hot latte from The Curb Kaimuki

The Washington Post – A guide to local favorites in Kaimuki

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Kaimuki’s compact business district, its small, local companies and its 20th-century development as a suburb of Honolulu conspire to give the neighborhood its tight knit community feel. Many of the cafes, restaurants and shops are run by homegrown entrepreneurs, which means even the newer spots keep easy company with the old, as if they, too, had been here for ages, serving school kids to senior citizens and keeping their memories…

The Washington Post – A guide to local favorites in Kaimuki

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Honolulu Magazine – 6 Buzzable Coffee Shops That Opened in Honolulu in 2018

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The Curb team established themselves as makers of a rock-solid cup of coffee back when they were all the way up Wai‘alae near 10th Avenue. Now, they’re comfortably settled into their newer—and roomier—lower Wai‘alae spot right next to Breadshop

They’ve still got the friendliest baristas you’ll find and stellar pours, but now there’s a bit more room to tuck in, lots of outlets and even a small counter space that you’ll usually find packed with laptop-clicking patrons…

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You’ll Love This Amalie Auguste Melitta Bentz Tote!

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Welcome to Sprudge Shop Spotlights, a new weekend series in which we highlight our very favorite items currently available in the ever-changing, fast-moving, utterly bespoke Sprudge Shop. Now shipping worldwide, featuring unique artist and brand collaborations from around the planet. Enjoy!

We think you’ll love this new tote bag now available in the Sprudge Shop! This natural color 100% cotton canvas tote bag celebrates Amalie Auguste Melitta Bentz, who invented the coffee filter in 1908.

Here’s a snippet of history from the Melitta website:

A piece of blotting paper from her son Willy’s exercise book gave her the simple idea of filtering out the unpleasant coffee grounds with the aid of a filter and some paper. She experimented with a brass pot peppered with holes on the bottom and on June 20, 1908 she laid the foundation for her subsequent business: the Imperial Patent Office in Berlin awarded Melitta Bentz patent protection for her “coffee filter with rounded and recessed bottom perforated by slanting flow-through holes” and using “filter paper”.

Get your very own Amalie Auguste Melitta Bentz tote today for 10% off using the promo code MELITTA. Supplies are limited so act fast, and join us again next week for another Sprudge Shop Highlight!

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Source: Coffee News

2018 New York Coffee Masters Champ Remy Molina: The Sprudge Interview

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It had to be Remy! Remy Molina, a barista from Costa Rica, has won the 2018 Coffee Masters tournament at New York Coffee Festival, completing a stunning run to glory. It was a huge moment for the young coffee professional, who took home a prize and cash package valued at $15,000. It’s also one of the most prominent international coffee wins ever for the nation of Costa Rica, whose coffee producing culture has long been among the best in the world, but whose international barista and cafe culture is fast becoming a major player. “I was able to represent my country and to represent the great job all my fellow baristas in Costa Rica are doing,” Molina tells Sprudge. Truly it was a historic and inspiring moment for the competition.

To learn more, Sprudge co-founder and Coffee Masters co-host Jordan Michelman sat down with Remy Molina to discuss his big win and learn more about what’s next for this enterprising young champion. Read on!

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. 

Hey Remy! Congratulations on your big win! By way of introduction, what do you do professionally in the coffee industry in Costa Rica?

Hi Jordan! Thank you very much for this opportunity and for your words. I appreciate it a lot!

Right now, I work for the Specialty Coffee Association of Costa Rica (SCACR). I am a consultant and a trainer. Mainly my work is to develop most of the coffee festivals AND competitions here in Costa Rica.

I also have my own personal projects, a coffee to-go bar and a brand of roasted coffee. I’m still trying to develop the concept but my goal is to have my own coffee shop and micro-roastery.

You’ve just won $5,000 cash from the Coffee Masters, plus your very own Slayer single group and Mahlkönig grinder. What will you do with these prizes?

First of all this is my dream come true. Since I started in the coffee, I wanted to have my own Slayer and of course with the best grinder to complement it.

