Switzerland wants to declare coffee non-essential for human survival. I would like to see how they manage the withdrawal symptoms on the first day with no coffee. They will certainly start a mini-war in their atomic shelters, if they don’t pack some coffee. At least for a few days so they can wean off.
Here’s what the Swiss government said about their decision: “Coffee has almost no calories and subsequently does not contribute, from the physiological perspective, to safeguarding nutrition”.
Few nations in the world consume more coffee per capita than the Swiss, which may be why authorities emphasized it was a purely “physiological” conclusion, rather than an assessment of the psychological toll.
BERLIN – Peacefully tucked away in the European Alps, Switzerland isn’t the kind of country you would associate with the end of the world.
But deep beneath the about 700,000 bell-clanging milk cows chewing soft grass, drinking from clean glacier rivers and staring at snowy mountains, lies a hidden, far more disturbing reality: 300,000 shelters, designed to withstand nuclear attacks or other threats to humankind.
Unlike the world they’re supposed to protect against, the Swiss and their nuclear shelters have peacefully coexisted for decades.
But to some, it may have taken until this week to realize what a war those shelters were built for would really mean, when Swiss authorities said they were planning to categorize coffee as nonessential for human survival. Once implemented, coffee would not be treated as a priority in times of war or crisis and stockpiled.
“Coffee has almost no calories and subsequently does not contribute, from the physiological perspective, to safeguarding nutrition,” the Swiss government’s unsparing assessment concluded.
Few nations in the world consume more coffee per capita than the Swiss, which may be why authorities emphasized it was a purely “physiological” conclusion, rather than an assessment of the psychological toll.
Almost certain to trigger resistance among heavy consumers of the multifaceted hot or cold beverage, the decision has very practical implications for Swiss authorities: after 2022, they may no longer have to force coffee companies around the country to stockpile thousands of tons of coffee beans to be prepared for the apocalypse, or some other less terminal scenario.
Put very simply, this means that Switzerland would run out of coffee earlier than previously planned, should war or a natural catastrophe ever cut off its supply routes. With current stockpiles, the Swiss can continue sipping the revered beverage for three to six more months, regardless of the dire state of the world around them.
Since World War I, the country has stockpiled various goods such as animal food, rice or sugar with such doomsday scenarios in mind. Those reserves will continue to exist, which brings us to the “the real story is even more dire” part of the headline.
Western Europe hasn’t seen a major war on its soil since the end of World War II and until recently there was no sign that this would change anytime soon. But Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 has put Europe on high alert, just as concerns have been on the rise over an escalation of tensions between North Korea and the United States.
Both conflicts do not appear to pose imminent threats to western Europe at this point, but they’ve still had an impact on European governments, which is most obvious when it comes to the stockpiling of goods across the continent.
Being outside of the military alliance NATO – just like Switzerland – the government of Sweden recently distributed a 20-page leaflet that urges citizens to stockpile food and drinks themselves. The recommendations, which also feature motivational slogans (“If Sweden is attacked by another country, we will never give up”), are a continuation of a Cold War-era strategy that relies on all citizens resisting an invasion even once their military may already have been defeated.
Two years before the Swedish government released its war leaflet last year, the German government spearheaded Europe’s stockpiling movement, when it urged citizens to store piles of water bottles and food, too. It was the first time such advice had been issued since the end of the Cold War, reflecting growing concerns over a geopolitically volatile situation in many parts of the world, including in Eastern Europe. Germans mostly ridiculed the recommendations, accusing the government of scaremongering.
On Twitter, the hashtag “panic buying” (in German: “Hamsterkäufe”) trended soon thereafter.
But Britain’s subsequent efforts to leave the European Union appeared to prove the German concerns correct that no nation is fully safe from supply shortages – even in the absence of war. Amid concerns of a no-deal Brexit that would have resulted in the reintroduction of tariffs and tougher customs checks, the British government drew up emergency plans and even ran out of storage space to stockpile medicines and food. Some Brits took matters into their own hands and headed to supermarkets in droves, even though their worst fears did not (yet) materialize: Brexit is now delayed until Halloween, unless a deal is signed earlier.
In Britain, more so than in other countries, stockpiling has become a new societal fault line between those in panic and those who have maintained some optimism.
After one man went on a drunk and panicked pre-Brexit shopping spree in March – spending more than $800 on 144 rolls of toilet paper and other purchases – one British woman took her frustration to social media, tweeting out photos of her husband’s “mad” and unilateral stockpiling mission.
Switzerland still has until November to prevent similar scenes: that’s the deadline for the country’s final decision on the meaning of coffee for human (well, actually mainly Swiss) survival.
This article was written by Rick Noack, a reporter for The Washington Post.
If you are a coffee lover, you most likely know that coffee grows on the “coffee belt“, a a geographical region between the tropics. There is no coffee growing anywhere in the world, outside of the coffee belt. Or at least there wasn’t until recently. Jay Ruskey, founder of California-based “Frinj Coffee“, is growing the first coffee ever produced in the continental U.S. Will he acclimatise coffee to grow in Canada as well? Hard to believe, but I still hope that sometime I will be able to grow myself some yellow Bourbon here in Ottawa.
