Starbucks is giving its iPhone-toting patrons a new option for visiting their stores…they can use an app to order and pay for their drink before they’ve even arrived at the store. When they show up, it’s ready (or close to ready)…no more standing in what can be a very long line at times. This is being offered in Portland, Oregon, only right now as a beta test, but Starbucks plans to roll it out on a city by city basis throughout 2015 (and eventually, add the feature to its Android app). It’ll be interesting to see how this evolves…it’s a pretty big change in the fast food retail experience.
Read more over at Wired.
Ever wonder how coffee affects your brain? Check out this cool video from ASAPScience:
If you use a Keurig K-cup brewer, there’s a great alternative to throwing away hundreds of K-cups per year, and that’s a refillable/reusable cup like this one from Ekobrew. For $17 (Amazon link), you get a stainless steel cup that you can fill with your favorite ground coffee. There’s also a plastic version available for ~$8.
Well so much for that old belief…turns out that coffee does NOT dehydrate you, it actually helps contribute to your daily fluid needs. Well, at least in moderation. The study (read more about it here) had subjects drink either four cups of coffee or water per day for three days, then after a 10 day ‘wash out’ period, coffee drinkers and water drinkers swapped.
In the mornings, your body is already doing its thing to wake you up…and because of that, the caffeine in coffee isn’t really needed then. It’s best to wait until your body hits its natural lows, which are in the late morning and early afternoon, as this infographic shows. You can read more about the logic behind this idea over at Forbes.com.
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.