I want to start a little project were I want to work with TWO of the things I like the most and unite them. The idea is to have a place where coffee and mixology can merge. Also, part of the money I earned I am going to donate so I can help people that may need it more than I do.

Talk us through your signature drink creation for the Coffee Masters, and tell us more about the inspiration behind this drink.

My signature drink was inspired and resembles the traditional and famous cocktail, the Old Fashioned. This is one of my favorite drinks and the idea was to give it a twist with some coffee. The concept was called “First Impressions”—this is because I’ve never before been to New York City and I always heard that it is the city of huge buildings and lights—”The city that never sleeps.” So I can imagine at night, people always like to go for a drink.

I like to travel and I like to go to different countries. So I wanted to bring to NY that first impression of my beloved homeland. The first thing that people think about in Costa Rica is beaches and coffee, right? I wanted to mix both of them and make a really good impression. First impressions, in a drink and in serving people, are very important. Making a good first impression can be so decisive in making your client have an experience that will never forget and want to come back.

All of this came to my mind after trying for the first time the coffee that I was using. It is a natural processed anaerobic fermentation coffee, and the varieties are Caturra and Villa Sarchi. This coffee is very complex and unique and its flavor profile reminds me of an apple pie, with a juicy acidity and flavor notes of cinnamon, green apples, and sweet notes like sugar cane. Also, this coffee has a winey aftertaste, clean, pleasant, and lingering.

So I wanted to highlight its complexity and combine them with other ingredients that I prepared myself. The result of my signature drink was tropical flavors such as mandarine, peach, and vanilla combined with sugar cane. It had a silky texture and a juicy acidity like the apples used for pie.

Does winning Coffee Masters feel like a major moment in your coffee career?

I always think that every day you learn something new. This competition is something that I always wanted to participate since I started in coffee. I learned about this competition when they launched its first edition in London because a friend of mine told me. At that moment I didn’t feel prepared so I didn’t apply. Last year I applied at London but I did not pass the first round. So this year just making the finals was extraordinary for me, and it was a huge surprise I was crowned as the Champion.

This for me is a moment that I will never forget but I think I still have a lot to learn, so I will keep the good work and the passion I have for this career. As a person that comes from a producing country, my dream is to travel to more consuming countries and learn more about their way of preparing coffees.

Costa Rica has long been famous for growing coffee, but the country’s cafe scene is also exploding. What are some of your favorite cafes there right now? Where should people visit?

The cafe scene is growing fast and the past few years I’ve seen a lot of good coffee shops open. I think this is a good thing for Costa Rica because we are creating coffee culture. My favorite places to go and have a good cup of coffee are, Cafeoteca (where I used to work), Underground Brew Cafe, and Franco. But these are not the only places people should visit when they come to Costa Rica. Right now, I’m working with a friend on a Video blog, where we interviewed the owners of the 10 cafes and they told us everything about their coffee shops. You can follow our work here. 

What’s something about competing in Coffee Masters that new competitors might not know? What have you found surprising about the tournament?

Coffee Masters is a fast-paced competition and I think new competitors have to try to accomplish most of the disciplines (doing their best in each one of them) so they can score the most points. For me, Coffee Masters tests you on how well you can manage a bar scene and how well you can serve the coffee for your clients. Sincerely, I know I wasn’t the fastest or most skilled barista on stage but I always tried to do my best and served the best cup of coffee to my judges. I think that’s the most important part because even though it’s just a competition, we as baristas have to do our best. Our job is to serve the cup of coffee people deserve.

I can give you an example about that. In the “Order” discipline (in which competitors are asked to make 10 drinks in nine minutes), I only served seven drinks total to the judges. But actually, I got really high scores on those seven drinks, while some of my opponents got more drinks down in total, but scored less than me. What was most important was the quality of the drinks.

For me at Coffee Masters everything was absolutely great, the organization, the judges and the baristas. This year was very special because I could feel the fellowship from all of the competitors and it felt like we were supporting each one of us. The level of difficulty this year was really high because I know all of the baristas competing were really skilled and talented.

