Weekly Coffee News


Some low mold coffee with your butter?

 

The Cult of the Bulletproof Coffee Diet
By COURTNEY RUBIN
DEC. 12, 2014

When Jimmy Fallon handed the actress Shailene Woodley a mug of coffee blended with butter on “The Tonight Show” in October, she didn’t recoil. Instead she raved to the audience about the cup of saturated fat:

“It will change your life!”

“It’s the most delicious thing ever,” Mr. Fallon said. “But it’s actually good for you. It’s good for your brain.”

It seems these days everyone is a coffee evangelist, but there are perhaps no proselytizers more fervent than those of Bulletproof coffee, a creation of the technology entrepreneur and biohacker Dave Asprey.

The recipe — a riff on the yak butter tea Mr. Asprey found restorative while hiking in Tibet — calls for low-mold coffee beans; at least two tablespoons of unsalted butter (grass-fed, which is higher in Omega 3s and vitamins); and one to two tablespoons of medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil, a type of easily digestible fat. Mr. Asprey claims having the 450-plus-calorie cup of coffee instead of breakfast suppresses hunger, promotes weight loss and provides mental clarity.

“It’s a gateway drug for taking control of your own biology,” said the well-caffeinated Mr. Asprey. Consider the strength of the addiction: At a three-day Bulletproof conference in Pasadena, Calif., in September, 200 pounds of Kerrygold butter wasn’t enough for the 500 attendees. There was also a run on unsalted grass-fed butter at the nearest Whole Foods.

Joan Salge Blake, a clinical associate professor of nutrition at Boston University, was skeptical, because it’s carbohydrates, absent from the drink, that are brain food.

“This is not a breakfast of champions,” she said.

Ms. Blake put the drink in the pantheon of marketing triumphs, comparing it to the old grapefruit diet, which didn’t magically melt pounds for good, but did lead to increased consumption of grapefruit. “The No. 1 driver of food choices among consumers is taste,” she said. “If individuals continue to enjoy the taste of their coffee prepared this way, they will continue to consume it. Whether it has long-term effects on weight managementremains to be seen.”

Mr. Asprey first posted the recipe on his website in 2009 (the name “Bulletproof,” he says, was a gift from his neighbor on a Virgin Atlantic Upper Class flight from London to San Francisco) and soon began selling creatively titled ingredients like Brain Octane (his own MCT oil) and Upgraded Coffee, his low-mold beans (toxins from mold are “performance-robbing,” he said, and also make coffee taste bitter.)

Most recently, he added Unfair Advantage, which he asserts is one of the few supplements that helps you grow new mitochondria (“feel like you’re flipping on a switch of clean-burning energy.”) Supplements don’t require clearance by the Food and Drug Administration, and Mr. Asprey’s website contains the usual disclaimer that his statements have not been evaluated by the agency.

His company, called the Bulletproof Executive, now has a staff of 20. Some seven million people have downloaded Mr. Asprey’s podcast, and his first stand-alone shop and cafe will open in the first quarter of 2015 in Los Angeles, perhaps the citadel of Bulletproof. And Mr. Asprey’s “The Bulletproof Diet: Lose up to a Pound a Day, Reclaim Energy and Focus, Upgrade Your Life,” is being published next week. It’s a lot like the Paleolithic diet, which eschews grains and dairy, but includes even more — and according to Mr. Asprey, more beneficial — fat.

Not one to let a marketing opportunity slip by, the book was finished with five all-nighters in a row fueled by a social-media-documented tsunami of Bulletproof products, including Mr. Asprey’s “smart drugs,” as he calls Unfair Advantage, red lights on his head (“boosts mitochondrial function,” he says), and of course, Bulletproof coffee.

“The information just poured out of me,” he said in an interview. “I would go into this high performance state and I would just sort of come out of it hours later with tens of thousands of words completed.”

According to the company, Bulletproof is also popular in the San Francisco Bay Area, New York, Seattle — and Milwaukee, which Mr. Asprey suggested was because of the popularity of mixed martial arts there, where any tiny edge in performance counts.

It helps that the drink has high-profile fans in Hollywood, Silicon Valley (one Twitter executive is lobbying to get the company chef to stock Bulletproof products) and sports (the Los Angeles Lakers), all of whom have personally won converts. The music producer Rick Rubin said he introduced the drink to the British singer Ed Sheeran, who promptly enthused about it on the Grammys red carpet.

Fans insist the beverage tastes like an amazingly creamy latte, though Mr. Rubin was more exclamatory: “like crisp toasted rye bread slathered with lots of butter blended in hot coffee,” he wrote in an email. “A wild classic-tasting breakfast in a cup.” For best results, the chef Seamus Mullen, another enthusiast, advised a hand blender instead of an electric one, because the electric blade heats up the oil, denaturing it and changing the taste. And start small with the MCT oil, which used to be given to hospital patients lacking enzymes to digest fat. “It can wreck your digestive tract,” Mr. Mullen said.

