Black Ivory: Here we Go Again (Elephant-Poop Coffee)

October 16, 2012 · Filed Under Gimmicks, News, TX-Coffee · Comment 

Elephant Dung Coffee Among World’s Most Expensive, Exclusive

PHOTO: An elephant in Thailand.

An elephant in Thailand. (Getty Images/LOOK) via ABC News

You’ve likely heard of civet coffee.  No?  Kopi Luwak?  Here, let me refresh your memory:

Does that look familiar?  People often talk about how “smooth” civet coffee is, and the pickle always seems to be the novelty that it was previously enjoyed by a cat-like critter in South East Asia.

The next trend in like fashion is now known as Black Ivory.

Arabica coffee grown at 1500 meters (a decent altitude, actually) is brought to elephants to eat up with their long snouts, cramming the coffee fruit into their enormous cavern-sized mouths before digesting, and.. (ahem).. you know.

The elephant’s caretaker then harvests the now strangely valuable coffee remnant (the seed, what you and I know as the unroasted bean) to be roasted and sold at a premium.  What kind of a premium are we talking?  I’m glad you asked.

$1,100 per Kg

 Yes, that’s $498.95/lb, or $31.18/oz, which rounds out to roughly $15.59 per brewed 8oz cup of elephant poop coffee.  To be fair, a portion of sales goes for a good cause.. to help the elephant who ate the coffee, or something.  You can read the original article here: Elephant Dung Coffee Among World’s Most Expensive, Exclusive

GCQRI: Wild Arabica Confirmed in South Sudan

February 8, 2011 · Filed Under Industry, News · 2 Comments 

GCQRI-Borlaug mission to South Sudan confirms presence of wild arabica and potential for development

The Global Coffee Quality Research Initiative(GCQRI) has embarked on a mission to South Sedan to find wild arabica.

The GCQRI was established to combat the potential loss of specialty coffee and to prolong and ensure its survival.. sort of.  The trip to Sudan was successful, and we may now start to see a tiny ultra-niche market product come out of the project.

we feel as if there is a special economic opportunity to develop a small-holder specialty coffee sector in Boma.  Granted, there will not be a great production from this area but the possibility of developing a Boma brand is especially attractive and could become a ultra-niche specialty coffee with a very high value meriting air transport out of Boma and into the marketplace.

I suggest clicking the link to read more.  It’s rather fascinating.

GCQRI is headquartered in College Station, TX.

Starbucks Baristas Told to Slow Down – WSJ

October 14, 2010 · Filed Under Industry, News · Comment 

Photo by - Allison Joyce for The Wall Street Journal

Starbucks Corp. is telling its harried baristas to slow down—which may result in longer lines.

Amid customer complaints that the Seattle-based coffee chain has reduced the fine art of coffee making to a mechanized process with all the romance of an assembly line, Starbucks baristas are being told to stop making multiple drinks at the same time and focus instead on no more than two drinks at a time—starting a second one while finishing the first, according to company documents reviewed recently by The Wall Street Journal.

Baristas are also supposed to steam milk for each drink rather than steaming an entire pitcher to be used for several beverages. Other instructions include rinsing pitchers after each use; staying at the espresso bar instead of moving around; and using only one espresso machine instead of two, according to the documents. (lots)more…

Is Starbucks trying to prove that it has a soul?  Is it trying to convey the notion that they actually care about the quality of their drinks?  Yes.. but that isn’t the question at the heart of the matter.  The real question isn’t whether or not a notion is being conveyed.  The real question is whether or not the notion being conveyed is true.

Just for kicks, I googled (is it a real word yet?) “Wall Street Journal Starbucks” and this was the result.

Click for Full Size

The top link is the current news.  The second link is a direct non-news link to the story.  The third link is a direct non-news link to WSJ’s coverage of Starbucks’ “Plunge Into Instant Coffee”.  Now, maybe it’s just me, but isn’t there something wrong with this picture?  The fact that Starbucks has been in a bit of an identity crisis lately is no real surprise.  A company cannot be all things to all people, and yet that is exactly what Starbucks appears to be attempting to do.

Let’s be clear.  I do not hate Starbucks.  A lot of great coffee professionals got their start at the Siren.  They have taken the idea of coffee as a non-commodity affordable luxury to places where it might not have been successfully introduced otherwise.  Their ubiquitous presence has caused a mass education of the masses, a readily available phony status symbol, an addiction to the combination of sugar, fat, and coffee to the point of a country getting mad at the seller of said products instead of taking responsibility for their own actions, and an enormous population of people who have come to believe that there is such a thing as an industry standard (a part of which is such a thing as the dreaded “Caramel Macchiato”).

It would be fantastic if the coffee giant were to suddenly focus on quality in a tangible sense.  I see this as more of a publicity stunt.  An attempt to make the public see them as something they maybe once were, but certainly are not now.

Frankly, I don’t give a rip if my double short wet cappuccino (leave a good inch of room, please) takes five seconds or fifteen minutes: as long as it is properly made.

News: Cofee OK During Pregnancy

July 22, 2010 · Filed Under Health, News · Comment 

A cup a day not linked to miscarriage or preterm birth, new guidelines suggest.

WEDNESDAY, July 21 (HealthDay News) — Women can drink a cup of coffee or one soft drink a day during pregnancy and not worry that it might put them at risk of miscarriage or preterm birth, according to new guidelines released by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

The professional group issued the information from its Committee on Obstetric Practice, which reviewed studies on the topic before making a decision.