Frinj coffee is on a mission to make Southern California the next specialty coffee capital of the world.
The company is the result of years of experimentation by Jay Ruskey on farmland in Santa Barbara County. He’s been called the father of California coffee and that’s because he’s learned to produce the first coffee successfully grown in the continental U.S.
And now he’s spreading that knowledge by helping farmers in Southern California start producing coffee with his method of inter-planting avocados and coffee. That includes several farms here in San Diego County.
Ruskey spoke to The San Diego Union-Tribune’s “The Conversation” podcast about how he got started in the coffee business, what it takes to grow this new industry in California and how locally grown coffee can make it to a cup near you.
Imagine you get in a coffee shop, you order your coffee, be it espresso or pour over, with two sugars and two milks as you always do. The barista says that you can’t have milk and sugar. You ask nicely if they ran out, or if there’s been an accident in their pantry, and they respond that they don’t keep sugar and milk in their shop, because they don’t want you to have it. Huh? They do have a good point, you’ll have to read the rest of the article, but I like a bit of sugar in my espresso. Does that disqualifies me as a coffee snob?
Three years ago, when travelling for work, I dropped into a café for a dose of morning caffeine. Sleep deprived, I was grateful to be handed the perfect pour over – where you hand-pour the water over ground coffee – a few minutes later.
But when I asked for a bit of sugar, the barista flatly refused, telling me they didn’t offer it. What happened to the ‘how do you take your coffee’ culture I was used to? Irritated, I had no choice but to drink it unsweetened.
Actually, it was pretty good. Turns out I had stumbled upon Oddly Correct Coffee Bar, a cafe in Kansas City, Missouri. A café which I subsequently found out many foodies consider to be one of the top coffee spots in the US.
Part of its so-called charm is its enforcement of strict coffee culture rules. Oddly Correct is part of a new breed of high-end coffee shops that have adopted zero tolerance policies on sugar, milk and cream to preserve what they feel is coffee quality. Others simply opt out of selling smaller espresso-based drinks ‘to go’ because they feel the taste suffers if not enjoyed right away.
Often called Third Wave coffee shops, these aficionados use high-quality roasted beans that they feel should be consumed unadulterated by additional flavours (even ones their customers might wish to add). Many of these zero-tolerance coffee shops feel that they are simply re-educating consumers by implementing these rules, but the issue is polarising.
“To say ‘we’re so high quality that we have these restrictions’, it has worked for some places; some customers see that and say ‘wow, these people take it really seriously’. But it can also alienate people who are just getting into speciality coffee,” says Sarah Leslie, a member of the Barista Guild Leadership Council, a trade group for speciality coffee baristas in Europe and North America.
Acolytes include Aunty Peg’s in Melbourne and Kontact Coffee in Budapest who believe their customers should shun sugar, milk and cream. But the number of zero-tolerance coffee shops remains a tiny fraction of the more than 32,150 coffee shops across the US, including 7,720 independents, according to 2016 figures from Mintel, a market research firm.
These days, more restaurants refuse to serve steak well done, cater to different meal requests or even serve the condiments that some customers may request
Of course, so-called zero tolerance policies aren’t unique to coffee and are expanding throughout the food service sector. These days, more restaurants refuse to serve steak well done, cater to different meal requests or even serve the condiments that some customers may request.
“Getting the food served just as intended and maintaining consistency day in and day out is gaining momentum in the industry,” says Darren Tristano, a marketing and trends expert in the food industry who is based in Chicago. For the food businesses it often means providing better quality and faster service to customers, which helps to offset disappointment for “customers used to options”, he adds.
At Black Black Coffee in Denver, the slogan is: ‘If your coffee needs doctoring, it must be broken.’ Making the ‘no-additions’ policy evident in the name has helped manage new customers’ expectations, says owner Josh McNeilly.
Customers can purchase pour overs and cold brew, but sugar and milk are not offered. Some classic drinks like the macchiato, cortado and cappuccino do come with milk but not sugar, he adds.
If your coffee needs doctoring, it must be broken
The idea is to let customers taste the quality of beans from places such as Colombia and Ethiopia, and detect different notes similar to tasting a glass of wine. For McNeilly, after decades as a barista and coffee buyer, the rule was a no-brainer. “As a barista you’d tell them that this is one of the best farms on Earth and they just go and dump cream and sugar in it without trying it,” he says. “It was heartbreaking.”
At Oddly Correct, where I first encountered this trend, the rules are relaxing slightly. Last month, the shop started stocking milk and cream behind the bar for people who ask (it’s still not sitting out in the open and was secretly poured for a few months before that) to be more inclusive, says Mike Schroeder, roaster and co-owner.
Sugar is still a no-no, but relaxing the policy around adding milk to brewed coffee has already led to an uptick in business, he says. Even though few people actually ask for the cream, knowing it’s available has helped change the shop’s image to be more accepting of different choices around coffee, he adds. “We realised we had to move our fences out a little bit to guide people into that [coffee] experience.”