Being Bulletproof means never traveling light. After a MacGyver attempt to make coffee in a Chicago hotel room, Brandon Routh, who plays the superhero The Atom on the CW show “Arrow,” now carries ground beans, containers of clarified butter, a silicone squeeze bottle of MCT oil, plus a hand blender and Aeropress filter.

“My energy levels are through the roof compared to what they used to be,” said Mr. Routh, who learned of the drink at a bachelor party, of all places. He added: “My lines just kind of sink in and they’re there when I need them.”

Dr. Frank Lipman, an integrative doctor, recommends Bulletproof coffee to clients (who include the actress Gwyneth Paltrow) for “mind clarity and a bit of pep,” but cautioned that the drink is not nutritious because it lacks much protein and a variety of vitamins or minerals.

On “Good Morning America” last summer, Los Angeles coffee shop denizens gave the drink a thumbs up, but back in the studio, the anchors were dubious.

“I want to, but I’m looking down at it,” George Stephanopoulos said, grimacing as he peered into his mug. Ginger Zee decided it looked like chicken noodle soup.

In an interview, Mr. Asprey blamed the use of the company’s coffee service (“people in the building tell me it’s the worst coffee ever”), the wrong butter, no MCT oil and a failure to blend for the lack of enthusiasm. “I imagine some poor TV producer putting a stick of butter in a cup of coffee and stirring it around using the stick as the butter,” he said. “They basically drank bad butter oil slick on top of bad coffee. Of course they didn’t like it.”

Said “Good Morning America’s” Lara Spencer, “If I want butter, it’s in a baked potato.”


Partnership to promote women’s meaningful participation in PNG’s coffee industry

Sustainable Management Services PNG and
CARE International in PNG working in
partnership to promote women’s meaningful
participation in PNG’s coffee industry  —->


Blog Post – Judging a Coffee Brewing Competition: Palate Gymnastics

By Caitlin McCarthy-Garcia

Every year the Specialty Coffee Association of America holds a series of coffee competitions. Two of the more popular competitions begin at the regional level and the winners advance to the national, and finally, the world competition. This year I participated as a judge for the regional Brewer’s Cup competition held in southern California in October. This competition awards competitors that brew the tastiest coffee, and in the final round, combine that skill with a sophisticated taste experience while delivering excellent customer service.

Round one of the competition was…grueling. Each competitor was given the same coffee shortly before competition, with little time for preparation. The challenge for round one was to breBrewers Cupw the best cup for each judge. I judged seventeen baristas and tasted seventeen unique brews of the same coffee, all behind a curtain so as not to be biased. I was surprised how different the cups were, and I found myself doubting whether they were the same coffee.

The final round, “Open Service,” was more varied and interactive. Judges sat through a short performance by the top three competitors from round one. Each barista prepared individual brews for the three judges. We were led through a tasting experience that included a background on the coffee, information about the brewing method, and detailed tasting notes. It was important for competitors to choose their words carefully. For example, during one performance, I found myself questioning whether their descriptor of “melon” should really have been “stone fruit.” To some, this may seem trivial, but this is the attention to detail that the coffee industry relies on to maintain consistency and uphold quality standards.


California Growers Seek the Next Home Brew: Coffee

Sammy Venegas leads a crew of workers harvesting coffee at Good Land Organics.  He comes from a long line of Oaxacan coffee growers and harvesters. (Lisa Morehouse/KQED)
Sammy Venegas leads a crew of workers harvesting coffee at Good Land Organics. He comes from a long line of Oaxacan coffee growers and harvesters. (Lisa Morehouse/KQED)

The most commonly traded commodity in the world is oil. What comes in second?  Coffee. It’s been grown and loved since at least the 13th century in places such as Indonesia, Ethiopia and Central and South America. As a serious fungus threatens the crop worldwide, scientists are mapping the coffee genome to learn more about this plant. Though it’s not coffee’s natural growing environment, California is actually playing a role in the future of this most beloved and lucrative crop.

Sammy Venegas stands on a hillside shrouded in fog, thick with avocado trees, passion fruit and coffee plants. With a white bucket slung around his neck like a baby carrier, he picks only the reddest coffee beans.

“The redder the bean, the better the flavor,” Venegas explains in Spanish. “It’s perfect to drink.”

Venegas’ whole family plants and harvests coffee in Oaxaca, but he’s not in Mexico right now. He’s picking coffee 2 miles from the ocean, in Goleta, California, outside Santa Barbara.

