Last Time El Salvador Was In The World Cup The Amazing And Often Strange Coffee News Highlights Of 2014

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The Amazing And Often Strange Coffee News Highlights Of 2014

2014 was an exciting year for our beloved coffee, some good, some bad, some strange. As we approach the end of the year we have looked at some of the most notable stories of 2014.

December: Time to Give… But Probably Not Cocaine.

December, time to give and the warm feeling when we see others opening their presents. These acts of generosity were put to the test in Berlin when a local coffee roaster opened their latest shipment of coffee from Brazil, to find it contained 33 kilos of cocaine! We’re not sure if they had a hearty Christmas smile on their face, but we’re guessing confusion and fear is a more likely reaction. They reported the “carriage” to the police and Santa Claus.

November: Peak Coffee Prices

Coffee prices reached their highest point in 2.5 years during November. The dry weather in Brazil which has affected much of their annual crop played a significant part in the increase. Much of the speculation now relates to how this year’s drought will affect the crop in 2015. Although there has been rain over the past few months, the question remains how this will affect the flowering of new plants over 2015.

Many predict that if the weather returns to normal then the crop should be roughly the same as 2014. If the weather continues to become more extreme then production would fall below 2014 levels.

October: North Cup

A little closer to home we saw the “Cup North”, a coffee party for all coffee lovers in the north of England. Put together by the local coffee community, it was an opportunity for the spotlight to shine on the culinary and coffee developments outside of London.

Although the focus was on coffee, the 2 day event also promoted beer, chocolates and some of the exciting “foodie” developments in and around Manchester. Hopefully it will continue for 2015.

September: Coffee and Biofuel

There are many known alternative uses for leftover coffee, ranging from effective compost, to using an odor remover for whiffy socks. One of the most exciting developments of 2014 was the new company Bio-Bean.

Founded in January by Arthur Kay, the company takes second-hand coffee grounds from London coffee shops and turns the waste into advanced biofuel. In September they received a €500,000 grant from the Netherlands Lottery.

Although the money is widely suspected as a bribe to increase their ratings from the UK during EuroVision (OK, I did that), the money will help the Bio-Bean which is green to’ environment to expand their operations and build a factory large enough to handle the processing. the collected coffee grounds. One gold star for Bio-Bean. Great idea and good luck for 2015.

August: Coffee Theme Park Greenlighted

If you’ve ever dreamed of visiting a theme park with a giant caffeinated mouse, then August might be the month for you. Funding was provided to develop a 64-acre coffee theme park in South Korea’s Gangwon Province.

The area has seen a lot of development since the announcement that the 2018 winter Olympics would be held in the area. Designed as an environmentally friendly theme park, the location will also house a production, roasting and distribution facility. The latter will probably not be of interest to the children. A delivery roller coaster with embossed livery on the side doesn’t really appeal to children.

However, the project will create over a thousand jobs for the local community and include a destination and coffee museum.

July: Fresh vs. Instant

In July Euromonitor International Study published their latest research highlighting the continued growth of instant coffee in countries historically associated with tea drinkers, namely China, Turkey and India. Almost half of the world prefers instant coffee to freshly ground coffee.

In the UK, although the coffee market is maturing and we are seeing a better understanding of fresh and gourmet coffee products, the ready coffee market continued to gain strength especially when consumed at home. Surprisingly in the UK ‘British’ are responsible for over a third of all ready coffee sold in Western Europe.

Although it is still often considered unacceptable to offer coffee immediately in many social or business situations, when you are at home these manageable rules seem to go out the window. Convenience in many situations wins over quality.

Part of the growth was due to the marketing of ready coffee, and many of the words traditionally reserved for fresh coffee found their way onto packages, jars and bags in the supermarket. One product describes itself as the world’s first “whole bean instant”… we have no idea what that means!

June: World Championships

June saw the winner of the World Barista Championships 2014. The title eventually went to Hidenori Izaki from Maruyama Coffee Company, Japan. The judges awarded him the prize after evaluating all the competitors on a selection of criteria including their cleanliness, creativity, technical skills and presentation.

Hidenori was the 15th winner of the competition, produced and hosted by the World Coffee Event (WCE). The annual championship was held in Rimini, Italy and was the culmination of a number of local and regional finals around the world.

Congratulations to all the participants especially Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood from the UK who ended up in 5th place, do we show a geographical trend.

Final Positions

Champion: Hidenori Izaki, Japan

2nd: Kapo Chiu, Hong Kong

3rd: Christos Loukakis, Greece

4th: Craig Simon, Australia

5th: Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood, United Kingdom

6th: William Hernandez, El Salvador

May: Coffee and Cattle

It seems that used coffee grounds can be used for almost anything! Starbucks teamed up with a Japanese contact lens manufacturer in hopes of turning leftover coffee grounds into viable and environmentally friendly livestock feed for the Tokyo dairy market.

The fermentation grounds were removed from the stores at Starbucks and incorporated into the feed for cattle. The process has been tried before but the results showed that the coffee acted as a diuretic among the cattle and the high salt content was a concern. The new process apparently involves lactic acid fermentation which ensures that the feed produced becomes a viable option. Again, we have no idea how this works, but it sounds very impressive.

April: UK Barista Championships

If you mentioned the World Championships during April most people (probably tea drinkers) would immediately think of the F1 Grand Prix in China, or the start of the World Snooker Championships with its whisper vests and dapper. For the creative coffee folk of the UK, April could only mean one thing; the run up to the World Barista Championships had begun.

Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood who eventually took his second title won the regional UK Barista Championships, held during the London Coffee Festival. Congratulations to Maxwell. With the award tucked under his arm he would travel to Italy to compete in the World Championships in June. Waving the flag for the UK… probably without a waistcoat.

February/March: Football World Cup

Much of the speculation during February and March was about the soccer world cup and how Brazil’s passion for their national sport would affect the coffee industry.

With around a third of all coffee coming from Brazil, there were concerns that the games held in Rio De Janeiro would disrupt the production, distribution and general infrastructure of the coffee industry. At the risk of sounding anti-climactic, it all worked out, even if it didn’t for the Brazilian soccer team.

January: Shattering the Legends

We’ve probably all heard the old wives tale that coffee causes dehydration. We are told that we should drink a glass of water for every cup of coffee we consume. Where this theory comes from, we have no idea, but research released in January by the University of Bath concluded that this was in fact a myth.

Rather than causing dehydration, moderate coffee consumption actually hydrates us in a similar way to water. Personally, if I were stuck in the Sahara with the choice of either a cup of coffee or nothing, I’d certainly choose the former… but only if it had cream on it… and sprinkles.

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