Oddly Correct has also added some sweeter drinks: a vanilla latte is sweetened with a locally made bourbon syrup, for instance. Baristas have softened the way they discuss the policies. “We’ve learned how to refine our language and our approach in ways that are still welcoming and accommodating, but not yielding to every single request,” he adds.
Zero-tolerance coffee shops in larger markets may see the most benefit. With a clientele that’s focus on meticulous preparation, the request to drink it black can be seen as a sign of quality, adds Leslie, who owns a shop in Wichita, Kansas, where sweetened coffee with milk is still popular. In larger global cities, “it’s a positive thing to them to be seen as a coffee snob”, she adds.
Some coffee drinkers say the shops have helped them learn about coffee – and they eventually change their preferences. “My everyday drinking coffee I now prefer black,” says Charles Carpenter, a 49-year-old graphic designer who visits Black Black in Denver.
But he hasn’t totally given up his sweeter indulgences, especially during the colder months. “My dirty little secret is I love eggnog lattes around the holidays,” says Carpenter.
At Black Black, McNeilly concedes that his policy isn’t always good for business and the shop sometimes struggles to turn a monthly profit. “It could easily be twice as profitable if I served cream and sugar and bigger lattes, but it’s my passion to try to educate people on what coffee could possibly taste like,” he says.
Most customers are loyal regulars and come back several times throughout the week. The shop’s pour overs are mentioned in must-try lists locally and it now also serves food, making it more of a destination for customers from further away. A cascara latte has also been added for those with a sweet tooth, combining cascara fruit that surrounds the coffee bean on the plant with a dash of simple syrup and steamed milk.
To mitigate negative comments, McNeilly trains his team in how to explain the shop’s philosophy to first-time customers. Baristas focus on helping customers understand why milk and sugar aren’t served rather than simply telling them it’s not available, he adds.
But one thing he hasn’t done? Given in to surprised customers who demand sugar and cream. “It would be the easy route to say ‘OK fine, I’ll give you cream and sugar, just don’t make a big deal out of it’… but we’ve never actually done it,” he says.
One of the simplest coffee brewing methods, the coffee bag. No expensive coffee maker, no need for a grinder, and if you think that coffee gets stale because it’s ground, think again. The solution is deceptively simple, and for us the coffee lovers, it is indeed very simple, to use and delicious to drink. However, there is a lot of testing behind the coffee bag, and the delicious brew we get now is the result of serious research and investment.
Santa Cruz-based startup Steeped Inc., one of the most promising and innovative companies in the industry, has launched its revolutionary Steeped Coffee brewing method to serious coffee drinkers across the nation. Brewed similar to tea, Steeped Coffee’s nitro-sealed Steeped Bags, along with their guilt-free packaging made using renewable and compostable materials, achieve the unthinkable: freshly ground specialty coffee in a single-serving. The Steeped Coffee brand is available in five roasts: light, medium, dark, French roast and a single-origin Swiss Water Process decaf.
For More Information From Steeped Coffee www.steepedcoffee.com
Considering the deceptive simplicity of combining fresh coffee grounds with hot water and then separating the two for a reasonably grit-free beverage, it’s curious that the concept of hot coffee from some sort of teabag hasn’t caught on in the specialty arena.
However, 2017 seems to have been the year in which this tide began to turn, as multiple companies launched products of this type, while one in particular is hoping to generate a wider embrace of the format through an innovative new bag type.
“You should be able to simply put some coffee into some hot water, and it should be able to taste good,” Steeped Coffee CEO and Founder Josh Wilbur told Daily Coffee News of his thinking as he took his first swing at developing a teabag-like medium for high-quality coffee about seven years ago. “What I found out was coffee in a tea bag has a lot of problems, and it doesn’t taste very good for a lot of different reasons.”
Having tried putting carefully sourced, roasted and ground coffee into existing media for a brewing process with the convenience of tea, Wilbur said the results were only “okay.” Wilbur then shelved the idea until he was free to devote more time and finances to substantially improve the finished product.
Flash forward to today, and from its headquarters in Santa Cruz, California, Steeped Coffee has developed individually wrapped, single-serve coffee bags containing directly traded, high-quality coffees that are roasted, ground and packaged in “micro-batches” and sealed with a flush of nitrogen gas for extended freshness. Yet what distinguishes the product further is the proprietary full immersion steeping bag, which Wilbur firmly asserts is not a tea bag.
Following the success of a recent Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to grow sales and subscriptions, the company has also reached out to hotels, airlines, hospitals, universities, and other B2B prospects. The grander plan is to offer its single-serve steeping bag technology and sustainable packaging as private-label services to other specialty coffee roasting companies.
