Specialty Retailer: Paper or Plastic?

Paper or Plastic?

By Brenda Porter-Rockwell
The latest trend in the coffee business is focused on ways to satisfy a triple bottom line [Read more…]

2012 Coffee Fest Chicago Recap

Source: Coffee Talk

Attendees came from all over the US to take part in the educational offerings, the networking events, experience the Coffee Fest World Latte Art Championship Open and sampled from more than 190 exhibition booths. Once totaled, actual attendance was 1,805. Coffee Fest Exhibitors accounted for an additional 1,056 badges bringing the total attendance to just under 3000.

For the first time ever Coffee Fest attendees and fans determined the awards for best new products. Voting occurred on-line at www.coffeefest.com and the results were announced on Friday afternoon with awards presented as follows:


1st – Kishr – a beverage made from the dried coffee cherry, cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom.
[Read more…]

New Yorkers #1 Coffee Consumers

From Washington Post

New Yorkers drink seven times as much coffee as the rest of us

New Yorkers drink 7x more coffee

New Yorkers really love their coffee: They drink 6.7 times as much as do people who live in other major cities. Philadelphians, however, look to be especially partial to pretzels, eating about five times as many as those who live elsewhere, according to the number crunchers at health-care start-up Massive Health.

The data comes from Massive Health’s iPhone app, Eatery, which had users snap 7.68 million pictures of everything they ate over the course of five months. The crowd-sourced data looks to be a reliable snapshot of how people eat: Their data on food consumption for each American city, for example, predict its obesity level. Individual users’ habits lined up with scientific research. They saw that those who eat breakfast tend to eat smaller portion sizes throughout the day, just as many previous studies have found.

In Massive Health’s global rankings, New York came in as the healthiest eaters in the United States. (Who Knew?)

My Coffee Profile is:

Discover YOur Coffee ProfileThe coffee connoisseur

We know how to pair our wines, even teas — but how about pairing the foods we love with our favourite coffee? The idea for matching your meals with coffee instead of wine is rarely considered, yet it can be exciting and can definitely challenge your tastebuds. When you think about it, coffee is like fine wine in many ways — every coffee expresses its own terroir, reflecting the place where it is grown. Consider the bright citrus notes in Kenyan beans, the sweeter flavour of Costa Rican coffee, the earthy, woodsy notes of coffee from Indonesia. And, like wine, coffees have different acidity, intensity and body.

My Coffee Profile is:
Velvety & Fruity

These well-balanced coffees showcase a supple body with the perfect harmony between sweetness and tartness. With flavours of berries and citrus, and floral notes in the aroma, these coffees suggest a lively composition in every cup and a warm brightness on the palate of those who enjoy a fine roast.

Interested in knowing your very own Coffee Profile? Take the coffee quiz on Vanhoutte.com/en-ca/consumer/my-master-roaster/discover-your-coffee-profile.

-Bob Koffee

Starbucks Report: The Frappuccino Fandango

Strawberry Frappuccino Change Up

That’s the latest score, as Starbucks has made an unusually rapid reversal in how it colors its Strawberry Frappuccinos — and some of its other foods and drinks.

Just weeks after the world’s largest coffee chain took serious PR heat from vegan groups and public relations gurus for switching to commonly-used cochineal beetles to color its Strawberry , the company’s U.S. president, Cliff Burrows, now says that bugs are coming out and tomato-based extract is coming in.

Vegans bash Starbucks for beetle coloring in frappuccinos

By the end of June the company will transition to using lycopene, a natural, tomato-based extract, in its Strawberry & Creme Frappuccino blended beverage and Strawberry Banana Smoothie. It also will drop the use of cochineal extract in its Raspberry Swirl Cake, Birthday Cake Pop, Mini Donut with pink icing and Red Velvet Whoopie Pie.

“We fell short of your expectations,” he said, in a statement on Thursday on the company’s “My Starbucks Idea” consumer site. “We are reformulating the affected products to assure the highest quality possible.”

Starbucks (SBUX) made the original switch away from artificial coloring in January, when it aggressively moved away from the use of any artificial ingredients in its food and drinks. Starbucks has worked diligently to improve the quality of its menu. But the backlash came just a few months later, when a vegan Starbucks barista alerted a vegan blogger of the change.

At least one consultant thinks Starbucks acted quickly and decisively. “That’s pretty quick when it come to companies making major changes in ingredients,” says management strategist Barbara Brooks.

“They were aggressive and didn’t set up a commission with recommendations eight months later.”

The vegan world is ecstatic.

