Posts Tagged ‘Caffeine Magazine’

Am I damaging the planet with my coffee habit?

February 13, 2021

Are reusable coffee cups doing more harm than good?

Indie coffee shops are as always showing the way, ahead of the game, compostable coffee cups, reusable cups, but are we doing more harm than good?

We are in the midst of a coronavirus pandemic, takeaway coffee cups, contactless payments, necessary evils to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Best practice is that shown by Coffee Aroma. Only one person allowed into the coffee shop at a time, contactless payment only, takeaway cups a necessary evil, no reusable cups. No reusable cups accepted, anyone who tries will not be served and if persist will be asked to leave.

At the other end of the spectrum, Brian of Brian’s Coffee Spot going around coffee shops insisting they take his coffee cups, in one coffee shop he handed over two different coffee cups, then bragging on social media his cups accepted and encouraging others to do the same. Highly irresponsible behaviour.

A minority of coffee shops have reusable coffee cups on sale. Why reusable cups on sale? If on sale customers will expect to be able to bring in reusable cups. When I have queried this, no one should be using reusable cups during coronavirus pandemic, I was told if someone brings a reusable cup, they fill a takeaway cup, up to the customer to then fill their own reusable cup. Somewhat self-defeating.

It cannot be emphasised enough, no one should be taking a reusable coffee cup to a coffee shop, no coffee shop should be accepting. It is to introduce an unnecessary disease vector that puts staff and customers at risk.

Compostable coffee cups are not compostable, at least not on a compost heap, they will biodegrade in an industrial biodegrader, though I have found they will compost on a well made compost heap. What do we we do with them once we have drunk our coffee, unless on our way home to drop on the compost heap, assuming we have a garden let alone a compost heap.

Reusable coffee cups simply address a symptom, not the underlying problem of grab it and go, instant gratification, pointless consumerism.

The only way to enjoy a coffee is to relax in an indie coffee shop with coffee served in glass or ceramic, which sadly not possible in the midst of coronavirus pandemic. And even when coffee shops were open, even before the first lockdown, many coffee shops were only serving in takeaway cups contactless payment to reduce the risk of cross infection.

Coffee shops get lumped together with pubs as hospitality, they should not be, they were not spreading coronavirus.

When we come out of lockdown, it should be slowly slowly, pause at each stage with a willingness to immediately impose hard lockdown, with testing in the community. We should close our city centres to traffic, pedestrianise the streets, the first to open as the weather warms up indie coffee shops and restaurants with socially distanced tables in the street. Win win for everyone, kick starts the local economy, helps local businesses, improves city centre ambience.

I would berate Scott though not for forgetting his reusable cup and using a takeaway cup. I would berate Scott for using either. If the coffee was so good he wished to brag about, why did he drink it from a disposable cup (pandemic excepted but then should not be using a reusable cup)? I would berate Scott for not relaxing in a coffee shop, the excellent coffee served in glass or ceramic. To do anything less, is to not do justice to the coffee and the person who brewed it.

Would we treat a red wine in this way, slosh into a takeaway cup and jog off down the street? I think not, not unless we are a wino. Therefore why do we treat coffee with such contempt?

We face several existential crisis, global pandemics, climate change, plastic pollution, mass species extinction. We have to address all, we cannot pick and choose.

UK later this year hosts COP26. Cumbria has given the go ahead for expansion of coal mining, Leeds airport expansion, relaxation of rules on night time flying at Leeds Bradford Airport.

Worrying about drinking a cappuccino is pissing in the wind. We would better direct our efforts at closing down drive-thru takeaway coffee outlets.

Plastic-lined takeaway cups contribute to plastic pollution.

Currently whilst in the midst of a global covid-19 pandemic, a takeaway cup a necessary evil to reduce risk of cross infection. No one should be taking a takeaway coffee cup to a coffee shop, no coffee shop should accept, it is to introduce an unnecessary disease vector which puts staff and customers at risk.

Grass-fed cows, the grass continually eaten acts a carbon sink, improves soil structure, soaks up rain water, soaks up carbon, slows flash floods, good for wildlife. We have woods, hedgerows, ponds and marshes.

Yes, we should be concerned about about our carbon footprint. A cappuccino is the least of our worries.

Drinking a cup of coffee, drive to a drive-thru coffee shop? What of flights?

