by-2-inch single-serving pod that requires a special machine. Keurig, owned by Vermont-based Green Mountain Coffee, makes the most popular pods, called "K-Cups." At the press of a button, the Keurig brewer punctures a small hole into the aluminum lid of an individual plastic cup filled with grounds, flushes it with steaming water, and, voilà! Out comes one hot cup of joe.  

When Keurig launched its specialized brewing system in 1998, it might have come off as a bit niche. Not anymore. According to a survey by the National Coffee Association, nearly 1 in 5 adults drank single-cup-brewed coffee yesterday, making it the second most popular way to brew after the traditional drip methods—and far more popular than espresso machines.

The single-serve method has experienced impressive growth: According to the Seattle Times, while US consumers bought $132 million worth of coffee pods in 2008, they forked over $3.1 billion for them last year, compared to $6 billion for roasted coffee and $2.5 billion in instant coffee. Keurig also has similar brewing systems and pods for tea and iced beverages, and will roll out a system for Campbell's soup later this year.

What Keurig customers love, proclaims Green Mountain's 2013 annual report, is the system's "Quality, Convenience, and Choice"—and let's be real, it's convenience that trumps for most busy Americans. Keurig systems take under a minute to brew coffee, and cleaning them is laughably easy: Just chuck the used coffee pod in the trash, then press a button, and a "cleansing brew" shoots hot water through the system to clear it of residue.

But critics warn that the packaging needed for these systems comes with environmental and health-related costs. By making each pod so individualized, and so easy to dispose of, you must also exponentially increase the packaging—packaging that ultimately ends up in landfills. (And that's to say nothing of the plastic and metal brewing systems, which if broken, aren't that easy to recycle either.)

Journalist Murray Carpenter estimates in his new book, Caffeinated, that a row of all the K-Cups produced in 2011 would circle the globe more than six times. To update that analogy: In 2013, Green Mountain produced 8.3 billion K-Cups, enough to wrap around the equator 10.5 times. If Green Mountain aims to have "a Keurig System on every counter," as the company states in its latest annual report, that's a hell of a lot of little cups.

Green Mountain only makes 5 percent of its current cups out of recyclable plastic. The rest of them are made up of a #7 composite plastic, which is nonrecyclable in most places. And for the small few that are recyclable, the aluminum lid must be separated from the cup, which also must be emptied of its wet grounds, for the materials to make it through the recycling process. Even then, chances are the pod won't be recycled because it's too small, says Darby Hoover, senior resource specialist at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Keurig just released a sustainability report announcing that the company plans to make all coffee pods recyclable by 2020, among other ecofriendly efforts. The company says it's evaluating the type of plastic used in the cups, exploring potential biodegradable and compostable packaging, and coming up with an easier way for customers to easily prepare them for recycling.

Some competitors already have recyclable or biodegradable versions of this single-serve pod; Nespresso's lid and pod is made entirely from aluminum. A Canadian brand, Canterbury Coffee, makes a version that it says is 92 percent biodegradable (everything save for the nylon filter can break down). Finding a substitute is an interesting challenge, says Keurig spokeswoman Sandy Yusen, because coffee is perishable, and so the material used must prevent light, oxygen, and moisture from degrading the coffee.

Another reason to look beyond plastic is a concern with what could leach out of the material when heated. Yusen confirmed that the #7 plastic used in K-Cups is BPA-free, safe, and "meets or exceeds applicable FDA standards." But new evidence suggests that even non-BPA plastics can test positive for estrogenic activity. (Our "Frightening Field Guide to Common Plastics" contains more information about this.)

"No. 7 plastic means 'other,'" says the NRDC's Hoover. "You don't know what it is." One concern with this plastic mix is the presence of polystyrene, containing the chemical styrene, which Hoover warns is especially worrisome for workers. A possible carcinogen, styrene can wreak havoc on the nervous systems of those handling it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The chemical also shows up in tobacco smoke and home copy machines, and in the Styrofoam used in food containers.

Keurig would not tell me what types of plastic go into its #7 blend, saying the information was proprietary, nor would it confirm or deny the presence of polystyrene in the mix.

Keurig does make a plastic and mesh reusable coffee filter. But why use a filter that necessitates cleaning—and also requires a fancy-schmancy brewing system—over the traditional method? As Hoover points out, "you're essentially giving up the convenience of the little teeny tiny cup."

