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2019 in Coffee: the good, the bad, and the downright scary

2019 was a wild ride. It was the year of the meat-free sausage roll, school kids striking for climate change, and yet another general election. But what in the world was happening for coffee?

January

Some of the coffee chat was ‘out of this world’, with one company looking to roast coffee beans using the heat of re-entry after blasting them into space. Why? Theory is that each bean would get 360 degrees of even roasting, for a superior result. Interesting…

Speaking of things heating up - but with much higher stakes - climate change was also a worryingly hot topic. With 60% of all coffee species facing extinction, due to habitat loss caused by the climate emergency, things are looking dire.

But this was the year of taking action. And so we also heard news of research in Australia being conducted to create climate-resistant strains of coffee, to keep our beloved drink around!

April

The eco-friendly train just kept chugging in April (running on future-friendly fuels of course), with reports of two big thinkers trying to replace palm oil with coffee grounds. Protecting the rainforest and saving your drains from gritty clogs - win win!

April also saw Switzerland ending its emergency stockpiling of coffee - “not vital for human survival”? What kind of thinking is that?! Established between the world wars, the Swiss have been stockpiling everything people need to get by in case of famine, fire, flood, or war. Apparently coffee is no longer one of those…

…leading us onto our next story. Despite popular jeering would have it, millennials apparently aren’t wasting all their expendable cash on coffee - whether necessary for survival or not. A study showed they actually spend 14% less than their elders per week. That’ll show ‘em!

May

Coffee doesn’t always hit the news for the right reasons… Game of Thrones gave some free publicity to a certain coffee company, by leaving a takeaway cup in shot. Woops. And that was closely followed by some outrage of a different kind…

A story about a $75 cup of coffee made headlines, accompanied by the usual outcry. But whether publicity stunt or not, it got us thinking about the true worth of coffee - and reminded us why we make sure the farmers we partner with are paid higher prices.

June

Good news! For caffeine fiends, anyway. Studies suggested that you can drink 25 cups of coffee a day safely! As long as you stay near a loo, that is…

But while it was good news for coffee drinkers, the same couldn’t really be said for coffee growers. With a piece from The Independent detailing the rising rate of Guatemalan farmers ditching coffee for a better life in the US, due to falling stock market prices, it was clear that there’s still a lot to sort out in the supply chain - whether we’re drinking 25 cups a day, or not.

July

The outlook didn’t get sunnier as the year did. The coffee crisis loomed large in the news, for the struggles faced by producers and worries for the future of coffee itself. But coffee was also spoken about as one of the causes of international agricultural issues.

A study showed that years of “monocultures of crops” were causing a lack of biodiversity, putting the planet’s insects at risk - and that’s a bad thing, no matter how much you hate creepy crawlies!

September

What’s worse than carefully brewing a steaming cup of coffee, full of anticipation for that first sip, and spilling it all over the place? Well, spilling it over a plane’s control panel probably! That’s exactly what happened to an Airbus en route to Mexico - but don’t worry. After a diversion, everyone was fine - if a little decaffeinated.

October

That’s enough doom and gloom, right? October was a friend to coffee drinkers everywhere, dispelling some myths about the drink’s effect on the body. Contrary to popular belief, one study found that having coffee as a nightcap doesn’t ruin your sleep - a great excuse to drink more!

And if you needed another reason, more research came out that found drinking just two cups of coffee a day can increase your life expectancy. Hooray!

November

Hooray for the planet - compostable coffee pods went on sale in November, a first from coffee kingpin Lavazza. We think it’s great that being kind to the planet is a key priority these days - and pssst, our pod casing is 100% home-recyclable too!

December

We ended the year with more attempts at making coffee more earth-friendly, with New Zealand Air trialling edible biscotti coffee cups (erm… yes please?!), and a human-friendly story emerged too - with coffee machines installed in Scottish police stations, to help staff unwind after a tough day on the job. Because it’s true, coffee is a great healer!

That was the year that was…

What do you think 2020 has in store for us?


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