It’s a quiet Saturday morning in Portland, Oregon, and coffee professionals Lucy Alvarez and Angel Medina are settling in for the day at their 14”x 14” coffee bar. The duo are glad to be home—they just arrived back in the city from a trip to Mexico, visiting coffee farmers in the Colima region, in the villages of Arrayanal, Yerba Buena, Cofradia, and Suchitlan. Alvarez and Medina pride themselves on their personal connection between the origin of the roast, their coffee shop, and their families. You can taste it in every cup of coffee served at Kiosko, their small coffee shop nestled on the SW bank of the Willamette River.

Alvarez and Medina opened back on July 1st, 2017 with intentions to infuse the Mexican-American experience into Portland’s coffee scene. Starting out as a fundraiser for a national pro-DACA initiative, Alvarez and Medina went from small-scale roasting to shop owners overnight. Throughout the process, they’ve stayed true to their roots as small business owners with a deeply felt Mexican heritage.

There is a lot of waste associated with coffee shops. It is a sad fact that many in the industry are painfully aware of and actively trying to curb. But sometimes, even with the best of intentions, the results are… confusing. Take for example, the Stircle, the new in-counter electric coffee stirrer. It feels like its heart is in the right place, so why can’t I not hate it?

Brought to our attention by Mashable, the Stircle is designed to combat the very real problem of waste in coffee shops, particularly the 400 million—by Amron Experimental’s count, the company behind the Stircle—stir sticks thrown away every day. But the solution feels a bit overdesigned, no? It’s like if you got a bunch of Silicon Valley tech bros in a room and said, “We need you to design a new stir stick, not recreate the wheel,” and all they heard was, “create a new stir stick that is a wheel.”

According to Stircle’s website, the device “costs 99% less to run than stir sticks and it stirs better.” Dubious claims about “stirring better” aside (because what does that even mean? Surely this can’t be a real, verifiable claim), the Stircle ranges in cost from $345 to...

Anthracite is hard coal—the mineral’s purest form, containing little filler, it burns as clean as coal burns, and built the world in the wake of civilization’s transition from primarily using wood for fuel at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. It makes sense, then, that the Seoul-based Anthracite Coffee was founded in a factory, in the city’s Hapjeong neighborhood.

In total, Anthracite has three locations within metropolitan Seoul, as well as a fourth on Jeju Island, all catering to a mix of tourists and locals.

Formerly a shoe factory, the original Hapjeong space is marked by concrete walls, stone floors, and exposed beams. Its ample seating allows for patrons to soak in a kind of moody, industrialness that stands in stark contrast to the newer cafe and roasting space in the Hannam neighborhood, for instance.

That blockchain is so hot right now. Blockchain. It is, without question, the word I’ve heard the most recently without having any idea what it means. It generally goes along the lines of, “something something Bitcoin something something blockchain something something.” It’s very technical. But now, a coffee company is using blockchain technology to bring more transparency to each cup of coffee. Put another way, “something something coffee something something blockchain.”

In its most uncomplicated form, blockchain is just a cloud-based ledger that records transactions. According to the Wall Street Journal, Denver’s Coda Coffee is applying this new fangled record-keeping to tracking coffee from the farm to the coffee shop. Each coffee they sell is given a QR code that customers can scan to “see the date and location of every transaction—from collection at the farm to washing and drying, milling, export, roasting and retail.”

For this traceability to work, new processes have to be put in place at origin. To catalog new coffees, farmers in Eastern Uganda put their crop through a machine that “analyzes the beans and assigns them a lot number that customers can trace.” Called the “bextmachine,” that analyzer was created by Denver startup Bext360 and is intended to...

The tastiest tipple we tasted at the London Coffee Festival? A coffee beer that doesn’t taste like a coffee beer.

Brew By Numbers, celebrating its fifth year in 2018, was founded by Dave Seymour and Tom Hutchings. From humble beginnings home-brewing in a basement on London’s Southwark Bridge Road, the two have built a strong brewing company with a loyal beer geek following. Brew By Numbers worked with Round Hill Roastery, located near Bath, to develop a coffee pale for the London Coffee Festival.

Sprudge spoke with Dale Seymour at the festival to learn more.

Brew By Numbers beers are all numbered. What number is this one?

The name of the coffee beer is 21:16. Just pale ale with coffee. So the first two numbers we have in all of our beers is the style, so in this case, 21 represents pale ale. And then the second two represent the recipe within that style. So this is the 16th unique pale ale that we’ve brewed.

How did you approach this coffee beer?

Well we’ve brewed quite a few coffee porters, and dark beers in the past, but we’re checking with Oli [Bradshaw] from Round Hill about doing something a little different, so we wanted to bring something lighter, the...