It's not just convenience that's sacrificed. By my calculations, a K-Cup-worth of coffee will run up your tab way more than grounds and a filter (not including the cost of the brewer); a standard pod of Green Mountain coffee costs 68 cents, while one cup of the company's Vermont Blend brewed the traditional way costs about 44 cents, filter included. The New York Times did a more comprehensive analysis of the actual price of single-brew coffee, and determined that it ends up costing more than $50 a pound, even for standard brands like Folgers, compared to the less than $20 you can expect to pay for a bag of roasted beans. Call me a cheapskate, but I'll stick to freshly ground coffee that doesn't require a bulky brewer and billions of plastic pods to be delicious.

How animal poop becomes fancy coffee

In the foggy hills of the northern Philippines, committed and courageous harvesters reach into the unlikeliest of places to produce some of the world’s most coveted coffee

Well, hello there.

Civets — furry, weasel-like creatures with pointy noses and a love of frolicking over rocks and up and down trees — have long been valued for their excretions. African civets were the original source of perfume musk, scraped from the skin of living civets or squeezed from the glands of dead ones. In India today, as in ages past, the oil extracted from pieces of their meat is still used as an indigenous cure for scabies. In Southeast Asia, civets shit gold.

More precisely, on a gram-per-gram basis, the coffee beans found in civet shit are worth roughly twice that of silver.

It is literally shit — it comes out brown and in a tubular shape. Its texture and contents vary depending on what the civet may have been eating. Like any shit, we could be flushing it down the toilet or cursing every time we step in it. We could choose to find it dirty and worthless. But, no. When it comes from a civet, we prize it.

At Dean and Deluca in Manhattan, fifty grams of civet coffee goes for $60. For the equivalent price of a kilo of the coffee, about two pounds, you could get a Marsèll bi-fold, crocodile skin wallet with a leather interior, a snap-close coin compartment, two billfold pockets and six card slots. Or a pair of hot pink, four-inch Christian Louboutin patent leather heels covered in tonal spikes.

Drink it — it's shit. (No, really.)

Twenty-thousand square feet brimming with writers, filmmakers, designers and disruptors. What's not to love?

I decided to go find out what makes their shit so special.

Coffee grows where it's cold and high, places like the bucolic mountaintop village of Sagada, 14 hours north of Manila. To get there, I took a bus to Baguio, the largest city in the Cordilliera mountain range, where I spent the night in a grimy roadside traveler's hotel. Waking up early the next morning, I caught another, older bus, and took a nauseating, air-condition-less ride up an exceedingly steep and winding mountain range.

The view through the window was frightening and spectacular. Pine trees disappeared into the clouds. The side of the mountain plummeted. Houses were fixed to the earth in some places and, in others, floated above it on stilts. It is a place where villagers farm cabbage and corn out of carved-out mountain terraces and the world looks like an old topographical map.

After I got to town I still had to take an hour-long hike through a muddy jungle to get to the coffee plantation, with much sweating and stripping off of layers that had earlier on seemed so sensible in the thick morning fog. My guides, two native Igorot named Lambert and Masli, scampered up and down the wet slopes foraging ferns for dinner. I trailed behind them, more than once slipping onto my ass.

Up on the slope, nestled between towering limestone cliffs and a small rushing river, we found a scattering of coffee trees. There wasn't the ordered tidiness of other agriculture. Low and shiny, with elegant leaves, they were dispersed through the jungle growth, shaded by wide-leafed banana trees. Turquoise and black butterflies flitted about.

This is paradise to the civet: virgin growth jungle with food to eat and a limestone jungle gym. I hoped to look up and see the bushy shadow of one of them, darting up the side of a cliff and into a little cave. Maybe it would peek out and wiggle its little nose before curling up for a nap against the cave wall, snout tucked into compact paws.

But that was never going to happen. In the five years that my guide Lambert has been harvesting civet droppings, he has never laid eyes on the beast. They're nocturnal. Shy, he says. They can hear you coming a mile away.

But Lambert has learned a surprising amount about civets. From observing the way they poop, he knows that they are creatures of habit. He knows that civets start frequenting the coffee farm around November, when green coffee berries begin to ripen into bright red grape-sized fruits. He knows that they a pick a path to get there — one they will take for the next several months, leaving a predictable trail of poop in their wake.

Early in the season, civets eat other fruits and meat on the way to the coffee farm. Lambert admits in Tagalog, his third or fourth language, that the smell is "kadiri," or disgusting. But after a couple of weeks, he says, when the civet has been munching almost exclusively on ripe coffee berries, the odor neutralizes, smelling more like dirt and dry leaves.