“Starbucks clearly learned from its error after switching to a dye from insects,” says David Byer, senior corporate liaison at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. “Since no one, vegetarian or not, wants beetle juice in their Frap, everyone will soon be able to celebrate the fact that it’s gone for good.”

The vegan blogger who first complained about the coloring says she is happy, too. “Through this move, Starbucks has shown that it cares about the opinions of its consumers,” says Daelyn Fortney, managing editor of ThisDishisVeg.com.
But she’s holding off on celebrating with a Strawberry Frap until the change is final.

“Maybe after June,” she says.

Mice Reduce Skin Cancer with Java & Exercise

NY Daily News
Caffeine and exercise combo reduces inflammation, a precursor to developing skin cancer

Caffeine and exercise combo reduces inflammation, a precursor to developing skin cancer

Caffeine and exercise combo reduces inflammation

Concern – Worried about developing skin cancer?
Solution – After downing a cup of strong cup of coffee, go for a brisk run.

At least, that’s the suggestion from a new study presented at a major medical conference in Chicago this week, where researchers said that the combination of caffeine and exercise could protect against sun-related skin cancer.

In their animal studies, a team of scientists observed the effects of caffeine and exercise on mice that were at high risk for developing skin cancer. Those given a dose of caffeine and that exercised with a running wheel experienced 62 percent fewer skin tumors. Volume of tumors also decreased by 85 percent compared to the control mice.

The reason? Researchers believe that the caffeine and exercise combo reduces inflammation, a precursor to developing skin cancer.

Similarly, when mice were fed caffeine and put on the running wheel, the dual effect also produced better weight loss results compared to one treatment alone.


The latest findings, presented at the annual meeting for the American Association for Cancer Research this week, build on the team’s previous research which found that caffeine guards against skin cancer at the molecular level by inhibiting a protein enzyme in the skin called ATR.

Meanwhile, another study published last year in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute also found that shift work may be associated with a reduced risk of skin cancer in women due to the suppression of melatonin.

Read more about Skin Cancer.

The Right & Wrong Way to Drink Java

WebMD Feature

The Right Way & Wrong Way to Drink Coffee
Depending on how you use it, coffee can be a pick-me-up or a real downer. A cup of coffee with breakfast, another during the morning commute, a few lattes at the office, and an espresso after dinner — is this a healthy habit or an addiction?

The Good
Coffee’s caffeine jolt can temporarily boost alertness, perk up performance, and possibly even improve concentration.

But before you pour yourself another cup of joe, experts say it’s important to remember coffee’s main ingredient, caffeine, is a drug and not a nutrient required for good health like vitamins and minerals. And as with any drug, there are right ways and wrong ways to use it.

“The right way is to know how it affects your body and your reasoning,” says registered dietitian and epidemiologist Gail Frank. “The wrong way is to use it in an abusive way, and that means going without sleep and then drinking a lot of coffee to get the perk.”

The Bad
In fact, too much caffeine may also lead to health problems like high blood pressure, brittle bones, trouble sleeping, and just plain irritability.

“The other wrong way, as a parent, is to allow young children to use it and have it as crutch — not only for the perk but because it may also displace nutrient-rich beverages for kids,” says Frank, who is professor of nutrition at California State University at Long Beach.

Frank says the caffeine in coffee is especially dangerous for young children and teenagers with growing bones because caffeine leaches much-needed calcium from the bones and may retard growth or make the bones weaker.

Five milligrams of calcium is lost for every six ounces of coffee that is consumed, says Frank. But the good news is you can put back some of those lost nutrients by adding two tablespoons of milk to your coffee or making your espresso a latte.

The Good Coffee Habits

Here are some other tips to help you keep your coffee habit as healthy as possible:

Some people feel the buzz of caffeine more than others. Listen to your body and know when to say “when” to that extra cup of coffee, even if your friend says he can drink it ’til the cows come home and still get a good night’s sleep.

Most research suggests that drinking one to three cups of coffee a day (up to 300 milligrams of caffeine) does not seem to have any negative effects in most healthy people. However, pregnant women, children, people with heart disease or peptic ulcers, and the elderly may be more susceptible to the effects of caffeine and are advised to restrict caffeine.

Be aware that the caffeine content of coffee varies widely depending on roasting and brewing methods as well as the size of the cup you’re drinking. For example, a recent study showed that a 16-ounce cup of the house blend at Starbucks had an average of 259 milligrams of caffeine compared with only 143 milligrams in the same-sized cup of coffee at Dunkin Donuts.

Although coffee is the main source of caffeine for many people, other items, such as soft drinks, tea, chocolate, and cold and headache medicines also contain caffeine and can add substantially to your daily caffeine quota.