Fake milks cause huge environmental damage, soy destruction of rainforest (and unless certified organic almost certainly gmo), almonds drain the California water table.

I would not have coffee beans shipped from outside the country, not when add shipping cost. On the other hand, if out of the country, I may pick up a bag of coffee and bring it back home.

But what of my arranging coffee beans to Cyprus? If not, do we deny coffee shops source of speciality coffee beans?

Beggars belief incineration being suggested as alternative to landfill, landfill we are running out of, hence a landfill tax.

No, we close the loops, we reduce waste, we do not use takeaway cups, we do not use reusable cups. In the natural world waste does not exist either in time or space, output of one process feeds into another process.

How many coffee shops place their spent coffee grounds outside in a strong paper bag to be taken away to be used on the garden?

Carbon neutral transport? Electric vehicles powered by renewable sources, or the carbon offset scam? The only way to reduce carbon in the atmosphere is not to emit carbon.

We have to look at whole life cycle cost. At best the plastic cup can be downcycled, the metal cup recycled many times, the energy recovered.

And that was the problems with the discussion, takeaway cups or reusable cups, which is the better? Neither, neither should exist, instead we should address the underlying problem of takeaway culture.

If we care about the coffee we are drinking, let us do it justice, let us show respect for the barista, the roastery, the farm and the growers.

Laura Young sums up Oatly:

I don’t want my money going to the destruction of the planet, and putting peoples lives and land at risk just so that I can have a creamy coffee in the morning!

A man flogging fake milk tells us to drink fake milk. Now who would have guessed that?

Comparison of Oatly with milk from cows was biased, but then what to expect when the source is someone flogging fake milk.

We heard of transparency. No mention of acquisition of a share of Oatly by Vulture Capitalists responsible for forest destruction or by a Chinese state owned company to facilitate access to the Chinese market.

Oatly used to be a small company that made a profit. They are now a big company that made a loss of $35 million in 2019.

The comparison was with industrial agriculture, the same industrial agriculture producing oats for Oatly, intensive agriculture.

Cows have an advantage, they are very efficient at converting to something edible what we cannot eat, converted to meat, milk and cheese, cheese produced by an age old natural method of fermentation.

Yes, cows produce methane, and yes methane 20 times more potent than CO2, but CO2 lasts decades in the atmosphere, whereas the methane produced by the cows short lived. We fill a field with cows, assuming we do not increase the stocking level, a small increase in atmospheric methane which will then remain constant, it will not increase, the grassy field will be a carbon sink.

No mention of nutritional deficiency

The only thing can be said in favour of Oatly, one of the better fake milks, nevertheless a cappuccino poured with Oatley looks and tastes disgusting.

Is that milk with your cappuccino or watered down porridge with enzymes added?

Milk needs fat for structure and flavour, essential for a cappuccino.

If do not wish for milk in a coffee, then ask for a V60 pour over.

The only fake milk maybe worth trying, and I confess I have yet to try, Rebel Kitchen, they at least have attempted to address the issue of fat.

Plant-based has become the new low fat, a means of marketing the output of global food corporations.

We should be supporting grass-fed agriculture, agroforestry, not monoculture, rows of monoculture crops which require herbicides, fertiliser, pesticide, will enable runoff, loss of soil, no improvement of soil structure.

Climate Change is a result of a mindset, that is based on monoculture, fossil fuels, chemicals, corporate control. We do not address Climate Emergency by applying the same mindset that caused the problem, global corporations trying to control what we eat and drink, destruction of local culture and diversity, is not the answer.

Excellent environmental issues being raised and discussed, but please do not greenwash on behalf of Oatly.

Adventures in Coffee a collaboration between Caffeine Magazine, Jools Walker and Filter Stories. Presented by Jools Walker and Scott Bentley.

Is really expensive coffee a ripoff?

January 30, 2021

What do we mean by expensive coffee, really expensive coffee? And is it hype?

I pay somewhere between eight to twelve pounds sterling for a bag of coffee. Sometimes maybe fifteen a bag.

Expensive coffee is something very special, £10 for a bottle of 100g, twenty pound for a bag, maybe even twenty five a bag.

So what is really expensive coffee?

The topic for discussion in the first episode of Adventures in Coffee, a podcast by Caffeine Magazine.

