April 2024 Newsletter: Coffee Around the World

Updated May 07, 2024 • Donna Lu

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Happy New Month, fellow coffee lovers,

Keep Up with Coffee News This Year

At Roast Love, we love coffee so much that we've decided to share this love and commitment to the crop with you this year. From 2024, if you are searching for a reliable monthly news source for coffee, look no further than Roast Love

We released our first issue in February 2024 and intend to continue doing so every month. Our monthly newsletter shares the latest news, trends, and stories about coffee. It is a one-stop shop for everything coffee, including product launches and the most exciting worldwide coffee events. You can also visit our blog for more detailed resources.

As we enter another exciting month for the coffee world in April - here’s a recap of March 2024.

The Coffee World in March 2024

Unfortunately, the ongoing conflict in the Middle East has affected movement along the Red Sea in the Suez Canal, disrupting Ethiopian coffee exports. The disruption has led to months-long export delays, leading exporters to look for alternative solutions, including using Kenya’s Mombasa Port. Unfortunately, this has led to higher freight and port costs as Mombasa potentially takes in more shippers.

(Source: The Reporter Ethiopia)

Starbucks Workers Union is trying to reach another incredible milestone in labor contracts. The Union’s representatives are working towards a nationwide labor contract negotiations template with Starbucks. According to the union, the current tactics used by the chain on store-by-store negotiations are a corporate delaying tactic aimed at undercutting and demotivating the workers. On the other hand, approval of the nationwide template will hasten negotiations and prompt workers to make a fair deal.

(Source: Reuters)

Brazil has reported a record-breaking third annual increase in coffee production and exports. The record-breaking high coffee production in the country’s 144 years of growing coffee is forecasted to grow exponentially well into 2025. This growth is attributed to the country's increasing production of robusta coffee and better farming techniques. By the end of February 2024 alone, Brazil had already exported a record 3.4 million 60 kg bags of robusta (a 48+% growth) fueled by over 50% in green coffee exports. Unfortunately, the country has reported a decline in processed coffee sales by 14.5%. 

(Source: Reuters and Cecafe)

While the country has enjoyed high green coffee exports, many Brazilian farmers have been experiencing financial woes. According to Bloomberg, many Brazilian farmers have filed for bankruptcy, with rising interest rates and failing crop prices being quoted as the major issues. Even with the record high production, declining global costs, high capital costs, and interest rates have set the farmers back and added pressure to the country’s massive agricultural sector.

(Source: Bloomberg)

The European Union has delayed the implementation of its new deforestation legislation reported just a month ago. According to the EU, the delays will pave the way and give more time for adapting the legislation that could have been classified in the risk category. While the deadline was set for the end of the year, the delay will offer an extension and, in the meantime, categorize all countries as standard risk. Doing so will help address global deforestation and forest degradation impacts in the EU market. 

(Source: Financial Times)

The U.S. National Coffee Association (NCA) has argued that banning the European decaffeination method can potentially harm the health of coffee drinkers. The trade association warned this in response to a petition filed by activist group the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). NCA has also communicated its willingness to present substantial scientific data on why the European decaf method is currently among the safest decaffeination processes.

(Source: PR Newswire)

Blk & Bold Coffee Launch A Nonprofit to Benefit Youth. The founders of Des Moines-based Blk & Bold Coffee have launched a non-profit to facilitate direct donations and champion social impact. The B Corp-certified roaster has been noted for its massive socially driven commitment since its launch in 2018. The company already donates 5% of its profits to support projects focused on children in underserved communities. This new youth-focused initiative will further augment the company’s commitment by offering a structured platform for donors. 

(Source: Daily Coffee News

Product Launches, Mergers, and Acquisitions in February 2024

The Coffee brand Elmhurst 1925 has launched a plant-based, dairy-free, and nutritionally dense multi-serve latte line. The new ready-to-drink lattes come in a selection of Brown Sugar Oat, Pistachio Creme, Caramel Cashew, and Maple Walnut. You can purchase the lattes in individual bottles or packs of 2, 4, or 6.