Describe the moment of victory in your own words—what did it feel like?

Until this day, I still can’t believe it. I am really happy with the result and with the experience too.

At the beginning I felt a lot of joy inside of me, because all the hard work and all the time I’ve spent learning and improving myself has paid off. And I felt grateful because I know this is a blessing for my life and I know I made my family proud too.

It was something I always dreamed about it. I think this is not only me winning, but a lot of people behind me winning too. So I’m glad I made them proud of all the work we have done. That day I felt a bit nostalgic because I wanted to celebrate it with my friends and family in Costa Rica, but I made a lot of friends in this trip, so I celebrated it with them and that helped me feel a little bit better.

I felt like Costa Rica made a good presentation and that everyone was happy about that. I’m glad that I was able to represent my country and to represent the great job all my fellow baristas in Costa Rica are doing. I hope this will motivate other baristas to try to accomplish whatever they set as a goal and that they can make it, if they believe in themselves.

Is there anyone you’d like to thank?

As I told you before, this couldn’t be possible without the help and support of a lot of people. I want to thank everyone that always believed in me like my colleagues and friends. To Victor and Pablo for roasting my coffee. To my family and girlfriend for all the support and love they gave me. And I want to thank Issac and Wally, my two trainers. Without the help of these guys I couldn’t accomplish this. I learned a lot from them. Wally hosted me in New York for almost nine days, and these days he taught me not only about coffee. He taught me how to live a good life with the people you love and by doing what you love the most. I will treasure all his advice for the rest of my life.

Thank you Remy, and congratulations from all of us at Sprudge! 

Jordan Michelman (@suitcasewine) is a co-founder and editor at Sprudge Media Network, a contributor to Portland Monthly and Willamette Week, and co-author of The New Rules of Coffee. Read more Jordan Michelman on Sprudge

Sprudge is an official media partner of the Coffee Masters Tournament and the New York Coffee Festival. 

Read all Coffee Masters coverage on Sprudge.

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Source: Coffee News

Starbucks Announces Care@Work, A Subsidized Backup Care Program

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Starbucks continues to add to their already impressive (at least by coffee industry standards) benefits package. Along with things like an expansive transgender health care policy, 100% tuition coverage for first-time bachelors via Arizona State’s online program, and paid parental leave, Starbucks has announced the newest addition to their package: a subsidized backup care plan for children and seniors.

Called Care@Work, Starbucks has teamed up with to provide all employees at “US company-owned stores” with “an online service connecting families and caregivers,” per the press release. In practical terms, this means all 180,000+ employees will receive 10 subsidized backup care days for children and adults.

Using the Care@Work portal, employees will be able to schedule last-minute care for their loved ones for the subsidized cost of “$1 an hour for in-home backup child and adult care or $5 per day for in-center child care” for the allotted 10 days. After exhausting these days, other services—like pet sitting and housekeeping—become available, though at full cost to the employees.

The move comes in response to a significant sector of the work force having difficulty balancing their job and their family. From the press release:

recent analysis of the National Survey of Children’s Health showed that 2 million working parents had to quit their jobs in 2016, the year of the survey, because of child care issues. The crunch isn’t just being felt by parents, but also for those who are caring for their own aging relatives. One in five U.S. workers report they are currently providing assistance for older relatives and friends, according to a report by the AARP Public Policy Institute. Nearly 70 percent of those who do say they had to take time off or make other work adjustments because of caregiving.

Also included in the Care@Work package are resources to help Starbucks employees with senior care planning. This give participants access to “a Senior Care Advisor for professional guidance and a customized plan for senior care to help understand long term caregiver options, housing alternatives, finances and legal concerns – all at no cost.”

For all the (often justified) grumbling people to about Starbucks—at this very moment, someone is angrily typing, “BUT WHAT ABOUT [WHATEVER THEIR BEEF IS], SPRUDGE…”—the company continues to lead the charge in creating a robust employee benefits package. For more information, read the full Care@Work press release here.