“I call my family and tell them I’m working at a coffee ranch in California and they are like, ‘Seriously?’ ” Venegas says, with a laugh. “I say, yes, we have coffee in California. It’s incredible.”

The climate in Santa Barbara is dry, but with its proximity to the ocean, its microclimates can be surprising.

Good Land’s Lindsey McManus puts coffee cherries through the de-pulper. (Lisa Morehouse/KQED)
Good Land’s Lindsey McManus puts coffee cherries through the de-pulper. (Lisa Morehouse/KQED)

“On a morning like today where it’s all foggy and socked in, you can open your eyes and feel like you’re in many parts of the world besides California,” says Jay Ruskey.  He’s the first farmer to make a real commercial go at growing coffee in the continental United States. He partnered with UC Cooperative Extension’s Mark Gaskell, who’s visiting the farm today for a special occasion. Finally, after five years, Ruskey’s small crew is harvesting several coffee varieties never before grown here.

Ruskey’s operation, called Good Land Organics, takes us from the fields to the processing shed. He puts beans through a de-pulper to separate out the skin, then into a fermentation tub. The now-skinless coffee seeds sit for a day or two, while the meat separates from the bean. After they dry, Ruskey weighs 100 beans of each variety to compare their yield.

“We’re doing more than just trying to find best yields,” Ruskey says. “We’re also trying to find the best cups of coffee.”

Let’s be clear: Santa Barbara is a far cry from the tropics, where the world’s most respected coffee is grown. But Jay Ruskey is an experimental farmer, like a long line of Californians. Since the late 1800s, agricultural explorers have roamed the world looking for crops to grow in the U.S. — avocados came from Mexico and Guatemala, dates from Morocco, and navel oranges from Brazil.

The Good Land processing shed. (Lisa Morehouse/KQED)
The Good Land processing shed. (Lisa Morehouse/KQED)

Ruskey’s not the only one doing coffee research in California. Juan Medrano, a professor of animal genetics in the School of Animal Science at UC Davis, has focused on milk genetics.

“But lately, I have developed another interest, which is also looking at the genetics of coffee,” Medrano says. “If you think about it, milk and coffee are traditional companions and they make a really good latte.”

In Medrano’s lab, staff researcher Alma Esles studies the genetics of Panamanian beans that Medrano collected at different altitudes, creating a library of information. “It’s like a collection of all that RNA that belongs to that specific coffee seed,” Esles says. Temperatures and microclimates associated with changes in altitude significantly influence the flavor, aroma and “mouth-feel” of coffee.

Eventually, they’ll study the beans grown on Ruskey’s farm. “We’re interested in looking at diversity, and Jay has quite a collection of different varieties,” Medrano says.

Medrano is part of a new coffee center at UC Davis. It’s bringing together people who study food science, genetics, marketing and the social aspects of coffee. Medrano says coffee research is pretty new.

Jay Ruskey of Good Land Organics partnered with UC Cooperative Extension and is growing coffee commercially in Goleta, California. (Lisa Morehouse/KQED)
Jay Ruskey of Good Land Organics partnered with UC Cooperative Extension and is growing coffee commercially in Goleta, California. (Lisa Morehouse/KQED)

“I think it is important to study coffee. There’s several reasons,” Medrano explains. “Hundreds of millions of peoples’ livelihoods depend on coffee.” Additionally, the coffee crop is confronting some serious challenges. “The three main challenges are climate change, disease and quality,” Medrano explains.

He says California’s coffee crop is so new and small it wouldn’t really impact the worldwide coffee trade, but by growing it here we can learn about disease resistance, and farmers like Ruskey can determine if great coffee can grow outside its natural environment.

“I believe Jay’s producing very decent coffee for the conditions he’s in, so that’s admirable,” says Medrano.

Ohannes Karaoghlanian and Joanne Robles Swanson both grow avocados in Temecula. They take the bumpy ride to visit Ruskey’s farm, where coffee is growing next to and under avocado plants.

Coffee and avocados grow together in parts of Central America, and this pairing might make sense here, especially given our scant water supply.

Coffee beans dry for about 2 weeks on trays next to boxes of avocados. Coffee and avocados grow together in parts of Central America, and this pairing might make sense in California, too. (Lisa Morehouse/KQED)
Coffee beans dry for about 2 weeks on trays next to boxes of avocados. Coffee and avocados grow together in parts of Central America, and this pairing might make sense in California, too. (Lisa Morehouse/KQED)

“That’s what we’re here to investigate!” laughs Karaoghlanian.

“If they could coexist, use the same fertilizer, use the same amount of water — maybe just a little bit more — then it makes sense to put these crops together,” says Swanson.