Regular coffee drinkers who skip their daily java fix may experience temporary “caffeine withdrawal” (usually in the form of a headache or drowsiness), but these symptoms will go away within 24-48 hours or after getting a new dose of caffeine.

Some medications may interact with caffeine. Consult with your health care provider or pharmacist about potential interactions with caffeine whenever you take medications.

SCAA’s 24th Annual Expo Perculates in Portland, Oregon this April 19-22, 2012

The Specialty Coffee Association of America’s (SCAA) 24th Annual Exposition & Symposium will be held SCAA's 24th Annual Expo Perculates in Portland, Oregon this April 19-22, 2012. At the annual Exposition thousands of coffee professionals from more than 40 countries will converge at the Oregon Convention Center to focus on specialty coffee, learn about the latest innovational trends and products in the coffee marketplace, and engage with fellow industry professionals for the ultimate purpose of delivering a better experience for coffee drinkers.

At the SCAA’s 24th annual Symposium, held immediately prior to the Exposition April 18-19, 2012, executives and coffee professionals from around the world will convene to discuss and collectively address major issues around quality and sustainability. For more information on The Event, visit www.scaaevent.org.

Last year’s Event welcomed more than 8,000 coffee professionals and a show floor featuring more than 700 Exhibitor booths representing all things specialty coffee and tea, including: green and roasted specialty coffee, espresso machines and grinders, roasting equipment, brewing machines, coffee drinks and mixes, flavorings and syrups, chocolate and cocoa products, baked goods, and much more. SCAA also proudly partners with Boyds Coffee, the Official Host Sponsor for the 2012 Event. Boyds has been headquartered in Portland for over 110 years, and is a founding member of the SCAA.

“We’re thrilled that the SCAA has chosen Portland as the host city and Boyds Coffee as the host sponsor,” said Katy Boyd Dutt, Director of Marketing. “Portland is well known as one of the best coffee cities – not just in America, but in the world. We’re looking forward to SCAA members getting to see what’s behind all the hype.”

Other activities at The Event include several annual competitions: the United States Barista Championship (USBC), US Brewers Cup, US Cup Tasters Championship, the Roasters Guild Coffees of the Year Competition (COTY) and Roasters Choice Competition. Top-tier baristas, roasters, coffee cuppers, and producers from around the world will compete for the coveted titles. Additional events include the Rainforest Alliance and International Women in Coffee breakfasts as well as award receptions recognizing industry excellence such as the Best New Product & Sustainability Awards, among others.

Say it’s so, Joe: The potential health benefits of Java

Coffee and Your Health

SOURCE: WebMD Feature

Coffee is Good For You by Xpress Lid by SmartCup

Coffee may taste good and get you going in the morning, but what will it do for your health?

A growing body of research shows that coffee drinkers, compared to nondrinkers, are:

  • Less likely to have type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and dementia
  • Have fewer cases of certain cancers, heart rhythm problems, and strokes

“There is certainly much more good news than bad news, in terms of coffee and health,” says Frank Hu, MD, MPH, PhD, nutrition and epidemiology professor at the Harvard School of Public Health.

But (you knew there would be a “but,” didn’t you?) coffee isn’t proven to prevent those conditions.

Researchers don’t ask people to drink or skip coffee for the sake of science. Instead, they ask them about their coffee habits. Those studies can’t show cause and effect. It’s possible that coffee drinkers have other advantages, such as better diets, more exercise, or protective genes.

So there isn’t solid proof. But there are signs of potential health perks — and a few cautions.

If you’re like the average American, who downed 416 8-ounce cups of coffee in 2009 (by the World Resources Institute’s estimates), you might want to know what all that java is doing for you, or to you.

Here is a condition-by-condition look at the research.

Type 2 Diabetes

Hu calls the data on coffee and type 2 diabetes “pretty solid,” based on more than 15 published studies.

“The vast majority of those studies have shown a benefit of coffee on the prevention of diabetes. And now there is also evidence that decaffeinated coffee may have the same benefit as regular coffee,” Hu tells WebMD.

In 2005, Hu’s team reviewed nine studies on coffee and type 2 diabetes. Of more than 193,000 people, those who said they drank more than six or seven cups daily were 35% less likely to have type 2 diabetes than people who drank fewer than two cups daily. There was a smaller perk — a 28% lower risk — for people who drank 4-6 cups a day. The findings held regardless of sex, weight, or geographic location (U.S. or Europe).

More recently, Australian researchers looked at 18 studies of nearly 458,000 people. They found a 7% drop in the odds of having type 2 diabetes for every additional cup of coffee drunk daily. There were similar risk reductions for decaf coffee drinkers and tea drinkers. But the researchers cautioned that data from some of the smaller studies they reviewed may be less reliable. So it’s possible that they overestimated the strength of the link between heavy coffee drinking and diabetes.