(Source: Elmhurst 1925 and Dairy Foods

7 Eleven has launched its first flavored cold brew line. The large convenience store retailer has introduced innovative ready-to-drink cold brew flavors, including Mocha, French Vanilla, and Caramel Cream Cold Brew Latte. Other new beverages include  Salted Caramel, Pecan Pie, and Macadamia Nut Latte. For cappuccino lovers, the convenience store has introduced Sweet Treat Cappuccino without forgetting ice tea lovers with its trademark 7-Select Bottled Iced Teas.

(Source: PR Newswire)

The Coffee brand Blue Bottle has launched its first Espresso blend. The Oakland-based brand launched the limited-edition espresso blend in homage to the 1950s coffee culture. According to Blue Bottle, the first espresso blend expresses “the brand’s reverence to 1950s coffeehouses and counterculture they foster, and the blend is a reimagination of the first modern espresso tracing.” The espresso blend combines Arabica and Robusta beans with Kenyan and Ethiopian components for a bright berry, spice, and nutty taste profile with a luxurious crema.

(Source: PR Newswire and Blue Bottle)

Keurig continues to revolutionize the coffee pod industry thanks to its newly launched plastic-free pods, also known as K-Rounds. The company has launched these next-gen innovative plastic-free cups as part of its multi-year plan for its single-serve brewing system. These new pods are designed using a protective, sustainable, plant-based coating that wraps the coffee, eliminating the need for classic plastic or aluminum cups. While still enjoying delicious coffee, these cups eliminate unwanted waste. Unfortunately, K-Rounds don't work with existing Keurig machines. So, you will have to invest in the Keurig Alta brewer. But this is a small price for sustainability and clean coffee making. Plus, the Alta Brewer works for both new K-Rounds and existing K-Cups, so lovers of the old pods don't feel alienated.

(Source: CNET)

Avensi continues to make strides with its impressive Wave Collection, which is purported to be the world’s best coffee-enhancing glasses. The company has made a crowdfunding splash and raised over US$175,000. The Wave Collection glasses are intended to enhance the espresso and filter coffee drinking experience using their innovative design. These include interior protrusions with extra turbulence to aid in filtering coffee and espresso aeration.

(Source: Kickstarter)

Roastpic, Probatm, and Fabscale have collaborated to launch a revolutionary solution for coffee analysis and quality assurance. The collaboration has led to the launch of a digital coffee analysis tool. Using this tool, anyone can compare photos of green, roasted, and ground coffee in size, color, and defect count. The tool will help users streamline their quality assurance process using this simple photographic technology. Potential users can look at the Roastpic tool at the Probat booth during the Specialty Coffee (SCA) Expo that will take place later this month (April 12 to 14) in Chicago.

(Source: Probat)

Hugh Jackman’s Laughing Man extends nationwide franchise opportunities for coffee entrepreneurs. Launched in 2009, Australian actor Hugh Jackman and his friends Barry and David Steingard own the coffee brand. The New York-based Laughing Man Coffee & Tea Co. brand plans to extend support for potential franchisees in various locations. 

(Source: Laughing Man Coffee)

Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) announces significant changes to its membership program model. The trade association’s changes are intended to focus more on providing value and connectivity to the now-growing international community. The new model will offer better company features and a new pricing model. While the old model offered different membership tiers with varying benefits, the newer model reduced these tiers and focused on providing more benefits. You can learn more about these membership model changes on the official SCA website.

(Source: Sprudge and Specialty Coffee Association)

Unusually Interesting March Coffee News

Researchers have discovered a unique method for measuring emotional responses to coffee. Italian researchers have found an interesting concept in how coffee influences the body. A study published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture suggests that wearable tech sensors can monitor the human physiological (emotional) response to coffee. Researchers suggest that these groundbreaking findings can aid in coffee-tasting competitions, reducing judge bias by measuring heart, brain, and skin activity parameters. While the study is still in the pilot and early stages, judges at an international coffee-tasting competition in Milan were part of the preliminary study, and they wore these sensors as part of their process.

