Photo: James Fairbrass preparing coffee at the brew bar in Stumptown Coffee Roasters’ new coffee shop.

Want Coffee Brewed Your Way? Be Specific
When Starbucks installed its first espresso bar in downtown Seattle, in 1984, it effectively reordered the hierarchy of coffee in this country: brewed coffee might be nice, but nothing beats the theater of a latte.
 Today, many coffee nerds feel differently. Espressos are tasty, and a cappuccino is a pleasurable indulgence, but the real magic is found in a cup of black coffee prepared to order with beans from the latest harvest: the new crop of Central American coffees that is arriving now, and East African coffees that will be here come summer. When members of this generation of fanatics step up to a brew bar, it’s not to look for something familiar and comforting; it’s to try something new.
Two coffee bars opening in Manhattan reflect this ascendant interest in brewed coffee. This week Stumptown Coffee Roasters reveals its most ambitious project to date. The company spent nearly $1 million to transform a neglected Greenwich Village storefront (it was once the Eighth Street Bookshop, a literary hangout that closed in 1979) into a coffee shop with unusually sumptuous details: coffered ceiling, walnut bar, custom wallpaper screened by hand in Portland, Ore. The shop includes a separate brew bar, where you may order any coffee in the catalog prepared on your choice of gadget, including AeroPress, Bee House, Chemex, French press, siphon and V60.
The brew bar is as much a workshop as it is a place to get a coffee and buy some gear. There will be demonstrations, free cuppings and an easy flow of jargon-laced conversation. If you want to learn how grind size affects extraction, here’s your chance.
Next week, Intelligentsia Coffee will open a coffee bar off the mosaic-tiled lobby of the High Line Hotel in Chelsea, a former seminary that dates to 1895. In addition to offering a daily coffee on a pour-over bar equipped with Wave drippers from the Japanese manufacturer Kalita (the current darling of high-end coffee), the baristas will select a second coffee that they think “pops,” said Stephen Morrissey, the director of communications for Intelligentsia. Then they will choose a preparation that suits those beans.
“When the morning shift comes in at 5:30 a.m., they’ll cup the coffees,” said Mr. Morrissey, who won the prestigious World Barista Championship when he was working for Square Mile Coffee Roasters in London. “Then they’ll pick how to make it. It’s not that one brewer is better than another brewer. It’s that they might decide, ‘I’m loving the toffee notes in this, I bet it’ll be awesome in a Cafe Solo,’ ” he said, referring to a kind of brewer.
Not all brew methods are created equal. Some use thick paper filters that create a cleaner cup, others perforated metal filters that let through the oils and fine sediment that create a richer texture. A dripper might be shaped like a cone (the V60) or a wedge (the Bee House) or a cup (the Wave). The details can make a difference. Even if there’s no one right way to prepare coffee, different methods lead to distinctive flavors.
“Sometimes you want a heftier cup,” Mr. Morrissey said. “Other times you may want to celebrate other characteristics of the coffee, the more floral notes, the delicate acidity.”
This is the first New York outpost for Intelligentsia, which was founded in Chicago in 1995 and evolved from a neighborhood shop into one of the industry’s most influential coffee companies. It’s the second New York shop for Stumptown, which is based in Portland, Ore. In 2009, Stumptown opened a coffee bar at the Ace Hotel in Midtown that has about 1,250 customers a day.
The two companies are tiny when compared with the industry’s heaviest hitters: this will be Intelligentsia’s ninth location, Stumptown’s eighth. But both are pioneers of direct trade, and were among the first to travel to the countries where coffee is produced to shorten the feedback loop between the farmer and the roaster. Both maintain a network of expert buyers who procure some of the finest coffees in the world.
Even if they are fierce rivals (for all they have in common, there’s little collaboration between the two), each fixates on what is unique about the coffees it goes through so much trouble to source.
And while both are shining a spotlight on brewed coffee, neither is abandoning espresso — they are equipped with tricked-out machines. You can try out a brewed coffee you wouldn’t normally order, and have your latte, too.

Intelligentsia Coffee, the High Line Hotel, 180 10th Avenue (West 20th Street); (212) 933-9796;

Stumptown Coffee Roasters, 30 West Eighth Street (Macdougal Street); (646) 590-2376;

What’s the fuss about coffee?
Why is it that so much scientific research ends up making headlines? Because they ask us to report on their research, that’s one reason. Medical journals and research institutions work hard to make sure that their scientific papers appear in the news.
This is how it works: science and medical reporters are given special access to websites that give advance notice of upcoming research. There are dizzying lists of dozens of scientific papers from hundreds of journals, volumes of new research that is published every single day. There are armies of helpful public relations people who arrange interviews with the scientists, so we can all be ready for the moment when the embargo lifts.
The embargo is a strict deadline, enforced by threat of future exclusion, and reporters who mistakenly break the embargo can be punished for years by the offended journal, which will refuse all access to future papers. This fear of embargo-breaking keeps the international media in line. We all hold back on the story until the designated day and time, say 5 p.m. on Wednesday, when the embargo magically lifts, and the headlines fly out around the world, giving the impression that news has just broken wide open.
- Read On

Why Caffeine Withdrawal Is Now a Mental Illness Hoarding and caffeine withdrawal are two new additions to the manual of diagnostic mental illnesses. Video (I’m not sure this will work - give it a try - Steve)

The new edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (the DSM) came out last week, and there were some interesting additions. Among them is caffeine withdrawal, which joins caffeine intoxication. As any beanhead will recognize, caffeine withdrawal symptoms include headache, fatigue, difficulty concentrating and depressed mood. But is it worthy of inclusion in the DSM? “Caffeine is invading our society more and more. So there’s concern enough to consider this topic seriously, even though it’s probably one of the more controversial issues faced by our work group,” said Alan Budney of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. But what about our crippling Skittles addiction? Article ****


Photo: For the first time in its history, Tim Hortons is facing stiff competition from rivals — mostly Americans accustomed to grinding ground wars in the quick-serve restaurant business — with deep pockets who are aggressively contending for a slice of the profitable morning market..
Rivals’ attack on Tim Hortons in morning market forces menu shakeup
The future of Tim Hortons, one of this country’s most iconic brands, apparently rests on such Canadian classics as grilled panini and espresso-based specialty beverages. And the company that built its empire on convenience and ushering customers out the door quickly, is now hoping they’ll linger longer. To that end, big money is earmarked this year to refurbish 300 stores and a thousand drive through outlets. The baked goods and coffee giant has tinkered with its menu before.
But there’s a greater urgency with these latest incarnations. For the first time in its history, Tim Hortons is facing stiff competition from rivals — mostly Americans accustomed to grinding ground wars in the quick-serve restaurant business — with deep pockets who are aggressively contending for a slice of the profitable morning market.
Having coasted for so long on the success of its ubiquitous brand, Tim Hortons is unaccustomed to serious challenge. Few Canadian companies have realized the kind of sustained growth enjoyed by the Oakville, Ont. giant during the past couple of decades. With its 3,300 restaurants, the chain merrily saturated the Canadian market from coast to coast, unencumbered by any sustained competition.
Until now. Its stranglehold on the lucrative fast-food morning market in Canada is under attack from rivals McDonalds Corp., Starbucks Coffee Co. and Subway Restaurants.
- Read On


