Jan 22, 2013

Want to get your Coffee Like a Rockstar?

Do you ever wish that you could skip the line and have your coffee drink waiting for you at the bar of your local coffee shop in the morning? This scenario is one that has run through every coffee-addict’s mind while waiting in a particularly long, slow line in the morning at a coffee shop. A company called Buck has introduced a program called Coffee Like A Rockstar that will let you, at participating local cafes, skip the line. The idea is that you order your drink through the site or app and pay for it all online, then you simply swing in and pick it up – no waiting.

The program would work best for small, local coffee shops where they could gain an edge over larger chains, as the convenience to the customer could make them more likely to choose the local shop. Starbucks has tried online ordering in the past, but with their volume, the process doesn’t really make much sense. The only downside is that part of the fun of a small, local coffee shop is the atmosphere and the interaction with employees and other customers, most of which would be lost in favor of a quick in-and-out experience. But, if the app drives more business to local coffee joints that join up, it would be a good thing both for their business and for coffee-lovers looking for a little more convenience.

At the moment, there are only two shops participating, both in Burien, Washingtion, the hometown of Buck’s CEO, so you might not get a chance to try it out unless you live in the area. But if you like the sound of the program, it might be something worth talking to the barista (or cafe owner) at your own favorite coffee joint.

Jan 18, 2013

US Coffee Revenue Set to Surpass Soda

Coffee Graph vs Soda

A cup of coffee is a popular way to start the day for many people. By lunchtime, some people will have looked for drinks elsewhere, and opted for juice, tea or soda over another cup of coffee. At least, this used to be the way things worked. In the last 10 years, US coffee consumption has increased by over 50% – while soda consumption, both for diet and regular drinks, has been in decline. This chart depicts the revenue of both the soda and coffee markets (not coffee shops, just purchased coffee), and it is easy to see that the advantage will soon be with coffee as it is set to potentially overtake soda revenue (data from IBISWorld). There are a couple of reasons that this has happened, and while studies aren’t pointing to one thing specifically, it doesn’t take a lot to see that these reasons definitely carry some weight.

  1. Coffee is healthier than soda. There are studies all the time about the new potential health benefits of coffee and caffeine. Sugar has been blamed for the “obesity epidemic and there is simply lots of anti-soda propaganda out there.
  2. Bottled water and energy drinks are popular. These categories are taking market share away from soda – and while the same parent companies are still profiting because they own products in these categories, drinkers of bottled water and energy drinks are often former soda drinkers.
  3. Coffee has class. It’s not just that we like coffee, but now consumers are much more educated and appreciative of good coffee than ever before. So, we drink more.
  4. Coffee is expensive. Unlike soda, which is inexpensive to produce, coffee is a pricey and labor-intensive agricultural product. As demand increases, so do prices and that pushes the coffee industry further into the black.
Jan 16, 2013

Lion Latte Art

Nicole's Lion Latte Art

I will admit that I’m not the most skilled latte artist out there when it comes to free-pouring rosettes and such, but I do like to practice even though my creations sometimes look a little on the abstract side. I can make some darn good microfoam, though, and will often opt for etched latte art – made using a toothpick – to decorate my drinks. This lion is a recent favorite of mine and I’m pretty sure that he makes the drinks taste even better.

Jan 14, 2013

Coffee may lower depression risk

Starbucks Coffee

I always love to hear good news about research that reveals new potential health benefits of coffee (or tea, of course), because I don’t want to cut back on my coffee consumption. It also never hurts to feel like you’re doing something good for yourself by pouring another cup during the day. A recent study focused on older adults found that regular coffee drinkers who drank four or more cups a day were at a much lower risk of depression than non-coffee drinkers. This was particularly true of the non-drinkers who consumed a lot of artificially sweetened beverages, since that was linked to the highest risk of depression in this particular study. There are many other factors that could start to explain these findings, but the preliminary results of the study – which was large and, unusually, focused primarily on older people in the IS – are very interesting. The results were released by the American Academy of Neurology and the study was led by Dr. Honglei Chen, an investigator at the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

Coffee and caffeine have already been linked to a happier and more optimistic outlook on life in other studies, so lowering the risk of depression may not be too much of a stretch.

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