Adventures in Coffee a collaboration between Caffeine Magazine, Jools Walker aka Lady Velo and Filter Stories Podcast. Presented by Jools Walker and Scott Bentley founder of Caffeine Magazine and produced by James Harper of Filter Stories Podcast.

A conversation with Rachel Petersen from Hacienda La Esmeralda, where Panama Geisha was discovered.

Coffee from this farm reaches record prices at auction. It is auctions which are driving up the price not hype not marketing. Japanese buyers are willing to pay high prices.

I have tasted Panama Geisha a few times. But be very wary of cheap Geisha. At a guess, Geisha is fussy about the growing conditions.

A couple of years ago I was shown by Stefanos Domatiotis coffee beans from the Geisha Panama estate of Ninety Plus,  a restored degraded cattle ranch.

Taf serves filter coffee from Ninety Plus.

Last year I was talking with a barista. He was in Japan, coffee at $10 a cup. He was invited to coffee cupping with Ninety Plus. He met the guy who ran the farm in Panama, who invited him to carry out soil samples on the farm. On leaving he was given coffee beans as a thank you. He said had he sold the beans it would have paid for his trip. On return home the beans made him very popular.

The world record for coffee beans was around $600 for a pound of beans. A few days later this was broken for beans from the Panama farm of Ninety Plus. The bid price was over $5,000 for a kilo. These prices are for green beans not roasted beans.

Panama Geisha from a Nespresso machine?

I was horrified when I saw a Nespresso machine on the bar in The Underdog. Earlier I had spotted on the shelves what looked like egg boxes for quail eggs. Try this. I was treated to Panama Geisha from a Nespresso machine. Wow, I could not believe it, from a 60 euro Nespresso machine.

The price for these Nespresso pods, 30 euros for 18 capsules.

Wush Wush, a very interesting Ethiopian variety from Colombia, best described as weird.

Jools Walker wanted to know was it worth spending seventy-five  pounds on a bag of coffee as a gift for a friend? I would most definitely say no. Spend the money instead on coffee making equipment.

Try coffee from Cartwheel Coffee. All their coffee is high Q grade, somewhere between high 80 and low 90.

Outpost Coffee had a Cup of Excellence, ten pounds for a bottle of 100g. I was treated to and it was excellent, but I baulked at the price. I changed my mind, thought I would treat a friend but when I returned had sold out.

If wish for something special, try Finca La Chispita Costa Rica or Finca El Mirador Colombia from Coffee Gems.

And yes, Kiss the Hippo.

When buying coffee, buy from a reputable coffee shop or roastery, check the roast date for freshness. You will not only obtain top quality coffee, but will be direct trade, a long term relationship with the growers who will be paid a higher price for quality, not the insulting FairTrade scam, a tiny margin above the price for commodity coffee. The FairTrade scam, not only paid a low price, no incentive to improve, thus maintaining the growers in poverty.

God in a Cup is an excellent account of the discovery of Panama Geisha.

Please do not buy kopi luwak.

Shy nocturnal forest creatures kept in battery cages and force fed coffee beans. A vile trade in animal cruelty that no one should support.

Coffee companies peddling kopi luwak should be named and shamed and driven out out of business. They reach new levels of bullshit, ‘connoisseurs’ ‘one of the world’s finest coffees’.

Coffee Bean Shop typical of the bullshit:

One of the world’s finest coffees, with one of the most interesting stories behind it! Fully certified, our Kopi Luwak coffee beans come from fully trusted farms where the Civet cats are treated with kindness and freedom.

The key word here is ‘farm’. These are wild animals, they do no live on farms.

They go on to say:

There’s been some bad press about the civet cats and how they are treated and force fed in the production of Kopi Luwak. To reassure you, I only buy my Kopi Luwak from an industry trusted friend, Joseph, who has meticulously visited each farm to confirm the animals’ welfare. We support these small, trusted farms where the Civet cats are treated with freedom and kindness. So, if you haven’t tried this, it’s an absolute must…

This is Del Boy at his finest, my mate Joseph checks the farms so you don’t have to. Isn’t that right Rodney?

Cowboys peddling Kopi Luwak should be named and shamed and driven out of businesses.

Drift no 9 Bali edition has an excellent account of the vile Kopi Luwak trade.


%d bloggers like this: