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Weekend Bits and Pieces, Week of March 22nd

Weekend Bits and Pieces, Week of March 22nd

draw coffee

We’re having fun here playing with the weekend links format, while continuing to present original art by Ben Blake of Draw Coffee fame. This week the coffee internet was a little slow moving, and some people were rather disgruntled. Some with good reason, some less so. We compiled the detritus, ran it through our own disgruntle-ionizing snark filter (a deceptively simple apparatus that filters out stray subsnark particulates by binding them to our own active snark cations), and arrived at this pure stream of properly gruntled links.

Ben Blake’s art commemorates “social justice cobbler” Toms entry into coffee roasting, which we may someday look back on as a watershed moment in the Coffee x #Brands movement. 

The Empty Jar vs. the Glowing Screen

Jordan Weissmann, Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent, begins his article on “how do e-payments affect tipping?” by saying “personally, I never tip the baristas when I go to a coffee shop. But plenty of people do.” Kind of an odd thing to lead with, and not something to be so proud of?

The body of the article is actually a good rundown of some studies that have been done on the effects of e-payment systems like Square on tipping (they raise tips generally), but the end gets twisted into a polemic:

“…that said, I can’t help but feel there’s something subtly insidious about [Square et al “guilting” you into typing]. As Brian Palmer explained in Slate last year, tipping is an economic barbarism that, in a better world, would be abolished. Why so? Customers, of course, can decide how much they want to tack on to their check. But for waiters and waitresses, those gratuities aren’t a bonus; they’re the rent.”

There then is the crux of his proudness: he thinks that in his benighted whim against tipping, he is helping move (North American) service people towards a brave new world where they aren’t at the whims of customers when it comes to paying their rent. Unfortunately, a silent individual signal like not tipping doesn’t actually affect any positive change…it just makes it harder to pay said rent.

Tipping in North America: very complicated.

Your Coffee Pods’ Dirty Secret

Maddie Oatman writes a good piece on the rather open, but still underappreciated fact that disposable coffee pods are TERRIBLE for the environment.

via Mother Jones

Luckily Green Mountain is dedicating all of their R&D resources to fixing this glaring problem. Well, they probably are, now that they’ve developed DRM locks to force you to only use their non-recyclable products.

Marcin Aleksander Surowiec

coffee cup tattoo

Now that is a cool coffee tattoo. Via.

The Scourge of Coffee

Designer Khoi Vinh goes on quite the rant against coffee, especially fancy coffee in this blog post. It’s based on some of the standard premises, such as:

“We avidly talk about our passion for essentially meaningless distinctions between different coffee brews the way we talk about the weather — which is to say endlessly, tiresomely, and as a method of saying something without actually saying anything.”

Definitely not the first person to make that gripe, and there may even be some truth in it, inasmuch as we as an industry still have a long way to go on effectively educating our customers. That being said, there are quite large flavor distinctions between different coffees, easily discernable to people who spend a modicum of time learning about coffee.

Also on the learning about coffee tip:

“I’m mystified that so many smart, caring, sensitive people that I love and admire are so enthralled by what are literally the dregs of caffeine strained through ground beans.”
via Readpure.com

via Readpure.com

Not sure what the dregs of a crystalline powder are, but if that was literally what coffee was, yeah, that sounds like it’d be gross.

Vinh also brings up some of the usual gripes about performative lifestyle-branded consumer culture, which is totes worth talking about–but coffee is only the easiest strawman for said issues, not the root problem.

Vinh does end with a quite accurate and worthwhile gripe:

“And it’s an economic scam too: coffee is exorbitantly priced — not just the beans, but all of the paraphernalia that goes with it. Single-brew coffee, a recent trend in brewing which thankfully is starting to take some heat for its fundamentally dishonest value proposition, costs by some reports as much asUS$50 per pound.”

Late-Night Highlight: Lady Gaga Wears Coffee Filter Dress on Kimmel

via ABC/Randy Holmes

via ABC/Randy Holmes

That’s pretty much all there is to that one...

How A Quest For The Perfect Cup Led Two Tinkerers To A Business Breakthrough

Fast Company manages to put out some quite interesting, outside the box coffee coverage from time to time. Their piece looking at the inner-workings of the Starbucks green coffee department was full of interesting tidbits.

via Fast.Co/Jessica Greene

via Fast.Co/Jessica Greene

This piece tells the story behind the design and manufacture of the Lido coffee hand-grinders. Precision hand-grinders are a booming product niche, though there’s not always tons of information available on them, especially from the manufacturers. A niche within a niche to be sure, but an interesting read nonetheless.

Bits & Pieces: Spokane Area Baristas Bare All, Bear Arms

Our own Zachary Carlsen, in a moment of headline genius.

Alex Bernson is the assistant editor at Sprudge.com. Read more Bernson here.

 


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