Today is 420, so we ask for but a small portion of your time spent dabbin’ your doobies to bring you some coffee news. But SURPRISE! It’s really cannabis and coffee news. A coffee company that is using cannabis tech to grow coffee plants in Southern California.

According to Wired, Boulder, Colorado’s Front Range Biosciences—a producer of “marijuana plants free of viruses and bacteria”—is expanding their crop diversity to include coffee plants and have agreed to give 3 million plants over the next four years to Frinj Coffee. Much like coffee trees, cannabis plants are susceptible to bacteria and diseases that drastically affect their output. To combat this, Front Range Biosciences has created a “clean stock” system of cloning plants that uses tissue grafts to ensure that just the plants themselves get duplicated, not any of the nasty diseases they may carry.

And Front Range is now using the same process for cloning coffee plants. These lab-cloned plants provide a secondary benefit of allowing Frinj to know exactly what coffee variety they are growing. According to the article wind-pollinated coffee trees often lead to wild hybridization, making it difficult to know the exact genetic makeup of each new plant. But because everything is controlled in the lab,...

When people think of spaces for queer communities to congregate, collaborate, and enjoy each other’s company, bars and clubs are usually the first thing that comes to mind. This assumption—that an openly  gay or queer space must inherently be a bar—is beholden to its own history and fraught with prejudice. It’s also only part of the story.

Queer coffeehouses have for centuries been vital to queer culture past and present, presenting valuable spaces for organizing, finding community, and freely inhabiting queer identity. While many tend to associate queer culture with nightlife—a direct result of the criminalization of queer identity over the course of history—queer coffeehouses occupy their own essential cultural space, sometimes operating as part of the nightlife scene, and sometimes acting as a valuable counterpoint.

As the legality of various queer identities and expressions has fluctuated over time, the culture around where and how queer people congregate has shifted alongside it; while the queer coffeehouses of the past were often spaces where expressing queer identity was an act of open (and sometimes illegal) rebellion, queer coffeehouses of the present are able to inhabit queer space in marvelously myriad...

The London Coffee Festival 2018 has come and gone, but the memories remain—and so does all the hot new gear we tested at the show. One product we were excited to hear more about is Mazzer Robur S, a high performance coffee grinder that follows, yet completely re-invents, the current Robur model.

Mazzer are hardly newcomers to the coffee world.  Founded by Luigi Mazzer in 1948, the now 70-year-old historic Italian brand the brand exports more than 70% of its production nearly a hundred countries around the world. Mazzer grinders are used and loved by top baristas and roasters around the world, and often paired with espresso machines by La Marzocco through a longstanding partnership.

The new Robur S presented at LCF 2018 is an electronic grinder-doser (available in two versions, both automatic and electronic on demand) with conical grinding blades and slow speed rotation (420 RPM – 50 Hz). The ideal home for Robur S is a busy coffee shop with high consumption.

What’s new? The new grinder improves dose consistency and...

Waste from disposable coffee cups are an issue. We all know this; it isn’t news. But perhaps what is most perplexing about this problem is that many of these cups are actually recyclable. A new article from BBC News breaks down how the problem isn’t necessarily the cup itself, but how it is disposed of.

The article notes that a staggering 99.75% of the estimated 2.5 billion (in 2011. That number is believed to be higher now) disposable cups in the UK end up in a landfill. But many of the biggest producers of these cups—including Starbucks and Costa—have cups that actually are recyclable. So what’s the problem then? The snag comes in where these cups are thrown away.

Because disposable cups are a mix of paper and plastic, it takes a specialized facility to properly dispose of them. So if you throw away a cup in recycling at Starbucks or Costa (which doesn’t really make sense; take away cups are for taking your coffee away from the coffee shop), they will be taken to the appropriate recycling plant. But, if you throw your cup away in a bin at home or on the street or just about any place that isn’t where the coffee was purchased, it will most likely end up in a landfill.

To combat this, many...

We’re just a few short days from Black Coffee, a new live podcast event from creative director Michelle Johnson in Portland, Oregon. Tickets are available here, and today we’ve got some exciting additions to the programming to announce!

The event takes place on Tuesday, April 24th from 6-9pm at the Clinton Street Theater, a classic cinema and live theater venue in the heart of Southeast Portland, Oregon. Ticket pre-sale is now available. Hosted by Michelle Johnson, Ian Williams (Deadstock Coffee), and Gio Fillari (Coffee Feed PDX), this event centers the voices and experiences of Black coffee professionals and enthusiasts alike, all with unique perspectives that span intersectional identities and roles on the retail end of the value chain. Special guests include D’Onna Stubblefield (Counter Culture Coffee), JUST ADDED Ezra Baker (Share Coffee Roasters), Zael Ogwaro (Never Coffee), Adam JacksonBey (The Potter’s House), and Cameron Heath (Revelator Coffee Company). The main event at Clinton Street Theater will feature a live DJ performance by |Fritzwa|.