Harvesting civet droppings hasn't been easy for people like Lambert. When he first started out, his father, a schoolteacher, wasn't sure there was any money in harvesting coffee. He was understandably skeptical about his son's plan to go around looking for shit, picking it up and putting it in his backpack.

The job, rather unsurprisingly, is also a surefire way to get teased by friends. But Lambert says he doesn't care.

"I ignore them," he says, "because I know the price."

On a good day, with six hour's work at the height of the season, Lambert says he is able to harvest a full kilo of civet droppings. Depending on the quality of the product (some poop is better than other poop) and the vicissitudes of coffee market, that kilo could fetch him between 450 and 1,000 pesos — about $10 to $25, or two to five times the daily agricultural minimum wage in the mountains.

During the season, it adds nicely to the income of the family. Lambert splits his earnings with his mother, who runs a business selling secondhand clothes, and no one can argue with the money, whatever its origin. His father has come around. Lambert knows he's been telling other tribesmen to stop hunting and eating civets, because dead civets don't poop.

Read the rest of this story at Narratively.

Source: The Week


Everything is made in China but not coffee. A Chinese person drinks five cups of coffee a year on average.

Latte art displayed on the closing day of the 3rd Fushan Cup International Barista Championship in Chengmai, Hainan, May 30. (Photo/Xinhua)

A Chinese person drinks five cups of coffee a year on average. In a small town of south China's Hainan province, however, this rises to 200 a year.

The figure, which is comparable to the world's average of 240 cups, has impressed international coffee dealers who are seeking to take a share of the market in China.

"I do not believe China will become the world's largest coffee market in the next decade until I see it for real, but with more middle-income families, the Chinese are drinking more coffee," said David Kiwanuka, a coffee dealer with the Guangzhou office of Beijing Chenao Coffee Company, a joint venture between China and Uganda.

Fushan in Chengmai county in Hainan, where local farmers started growing coffee in the early 1930s, has nurtured a strong coffee culture. Nearly 100 companies from different countries have opened outlets to promote their brands in the subtropical town.

"I was impressed at how the Chinese love drinking coffee. They have started to show great interest in coffee culture, which has made me see the huge market potential in this country," said Melaku Legesse, consul general at the Ethiopian Consulate General in Guangzhou.

According to data from the Beijing Coffee Industry Association, coffee consumption growth in the country is increasing at an annual rate of 15%, which is about seven times the average world growth rate.

According to the association, the figure may continue to expand at a pace of 15%-20% annually, making China the most attractive coffee market by 2020.

Despite the fast expansion, it is unlikely that coffee will replace tea as the number one drink of choice in China, given the longstanding tea-drinking tradition in the country, said association chairperson Ji Ming.

Foreign coffee brands were first introduced to China during the 1980s. Brands such as Nestle and Starbucks have played a significant role in creating a coffee culture in the country, according to Ji.

He said the culture is popular in first-tier cities like Beijing and Shanghai, as well as some southern provinces including Hainan and Fujian, although for most other regions, coffee is still viewed as an expensive Western import.

"Even in Beijing and Shanghai, the coffee consumption level remains stubbornly lower than 30 cups per capita," Ji said, adding that the country's coffee culture is not sufficiently mature.

Annie Huang, general director with the Food and Dining Culture Committee of Guangdong Food Culture Research Institute, said that China's younger generation with growing purchasing power are willing to pay more for new experiences.

"To them, Starbucks represents a luxurious and fashionable experience. Many of them are attracted by this brand rather than the coffee itself. They can tell what kind of tea is good, but they can't do so with coffee," Huang said.

Huang also said, however, that there is huge potential for consumption and that the coffee-drinking culture has not yet reached its peak.

China's coffee market has been dominated by foreign brands, like Starbucks, Barista Coffee and Blenz, who have taken the lion's share of the fresh ground coffee market, while Nestle and Maxwell House are dominating in the instant coffee market.

Since opening its doors in the country in 1999, Starbucks now has 1,001 stores. With China being its second major market, the company plans to expand its outlets to 1,500 by 2015.

The growing number of domestic brands will also help cultivate and invigorate the market.

"Residents in Fushan, old or young, like to spend time in coffee shops. They may not know Starbucks, but they can name every local brand," said Xu Shibing, chairman of Hainan Coffee Association.

Coffee mainly grows in the provinces of Yunnan, Hainan and Sichuan in China.