(Source: Research Gate and Coffee Talk)

A new and exciting study conducted by Oxford Brookes has proven how the environment improves harvest. The survey shows that shade-grown coffee has successfully demonstrated the benefits of blending agriculture and conservation. The study further reiterates that shade-grown coffee farms tend to attract 30% higher species diversity than sun farms, which only attract 0-5%. Moreover, the fauna, including insects, birds, and mammals, benefit the most from high shade. With the right conservation plans, shade-grown coffee farms can enjoy better soil quality, pest control, higher yields, and maintain natural connectivity.

(Source: Science Direct)

The Specialty Coffee world surprises coffee lovers with this year’s Brewer Cup Winner. In contrast to the typical Specialty Coffee standards, Weihong Zhang placed first with the decaffeinated Typica (arabica varietal) from Finca Los Nogales in Colombia in the 2024 Brewer Cup Finals held in Rancho, Cucamonga, California on 17th March. While boasting the not-so-popular decaf designation, this lot came with high standards. The coffee featured delicious and unique raspberry, strawberry, and eucalyptus notes. According to Zhang, the decaf typical lot is the best coffee ever. The Brewer Cup is commonly bestowed to the best and most ultra-premium high-end coffee lots. So, the decaf typica’s win is a testament to Specialty coffee’s embracing of decaf and the potential that good quality coffee lots offer - even for decaf.

(Source: Perfect Daily Grind)

Important Coffee Dates and Events for April 2024

North America’s Largest B2B Coffee Event, the SCA EXPO, is Around the Corner

We are finally closer to the 2024 Specialty Coffee (SCA) Expo. This significant B2B event is scheduled from April 12 to 14 at the McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago. You can learn more about the Expo on the official site.

Pitch your Entrepreneurial Coffee Ideas Ahead of the SCA Expo This April

Ghost Town Oats and Brewpoint Coffee will host the Elevating Dreams, Erasing Dividies: A Coffee & Innovation Pitch Competition on Friday, April 12, from 6-9 PM at the Hatchery in Chicago. This exciting event is expected to take place ahead of the SCA Expo, so it's a great opportunity for people in town for the expo. Intended for coffee entrepreneurs, the competition invites participants to pitch their ideas during the event. You can learn more about the event and how to register at Eventbrite.

Sample The Best Nicaraguan Coffee at the SCA Expo This Year

This upcoming 2024 SCA Expo in Chicago offers the chance to sample the best Nicaraguan coffee. The family-owned coffee supplier, NicaVio, launched its first-ever Golden Attribute competition in partnership with Nicaraguan exporter Sajonia Estate Coffee. During the competition, coffee from various farms in the country was judged using 10 distinct attributes. Attendees of the SCA Expo will get the chance to witness the best coffees chosen from this competition, showcased at the NicaVio booth during the 2024 Specialty Coffee Expo in Chicago. You can learn more about the competition at the NicaVio site.

The US Roaster Championships to take place at the SCA Expo

The SCA Expo is undoubtedly the place to be if you need more barista competitions. The 2024 U.S. Latte Art and US Roaster Championship will occur from April 11 to 14 at the SCA Expo in Chicago. You can learn more about each U.S. championship on the website.

Southwest Chocolate and Coffee Fest to Take Place in New Mexico

Chicago is one of many places for coffee lovers to be this April. New Mexico will be hosting the world’s largest festival for chocolate, coffee, and gourmet foods. The 14th Annual Southwest Expo will occur on April 6 & 7 (10 AM - 5 PM) in Albuquerque, New Mexico. With over 200 vendors, 6 stages, and 250,000 square feet of facilities, you can discover a variety of coffees, chocolates, candies, baked goods, and more. The event will be graced by hands-on classes, tasting sessions, seminars, and live music. Learn more about the Expo on the official site.

Meet the expert

Donna is a coffee lover and freelance writer from Tanzania. Coffee runs deep in her family, tracing its roots to her grandmother’s running of their first coffee farm in the mid-70s. During the summer seasons, she enjoys writing and co-running her grandmother's small robusta coffee farm with her sister in northwest Tanzania.

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