We’re excited to partner...

Over the long weekend of April 12th-15th, the international coffee industry and tens of thousands of its biggest fans gathered in Shoreditch, London for the 2018 London Coffee Festival. A four-day event now in its eighth year, the festival brings together established companies and smaller independent brands alike to present their products to more than 30,000 baristas, roasters, CEOs, entrepreneurs, associated media, craftspeople and coffee lovers of all stripes. I was on the ground at the London Coffee Festival to check out the hottest new tech coming on the market later this year.

Rancilio Group has been producing traditional espresso machines and grinders at their factory in Parabiago near Milan, Italy for over 90 years. The London Coffee Festival 2018 marked their official debut into the specialty coffee market with the new Rancilio Specialty.

Rancilio Specialty is a stainless steel espresso machine featuring three independent groupheads with dedicated displays, an insulated service boiler with programmable water change, and steam levers each with two powers levels for different jug sizes. Thanks to a multi-boiler...

Hey there Sprudge reader! Thanks for clicking this link, and thank you, as always, for reading our website. A good 95% of what we report about on Sprudge takes place far outside our own organizational sphere, but from time to time we’ll keep you posted about what we’re up to as a media network, and today is one of those days. If internal talk of #SprudgeLife is not your jam, we understand fully—you might instead prefer this emotional treatise on the state of the Americano, or an interview with Jerry Seinfeld, or a coffee guide to Kyoto—but if you’re still with us, thank you, let’s get down to it.

Sprudge Media Network is excited to announce our 2018-2019 editorial advisory board. It is a broad, wide-reaching, and highly informed group of individuals that come from all steps of the coffee chain, from producers to entrepreneurs...

In the coffee farms along western Colombia, indigenous transgender people are finding places to work and a safe haven to express themselves. A new article in National Geographic details the work of photographer Lena Mucha as she follows these workers in the fields, the dormitories, and the city.

As the article notes, many trans people don’t find acceptance in their communities and are “often punished or forced to leave their villages, even if they have families and children.”

“I know in Colombia being transgender is quite heavy,” Mucha says. “It’s a very conservative country. LGBTQ [awareness] is something that’s coming slowly and in the bigger cities, like Bogota. When it comes to villages and indigenous communities, they see it as a disease that comes from the white man. There’s no understanding of why this can happen and that it’s normal.”

This has led many to find refuge working on coffee farms, where after the work is finished, they are able to “dress as they’d like during their free time without punishment or harassment.”

Mucha’s work captures candid moments of these women’s...

Coffee lovers, meet Peak, a new home water pitcher designed for coffee brewing. This new project from Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood (of Colonna Coffee and Water For Coffee famedebuted at the 2018 London Coffee Festival, drawing a weekend’s long packed booth of curious onlookers, neck-craners, and gongoozlers. Colonna-Dashwood helped design this device and was on hand to take punters through the paces at the fest; a corresponding Kickstarter campaign is now live.

The Peak pitcher is comprised three-part disc system with a simple goal: to make water for coffee better. The pitcher’s filters work to remove impurities, while also treating water with necessary minerals and solids that help extract a quality cup of coffee.

Peak discs (via Kickstarter)

Until Peak, there hasn’t been a gravity-fed water pitcher filter designed specifically for coffee brewing. As water quality varies wildly from region to region, Peak pitchers will be packaged with a water testing kit for users to determine their specific treatment needs. The pitcher will have a dial at the top to adjust the amount of treatment the Peak provides.

Another year at the London Coffee Festival, another round of inspired coffee cocktails. This massive festival—30,000+ attendees this year and counting—encourages guests to drink freely and mightily as companies hand out coffee-forward booze beverages throughout the day. And the true nexus for bibendum at the London Coffee Festival is La Marzocco‘s annual True Artisan Cafe, bringing together more than 20 coffee roasters and cafes for a series of three-hour shifts, pulling out all the stops along the way for a series of inventive signature drinks.

“True Artisan Bar was created to give our partners and customers the opportunity to spend time with consumers,” says UK La Marzocco Manager Paul Kelly. “The signature drinks and cocktails show creativity and passion that they don’t get the chance to showcase in their cafes.”

With a live DJ setting the mood, the whole atmosphere is positively club-like. We tried heaps of ace booze here, but these cheeky cocktails stood out among the rest.

Summer Is Coming – Coffee Collective

For three short hours, Copenhagen’s Coffee Collective took over the La Marzocco True Artisan Cafe at the 2018 London Coffee Festival. While there, the team pulled shots on the...