“Steeped is paving the way for this new method to exist, and then we’ll be inviting other people into being able to produce their coffee with the Steeped method and technology,” said Wilbur, who thinks the market for a quality single-serve option is wide open when viewing the next step up in convenience after soluble instant coffee as prepacked coffee pods, for which a stationary, electric pod-brewing machine constitutes a major barrier to entry, and the production and consumption of which create unsustainable waste.
Coffee cupping is a big thing now, and it is not an activity reserved for baristas and professionals in the coffee industry. Regular folks that love coffee and would like to improve their knowledge about coffee and explore new tastes and brews, can do it now. There are many coffee roasters that love to educate the public and promote gourmet coffee. Chicago coffee roasters, including Metric Coffee in the West Loop, are leading the way in hosting cupping events to engage and educate patrons, and explain the broader coffee experience. Roasters in other cities are doing the same.
It’s five minutes before the weekly public cupping at Metric Coffee, and Harris Nash is a bundle of energy.
While it’s clear he’s had his morning coffee, that’s not the entire reason for his high energy level as visitors arrive at the West Fulton Street roastery. Nash is a live wire because he wants to showcase all the flavors and stories that coffee has to offer, from crop to cup.
It’s an excitement that is gaining momentum with Chicago coffee drinkers — from the casual to the enthusiast. Local roasters Metric, Metropolis, and Passion House and Durham, N.C.-based Counter Culture are leading the way in hosting free cupping events to engage and educate patrons, and to explain the broader coffee experience.
“We want to bring people into the whole process,” said Nash, sales manager and brand ambassador at Metric. “Cupping is so cool. It’s the universal language for coffee tasting.”
Jeff Batchelder, who runs the education program at Counter Culture and has performed dozens of tastings, easily recalls moments when people realized coffee’s full range of flavors — from floral and fruity to earthy to nutty. For some, it’s a moment of enlightenment.
“Once people get past the hurdle of tasting coffee out of a bowl, with a spoon, and slurping it into your mouth, there is usually some kind of empowerment,” he said. “People are blown away by how different coffee can taste.”
Cupping in the U.S. dates to the early 1900s, evolving from transactions among growers, exporters, importers and roasters. Hills Bros. traders, on the heels of innovations in vacuum-packaging and a pursuit of higher-quality coffee, pioneered cup tasting to base buying decisions on samples of freshly roasted coffee instead of relying on visual inspections of beans. A drawing of a coffee taster even served as an early company trademark on Hills Bros. canisters, the artist’s design inspired by the coffee’s Ethiopian origin.
Today, cuppings are performed daily at most roasters and considered a baseline quality control exercise to check if flavor profiles are on point and roasts are consistent. At Metropolis it happens at 7 a.m. every weekday just as production shifts into high gear. For the public, the roaster includes cuppings at the end of free public roastery tours it hosts twice a month.
“Cupping is a tool for evaluation. It’s a way of deliberately focusing on the different characteristics of a coffee and determining what each coffee has to offer,” said Amy Lawlor, green coffee buyer and quality control manager at Metropolis. “It doesn’t need to be snooty thing. If we can bring people in here to taste for themselves, then they have their own experiential knowledge of how varied coffee can taste.”
Batchelder spent nine years at Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea as a barista and retail educator. Cuppings, he said, ensure consistency.
“If a coffee’s flavor changes or starts to be a little less vibrant, we want to know and respond,” Batchelder said.
Cuppings are also how coffee is graded competitively. Specialty Coffee Association judges score coffees on a range of criteria (fragrance/aroma, flavor, aftertaste, acidity, body, uniformity, balance, cleanliness and sweetness). Accredited evaluators in the coffee world are called Q Graders.
Over the past two to three years, local roasters have begun to use cuppings to teach customers how to detect flavor notes — blunt and nuanced — that can be found in coffee.
“What becomes pretty apparent when you start cupping is that coffees can be wildly different from one another just based on where they come from, how they’re processed, how they’re roasted,” Lawlor said.
Metric keeps its cupping events simple, offering a small-scale experience without the scrutiny or pretense. At the Fulton Street roastery, it’s about learning to notice the details. Attendees are asked to jot down notes on fragrance (of dry, ground coffee), aroma (once grounds are infused with hot water), and sweetness, acidity, body and overall flavor of selected coffees.
“I don’t want people to become elitist or overeducated,” said Nash, a former director of wholesale coffee at Ipsento Coffee. “The goal is to bring people into the experience.”
While not a chemistry class, there is a bit of science that goes into reaching the potential of a roast. It’s no coincidence cuppings are held in a roaster’s “lab.”
As Nash points out, to catch each coffee at its best, precision is paramount. The water temperature (around 200 degrees) and amount of coffee grounds (10.5 grams) need to be uniform for consistency. Once the brewing begins, coffee goes through stages of development, from bloom (formation of foam from gases released 30 seconds into brewing) to a full extraction (about 4 minutes). Nash encourages cuppers to stop to smell and taste throughout the process to capture how smells and tastes change and mature.
Then there’s “the slurp,” the distinguishable sound anyone who has attended a cupping knows. In order for cuppers to properly aerate the coffee and spray it to the back of their palates, they’re urged to slurp, not sip, the coffee. Some say the louder, the better.
