Bostonians Dedication to Dunkin’ Donuts

A recent Daily Meal article explains how Dunkin’ Donuts surpasses various other coffee chains thanks to the dedication of Bostonian customers who grew up with the brand.

And the shops that were considered to be “below average” in consumers’ minds? Bruegger’s Bagels, Caribou Coffee Shops, McCafé, and Tim Hortons. While many may be surprised that Dunkin’ beat out Starbucks (The Huffington Post points out another survey that ranks Starbucks as the coffee brand to beat), those in Boston — home of Dunkin’ — aren’t surprised at all. One blog post from Esquire honors Bostonians’ dedication to Dunkin’ Donuts and their hometown, in light of the recent Boston Marathon tragedies. Writes Paul McMarrow, “Dunkin’ is ubiquitous. Bostonians grow up surrounded by the stuff…. Dunkin’ is a metaphor for Boston itself. It inspires fierce devotion from locals, despite all obvious measures of its inadequacy. We love it and defend it, because it’s ours.”

While I do not favor the flavor or Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, it is good to see loyalty between a city and it’s brand.


Rocker turned Roaster

One musician has made the unconventional leap from alternative rock to coffee roasting.

That’s not something you see everyday.

Angels and Airwaves guitarist David Kennedy recently opened James Coffee Co. in Poway, Calif. His intentions are set on only using ethically sourced coffee beans:

Roasting is a pivotal waypoint on a coffee bean’s journey to creating a good cup of coffee, but even a skilled roaster cannot transform a bad coffee bean into a good one. That is why at James Coffee we begin our process with passionate farmers who scrutinize every raw bean and endeavor to perfect each crop they harvest.

We examine diverse locales and only source from farmers who are committed to supporting their community, providing healthy environments for their employees, and producing the highest quality coffee beans for us to roast.


Fair Trade and Rainforest Alliance Coffee Certification Booming

While the term fair trade regularly comes up in coffee shop conversations, I rarely hear of organizations speaking about purchasing Rainforest Alliance certified coffee beans.

However, according to a recent article released by Reuters and published on the Scientific American, more big name corporations are purchasing the certified coffee and causing the sales from Rainforest Alliance certified farms to soar. IN the past year alone, sales have increased nearly 18 percent.

According to the Reuters article, the Rainforest Alliance owes partial thanks to McDonald’s:

Rainforest Alliance attributed much the growth in the coffee it certified in 2012 to significant quantities being purchased by large companies such as McDonald’s Corp’s U.S. and Canadian operations, Caribou Coffee Co In, Second Cup, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc and Nespresso. McDonald’s USA recently began sourcing 100 percent of its espresso from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms, the organization said.

The Rainforest Alliance’s goals are to conserve the rainforest by promoting various levels of sustainability, to promote plant growth, and to limit drastic changes to the surrounding eco-systems. The certification also tries to limit child labor on the farms. Despite the good qualities, only 30 percent of the coffee package sold needs to meet Rainforest Alliance standards.

So it seems the increase is due to consumers and companies realizing that the coffee they purchase does indeed impact the world we live in.

Daily Coffee News recently reported this story and discovered the same cause:

The nonprofit agency (Rainforest Alliance) announced last week that coffee produced on its certified farms last year reached 375,000 metric tons, representing 4.5 percent of total global production.

“By choosing to source coffee from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms, companies are having demonstrable impacts on the ground, conserving natural resources and improving the lives and livelihoods of farm communities,” Tensie Whelan, president of the Rainforest Alliance, said in an announcement of the 2012 figures. “More companies are realizing that sustainable certification also makes good business sense, ensuring long-term viability of supply-chains.”

The rise in consumption of ethically sourced coffee is nothing new to the coffee world, or even to The Caffeinated Consumer, but it is a trend that has steadily gained more and more interest and followers over the years.

And when looking at the benefits, it should continue to rise in popularity.

According to the reporting done by Reuters:

“Over 118,000 coffee farms covering almost 800,000 acres are now Rainforest Alliance Certified and meet rigorous standards for best practices and environmental and social sustainability,” Rainforest Alliance said in a release last week.

Coffee is not the only commodity certified by Rainforest Alliance that has become increasingly popular. Global production of its certified tea rose to 11.5 percent in 2012, up from 9.4 percent in 2011 and 3.2 percent in 2010, a Rainforest Alliance spokeswoman said.

When looking at the numbers, and the steady increase of major corporations switching to Fair Trade and Rainforest Alliance certified coffee, it is safe to say that we have not seen the last of ethically farmed coffee in our daily morning mugs.

