September 14, 2011
Bean vs. Bux

What happens when a landlord evicts a neighborhood coffee shop to make way for a Starbucks? The story of East Village favorite the Bean is told by Jim Dwyer in today’s New York Times, with plenty of dramatic moment like this one:

Standing in the crowd awaiting ritual squirts of caffeine and soy chai and medium foam was a middle-aged man with a briefcase, a roll of drawings under his arm, and a measuring tape.

“I said, ‘How can I help you?’ ” Mr. Puglia [the manager of the Bean] said. “He said, ‘I’m here for the renovation.’

“I said, ‘What renovation?’

“He says, ‘For the Starbucks.’ ”

- Oliver Strand

September 12, 2011
Fashion Week Only

It’s a Fashion Week special: Blue Bottle Coffee is a part of a popup on the ground floor of Milk Studios. Read the details here.

- Oliver Strand

September 8, 2011
Two Heads Better than One

Intelligentsia Coffee and Tea names a new Co-CEO to share duties with Doug Zell. Read the full story on the Diner’s Journal.

- Oliver Strand

September 1, 2011
Johannes Karte

Get a coffee for free, or buy one for a stranger: no, it’s not the now-scuttled Jonathan’s Card, it’s Berlin’s fliegender kaffe, or “flying coffee.” As reported by Nadja Sayej in the New York Times:

Go into any one of the 12 participating cafes (distinguished by a sticker depicting a cup with wings and a halo), order a flying coffee, and it’s on the house, no questions asked. And if you’re feeling generous? Buy yourself a coffee, and buy a second coffee to add to the running tab.

First Disloyalty Cards, now this. A round of warm fuzzies, on the house.

- Oliver Strand

August 30, 2011
Eight Coffees from 7 x 7

San Francisco’s 7 x7 weighs in on “the Bay Area’s Finest Coffees" with a blind taste test of eight local roasters. The winner (spoiler here) juuuust edged out second place, and the judges seemed surprised by the dark horse that came in third.

- Oliver Strand

August 24, 2011
Only a Nobody Crawls in LA

The latest Ristretto goes on a Los Angeles coffee crawl (coffee drive?), with pit stops at Cognoscenti Coffee, Coffee Commissary and Paper or Plastik, to name a few.

- Oliver Strand

August 16, 2011
Dunkin’ Prices

The J. M. Smucker Co., owner of Folgers and Dunkin’ Donuts, announced today that the price of bagged coffee will be lowered by 6%, reflecting a decline in the green coffee futures market. While many of the factors that led to higher prices - such as low production, increased demand and a weak dollar - still apply, it will be interesting to see how the specialty market responds.

- Stephen Morrissey

August 15, 2011
Sightglass Slideshow

The latest Ristretto takes a look at Sightglass Coffee Roasters, which recently opened after two years of construction. There’s a Probat in the front, a coffee bar in the back and a distinct focus on brewed coffee (though you can get your espresso and drink it too). There’s good reason why San Francisco is known for its coffee.

- Oliver Strand

August 10, 2011
Jonathan’s Card: Viral, or Infected?

Spied on Sprudge.com: Andrew Hetzel’s takedown of Jonathan’s Card, a cheerful social experiment where Jonathan Stark threw his Starbucks card up on the web for the whole world to use - download it to buy coffee, or add cash and “enjoy some serious good karma.”

Techcrunch.com loved it, as did Eater.com.

Stark describes it as a “take a penny, leave a penny” approach to coffee: “get a coffee, give a coffee.” And he emphatically states that he’s not a schill. The Jonathan’s Card website opens with the statement: “In case it wasn’t obvious from the complete lack of design, this site is totally not affiliated with Starbucks.”

But it might be more complicated. Hertzel draws a link between the two on his website Coffee Business Strategies. Read his account here.

- Oliver Strand


UPDATE:

Jonathan Stark categorically denies schilling for Starbucks via this entry on the Jonathan’s Card page on Facebook; Techcrunch.com writer John Biggs follows up with a post titled “The Vast Starbucks Conspiracy: Jonathan’s Card Wasn’t Faked.”

August 3, 2011
Novecento

Giorgio Milos is back in the Atlantic, musing once again on the current state of American coffee. He now believes American coffee is just as good as the coffee in Italy…one hundred years ago. 

- Mike White

July 19, 2011
Curious About Cold Brew

In Harold McGee’s latest column for the New York Times, the Curious Cook takes on cold brew coffee. (Also: tea.)

- Oliver Strand

July 18, 2011
Made in China

The Financial Times reports that Starbucks entered into an agreement with Ai Ni Group to start growing coffee in China. This is the first time Starbucks will get into the business of farming.

Soon Chinese coffee could become a “brand.” According to the article, “The joint venture will operate a coffee mill that will enable it to export roasted as well as raw coffee beans, which will be both used by Starbucks and sold to rival coffee makers.”

- Oliver Strand

July 12, 2011
Iced Man

The Feast’s Matt Duckor rounds up his 15 favorite iced coffees in New York City. They’re listed according to Feast Rank, which puts Stumptown Coffee Roasters on top.

Seems to be shaping up into the summer of iced coffee.

- Oliver Strand

July 1, 2011
One, Two, Three

In the New Yorker’s “Book Bench,” Macy Halford praises Stumptown’s stubbies, reviews “Coffee Philosophy for Everyone: Grounds for Debate” and muses on how well some coffee heavies and financial giants are getting along. She writes, “many think this could mark the end of the high-philosophy coffee third wave.”

Which leads her to pose a question that was bound to be asked at some point: are we heading into coffee’s fourth wave?

- Oliver Strand

June 30, 2011
Out of the Closet and into the Tweets

A new installment in the Brown Coffee Co. saga dropped today. In a blog post titled “He Smiles,” Brown Coffee owner Aaron Blanco states the coffee shop was packed with supportive customers.

He writes: “I haven’t checked yet, but I think we had our second biggest sales day ever, second only to the last day before Christmas last year. And so I want to say thank you. Thanks to all of you who showed us that while personal beliefs are, well, very personal, they do not have to be buried or compartmentalized; that we are undeniably whole people.”

First, some context. And subtext.

In a marathon session last Friday, June 24, the New York State Senate approved gay marriage. Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the bill into law.

That same night, the official Twitter account of Brown Coffee, a highly-regarded microroaster in San Antonio, Tex., tweeted: “No Human law can ever legitimize what natural law precludes. #SorryFolks #NotEqual #WhyBother #ChasingAfterTheWind #SelfEvident.”

Shortly after, RBC NYC, a New York coffee bar that has championed Brown Coffee and carried its products, posted on its Tumblr account that “Although we won’t tell you what RBC stands for, we’ll let you know it doesn’t stand for intolerance and bigotry, therefore we will not be doing business with The Brown Coffee Co. anymore.”

Sprudge.com chronicled it here, Eater.com picked it up here, and the story went national. As Eater.com likes to put it: Boom.

Even Anthony Bourdain, never one to hold his prose punches, joined in. On June 28 he tweeted “Dear Brown Coffee: God called. He said you suck.”

I’ll let Sprudge.com nail the details: Brown Coffee’s locked Twitter account, the first apology (now deleted) that said the tweet was a musing on classical philosophy, the second apology (also deleted) that stated: “everyone in this small family company is deeply regretful of all the offense we have caused everyone in this situation.”

Then today, Mr. Blanco posted “He Smiles.” According to Mr. Blanco, he considered keeping Brown Coffee closed an extra day (the coffee shop is open Wednesday through Saturday), in order “to let this crud blow over.”

It seems to have blown. Mr. Blanco states: “And so we opened our doors like normal. And something very normal happened. People came in the door and they bought coffee. Lots of it. Extra bags of it. Extra rounds of it. They bought coffee gear, empty jute bags we have lying around and extra packs of coffee filters. They bought drinks for people they’ve never bought drinks for. They bought  Brown shirts for themselves that they already owned. They bought practically anything that wasn’t nailed down. And they smiled. And it was good. And there was much rejoicing.”

- Oliver Strand

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