At Counter Culture, cuppings are part of a broader educational experience. The roaster, considered one of the pioneers in direct-trade and sustainable sourcing, has a regional training center on the Near West Side. It’s one of 13 across the country, and all of them host weekly “Tastings at Ten.”
“It’s all about creating feedback between what’s happening in your mouth and processing it in your brain,” Batchelder said. “Anything we eat or drink can be used for palate development, you just need to dedicate some mindfulness to it.”
Stop by any Friday morning, and the enthusiasm for coffee is palatable.
A visit to a March tasting had a lively mix of regulars, newcomers and entrepreneurs in attendance. And while 16 coffee buffs huddling around a single barista may sound crowded, Batchelder said the number has climbed into the 40s.
Cassandra Hall, of Pilsen, regularly attends and compares cuppings and tastings to auditing a college course.
“I’m pretty geeked up about coffee,” Hall said. “I appreciate the community here. I’ve made friends of the regulars. I think there is an attraction to the craft, learning where it comes from.”
Counter Culture, Intelligentsia and Ipsento host ticketed classes on brewing techniques, sourcing and barista training on a regular schedule.
While public coffee cuppings are not as popular as beer and wine tastings, Nash and Batchelder agree that their popularity is growing — just like interest in specialty coffees — especially with young consumers.
A 2018 study by the National Coffee Association found that 64 percent of U.S. adults drink coffee on a given day, the highest ratio in six years and up for a third consecutive year. Consumption of “gourmet” or specialty coffee stands at 37 percent of coffee drinkers ages 18-24 and 48 percent for those ages 25-39, according to the National Coffee Drinking Trends report.
Nash keeps a narrower scope.
“My hope is if you get anything from a cupping, it is that there are people and families and hard work behind the coffees,” Nash said. “The next tier is that coffee is complex. I would never tell someone they have to know and assess every cup they drink, because you can lose a lot of the beauty of what coffee is as a ritual and connector.
“The goal is that there is a deeper knowledge of where coffee comes from and a deeper appreciation of it.”
Backlot Coffee: First Monday of every month. Free. 3982 N. Avondale Ave., Chicago, 773-657-3797. First Thursday of every month. 2006 Central St., Evanston. [email protected].
Counter Culture Coffee: 10 a.m. Fridays. Free. Regional training center, 177 N. Ada St., Suite 106, 888-238-5282, [email protected].
Intelligentsia Coffee: First and third Thursdays of the month, part of a ticketed brew class. $40. 3123 N. Broadway; 773-348-8058.
Metric Coffee: 10:30 a.m. Fridays. Free. 2021 W. Fulton St., 312-982-2196; [email protected].
Metropolis Coffee: First and third Fridays of the month, following tour. Free. 3057 N. Rockwell St., 773-338-4904, [email protected].
Passion House Coffee: 3 p.m. Fridays. Free. 2631 N. Kedzie Ave., 312-733-3998, [email protected].
Ipsento Coffee: Monthly, dates and times vary. $10. 1813 N. Milwaukee Ave., 773-904-8177, [email protected].
Tala Coffee: Monthly, dates and times vary. Free. 428 Green Bay Road, Suite B, Highwood, 847-508-0517.
Nespresso uses aluminum pods, which in theory are easy to recycle. Is this enough though? Apparently not. Nespresso has invited rival coffee pod makers to join its global recycling programme in a move to improve the convenience of recycling for customers using single-use aluminium coffee capsules.
Nespresso has invited rival coffee pod makers to join its global recycling programme in a move it claims will improve “accessibility and convenience” of recycling services for customers using single-use aluminium coffee capsules.
The portioned coffee brand said it wanted to engage with its competitors in order to develop a global recycling solution for coffee pods, amid concerns the sector encourages throwaway behaviour among consumers.
As one of the leading brands in the sector, Nespresso has come under scrutiny over its green credentials in recent years due to its business model of selling single-use aluminium capsules, which customers place into the firm’s branded coffee machines to produce just one cup per pod.
The coffee pods can only be used once before being discarded, but are fully recyclable. However, public recycling infrastructure is unable to process such small light metal items, and so Nespresso has developed its own programme in the UK offering customers three ways to recycle their aluminium capsules free of charge.
UK customers can either take used pods to a Nespresso boutique, request a home collection, or drop off the used capsules at around 7,000 points – including Collect+ locations – around the country. The used pods are then sent to a specialist recycling firm to produce raw metal material that can be used to make new coffee capsules, or products such as car engines, computers and cans. Any remaining coffee grounds can be used to produce biogas and farm fertiliser.
Nespresso says it recycles around a quarter of its pods in the UK using this process, but has in the past refused to disclose how many pods this accounts for, nor how many pods it sells in the UK each year overall.
The company operates similar recycling schemes in 53 countries, offering customers more than 100,000 coffee pod drop-off points globally, it said.
Yesterday it issued a call out to other rival coffee pod manufactures to join its programme, with a view to developing a universal recycling scheme for aluminium coffee pods.