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

All media via Starbucks

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Source: Coffee News

What’s On At The 2018 New York Coffee Festival

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new york coffee festival trends bow tie la marzocco chemed steampunk sprudge allegra coffee masters

Can you believe it? It’s nearly time for the 2018 New York Coffee Festival, presented by Allegra Events. Now back for its astounding fourth year in Manhattan, the festival brings together a who’s who of New York City coffee culture, plus leading brands from around the world, in a three day exhibition dedicated to the bean and nothing but. (Okay, there’s some food and tea too, but it is mostly all coffee.)

We’ll be there as part of a long-running partnership with the festival, so be sure to catch Sprudge on the Coffee Masters Stage and presenting at The Lab—more details below. And now, in what’s become something of a tradition here at Sprudge, check out an advance look at some of the most exciting facets of this year’s fest. Note that no such highlight reel could ever be complete, and that much more information—including last minute ticket options for you stragglers out there—can be found at the official New York Coffee Festival website.

Coffee Masters

It’s back! Coffee’s most lucrative tournament has returned to the United States again, for the fourth running of the Coffee Masters Tournament at New York Coffee Festival. This year’s event is poised to turn heads yet again, featuring an all-star panel of judges, emcees, and competitors from around the world, competing on gear from Slayer, Mahlkönig, and Hario. This event takes place all three days of the festival Complete details area available here at the official Coffee Masters NYC homepage.

T. Ben Fischer at the 2017 US Barista Championship Qualifying Event in Knoxville, TN.

The Lab

An industry-leading exhibition of coffee knowledge and education, The Lab at New York Coffee Festival is back with its finest line-up ever. Featured speakers include Grace Hightower De Niro (Friday, 12:15PM), George Howell (Friday, 1:00pm), T. Ben Fischer of Glitter Cat Barista (Saturday 10:00AM), Tymika Lawrence of Genuine Origin (Saturday, 2:30PM), and many more. Check here for a complete listing of speakers, and be sure to catch Sprudge founders Jordan Michelman and Zachary Carlsen presenting at The Lab Stage One on Saturday the 13th (3:15PM)—talking about their new book, The New Rules of Coffee, and taking your audience questions.

The Brew Bar

A new feature at this year’s fest, Brew Bar is an elite collection of roasters from around the world, exhibiting in a series of take-over sessions to show off their favorite coffees. Check out the complete schedule here and be sure not to miss highlight appearances from Truth Coffee from Cape Town, SA, Koppi of Helsingborg, Sweden, and Five Elephant Coffee from Berlin, plus domestic favorites like Equator Coffees & Teas, Nobletree, and Black & White Coffee Roasters.

La Marzocco True Artisan Cafe

Always a major stop on the NY Coffee Festival showfloor, La Marzocco’s rotating exhibition of small roasters is back again in 2018. As a set piece the True Artisan Cafe consistently makes for some of the most interesting booth design happening at this show—or at any coffee festival. You’ll see us there, running around between appointments, stopping for another espresso.

Charcuterie and Ratio Brewers at the Coutume Coffee Roasters tasting.

The Village

They say it takes a village to raise a child. Well, at the New York Coffee Festival, The Village is where all the little coffee children and bean teens come to see and be seen. It’s a grand display of booths, exhibitions, tastings, samples, takeovers, and so very much more. Annual stand-outs include booths by Stumptown, Oatly, Hario, and Mr. Black, and we’re looking forward to checking out this year’s offering from Trade, Oxo, Sey Coffee, and so many more.

For a complete listing of what’s on at the 2018 NY Coffee Festival, visit the official website and be sure to follow the festival on Instagram. Follow us there too while you’re at it—we’ll be covering the very best of the fest all weekend long.

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Source: Coffee News

Able Brewing Acquired By Mark Hellweg, Founder Of Ratio & Clive Coffee

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The great coffee company consolidation continues. This one lacks the certain Illuminati, conspiracy theory-inducing panache of a multi-billionaire German family playing coffee Katamari, though. It is admittedly on a much smaller scale and makes a lot more sense. Able Brewing, maker of the Kone and Disk metal coffee filters, has been acquired by Mark Hellweg, founder of Clive Coffee and Ratio.