How might coffee keep diabetes at bay?

“It’s the whole package,” Hu says. He points to antioxidants — nutrients that help prevent tissue damage caused by molecules called oxygen-free radicals. “We know that coffee has a very strong antioxidant capacity,” Hu says.

Coffee also contains minerals such as magnesium and chromium, which help the body use the hormone insulin, which controls blood sugar (glucose). In type 2 diabetes, the body loses its ability to use insulin and regulate blood sugar effectively.

It’s probably not the caffeine, though. Based on studies of decaf coffee, “I think we can safely say that the benefits are not likely to be due to caffeine,” Hu says.

The fact that coffee contains good stuff does not necessarily mean that it’s good for us, says James D. Lane, PhD, professor of medical psychology and behavioral medicine at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C.

“It has not really been shown that coffee drinking leads to an increase in antioxidants in the body,” Lane tells WebMD. “We know that there are antioxidants in large quantities in coffee itself, especially when it’s freshly brewed, but we don’t know whether those antioxidants appear in the bloodstream and in the body when the person drinks it. Those studies have not been done.”

Regular coffee, of course, also contains caffeine. Caffeine can raise blood pressure, as well as blood levels of the fight-or-flight chemical epinephrine (also called adrenaline), Lane says.

Heart Disease and Stroke

Coffee may counter several risk factors for heart attack and stroke.

First, there’s the potential effect on type 2 diabetes risk. Type 2 diabetes makes heart disease and stroke more likely.

Besides that, coffee has been linked to lower risks for heart rhythm disturbances (another heart attack and stroke risk factor) in men and women, and lower risk for strokes in women.

In a study of about 130,000 Kaiser Permanente health plan members, people who reported drinking 1-3 cups of coffee per day were 20% less likely to be hospitalized for abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias) than nondrinkers, regardless of other risk factors.

And, for women, coffee may mean a lower risk of stroke.

In 2009, a study of 83,700 nurses enrolled in the long-term Nurses’ Health Study showed a 20% lower risk of stroke in those who reported drinking two or more cups of coffee daily compared to women who drank less coffee or none at all. That pattern held regardless of whether the women had high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and type 2 diabetes.

Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Diseases

“For Parkinson’s disease, the data have always been very consistent: higher consumption of coffee is associated with decreased risk of Parkinson’s,” Hu tells WebMD. That seems to be due to caffeine, though exactly how that works isn’t clear, Hu notes.

Coffee has also been linked to lower risk of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. A 2009 study from Finland and Sweden showed that, out of 1,400 people followed for about 20 years, those who reported drinking 3-5 cups of coffee daily were 65% less likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, compared with nondrinkers or occasional coffee drinkers.

The evidence of a cancer protection effect of coffee is weaker than that for type 2 diabetes. But “for liver cancer, I think that the data are very consistent,” Hu says.

“All of the studies have shown that high coffee consumption is associated with decreased risk of liver cirrhosis and liver cancer,” he says. That’s a “very interesting finding,” Hu says, but again, it’s not clear how it might work.

Again, this research shows a possible association, but like most studies on coffee and health, does not show cause and effect.


In August 2010, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) stated that moderate caffeine drinking — less than 200 mg per day, or about the amount in 12 ounces of coffee — doesn’t appear to have any major effects on causing miscarriage, premature delivery, or fetal growth.

But the effects of larger caffeine doses are unknown, and other research shows that pregnant women who drink many cups of coffee daily may be at greater risk for miscarriage than non-drinkers or moderate drinkers. Again, it’s not clear whether the coffee was responsible for that.

Calories, Heartburn, and Urine

You won’t break your calorie budget on coffee — until you start adding the trimmings.

According to the web site myfoodapedia.gov — part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion — a 6-ounce cup of black coffee contains just 7 calories. Add some half & half and you’ll get 46 calories. If you favor a liquid nondairy creamer, that will set you back 48 calories. A teaspoon of sugar will add about 23 calories.

Drink a lot of coffee and you may head to the bathroom more often. Caffeine is a mild diuretic — that is, it makes you urinate more than you would without it. Decaffeinated coffee has about the same effect on urine production as water.

Both regular and decaffeinated coffee contain acids that can make heartburn worse.