Company CEO Jean-Marc Duvoisin said aluminium was a valuable and infinitely recyclable material. “We have built a global scheme for recycling our capsules, and by inviting other companies to join our system, we hope to offer a solution for the whole category,” he said. “This decision is aligned with our global initiatives to shape a waste-free future and drive behaviour change towards a circular economy.”
Daniel Katz, who sits on the Nespresso sustainability advisory board and is also chair of the board at green NGO the Rainforest Alliance, said the open invitation for rival capsule manufacturers to join the Nespresso’s recycling scheme had the potential “to drive significant change on one of the key issues that faces the portioned coffee industry – the capsules themselves”.
“Nespresso has worked with the Rainforest Alliance for 16 years on sustainably sourced coffee, and it is inspiring to see the company take ownership of aluminium recycling, helping lead the way and engage competitors, and driving towards a potential global solution to coffee capsule recycling,” he said.
Nespresso has also pledged to use 100 per cent ‘sustainable’ certified aluminium to make its coffee pods from 2020, and in November inked a deal with metals and mining giant Rio Tinto to help achieve this ambition.
It’s almost impossible to overdose on coffee. Well, too much coffee won’t kill you but it will certainly no be good for you. There is a lethal dose of caffeine , but it’s somewhere around 10 grams — the average cup of joe has around 100 milligrams. The average American drinks three cups of coffee per day.
Benji: This is me and I love coffee. The intoxicating nutty aroma. The rich chocolatey taste.
Some days I drink three cups like the average American I am. Other days, I drink more like five or six. But is that too much? First the good news. It’s almost impossible to overdose on coffee.
There is a lethal dose of caffeine but it’s somewhere around 10 grams and the average cup of Joe has around 100 milligrams. You’d likely have to drink 100 cups in rapid succession to OD. But that’s not to say there’s no such thing as too much. The FDA recommends no more than four to five cups a day for the average healthy adult. More than that and you might start to experience some nasty side effects.
Most people take in coffee to increase their focus and concentration but once you take in too much you start to lose that focus People start getting more agitated, irritable.
Benji: That’s thanks to the hormone, adrenaline. When caffeine hits your system it stimulates your adrenal glands which release the hormone into your body. It makes you feel energetic and alert. Perfect for a fight or flight situation. But too much can be a bad thing. Especially if you suffer from anxiety.
Dr. Albert Ahn: But with anxiety you also wanna be careful not to overstimulate or trigger any sort of panic attacks and make anxiety worse, which certainly too much caffeine can do.
Benji: Adrenaline from caffeine can also increase your heart rate. That’s why doctors also recommend against drinking coffee if your heart sometimes beats irregularly. But the risk is really only for bonafide coffee junkies. According to at least two observational studies you have to drink at least nine cups of coffee a day to put yourself at risk of arrhythmia. And finally, there’s the question of sleep. Coffee’s enemy.
Caffeine launches a double threat on your slumber. It blocks the neurochemical adenosine which is what tells your brain that you’re tired. It releases a cocktail of stimulants into your brain. Adrenaline, dopamine, and glutamate. So after downing your sixth cup of coffee, you don’t just feel awake but full of energy. It will power you through that 2:30 meeting or the last class of the day. But if you overdo it, the effect won’t wear off when it’s time for bed.
In one study, researchers monitored the sleep of a dozen volunteers. Some were given a caffeine pill equivalent to about four cups of coffee and others received a placebo instead. Even when the volunteers swallowed the caffeine pills six hours before bedtime, they spent significantly less time in the light stages of sleep. And that can have detrimental effects on daytime function, the authors report.
Dr. Albert Ahn: It’s sort of just stuck in this loop where you’re not sleeping because you drink too much coffee and then you wake up in the morning and you’re not well rested and you’re drinking more coffee just to stay awake in the day.
Benji: Sound familiar? Here’s the good news. If you cut yourself off by 2:00 you typically won’t have trouble falling asleep. That’s because the half-life of caffeine is around five hours. And so most of its stimulating effects will wear off well before the lights go out. And if you also limit your consumption, well then coffee can actually offer a number of health benefits. Research shows that it can help with everything from memory, to exercise, to your relationships with your colleagues. And that’s great because for some of us, coffee is something we’ll just never give up.
We coffee lovers, owe illy so much. They invented the modern espresso machine, and they invented the best pod espresso machine, and they roast some amazing coffees… Today, they released on the market a nitro injection system, that will transform any coffee into a frothy, effervescent drink, that reminds us of beer. Not sure how the term “cold brew” fits in the title, but the idea is interesting. Air is 78% Nitrogen, so it’s easier to inject air than pure Nitrogen, you don’t need a Nitrogen tank for that, and the taste is pretty close.
