Starbucks is once again doing ‘Frappy Hour’, starting this Friday (May 3rd) and running through May 12th. Stop by between 3:00 and 5:00PM to get any Frappuccino blended concoction for 50% off. More info here.
Barista/artist Mike Breach makes some really cool coffee art, essentially ‘painting’ in the foam using the different foam colors produced when steamed milk is poured into espresso. It kinda takes the whole latte art concept to a new level; check out the video below or see pictures of his work at tumblr.
Vietnam is experiencing a really bad drought right now, and if they don’t get rain in the next few weeks, the impact on coffee crops could be huge – maybe as much as a 30% decrease in production this year. They’re primarily growing Robusta beans, not the higher-quality Arabica beans used by all specialty coffee shops, but this would still impact everyone. Producers who typically package these Robusta beans may have to blend in some more expensive Arabica ones…raising the price on the product being sold as well as increasing demand for Arabica.
Of greater concern is that variability in supply like this is likely to become the new norm as climate change impacts these small coffee-producing regions of this planet. The future availability of this crop is uncertain, and while there will always be coffee beans produced, the supply is likely to be variable and may wreck havoc on companies that rely upon it for their business.
Farmers in Guatemala are having a tough time battling a fungus known as ‘coffee rust’ which withers the leaves and can ultimately kill the coffee plant. The president of Guatemala has committed $14 million to help the farmers buy pesticides and receive instruction on how to better prevent the disease, and contain it from spreading. Climate change is partly to blame for this increasing threat, and that brings up the larger issue…in the years ahead, climate change is going to affect these delicate coffee growing regions more and more.
(via the AP)
It may not be pretty, but you’re looking at the world’s fastest coffee powered car, clocking in at a not so astounding 65mph. It converts coffee chaff pellets into power by a complicated gasification process. While really just a technology demonstrator, it does show off an interesting alternative energy source for vehicles.
A new lever-based espresso machine called the Nomad is attempting to launch over at Kickstarter. It’s designed to be portable and easy to use, and the video seems to back up that claim. Seems simple enough…the one feature that I noticed right away was the pressure gauge on the top surface, a very nice feature that I haven’t seen in all lever based systems. Price for early adopters is $165. Check out the video below.
Starbucks is offering a reusable $1 coffee cup, and giving people a $.10 discount whenever you use it. At that level, the break-even point is pretty attractive…this just might catch on. You also get that $.10 discount with any other reusable cup or tumbler.
So here’s one of those things that I thought (and hoped) was a joke, but it seems to be legit. Capitalizing on the high prices of Kopi Luwak coffee, and the massive sizes of elephants’ guys, entrepreneurs in Thailand have put a herd of twenty elephants to work eating and pooping coffee beans to subtly alter its flavor (after it’s been pooped, collected, and washed of course). Or to put it another way, to charge incredible amounts of money due to the scarcity of elephant poop coffee. Yes, I’m more than a bit skeptical of the value of this…there are so many great coffee beans to be found for less than $50 per pound, I just don’t see the value in paying around $500 (yes, five HUNDRED) dollars a pound for coffee beans that have traveled through the intestinal tract of an elephant in Thailand.
(read more here)
The Velopresso is a mobile, pedal-powered coffee making machine designed by Royal College of Art grads Amos Field Reid and Lasse Oiva. The rider/barista uses pedal power to grind the beans, and the espresso is made via a manual lever style press. It does, though, use a small gas canister to heat the water.
Designer Enrique Luis Sardi has crafted this edible espresso cup for the Italian coffee company Lavazza. With a cookie outside and frosted inside (to make it watertight, and also sweeten the espresso), may seem like a fanciful concept that will never make it out of the laboratory, but it’ll actually be hitting the market in Europe. Given the US’ love of drip coffee and mega-sized espresso drinks, I doubt we’ll see this on our shores anytime soon (really, when’s the last time you saw someone order an espresso at your local Starbucks?). Kinda cool though.