Did you know that you were drinking Rainforest Alliance certified coffee nearly every time you grab that oh-so-sugary caramel frappe from McDonalds? I didn’t; But somehow I feel better knowing my chain coprotartion coffee is not farmed by a young child working in unsafe conditions.

Family owned: seed to beverage

Portland, Oreg. may be weird, but they know how to brew.

A Portland family has taken the next step from owning a coffee farm in Brazil to opening up their own coffee shop, Nossa Familia.

“My family has been growing coffee for more than a century in Brazil and I am so proud to showcase the fruits of their labor,” (Owner Augusto Carneiro says). “At our espresso bar, our customers will experience what we do from seed to cup.”

Carneiro believes this is the first coffee shop of this kind with no middleman standing between the production and sales.

And since I will be in Portland in about three weeks, I may just have to visit this family-owned cafe.

How does production of the beans change how you view about coffee? Comment below.




Are K-Cups sustainable?

When you’re in a rush and are lacking the time needed to brew an entire pot of coffee, single brew machines just might save your life. Or they just might make you happy.

However, Green Mountain Coffee has seen some skeptical attitudes toward their use of these one time use pods, with some saying that they are being wasteful and are not following their ec0-friendly values.

Green Mountain Coffee is standing by their belief that the pods actually reduce waste. To prove this, the Keurig Company has introduced My K-Cup, a reusable filter that inserts into the machine.

Eco-friendly or not, My Keurig saves me time and gives me my morning cup of coffee, and I am eternally grateful.

have you used K-Cups before? What do you like, or dislike, about them? Comment below.



Coffee an ever-growing trend


I’ve never really thought of coffee as anything but popular. I mean, my mother first introduced me to coffee as a child, limiting my consumption to special holidays which only heightened the drinks value in my adolescent eyes.

Now, at 21, I drink a minimum of one cup a day.

According to a recent article published in USA Today, the author discovered that coffee consumption and sales are only increasing:

About 83 percent of adults drink coffee in the U.S., the world’s biggest consumer of the beverage, up from 78 percent a year earlier, according to the National Coffee Association’s 2013 online survey. That’s an average of three cups a day per person, or 587 million cups. The only weak spot: volatile young drinkers, who last year drank less coffee.

Industry experts credit a handful of diverse factors driving coffee’s escalating popularity. The most cited is the growth in hot-selling home-brewing gadgets, with single-serve coffee makers leading the pack. Other strong factors: gourmet offerings, coffeehouses with hip appeal and health benefits.

“Coffee has become important to us on so many levels and there’s no signs its cachet is going away any time soon,” said Joe DeRupo, National Coffee Association president. “It’s part beverage, another part pop culture.”

While I think this seems blatantly obvious, it got me thinking: could coffee finally be overtaking tea as the most widely consumed beverage? Not including water, of course.

As detailed in an article on, coffee is starting to overtake some previously tea dominated Asian countries as the preferred drink of choice. Japanese consumption is up by almost 300 percent, 400 percent in Taiwan and 1,800 percent in South Korea since the mid-1990s.

While the demand for coffee grows in these countries, consumption in the United States has switched from customers seeking the average cup of joe to an artistically designed, non-fat, caramel latte – or any other gourmet cup.

The USA Today article depicts this:

According to the recent NCA survey, consumption of gourmet coffee remains strong and steady, with nearly one-third of U.S. adults drinking a gourmet coffee each day. At the same time, those drinking traditional coffee dropped from 56 percent in 2012 to 49 percent this year.

“We’ve gone from drinking mass-produced coffee to specialty coffee. People today are more educated about coffee than ever before. They know where it’s grown and how it’s roasted,” said Matt Poole, owner of Giant Coffee, a downtown Phoenix shop that pours single-origin coffee roasted in San Francisco.

“They want coffee to taste exactly how they like it.”

Not only is demand for artisanal coffee growing, sales are increasing for single serve brewing machines like K-cups, or pods to satiate the apparent need for at-home coffee shop coffee.

However, a new study shows why people are eager to reach for the daily cup of java; regular coffee consumption may lower the risk of a stroke.

People who drank at least one cup of coffee daily had about a 20-percent lower risk of stroke compared to those who rarely drank it. People who drank two to three cups of green tea daily had a 14- percent lower risk of stroke and those who had at least four cups had a 20-percent lower risk, compared to those who rarely drank it.

Also coinciding with this study was the growing number of tea sales, which have risen over the past 20 years with annual sales of $2.2 billion.

So, in the end, coffee may not be overpowering tea as world-wide drink of choice, but consumers of either beverage seem to have a chance at lowering health risks with whatever path they choose.

No matter what outcome, though, coffee will always be my first morning choice. And afternoon. And evening.

Top 10 coffee shops in the U.S.

