Happy Monday! A quick recap of some interesting coffee-related news stories from the last few weeks: South Sudan will soon begin exporting coffee for the first time ever, a study recently linked enjoying your coffee black with being a psychopath, and Stumptown Coffee Roaster is being bought out by Peet’s Coffee & Tea. Starbucks is getting into the holiday season, unveiling their 2015 red holiday cups and once again offering a special, limited edition Halloween-themed frappuccino. Also, Walter’s Coffee, the Breaking Bad themed coffee shop, may soon come to the U.S. with help from their recently launched Kickstarter campaign.
Starting this month, Nespresso will begin exporting coffee from South Sudan, a first for the young country. For the past several years, Nespresso, along with the non-profit organisation TechnoServe, has been helping to revive the coffee production industry in the region after it was nearly destroyed by conflict. Nespresso, in a recent press release, has called South Sudan the “cradle of coffee” and “one of the only places in the world where coffee still grows in the wild”. Currently extremely limited volumes of the newly exported coffee, named Suluja ti South Sudan meaning “Beginning of South Sudan”, are only being made available to Nespresso Club Members in France.
For the last week or so, it seems everyone was talking about a study that linked taking your coffee black with being a psychopath. The study, through the University of Innsbruck in Austria, looked at a sample size of about 1,000 Americans who filled out questionnaires online to self-report their taste preferences as well as personality questionnaires that assessed antisocial personality traits such as Machiavellianism, psychopathy, narcissism, and everyday sadism. The results of the study showed a positive correlation between participants who indicated that they enjoyed bitter flavors, such as coffee, and having malevolent personality traits, leading the researchers to conclude “the data thereby provide novel insights into the relationship between personality and the ubiquitous behaviors of eating and drinking by consistently demonstrating a robust relation between increased enjoyment of bitter foods and heightened sadistic proclivities”. – Self-reported data can be very unreliable, so I’d take the results with a grain of salt until a study is done where actual qualified professionals assess participants one on one for personality traits and possibly actual taste tests (the authors acknowledged that the questionnaire didn’t really leave room for exactly how bitter something is (the example they gave is tea is bitter, but adding sweetener to it provides a sliding scale of exactly how bitter it ends up being, so liking tea isn’t indicative of liking bitter tastes – the same could be applied to coffee).
Peet’s Coffee & Tea recently announced their plan to buy Stumptown Coffee Roaster (you may remember them as the makers of the limited edition Col’ Brew coffee that was given away to promote The Late Show With Stephen Colbert). This would make Stumptown coffee the newest acquisition under the JAB Holdings Company, which currently hold majority stakes in not only Peet’s Coffee & Tea, but also Caribou Coffee Company, Jacobs Douwe Egberts, Belstaff, and Jimmy Choo.
It really starts to feel like the holiday season to me when Starbucks starts handing out their festive little red holiday cups – 2015, however, umm… they’re just red? Honesty I had no idea they were a “a two-toned ombré design” until I read the press release. According to Jeffrey Fields, Starbucks vice president of Design & Content, every year the holiday cups were designed to tell a story, but this year they wanted a “a purity of design that welcomes all of our stories.” – It might just be me, but this years cups don’t really say “holiday” to me. Anybody else like them?
Last year, Starbucks celebrated Halloween with a special, limited edition Halloween-themed frappuccino, the green tea Franken Frappuccino. They’re carrying on the tradition this year with Frappula Frappuccino, described as “white chocolate sauce, milk and ice blended together then layered between mocha sauce and a dollop of whipped cream. A drizzle of raspberry syrup oozes from the rim, which is finished with whipped cream on top.” The limited edition frappuccino will be available in U.S. stores from Oct. 28th-31st and in Canadian stores from Oct. 28th-Nov.1. – I’m so there.
Walter’s Coffee, the Breaking Bad themed coffee shop I mentioned last month, may soon come to the U.S. with help from their recently launched Kickstarter campaign. Check out their campaign video below.