Coffee grown in Yunnan accounts for more than 90% of China's total production, but over half of the output has been exported as crude material over recent years.

Xu said that the country boasts a few domestic coffee brands, mainly small enterprises or crude material producers. Very few of them can compete with foreign brands.

Sophisticated coffee-planting and coffee-making techniques, the lack of professional experience, and the absence of proper industry standards are major challenges for Chinese coffee companies.

Ji said that it is important for the country's homegrown coffee brands to focus on adapting foreign coffee culture to local consumption habits.


Bulletproof Coffee Mixes Butter in Coffee, Claims Health Benefits

What if I told you that you could mix butter and oil in your coffee in the morning and reap health benefits from weight loss to increased mental acuity and even help digestion and heart health? If you think I'm absolutely crazy, I really wouldn't blame you, but that's exactly what Bulletproof Coffee drinkers are saying.

Popular among CrossFit folk and even Paleo dieters, Bulletproof Coffee is simple: eight ounces of hot drip coffee, one teaspoon of grass-fed unsalted butter (like Kerrygold), and one teaspoon of MCT-rich coconut oil. Then you froth the combination, which does give it a lovely, velvety texture. However, by mid-cup, you definitely know that you're drinking butter.

Like many health fads, Bulletproof Coffee supporters have a laundry list of alleged benefits. It's supposed to help sustain energy levels, negating crash effects. It's supposed to help your brain, heart, stomach, and more. It's also supposed to possibly function as a meal replacement for non-breakfast eaters.

Though I would never encourage people to skip breakfast (because it is the best meal ever), I will admit that after my first cup, I wasn't hungry at all until about lunch time. Whether that's because I drank what tasted like a cup of hot, melted butter or it actually suppressed my appetite, I can't say.

Travis Radevski, owner of Sip Coffee and Beer House in Scottsdale, offers the coffee-butter-oil blend at his new coffee shop. He also says that he drinks a cup each morning before working out. Though he doesn't claim to have noticed any of the touted health benefits of the drink, he does say that it helps him stay satiated when he doesn't eat breakfast.

Nutrition and culinary consultant Michelle Dudash says there actually might be some truth to this.

"For someone who doesn't eat any breakfast at all, it is better than nothing, since they will be getting some calories to break the fast and help with satiety," she says. "However, for the person who eats breakfast with some fat in it, the benefits from this drink would start to drop off."

Dudash recommends fat- and nutrient-rich foods like nuts or avocados for those who skip breakfast. As for the other claims, she says moderate coffee drinking has shown benefits like increased alertness and antioxidant levels. MCT coconut oil even "has shown some promising fat-burning effects." However, she does warn that adding butter to your daily cup of coffee probably isn't a good idea, as butter should be eaten in moderation regardless of what it's paired with.

"Overall, a cup of Bulletproof Coffee probably wouldn't cause harm to the average healthy person," Dudash says.

Radevski does warn that you should always pair Bulletproof Coffee with a workout and says that educating guests when they order it is a priority at his coffee shop.

"It's not something you should drink for the hell of it," he adds. "It is butter, after all."

If you want to try Bulletproof Coffee for yourself, you can get an eight-ounce serving for $4 or a 16-ounce cup for $5. Radevski says for first timers (and even himself) he recommends the smaller size.

Most Popular Starbucks Coffee Drinks Across the U.S.

People in Portland really love eggnog lattes, apparently.

The United States is a nation of enthusiastic coffee drinkers, and this map created by Quartz reveals what types of Starbucks coffee drinks are most popular throughout the country.

The map is based on data from hundreds of millions of Starbucks transactions across the U.S. Though the most popular beverages across the board were basic brewed coffee and lattes, certain cities showed an affinity for more specific, unique drinks. (We’re looking at you, Memphis and Portland.)

Quartz also noticed a sort of “cold-hot axis,” meaning that typically warm states like Florida, Texas, New Mexico and Hawaii order more iced coffee than hot coffee overall. Another divide that’s a bit harder to explain is dark vs. light. Cities like Chicago and Philadelphia opt for light roasts, whereas cities like Boston and Seattle go dark.

Other conclusions: people from southern California really love their Frappuccinos, and people from Seattle (Starbucks’ home city) are really into espresso.

Source: TIME

Iced kegs latest twist in tech firm coffee wars

Joyride Cofee makes regular deliveries to tech companies to keep their employeed caffeinated.

Shocking though it sounds, until recently East Coast tech companies forced their employees to drink swill instead of premium, fair trade, artisan fresh-roasted coffee.