“Finally, we have good evidence to show that having a cup of coffee a day is fine and it poses no risk to the fetus,” said Dr. William H. Barth Jr., chairman of the committee on obstetric practice and chief of the division of maternal-fetal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Read More…

I’m not saying that I think it’s a great idea to have your normal 16oz. cup of Standard proportion (7-9g per 6-8fl.oz.) of coffee. I think that the message to take away from this is that moderation is key.

Maybe switch to pre-ground cans of coffee off the grocery store shelf during pregnancy.. just as added insurance. (I kid!)

What do you think? Share your thoughts.

Wall Street Journal on Coffee's Benefits

January 4, 2010 · Filed Under Coffee, News, Publicity · Comment 

Good News in the Daily Grind

Your Coffee May Have Some Health Perks, but Can Brew Trouble in People With Certain Conditions

To judge by recent headlines, coffee could be the latest health-food craze, right up there with broccoli and whole-wheat bread. more…

  • Diabetes: Many studies find that coffee—decaf or regular—lowers the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, but caffeine raises blood sugar in people who already have it.
  • Cancer: Earlier studies implicating coffee in causing cancer have been disproven; may instead lower the risk of colon, mouth, throat and other cancers.
  • Heart disease: Long-term coffee drinking does not appear to raise the risk and may provide some protection.
  • Hypertension: Caffeine raises blood pressure, so sufferers should be wary.
  • Cholesterol: Some coffee—especially decaf—raises LDL, the bad kind of cholesterol.
  • Alzheimer’s: Moderate coffee drinking appears to be protective.
  • Osteoporosis: Caffeine lowers bone density, but adding milk can balance out the risk.
  • Pregnancy: Caffeine intake may increase the risk of miscarriage and low birth-weight babies.
  • Sleep: Effects are highly variable, but avoiding coffee after 3 p.m. can avert insomnia.
  • Mood: Moderate caffeine boosts energy and cuts depression, but excess amounts can cause anxiety.

Source: WSJ research

The article is rather long, but worth the read.  There is not too much new information if you are already familiar with health benefits and harms that coffee consumption may cause.  The video is hokey, and I apologize in advance for the lame jokes in the video.

Seven New Wild Coffee Speceis Found in Madagascar

December 23, 2009 · Filed Under Coffee, Coffee Farms, Coffee Industry, News, Texas Coffee People · 1 Comment 

Kew Gardens finds seven wild species of coffee

The discovery, in Madagascar, is good news for coffee drinkers as climate change and habitat loss is threatening an estimated 70% of global crops.

These species of coffee are seven of 290 new plants discovered by these botanists this year.  Apparently, they also “discovered” 200 species of yam that are known to cure cancer by locals in South Africa.  (yes.. It was already known to cure cancer, yet they are a new species discovery.. and they haven’t been learning to grow them around the world, apparently.  Why not!)

I wish there were more information about these coffee species.  There is so much research performed in coffee farming every year in various parts of the world, and it would be interesting to see what could be learned, if much at all, from these species found on a remote island off the east coast of Africa.

All vanilla in the world originates in Madagascar.  Cacao is a regular crop there.  It is a tropical region, and if we have coffees coming from about every island in Indonesia, I suppose it would make sense that coffee could live there.

Coffee Updates: Ft. Worth

November 2, 2009 · Filed Under Coffee Industry, DFW, News, Retailers · 2 Comments 

I received an email a few days ago from a Mr. Latchaw letting us know about a few changes in Ft. Worth.

Just a coffee drinker from fort worth, wanted to add some suggestions. Eurotaza and Panther City are now closed.  The Gallery Art Cafe is pretty outstanding, sells locally roasted Aduro beans.

Panther City being closed may not be news, but Eurotaza’s closing certainly is.  What is happening in Ft. Worth?

Gallery Art Cafe’s website doesn’t indicate much of an emphasis on coffee, but that’s not to say that the same is true in person.  We mentioned Aduro Bean over a year ago, and they are coffee people with passion.  The fact that Gallery Art Cafe is selling Aduro is a good sign.

Gallery Art Cafe
609 S Jennings
Fort Worth, Tx 76104


Gallery Art Cafe has been added to our list of Retailers.

Good News for People Who Drink "Too Much" Coffee

January 26, 2009 · Filed Under Coffee, News · 2 Comments 

Coffee Linked to Lower Dementia Risk


Published: January 23, 2009

Drinking coffee may do more than just keep you awake. A new study suggests an intriguing potential link to mental health later in life, as well.   more…

…After controlling for numerous socioeconomic and health factors, including high cholesterol and high blood pressure, the scientists found that the subjects who had reported drinking three to five cups of coffee daily were 65 percent less likely to have developed dementia, compared with those who drank two cups or less. more…

As though knowing that brewed coffee is full of anti-oxidants weren’t enough!  (of course, the LDL cholesterol found in non-paper filtered coffee is supposed to be bad for you, but I suspect, and I am no scientist nor physician, that this is only an issue for those in whom high cholesterol is already a concern)

Funny.  Cooking acidic foods in reactive vessels (like aluminum cookware) drastically increases one’s chances of acquiring Alzheimer’s disease.  It seems drinking copious amounts of coffee has the reverse effect, keeping neurons properly “lubed up”, as it were.  I wonder.  What would happen if one were to brew a highly acidic or astringent coffee, like a too-light-roasted Costa Rican in an aluminum moka pot?  I kid, I kid!

Chock up another big “+1″ for coffee!  I love it when a Monday starts out with good news.  Who’s with me!

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