La Marzocco Cafe Announces Roasters In Residence For Year Three

By Coffee, News

The La Marzocco Cafe—the Sprudgie Award winning Seattle coffee shop and showroom inside the KEXP Studios—has announced their Year Three Roasters in Residence, and there’s a pretty signficant international bent to this year’s lineup.

Like with previous years, each roaster gets to takeover the cafe for a month; this isn’t just a guest roaster spot, mind you, this is a wholesale change. Roasters decide the drink menu, bar design, flow, etc., in order to provide patrons a cafe experience that most resembles that of the roaster’s home shop.

For Year Three—though really it is Year Three and Four-ish, running from May 2018 through February 2020—the La Marzocco Cafe has tapped seven international roasters of the 20 total to inhabit the KEXP coffee shop. The international list includes: Allpress Espresso (Auckland, New Zealand), Seesaw Coffee (Shanghai, China), Bonanza Coffee Roasters (Berlin, Germany), Onibus Coffee (Tokyo, Japan), Ditta Artiginale (Florence, Italy), The Coffee Collective (Copenhagen, Denmark), and Five Elephant (Berlin, Germany).

For US-based roasters, La Marzocco has selected: Cuvée Coffee (Austin,TX), La Colombe Coffee Roasters (Philadelphia, PA), Kuma Coffee (Seattle, WA), Metric Coffee (Chicago, IL), Dapper and Wise (Portland, OR), Equator Coffees & Teas (San Rafael, CA), Port of Mokha (Oakland, CA), 4th Dimension Coffee (Durham, NC), Elixr Coffee (Philadelphia, PA),  Onda Origins (Seattle, WA),  Linea Caffe (San Francisco, CA), Sweet Bloom Coffee Roasters (Lakewood, CO) and Verve Coffee Roasters (Santa Cruz, CA). That last two are my mom’s favorite coffee roasters, just in case you thought your parents’ coffee game was better than my mom’s. It isn’t. Hi Mom!

It all kicks off with next month with Cuvée Coffee. Will they bring with them their assembly-line style of drink ordering (featured here in Sprudge) or will Cuvée owner Mike McKim stand in front of the cafe slinging cans of nitro cold brew to passersby (a thing he has been known to do)? Who knows. Maybe both. That’s the fun of the La Marzocco Cafe. For more information about the Roaster in Residence program, view the announcement of the Year Three residents via the La Marzocco Cafe and Showroom official website.

Zac Cadwalader is the news editor at Sprudge Media Network and a staff writer based in Dallas. Read more Zac Cadwalader on Sprudge.

*top image via La Marzocco

The post La Marzocco Cafe Announces Roasters In Residence For Year Three appeared first on Sprudge.

Source: Coffee News

Coffee And Cancer: California Industry Leaders Respond To Judge’s Ruling

By Coffee, News

On Wednesday, March 28th 2018, a California judge tentatively ruled that coffee must come with a cancer warning label in the state of California. If you work in coffee, you definitely heard about this, but it’s been a hot topic in the mainstream media as well, making for features in The New York Times, CNN, NPR, BBC, and even Snopes, a website dedicated to fact checking urban myths. But this is no fable; the ruling is for real, and now leading California coffee companies are left wondering what new costs and regulations the next few months might have in store for them.

The decision came after a lawsuit that’s been underway since 2008, when the California nonprofit Council for Education and Research on Toxics filed suit against Starbucks and dozens of other coffee purveyors under the 1986 Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, which requires companies with over 10 employees to warn their customers about the presence of carcinogens or toxins in their products. The carcinogen in question is known as acrylamide, a chemical compound produced during the coffee roasting process, which, when isolated (ie. not actually consumed inside coffee) has been shown in massive doses to cause cancer in animals, and is therefore found on California’s list of chemicals known to cause cancer. The question the lawsuit sought to answer was whether this chemical is truly harmless in coffee, and the burden of proof fell on coffee purveyors—who, the judge said, were unable to prove that acrylamide in coffee posed no significant health risk, as reported by Associated Press and others.

This decision arrives at odds with a growing body of medical research showing that coffee is not only harmless, it actually provides significant health benefits and reduces cancer risk, including reports from the International Agency for Research on Cancer, National Center for Biotechnology Information, and American Gastroenterology Association. Even the American Institute for Cancer Research has stated decisively that coffee does not need a cancer warning because scientists say it protects from cancer. The coffee trade organizations National Coffee Association and Specialty Coffee Association have both put out responses condemning the tentative ruling and providing resources for coffee people whose families, friends, coworkers, and customers may have questions about coffee’s carcinogenic potential.

It’s not quite over yet; the judge has given coffee companies a few weeks to file objections before the tentative ruling is finalized. Some defendants in the coffee lawsuit have already settled, including 7-Eleven, and a third phase could determine civil penalties of up to $2,500 per person exposed each day over eight years.

So where does all of this leave coffee companies? This lawsuit went after large companies with legal teams and substantial funds, but what about the small businesses that make up the vast majority of California coffee? I spoke to a small handful of coffee company owners and managers across California to hear their reactions and concerns.

Tony Konecny of Yes Plz in Los Angeles reports already seeing labeling from bigger coffee companies since the ruling dropped last Wednesday, including a sign on the bar of Intelligentsia’s Silver Lake location. “I’m assuming any company with money will know they’re a potential target and be proactive; I just wonder what’s going to happen to the little guys.” He also raised concerns around the optics of shipping roasted product from CA to the other parts of the country. “For my business, I don’t know what the impacts are going to be.”

Brian Gomez of The Roasted Bean in San Dimas also expressed uncertainty around potential impacts, but he expressed confidence that coffee lovers will continue to place their trust in the many studies that demonstrate the positive impacts of coffee consumption, as well as their coffee purveyors. “When customers ask, I give them my honest opinion and I make sure to say that it’s my opinion. Based on everything I’ve read, it is safe to drink—not only safe but beneficial. Honestly, if I didn’t believe in my heart that coffee was safe, I wouldn’t be in the coffee business.”

San Diego-based Cafe Virtuoso’s Savannah Phillips agrees that this likely won’t have a huge impact on whether or not current coffee consumers skip their daily brew: “I consider this a non-issue that will have very little or no impact on our business. Coffee drinkers will not change their habits because we are a pretty smart group of individuals.”

Kyle Glanville of G&B Coffee in LA expressed similar frustration at the perceived baselessness of the warning labels. “If the goal is a more informed consumer, mission not accomplished; what an incomplete story to tell consumers. I mean, that’s the thing about coffee, right? It’s almost too good to be true; you can drink so much of it every day and it only makes your life better, and it doesn’t give you cancer—that’s why we love it! It’s a unicorn product.”

Sam Sobolewski of Bartavelle Coffee and Wine Bar in Berkeley echoed the sentiment: “It would be nice if these labels reflected some sort of scientific consensus, but since they do not I will happily tell my customers that we have no idea what it’s all about.”

Wendy Warren of Chromatic Coffee in San Jose is less worried; she’s currently ahead of the game, having put up signs in her Santa Clara cafe a couple years ago. “No one has even commented on it. There’s so much good news health-wise out on coffee that we’re not expecting a change in consumption, just the added cost due to labeling changes.”

Both Glanville and Konecny expressed hopes to see major coffee trade organizations take on the battle of appealing this—as NCA has stated they may—and providing the necessary resources for small companies to get organized. “It feels like if you want to do business you’re just in open water surrounded by sharks,” said Glanville, expressing frustration that a safe, beneficial product like coffee could be targeted as a safety concern while dangerous weapons still abound on the open market. “There are people out there who litigate for a living, and right now it seems like small companies could end up very exposed without the resources to protect themselves.”

It’s early days yet, but the people who will face the real impacts of this new legislation have legitimate concerns around how this will affect not only their costs and operations, but also the public perception of coffee in the long run. But, despite the challenges this ruling may bring, each of the business owners I spoke with are hopeful that no matter what, coffee drinkers will continue to follow the research and enjoy their favorite caffeinated beverage, warning sign be damned.

RJ Joseph is a staff writer for Sprudge Media Network. Read more RJ Joseph on Sprudge.

The post Coffee And Cancer: California Industry Leaders Respond To Judge’s Ruling appeared first on Sprudge.

Source: Coffee News

Specialty Coffee, Curb Kaimuki, Hawaii Coffee

Coffee lovers, The Curb is back in Kaimuki

By Coffee, News, Press

Growing pains affect us all. This past year, The Curb was not exempt.

The multi-roaster coffee shop that once had locations at UH Manoa, Kaimuki, Kailua and Tacoma, Washington is back after closing completely last year. The new spot is three blocks from its old spot, thanks to Devin — an employee under the previous management — and Ross Uehara-Tilton. They’ve taken over and planted The Curb back on Waialae Avenue.

This past Saturday, the duo celebrated the shop’s comeback with a soft opening. The Curb Kaimuki now boasts a 580-square-foot space with more seating, new menu items coming soon, in-shop wi-fi and restroom, and a social media revamp….

See More

Pacific Business News – From barista to business owner

By Coffee, News, Press

After a tumultuous year for the local favorite coffee shop, The Curb has new owners.

The business, which started out as a coffee truck parked near the University of Hawaii, closed its four locations last year, causing owner Sumner Ohye to look for a contingency plan.

He ended up handing the company over to Devin Uehara-Tilton, who started out as a barista with the shop in 2014, and his husband Ross Uehara-Tilton.

The pair formed a corporation under the name D/R Coffee Inc., which stands for the duo’s first initials. Devin will handle the customer service and front end of the business, while Ross – a full-time Hawaii attorney – will handle the business specifics.

This month, they will open a new location in a 580-square-foot space in the Finance Factors building on Waialae Avenue, down the street from the original Curb location.

Pacific Business News sat down with Ross to hear about this new venture, which he says will be about quality over quantity.

“Our goal is to make sure we do coffee well, and do it right,” Ross said, adding that the store will sell coffee from Big Island Coffee Roasters and three Mainland roasters: Olympia Coffee Roasters, Intelligentsia and Slate coffee. “In Hawaii there is a large focus on Hawaii coffee, which is great, but there is a lot of other great coffee out there that we want to introduce to Hawaii coffee drinkers.”

Did you ever think this is what you would be doing? No. Going to law school in and of itself is a lifetime commitment, and I never really imagined being on the other side of the bar, so to speak. I’m used to advising clients and businesses as an attorney, and being on the other side has made me look at it in a different way. It has also helped us with the legal side of things, and it has saved us money on attorney and bookkeeping fees.

What was the process like in buying the company? We really just licensed the trade name from him, and the main financial investment came from construction costs for the new store. It was a mutually beneficial transaction because we were able to come in and help keep the name alive. The business was [Ohye’s] life and emotional investment, and I think it was easier for him to transition out of it knowing it was going to an employee that he trained himself.

How many employees do you have? We have three part-time and three full-time employees, who all came from previous Curb locations. After the other locations closed, a few of the employees went on to different things, which actually ended up being a good thing. For example, one of our employees works full-time at the Hawaii Agriculture Research Center, which has farms in Maunawili and Kunia, so she has a wealth of knowledge that goes beyond what a typical barista could provide.

What else will The Curb sell? We are going to sell food, and have a menu of toasts — such as avocado toast and another that we named Ricotta Be Kidding Me, which will be a ricotta jam toast. We will also have sandwiches and pastries that we will bake in-house. We want to use seasonal ingredients that we can find locally, and work with other businesses as vendors, such as Breadshop located next door.

What is your advice for others considering starting their own business? It is hard, and it is scary, and you just have to go for it. There are always going to be problems and things you cannot anticipate, but somehow everyone else who has started a business has done the same thing, so there is no reason why you can’t do it.

What are you looking forward to as a business owner? I look forward to sitting in our shop on a Saturday morning, and have it be full of people having a good time. Coffee really does have a noticeable impact on happiness for a lot of people, and I’m looking forward to being a part of that first cup of coffee in the beginning of someone’s day.

What is next for the company? We have started having conversations about what we are going to do next, and expanding might not necessarily be what we want to do. We want to find another way that we can give back to the community, and generate more interest in coffee.

Pacific Business News – From barista to business owner