Wine Spectator reports on changing tastes of America

American coffee preference may be changing

American coffee preference may be changing

SOURCE: Are Americans’ Tastes Changing? – Web Feature
Big coffee roasters and a small bunch of California winemakers think it is

Matt Kramer
Posted: February 21, 2012

Did you happen to notice the announcements a few weeks ago about how Starbucks and Peet’s are now offering lighter-roast coffees? This was no small thing, and I confess that it took me by surprise. Now, I do not consider myself any sort of coffee connoisseur. Oh sure, I buy whole beans and grind them before making a double espresso in the morning. But compared with the obsessive coffee geeks out there (and if you think wine geeks are nutty take a look at the blogs of the coffee crowd), I hardly count as anything other than an amateur.

Still, I was struck by the report from Starbucks, a company that hardly makes a move without intensive market research.

“It took eight months and more than 80 different recipe and roast iterations before we landed on the exact flavor profile our customers told us they were looking for,” said Brad Anderson, master roaster for Starbucks. “They told us they wanted a flavorful, lighter-bodied coffee that offers a milder taste and a gentle finish.”

For its part, Peet’s Coffee & Tea, a coffee roaster that started in the Bay Area, introduced lighter-roasted beans in 6,400 grocery stores this past summer and will soon serve a lighter-roast coffee in its 197 stores. That the likes of Peet’s, which acquired a near-cult following for its extremely dark–roasted beans, is now embracing a lighter roast is as astounding as hearing that North Korea will hold free elections.

Before you snobbishly say that these coffee marketers are merely pandering to middle-brow coffee tastes, consider that the Wall Street Journal noted in a report on this topic that “A raft of new high-end cafes and coffee roasters, including Intelligentsia Coffee in Chicago and Los Angeles, Blue Bottle Coffee Co. in New York and San Francisco, Four Barrel Coffee in San Francisco, and Handsome Coffee Roasters in Los Angeles, take the embrace of light roast even further: They only sell light-roasted coffee and say that dark roasting is tantamount to ruining good coffee.”

What has this to do with wine, you ask?

A whole helluva lot, is my answer. Once again, Americans’ tastes are changing. Not all of us, and hardly all at once. (With a population of 300 million people, that’s never going to happen.) But make no mistake: As has happened before, the American palate is evolving. Anyone with some age on his or her bones knows that the past few decades have seen stunning changes in American food choices, the great majority of them for the better and more sophisticated.

The same applies to wine. What the market-savvy likes of Starbucks have discovered presages what is, in fact, slowly occurring in American wine as well. It’s not a wholesale change. After all, both Starbucks and Peet’s are continuing to offer their trademark dark-roasted coffees alongside the new, lighter roasts. Rather, it’s a parallel universe sort of thing.

In California right now you can find—hell, you can easily drown in—a flood of, er, dark-roasted red wines made from overripe grapes that, as finished wines, clock in at 15 percent alcohol or higher.

Actually, these already-heady “15 percent alcohol” wines can be even more alcoholic than the stated figure on the label. Not only does the federal government allow a generous leeway of 1 percent from the precise measurement for wines with 14.1 percent alcohol or higher, but winemakers often “water back” the unfermented juice of their overripe grapes, effectively reducing the alcohol-by-volume measurement. But the label piously declares a lower alcohol level. Two deceits are accomplished in one stroke. One is a misrepresentation of the actual alcohol content. The other is a misleading impression of how ripe—or rather, overripe—the grapes really were at the moment of picking, at least if you’re naively assuming that the alcohol content actually reflects the ripeness of the grapes at harvest.

As the marketing mavens of Starbucks have discovered, the American palate is seeking an alternative to heavy flavors. Are we becoming—dare I say it?–more nuanced? By golly, I think we are.

Witness the recalibration among an increasing number of California winemakers as to what constitutes “ripeness” in a grape. In a reaction against the wine version of “dark-roasted grapes,” newer producers such as Rhys, Copain, Arnot-Roberts, Peay, Kutch and Parr, among others, have put their pocketbooks where there palates are by making wines (mostly Pinot Noir, as well as Syrah) with alcohol levels as low as 12 percent. Longtime producers such as Mayacamas, Au Bon Climat and Cathy Corison, among others, have quietly gone their own restrained way for decades.

Are these producers the mainstream? Hardly. But when Starbucks and even Peet’s have recognized that a good number of their customers want flavors that are less imposing than what originally made these businesses so successful, can fine wine be far behind?

Sure, there will always be a considerable demand for big wines with obvious, outsize flavors and plenty of oak. But the day of the “lighter roast” wine is arriving. It’s already here in small, prophetic quantities. The more wine lovers try such wines—especially, even essentially, paired with food—the more a taste for such wines will increase.

Remember, it’s already happening at a coffee shop near you. Can you doubt that fine wine is next?