NEW YORK, March 28, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — illy, which transformed coffee in 1935 by inventing the modern espresso machine, today again changed its industry by introducing illy Cold Brew Aria™, a tap handle with an embedded adjustable valve that turns cold brew with bubbles, commonly called “nitro cold brew,” into an even richer-tasting and effervescent experience for coffee lovers, and easier for cafes, restaurants, hotels resorts and other on-premise venues to offer. The tap handle-mounted valve draws in ambient air, requires no bulky gas tanks and is offered exclusively for use with illy cold brew made from the brand’s legendary Classico blend, comprised of nine distinct Arabica coffee beans from different countries, produced and sourced to deliver sustainable quality and a premium profit for farmers meeting illy’s industry-leading standards.
The patent pending valve that is the heart of illy Cold Brew Aria system captures ambient air — already 78% nitrogen-rich, by nature — that is immediately infused at high pressure into illy cold brew coffee as it’s dispensed. The combination creates a beautiful, long cascading effect in the glass and a rich creamy head. illy Cold Brew Aria is the first-ever system that infuses ambient air into coffee to create a “nitro effect” without the use of space-consuming nitrogen tanks or air compressors.
Importantly, the illy Cold Brew Aria valve is adjustable and able to vary the levels of air and effervescence infused into cold brew, all the way down to no bubbles at all. The net result: illy Cold Brew Aria is the only system that can produce either effervescent or regular cold brew with only one tap handle and one coffee source, saving yet more precious real state behind the bar, in the kitchen or wherever else cold brew can be offered on-premise.
The ultimate combination for cafes, restaurants, hotels and every place else that aims to delight discerning coffee lovers is the illy Cold Brew Aria system paired with illy’s other new innovation: Bag-in-a-Box. This five-liter soft package, packaged in a compact box, is filled with perfectly-prepared illy cold brew, eliminating the need for baristas and other staff to manage and monitor up to 12 hours of preparation.
Designed for either tap or non-tap dispensing, when paired with a tap, illy Bag-in-a-Box Cold Brew eliminates the need for delivery and storage of heavy, space-consuming kegs. Bag-in-a-Box cold brew remains stable during nine months of ambient storage time and can be served for up to five days once the packaging is opened. At the core of this innovation is illy’s long history of leveraging technology to enhance and delight coffee lovers with the best quality coffee, which can be seen at many moments in the company’s 86 years history, such as inventing pressurized packing in 1934, and the 1970s, when illy industrialized the single-serve coffee format with ESE paper pods: ideally pre-measured, -ground and -tamped, espresso dose that fit into any espresso machine and produced an optimal beverage without years of barista training, and that remain on the market today.
illy Cold Brew Aria arrives at a time when U.S. cold coffee sales are both booming and increasingly the format of choice for today’s younger, tougher to please, more on-the-go coffee consumers. Sixty-six percent of U.S. millennials regularly drink cold coffee on a year-round basis compared to 34 percent of Generation X coffee drinkers, according to Mintel Menu Insights.
The system was designed with minimal internal lines, making maintenance quick and simple. Just a five-minute daily soaking of the spout, and weekly flushing of lines, are required.
The illy Cold Brew Aria Cold Brew system is available for use by qualified illy accounts with certain volume commitments, and is currently operating in all San Francisco illy Caffè locations. The system can also be retrofitted to existing tap systems to immediately enhance product quality.
British architect David Chipperfield has offered his take on the classic Italian coffee maker invented by Alfonso Bialetti in the 1930s. Chipperfield’s Moka is a contemporary upgrade to the Moka Express, one of the most successful products to come out of Italy following the second world war. Like the […]
Chipperfield’s Moka is a contemporary upgrade to the Moka Express, one of the most successful products to come out of Italy following the second world war.
Like the original, this espresso maker is made from die-cast aluminium and feature a distinctive faceted body. But it has a simple profile, with a flat lid and a fuss-free handle.
Bialetti was the maternal grandfather of Alessi founder Alberto Alessi. He developed his Moka in 1931, although it didn’t become a commercial success until more than a decade later, when his son Renato pushed it out to the international market.
The innovative design brews coffee by using steam to push boiling water through ground coffee.
Alberto Alessi describes the product as one of the earlier examples of Italian design.
He attributes its success to a number of factors – not only was it more efficient than using a pan, but also affordable to the masses. Plus, in the economic boom after the war, it benefited hugely from a widespread advertising campaign.
“The fact is, the Moka left its mark on the public, especially but not only in Italy, an effect that still lasts today,” wrote Alessi in an article for the brand’s magazine. “It formalised a new domestic ritual that was contemporary and intimate.”
Chipperfield is the latest in a series of prolific designers invited by Alessi to reinterpret the classic espresso maker, including Richard Sapper, Pierro Lissoni, Michael Graves, Michele De Lucchi and Aldo Rossi.
The architect said he was careful not to mess with the “familiar and generic” qualities of the object.
“How amazing that this complex and well-performing object has become readable and comprehensible, a machine that needs no instructions and no invitation to be part of domestic life,” he said.
“Its familiarity and its character are defined not only by its friendly silhouette but its soft grey materiality, the agreeable grinding noise that accompanies the simple mechanical screwing and unscrewing of its body.”