Able Brewing began by answering a simple question: with the growth in popularity of pour-over, can a reusable coffee filter meet the expectations of this new breed of persnickety hand brewers? The answer was the Kone, the world’s first precision-etched stainless steel filter for the Chemex. Able later grew to include the Disk reusable AeroPress filter as well as other manual brewing accessories.

The brand was just one of many interests for creator Keith Gehrke, who in other coffee circles, is better known for his time spent roasting at Victrola, Flying GoatEcco Caffe, and Coava Coffee Roasters. In 2015, Gehrke went on to found States Coffee & Mercantile in Martinez, California (profiled here on Sprudge). And it is this project that has pulled his attention away from Able, turning over the keys to Hellweg and his business partner Brad Walhood.

The announcement came via an Instagram post on Able’s account. Hellweg and Gehrke have long been co-conspirators in the coffee brewing innovation game, so much so that Able created a custom Kone filter to be used specifically with Hellweg’s Ratio Eight automatic coffeemaker.

The acquisition was made by Hellweg and Walhood, not Ratio or Clive, meaning the brand will continue to operate under the Able Brewing moniker. In an email to Sprudge, Hellweg states that folks can expect to see an expanded portfolio from Able in the future. “We are not ready to divulge details, but we are going to be looking at other areas of manual brewing of both coffee and tea to see where we can apply the Able perspective.” Hellweg adds, “Manual brewing is a crowded category with an overwhelming array of options, so we will only want to offer a product if we can do something a little different, a touch nicer in terms of the brewing experience, coffee quality, and durability.”

Hellweg tells Sprudge that an official announcement will be made available on Able’s website shortly. In the meantime, more information is available via Able’s Instagram.

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

Top photo © Mark Poprocki/Adobe Stock

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Source: Coffee News

Intellectual Property In Coffee: A Global Game Of Clones

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I remember when I visited my extended family in Taiwan in 1998. Lining the streets were vendors doling out the latest movie on DVD, before it even left the theater. A few years later, the girls around school were all sporting bags with the Chanel-style C patterned around them. I bought a pair of C-patterned heels for NT$100 (US$3 at that time). They were such a steal and people fawned all over them.

What I didn’t know was that pirated movies and counterfeit products were intellectual property rights violations, and that I was enabling the market.

When I first decided to write this feature series [READ PART ONE HERE] I had wanted to explore cultural influences in intellectual property (IP). Instead, it evolved into also looking at how developing countries manage IP and how the internet influences global coffee culture. Every country has a different approach to IP laws, and social media only makes access to other people’s ideas easier.

IP cases in coffee that play out on the international stage tend to be dominated by large corporations—that is, those entities that have the resources to take things worldwide. Patent registrations protect companies, but they also expire after a set number of years. In 1976, Nestlé filed its first patent for its single-pod Nespresso system and subsequently filed at least 1700 more patents. In the US, Keurig Green Mountain filed its first patent for K-Cup pods in 1992. For both companies, the patents began to expire in 2012, opening the doors to new companies and cheaper pods.

Most specialty coffee companies don’t seem to care much about patent wars, despite some having been recently purchased by larger entities like JAB Holding Company or Nestlé. But as specialty coffee—and its accoutrement—continues to be a growing industry, new coffee equipment is constantly being invented. Having ready access to social media only means the newest ideas can get knocked off easier than ever.

The PUSH tamper, created by UK-based Clockwork Espresso, is one example of new coffee equipment that’s been duplicated around the world. In 2015, when soon-to-be United Kingdom Barista champion Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood pulled out a strange, hockey-puck-like tamper on the world competition stage, the audience was buzzing. The shape was unlike any tamper on the market and could conceivably solve pressure consistency issues that occur from one tamp to the next. As expected, similar products began appearing on the world market soon after. When asked about them, the founder of Clockwork Espresso’s Pete Southern confirmed that they were unauthorized copies. “Yes, there are several replica products on the market that are produced without our permission,” he said via email.