At least that’s according to Joyride Coffee, a New York company that set out to rectify this crime against tech workers’ god-given right to luxuriate in the best perks.

Founded by three brothers, the distributor lined up deals with the creme de la creme of Silicon Alley to make regular deliveries of its “kegerator” — a vat of concentrated, cold-brew coffee that workers can dilute one to one or  just drink straight up for an extra buzz. It also offers fresh-ground beans, tea and all the equipment for brewing.

Now it’s moved west, targeting SF as the next locale in need of a premium caffeine infusion.

Um, but are we not already on the leading edge of every single food and beverage trend you can name?

“The coffee culture out here is incredibly more developed than it is in New York,” admitted Noah Belanich, 25, the youngest of the Joyride brothers, who’s been supervising the new set-up here. “But even if companies gets Philz or Peets, it’s never fresh. Most vendors just buy it and leave it in a warehouse for one or two months, so it never tastes as good as freshly roasted. Coffee has a limited shelf life; its peak freshness lasts two weeks.”

Joyride is setting up a warehouse in Bayview and has two trucks and six employees here. It has scored  brand-name clients who heard about it from their New York siblings, including Twitter, Zynga, PracticeFusion. Uber is likely on tap as well, Belanich just met with them.

“Eighty percent of customers go with the cold brew,” Belanich said. “We do office tastings and it catches on fast.”

The “third wave” coffee trend of artisan roasts is already a decade old. Specialty coffee accounts for more than a third of the $32 billion in U.S. coffee production.

Venture capitalists have poured money into third-wave coffee as if it were an app. Blue Bottle Coffee Co. has a stunning $46 million in VC backing, most recently a $26 million round led by Google Ventures. Stumptown (which Joyride relies on in New York) was recently acquired by TSG Consumer Partners, a private equity firm. The venerable Philz Coffee landed a multimillion-dollar investment last year.

Unlike those enterprises, Joyride is purely a distributor; it buys its beans from the likes of Stumptown and Blue Bottle. The company has been entirely boot-strapped. Will it seek venture backing?

“I don’t know what we’d do with a large investment,” Belanich said. “Doing it slower and right is more important. A roaster can set up a larger roaster but delivering coffee is labor-intensive. On-boarding people takes time.”

Source: SF Gate 

Keep the dentist away by drinking a cup of strong coffee

If you want to have healthier teeth, you might want to take a look at the kind of coffee that you're drinking. It appears that brushing and flossing your teeth properly are not the only means to have smile-worthy teeth. A new study suggests that drinking black coffee may also help you maintain a healthy set of teeth.

For the study "Antibacterial effect of coffee: calcium concentration in a culture containing teeth/biofilm exposed to Coffea Canephora aqueous extract" which was published in Letters in Applied Microbiology on June 7, researchers from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil found that coffee which contains high amounts of caffeine can destroy bacteria that cause dental plaques.

"Dental plaque is a classic complex biofilm and it's the main culprit in tooth decay and gum disease," said study researcher Andrea Antonio, from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

Unfortunately, you may not be able to enjoy the dental health benefit of coffee if you like yours with sugar, milk or cream because these will give your teeth the opposite effect. You should drink your coffee black, strong and unsweetened if you want it to have a positive effect on your oral health.

For their study, Antonio and colleagues used bacteria in the saliva to cultivate biofilms in fragments of milk teeth that were donated by children. They then treated the teeth daily with an extract of the coffea canephora. Also known as Robusta coffee, this particular variety of coffee, which makes up about 30 percent of the coffee produced worldwide, is mostly grown in Vietnam, Brazil and Africa. Earlier studies showed that Robusta coffee contains high amounts of polyphenols, compounds that are known to prevent and treat oral diseases.

The researchers observed that the fragments that were treated with Robusta coffee extract appeared to have been lysed, a process wherein the polyphenols destroy the bacteria on the teeth by bursting them open. After a week, the researchers also observed that the teeth that were exposed to coffee extracts appeared to be in better condition compared with those that were treated only with filtered water.

Despite the study finding association between strong coffee and dental health, Antonio warned against drinking too much coffee. Although coffee can help destroy plaque-causing bacteria, she said that excessive coffee consumption may also cause staining and the coffee's acidity may negative impact the tooth enamel.

Other food products that are known to have a positive effect on dental health include cheese and yoghurt because of their calcium content, as well as green tea, grapes and coffee because of their antibacterial properties.

Source: Tech Times