Imagine being convicted of a crime, sent to jail, serving your sentence, and then being released back into the world to find work. Would you take a job in a former police station, with holding cells intact and graffiti of past detainees still etched on the steel doors? This is the scenario some Rotterdam residents are finding themselves in. Whether you call it an ironic twist of fate, dark comedy, or proof of Northern Europe’s cool-headed, constructive criminal justice system, this social enterprise is called Heilige Boontjes. Locals can appreciate the double meaning: heilige boontjes is the Dutch expression for “goody two shoes” and translates to “holy beans.”

Established three years ago by a cop and a social worker, Heilige Boontjes has been helping economically and socially disadvantaged individuals by training them to work at a coffee bar. The majority are young ex-cons who have been selected for the program by city authorities. Pulling espresso shots, clearing tables, or ringing up orders, they are meant to develop skills deemed necessary to return...

There were four, then there were two. Then there was just one. That one is Agnieszka Rojewska, a freelance competitor from Poland, the 2018 Coffee Masters champion at the London Coffee Festival.

On paper, Rojewska was supposed to win. She’s a four time national latte art champion, has won national barista championships more times than I can count, and was a finalist at last year’s New York Coffee Masters. This was hers to win. On paper. (She may have even been the not-so-quiet pick of the Sprudge team.) But things never play out like they are supposed to. Rojewska had a self-described “rough” first round, placing her in the middle of the top eight cutoff at the end of the first day with a second, larger day still left to compete. But Rojewska held on to the sixth place spot, earning her way to the next round. And after that, it all went according to plan.

Agnieszka Rojewska (right) blind folded during the cupping challenge, with judge Freda Yuan (center) and MC Lem Butler (left).

What we call our coffee drinks says a lot about us.

Here in America it’s all-Italian-everything. Cappuccino. Italiano. Espresso. The way we talk about coffee is still beholden to the Italian craftspeople who invented espresso technology, and thus espresso drinks, over a hundred years ago. There are of course a few exceptions, like the Mocha, which has its roots in Yemen, or the Gibraltar, which is named for the Libbey brand glassware it’s served in. Slang is creeping into the American coffee experience slowly, but for the most part our cafe menus have stayed the same, even as seemingly everything else about coffee in America has changed dramatically.

The Australians, meanwhile, slang-obsessed and giving little to zero linguistic fucks, have developed* their own lingua franca of coffee drinks. An Americano is, in Australia, a “Long Black,” made with four ounces of water and two-ish ounces of espresso. A simple espresso is, by the same logic, a “Short Black.” A latte is a “Flat White”—that’s really all it is, don’t @ me—and a “Magic” is, I think, a double ristretto topped up with like 120-150 ml of milk, although most of the time it isn’t a true ristretto shot, because that would mean resetting the grinder. So the mythical “Magic” is really just an overdosed shot or a shot pulled short with a little bit...

Just around the river bend from the London Coffee Festival and outside of Christ Church Spitafields, the team at HasBean has opened a four-day pop-up market. Deep underground, in what was formally a public toilet turned nightclub turned restaurant, the space is now filled with coffee goods, brewing devices, espressos, and cheeky ice cream with coffee competition inspired toppings.

HasBean got its start as a cafe in Stafford (in the Midlands region) from 2000-2003, and has helped pioneer coffee culture and sales in the online space ever since, working with an international network of wholesale accounts along the way. This marks the company’s second London pop-up experience, following last year’s pour-over only [H]AND bar inside Uniqlo. 2018 marks the first time the company has built a cafe all their own.

Stephen Leighton and Co. brought 18 coffees for the pop-up with at least four different ways to enjoy them: as pour-over at their hand-drip station, as an ice cream sundae, a self-serve “In My Mug” station with a La Marzocco Linea Mini, and a full-service espresso bar. Among those brewing coffee is none other than World Barista...

#CoffeeToo, a “volunteer-run grassroots community project dedicated to gathering and sharing information and resources with coffee professionals on the topics of discrimination and sexual harassment within the coffee industry” spearheaded by Molly Flynn is launching a new initiative in the form an epic pledge campaign. The campaign, according to Flynn, “urges the whole coffee community (not just the US coffee community) to pledge to conduct themselves in a non-toxic way and to be active allies in toxic situations.”

In a written statement, the organization explains “#coffeetoo has created a pledge for any person, organization, or business to say they will not engage in toxic or dangerous behaviors, and will instead adopt an action plan for being an active ally for those who are in toxic situations.”

Once members of the coffee community sign the pledge, there will be a number of ways to show solidarity: the organization will be handing out enamel pins and users will be able to express their allyship digitally with custom Facebook photo frames.

To help support the initiative, #CoffeeToo are hosting an upcoming event—their first—to drive community engagement and support. To learn more about #coffeetoo and this event, head over to the #coffeetoo Facebook page.

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