Southern’s background is in biotech, where IP protections are common and respected, giving him a leg up on protecting his new product. “Working in this field means that I have direct experience of working with patents, litigation, enforcement, action, etc,” he said. “The coffee industry currently lacks this understanding of IP, but I think this will change over time.”

Southern plans on building an IP portfolio, which is a collection of IP registrations and assets that a company manages. He elaborated, “We will use this portfolio to protect our investment, in a strategic rather than reactive way.”

One common misconception he points out is that “people also don’t seem to realize that selling/distributing/marketing an infringing product without permission is just as illegal as manufacturing it.” On the flip side, patent owners are also able to license their technology, which can benefit the creation of new products without worrying about infringements.

In his paper “Intellectual Property Challenges for Developing Countries: An Economic Perspective,” Keith E. Markus, Professor of Economics at University of Colorado, Boulder, writes, “The costs of developing a system adequate for handling mere counterfeiting cases, let alone complicated patent disputes, can be substantial.” So while a developing country’s economy could be open to stronger IP laws, those laws lack teeth if no one is able to enforce them.

Furthermore, technology licenses are expensive and benefit those who hold the copyrights, mostly companies based in the US. Markus estimated a net inflow of $5.8 billion per year in licensing fees paid to US companies.

At the time of this writing, the Trump administration imposed tariffs on Chinese goods, which is in response to “alleged policies that help its native companies acquire the technology of US firms.” Tariffs are predicted to harm relations between the two countries, beginning with China imposing its own tariffs on US goods. To expand into the Chinese market, where specialty coffee is poised to grow in both consuming and producing sectors, some sharing of technology information is needed.

Barb and Doug Garrott are co-owners of Orphan Espresso, a Troy, Idaho company that designs and sells coffee grinders and accessories. They’ve had their “products directly purchased, and copied, sold on Amazon, and on eBay,” the Garrotts told Sprudge via email. Orphan Espresso’s OE Lower Bearing Upgrade Kit (for use with the Hario Skerton grinder), Ipanema Dosing Cylinder, and standard dosing funnels are all products they’ve seen directly copied by both small and large, multinational companies.

When the company was first starting out, applying for design patents was too costly for them. Reaching out to the companies that were copying its products only produced responses that pointed out the lack of a patent. The Garrotts learned that “the more successful, the faster it will be copied and if your R&D costs, or tooling costs are quite high, you may be copied before those costs are fully recovered.”

And if companies use overseas manufacturers, IP protection is key. The biggest mistake that the Garrotts have seen peers make, though not made themselves, is “collaborative manufacturing, where the overseas partner became a seller of the design, to the detriment of the original manufacturer—it was a costly mistake.”

Through a Western lens, it is easy to criticize some of this as outright stealing. In his book, “Trouble in the Middle: American-Chinese Business Relations, Culture, Conflict, and Ethics,” author Steven P. Feldman, Professor of Business Ethics at Case Western Reserve University, puts the viewpoint into perspective. In a Confucian society, value is placed in the collective rather than in the individual.

Feldman writes, “Rather than regarding invention as a private right, the Chinese regard public duplication of creative objects as the proper approach to the value of such objects because all creativity comes from a public repository and should contribute back to it.”

This belief in collectivism vs. individualism is at direct odds with IP, where assets and ideas are registered and fought over. China’s entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001 meant that it had to agree to some basic IP laws. WTO’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) establishes “minimum standards of protection and enforcement that each government has to give to the intellectual property held by nationals of fellow WTO members.”

Feldman says that market protection and stability is far more important to the Chinese government than IP enforcement. He writes: “The Chinese government is concerned that enforcement of IP could hinder economic development by blocking access to information and technology, allowing foreign firms who own the IP to dominate the China market and creating a trade imbalance that favors the West.”