Chipperfield’s Moka is available in three sizes, ranging from 11 to 18 centimetres in height. It comes in a box featuring bold yellow and blue graphics, which form part of the product’s visual identity.
Coffee drinking preferences and habits among Americans have shifted towards quality in the last years, but not enough. Even though most people know what cold brew is, they haven’t tried it yet. Drip coffee, however, has dropped in preferences 16% since 2012, which is great. And finally, Americans figured out that convenient single serve coffee makers are good, but brew bad coffee.
The National Coffee Association USA recently dropped its annual survey results, and, as usual, there’s a wealth of information to sift through to better understand the state of coffee drinking in America. The quick take: While overall coffee consumption remains steady, more Americans are turning to gourmet beans.
Yep, it seems America is becoming a coffee-snob country. Or something close to it.
Every year since 1950, the NCA has commissioned a survey to learn about the nation’s coffee habits. This year’s online survey was collected in mid- to late-January and included 2,815 respondents, ages 18 and older, who had consumed a beverage other than tap water the previous day. (You don’t actually have to drink coffee to take part in the survey.) The data was then weighted on age, gender, region and ethnicity to reflect the U.S. population, based on the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2016 current population survey. In short, it aims to be authoritative.
According to this year’s finding, coffee remains the No. 1 drink: Sixty-three percent of the respondents said they drank a coffee beverage (drip coffee, espresso, latte, cold brew, Unicorn Frappuccino, etc.) the previous day, a click down from 64 percent in 2018. (By the way, the second-most consumed beverage was unflavored bottled water, which might help explain the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.) Of those coffee drinkers, 61 percent said they had knocked back a “gourmet” cup of joe. This, according to the NCA, is the first time gourmet coffee has crossed the 60 percent threshold. Gourmet coffee drinkers clocked in at 48 percent in 2015 and rose to 58 percent last year.
If you ask the NCA how it defines the term “gourmet,” things get really wonky, really fast.
A spokesman says it has a lot to do with green, unroasted coffee beans: They must have “no more than 8 full defects in 300 grams,” Jordan Campbell said in an email. The coffee “also must possess at least one distinctive attribute in the body, flavor, aroma or acidity.” Campbell also notes that the Specialty Coffee Association labels “specialty coffee” anything with a cupping score of 80 or above (based on a 100-point scale).
But as Chris Vigilante pointed out in a phone call, you can have a lot of variation within those “gourmet” parameters. He would know. He’s the founder of Vigilante Coffee Co., the Hyattsville, Md.-based roaster and coffee shop. Vigilante said his company doesn’t buy any coffee beans with a cupping score below 85. Such beans drop under the standards he has set. “Eighty-seven is the breaking point,” Vigilante says. “That’s when you know it’s really, really good.”
One other factor to consider in America’s apparent turn toward gourmet coffee: The NCA study includes ready-to-drink coffee in this category. “Think: The Starbucks can you might buy in the supermarket,” Campbell says.
“The lines haven’t been defined clearly in the specialty sector,” Vigilante tells me. “I think it’s still super-new to the coffee world.”
Other takeaways from the 2019 survey:
• African Americans embrace gourmet coffee. Gourmet coffee drinking is up 7 percent among African Americans compared to last year’s survey. Asian Americans top the list of gourmet coffee drinkers at 47 percent, followed by Hispanic Americans at 46 percent, African Americans at 40 percent and Caucasian Americans at 39 percent. African Americans have embraced “non-espresso” beverages, including frozen blended drinks, cold brew and nitro coffee.
• Coffee drinking skews older. Seventy-two percent of those polled ages 60 and older drank coffee the previous day. Compare that with respondents ages 18 to 24: Only 47 percent said they had some form of coffee. Overall, the survey indicates that coffee drinking increases as Americans get older.
• Drip coffee is losing ground. This year, 45 percent of the respondents said they had sipped coffee brewed in a drip machine the previous day. In 2012, the percentage was 61 percent, a drop of 16 points. “This represents a gradual but fundamental shift in the American coffee landscape,” the survey notes.
Incidentally, single-cup brewers, such as the pod-based Keurig, are the second-most popular brewing method. Twenty-seven percent of those polled said they used these machines the previous day, 8 points higher than in 2012.
• People know cold brew; they just don’t drink it. Nearly 80 percent of respondents said they were aware of cold brew coffee, but only 20 percent drank it regularly or occasionally. As the survey notes, “there is a large opportunity to convert those who are aware of cold brew but not currently drinking.” The survey also points out, somewhat academically, that the percentage of cold-brew drinkers might be larger if the question were asked during warmer months, instead of in January.
• We’re largely satisfied with our workplace coffee. Nearly 85 percent were “very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied” with the coffee options at their place of employment. But the survey points out that there’s evidence workers are growing disenchanted with their single-cup-brewed coffee. Only 43 percent were “very satisfied” this year with the coffee from Keurig machines and the like, down 14 points from 2015.
The pod coffee revolt has started.