While I have my own personal favorite coffee shops to frequent, recently published The Daily Meal’s compilation of the top American Coffee Shops. 

The panelists consisted of ten bloggers, baristas, roasters and Daily Meal editors. Through, what I imagine would be a very jittery and tasty process, the judges decided on the best coffee shops the United States had to offer.

Multiple coming from the Pacific Northwest. Coming from a completely unaffiliated native Pacific Northwesterner, of course.

Check out the full list here. 

Do you have any favorite cafes spots you cannot seem to give up? Comment below.

Starbucks continuing the fast global spread


Especially in cities, no matter where we are, a random Starbucks jumps out and entices coffee lovers with the latest hazelnut concoction. We take five steps out of the coffee shop, and we are at another Starbucks chain location.

Starbucks dominates the coffee world and their hold on customers will only continue to grow.

Indonesia Today recently reported on Starbucks recent claim to produce 100 more store location in Indonesia by 2016 and 100 in the Philippines by 2017. 

Indonesia Today reported:

Howard Schultz, Starbucks chairman, president and ceo, committed to continuing to invest in the region following this week’s market visit to Indonesia and the Philippines, where he met with Starbucks partners (employees) and customers.

“With a population of more than 600 million people, an emerging middle class that is driving strong consumption and a robust and resilient economy, Southeast Asia presents a compelling growth opportunity for Starbucks,” (said Schultz).

Yes, we have seen the Seattle based company do good for the environment and small town farmers, but does the world really need the world count of Starbucks increasing by the hundreds?

Here in the states, no. However, other countries may not mind.

According to an interview with “Aaron Allen, founder of Orlando, Fla.-based Aaron Allen & Associates LLC, a global restaurant consultancy,” conducted by Nation’s Restaurant News, my American view of chain shops may be vastly  different than that of someone in another part of the world.

“Consumers in emerging markets don’t view chain restaurants with the same stigma as we have come to view them in the States. In fact, they welcome and are flocking to them for all the obvious reasons, but also because they are often starved for the higher standards of consistency, service, safety, sanitation, and novelty the Western chains are bringing along with the cache of being an American brand,” (said Allen).

In Southeast Asian countries  Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines, Starbucks already currently owns and operates over 700 stores.

Differing greatly from the 10,787 Starbucks locations in the United states and the 17,003 globally in 2011, according to company statistics.

That  sounds like enough. But, alas, the international franchise continues to grow. With their growth, however, they are promising to continue to better farmers and residents as reported by Daily Coffee News in a recent report referencing Schultzes company announcement of progress:

“Emerging markets, particularly in the Middle East and Southeast Asia, are having a booming population growth,” Allen said, “and that equals demand and a population density. There’s also an amazing thirst for American and Western brands.”

Allen said the U.S. restaurant industry is very sophisticated. “The competition in America is such that operators here have become much more sophisticated and have more fully expressed — and formalized — standard operating procedures,” he said. “Consumers in emerging markets don’t view chain restaurants with the same stigma as we have come to view them in the States. In fact, they welcome and are flocking to them for all the obvious reasons, but also because they are often starved for the higher standards of consistency, service, safety, sanitation, and novelty the Western chains are bringing along with the cache of being an American brand.”

Maybe the growth of the famous chain may not be bad event for some locations, but if I see another Starbucks lining the streets of Washington, D.C., I may go a bit insane with the lack of coffee diversity.

Rewards for being… Disloyal?

If you have a coffee addiction, you know very well the perks of utilizing a coffee punch card. Every cup of java you purchase warrants you a hole punch on the prized business card giving you one “free drink of choice for every ten you buy.”

Going to school near Portland, Oreg., I am very familiar with competing local coffee shops.

However, in Boston, ten local cafes are binding together to be disloyal. Every eighth drink, purchased at any of the participating coffee shops, will grant one free drink.

The collaboration is intended to promote movement around the city. Businesses acquire new customers and residents explore more of the city.

Overall, it’s a great system for both cafes and coffee drinkers.

Greeks may live longer thanks to coffee


Coffee is already magical: it can transform a sleepy zombie into an alert worker.

However, it may possess even more benefits. According to a recent article at The New York Times, the high life expectancy of some Greek Island residents may be linked to the coffee they drink.

“This boiled coffee seems to generate antioxidant substances,” said Dr.Gerasimos Siasos, a professor at the University of Athens Medical School and an author of the study, which appears in the journal Vascular Medicine.

He and his colleagues found that older islanders who drank the boiled coffee had better functioning endotheliums — the layer of cells that line blood vessels.

The article also attributes the remarkable health of the Island inhabitants to their lifestyle choices and diet.

Well, this is some good news for coffee lovers.