Coffee > Starbucks > #RaceTogether
Starbucks #RaceTogether campaign mocked online
March 17 2015 - BBCtrending - Blog by Olivia Crellin
A Starbucks PR campaign to unite customers with conversations about race appears to have backfired, as the company’s big roll-out was widely mocked.
“Black Coffees Matter”, “African-Americano” and “Stolen-from-the-Gold-Coast Blend” - these aren’t unfortunate slogans for Starbucks drinks but jokes about the coffee chain’s latest marketing campaign.
The race-related puns are just one aspect of a trending hashtag begun after the company launched “Race Together”.
The corporate coffee giant said on Monday that it wanted to engage customers in a conversation about race after ongoing protests about police treatment of minority communities and race-related social movements online.
This involves baristas scribbling the words “Race Together” on cups and attempting to “engage customers in conversation through Race Together stickers available in select stores”, Starbucks said.
But instead of conversation over caffeine, social media hijacked the #racetogether hashtag, which so far has over 20,000 mentions.
Criticism was fierce but often humorous. Guardian US reporter @Zachstafford tweeted: “Barista: Your total is $5.45 Me: You can just put that on my reparations tab. Thanks. #raceTogether.”
“Before they write #RaceTogether on cups, can Starbucks just spell my name correctly? #SahanMinha #HansonMinaja #SaddamHussain,” Daily Show comedian Hasan Minhaj asked on Twitter.
In a related hashtag, #NewStarbucksDrinks, Twitter users made race-related puns to rename popular Starbucks items - “Mocha Money, Mocha Problems” “No Chai Left Behind” “Black Coffees Matter” and “BY ANY BEANS NECESSARY”.
In a local Washington DC Starbucks, BBC Trending asked several customers their views on the campaign.
Some were positive but most agreed it was not the best way to approach the issue.
“I like the idea that they are addressing the issue as it’s easy to sweep it under the rug,” said Krystina Kodomichalos, 21, a student, “but confronting strangers is not the way to go about it. It doesn’t seem very well thought through.”
Many brought up practical issues like what exactly employees would say, who they would approach and whether it was really possible to have a conversation in a busy queue for a latte.
“It would be strange,” said Sharon Johnson, 55, from Stafford, Virginia. “I’d want to know their intentions and I’d be worried about holding up the line.
"What are they going to ask? Do you like black people?” said Ash Clements, 41.
“I care about the issue and talk about it all the time with my friends, but in the morning I just need to get my coffee quickly so I can get to a meeting.”
His colleague, Joe Davis, agreed that it was awkward and questioned what they could accomplish.
“Maybe if they were to partner with a non-profit or hold forums in the coffee shops - but right now this idea has no structure or obvious goals,” said Mr Davis, who runs a marketing business for black-owned companies.
In a press release Starbucks explained the origins of what many are calling an awkward and cringe-inducing initiative.
“We at Starbucks should be willing to talk about these issues in America,” Howard Schultz, Starbuck’s chief executive and chairman said.
“Not to point fingers or to place blame, and not because we have answers, but because staying silent is not who we are.”
They might wish now they had stayed silent - at least in the case of Starbucks’ communications vice-president Corey duBrowa, who appears to have deleted his Twitter account after being challenged about the merits of the campaign.
“@coreydu so are you unblocking/blocking people who are actually engaging you on a conversation abt race? How #racetogether is a stupid idea?” tweeted @krageinsf.
Starbucks is not the first to misjudge public sentiments and be lambasted online.
In 2014, #mynypd by the New York City police department backfired, with social media users tweeting images of NYPD violence, abuse and racial profiling.
“Race Together is not a solution,” Starbucks said in the press release, but “it is an opportunity to begin to re-examine how we can create a more empathetic and inclusive society”.
Despite these intentions, #RaceTogether could be a decidedly one-way conversation.

Q - What do you think of Strarbucks ‘Race Together’ ?

Climate threatens coffee
“Changing climate threatens to reduce the flow of coffee, which fills 1.6 billion cups a day, to a trickle,” says the New Scientist. “It may not be long before that after-dinner espresso costs more than the wine, and some caffeine addicts will be forced to go cold turkey. If that prospect fills you with dread, you are not alone. There are some 26 million farmers who depend on coffee to feed their families. Coffee is the most valuable tropical export crop, and as the world’s favourite drink it is big business. Our seemingly insatiable appetite for macchiatos and lattes has made coffee the second most traded commodity after oil, with exports worth a whopping $15-billion (U.S.) a year. All that is under threat because the coffee industry is built on a plant that is peculiarly vulnerable to our changing climate.”