International accords were written by developed nations and have been criticized as being a barrier for developing nations’ growth. Feldman concludes, “The fact is that developing nations cannot compete with developed nations in most areas of IP.”

Technology’s Influences on Coffee Culture

In Vietnam, where Confucianism has a long history, coffee is both grown and consumed. Because the specialty coffee industry is newer, the values may not be as impactful as in other industries.

Sarah G. Grant, Assistant Professor in Cultural Anthropology at California State University, Fullerton, studies Vietnam’s cultural and economic policies in relation to the commodity coffee industry. In a written interview, Grant says the internet played a greater role in the industry than Confucianism. “The Vietnamese specialty coffee industry developed quite rapidly and I think the relative age, education level, and English language fluency has significantly shaped it,” she says. At the moment, Vietnamese specialty coffee professionals are collaborative and supportive of each other.

Social media has certainly played a role in intellectual property and design concepts. Being able to see what a well-known cafe abroad looks like without ever leaving your country offers up an opportunity to spark ideas close to home. Grant says, “A lot of these models put cafe design first—some of the best-known specialty cafes in Vietnam feel like walking into a cafe in LA, Berlin, or San Francisco and I think there’s something to be said for that design influence.”

Interior design inspiration is one thing, but images, logos, and other such copyrighted or trademarked materials can be found floating across international waters. Brian W. Jones, a designer and brand consultant to coffee companies, shared a few examples of this with Sprudge via email.

“Poster designs that I’ve made have been turned into stamps that people use like a logo on their takeaway cups, paintings on their walls, [designs on] their own t-shirts,” Jones says. Most of the violators are small businesses in faraway countries, and pursuing action is often expensive.

When designing for a client, Jones retains only the right to display work in a portfolio. However, he’s observed a client’s branding pirated to a country distant from the original business. “I worked on a [cafe] branding project in London that had [the company’s] entire name and logo ripped off in Seoul,” Jones says. “There was signage and printed cups and engraved tables, all with this logo I designed for a different company.”

What is more concerning—and why many of these protections exist in the first place—is when a stolen name or trademark begins to be confused with the original holder. This tends to dilute the brand and can be damaging to the company. Jones says, “People who would travel to Seoul began to think the London-based company had expanded to South Korea.”

UK-based shop Kaffeine is no stranger to having its designs and name used outside of its home country.  Peter Dore-Smith, founder and director of Kaffeine, wrote via email that despite having the logo and name registered across the EU, “We now have ‘branches in Russia, Jakarta, Texas, Budapest, Penkridge (UK) and the latest is in Crete. There may be even one in Sydney.’”

For Dore-Smith, a friendly reach out comes first. If it fails, then the decision to pursue legal action comes down to where their marks are protected and if it’s worth the cost. “The cost of getting a solicitor to write a letter is about £300 each letter, then following up and chasing, you are looking at around £1,000,” he says.

Farah Bhatti, shareholder at business law firm Buchalter, advises her clients to protect their mark in countries where they plan on selling their products. “Because unlike the US, where it’s a first-to-use country… a lot of other countries are first-to-file countries,” she says. In cases where companies have registered her clients’ trademarks, she ends up filing oppositions against them. Obtaining the rights ends up costing $20,000 when a registration could’ve been only $3000 to $5000.

IP is immensely complicated, especially when you’re expanding internationally. Every country has its own management system, copycat products abound in every industry, and the Internet has only made it easier than ever to adopt ideas.

If success is in your plans, Dore-Smith says, then you should get protection for your brand. Design can be inspired by another shop, but not by a duplication of its marks. “Making a direct copy of something is just stupid and taking the piss,” he adds.

The coffee industry has more challenges ahead in navigating IP in international waters and it may take a few high-profile cases to spur companies into taking protective action.

The final part of this series will focus on IP as it specifically relates to the coffee plant itself in origin countries. Missed the first installment? Click here.

Jenn Chen (@TheJennChen) is a San Francisco–based coffee marketer, writer, and photographer. Read more Jenn Chen on Sprudge.

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Source: Coffee News