Right now, Ruskey’s getting the best price for his beans in Europe and Japan.  He’s selling coffee plant starts from his greenhouse to other California farmers, and will process their beans after harvest.

“I look forward to the day when I can cup a California coffee from Santa Barbara against a California coffee in Temecula. We’ll have a little contest, meet together, invite our friends,” Ruskey says with a grin.

This may happen soon: Ruskey is already working with farmers in Morro Bay and San Diego County.


Colombian Coffee Crop Year 2013-’14 Yields Bigger Harvest

BOGOTA, Colombia — The Colombian Coffee Growers Federation’s (FNC) reported that Colombia, the world’s leading producer of mild washed arabica coffee, registered an increase in production at the end of September. FNC attributed the improvement to its ambitious crop renovation and coffee leaf rust control programs.

Production for the latest coffee harvest year (Oct. 2013-Sept. 2014) reached 12.1 million 60-kilo bags of green coffee, according to FNC. This is a 22% increase, compared with the 9.9 million bags produced during the same period of the previous year.

Similarly, coffee production in September 2014 reached a total of 912,000 60-kilo bags, reflecting a 6% increase over the 860,000 60-kilo bags produced in September 2013.

Year to date (January-September) coffee production reached a total of 8.8 million 60-kilo bags, marking a 16% increase, compared with the 7.6 million bags produced between January and September 2013.

FNC said the production increase and higher market prices are generating higher income for Colombian coffee growing families. Between January and September 2014, the coffee harvest value, including government support, reached $1.8 billion. This reportedly translated into a 19% increase compared to the harvest value of the same period of the previous year.

 


Dockworkers contract at West Coast ports expires, but negotiations continue and cargo keeps moving

by Brian Watt

A strike by port clerical workers in 2012 idled trucks at the Port of Los Angeles Brian Watt/KPCC A labor contract covering about 20,000 dockworkers at west coast ports expired at 5:00 p.m. Tuesday, but cargo continued to move, as negotiators on both sides said they’ll keep talking on a new contract. The Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and International Longshore and Warehouse Workers Union (ILWU) have been in contract talks since May 12. They issued a joint statement shortly after 5pm Tuesday: While there will be no contract extension, cargo will keep moving, and normal operations will continue at the ports until an agreement can be reached…Both sides understand the strategic importance of the ports to the local, regional and US economies, and are mindful of the need to finalize a new coast-wide contract as soon as possible to ensure continuing confidence in the West Coast ports and avoid any disruption to the jobs and commerce they support. Neither side had raised the possibility of a strike or lock-out, but memories of past labor stand-offs at the ports has caused anxiety among groups with ties to the industry. Retailers began moving goods through the ports early, causing an uptick in cargo volumes. The contract covers the work of around 10,000 dockworkers at the ports of LA and Long Beach. Together, the two ports form the busiest port complex in the country, handling more than a third of the trade between the U.S. and China. “It’s not just a matter of what happens at the port. It’s a matter of what happens in the broader supply chain,” said Tom O’Brien of the Center for International Trade and Transportation at Cal-State Long Beach. “Whether it’s a strike or lock-out, goods aren’t moving off ships onto the docks. That means truckers can’t pick up those goods, that means they can’t be processed at distribution centers or warehouses,” O’Brien said. The Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation estimates more than 163,000 jobs in LA County alone are tied to trade and distribution of cargo. President Bill Allen said $415 billion in goods moved through the ports of LA and Long Beach last year. “The Ports of LA and Long Beach are investing about $5 billion to remain competitive, deepening and widening channels, improving terminals,” Allen told CNBC. “We are determined to continue to be the best way to move goods in and out of the U.S. economy.” O’Brien said a strike or lock-out could put LA-Long Beach’s supremacy at risk and jeopardize any West Coast port’s reputation as a viable gateway to the U.S. “Remember, shippers always have options, and they will look for the path of least resistance,” O’Brien told KPCC. “Right now, part of determining where the path of least resistance is the potential for labor unrest.” Shippers might find those paths at ports on other U.S. coasts, as well as Canada and Mexico.


Brazil’s main ports pause for home team’s World Cup matches

- RTRS 23-Jun-2014 12:41 SAO PAULO, June 23 (Reuters) –

Football fever is so intense in Brazil, the host of the World Cup soccer tournament, that even the main shipping ports in the commodity-exporting powerhouse are shutting down when the national team plays. In Paranagua, Brazil’s No. 2 soy exporting port, the dock workers’ union negotiated an ordinance that lets them stop working an hour before the match and resume work an hour afterward for a total of around four hours to relax and watch the Brazilian team. “This is unprecedented,” said the port’s press representative, Samar Razzak, who added that the port usually operates even during the New Year’s and Christmas holidays. Brazil has not hosted a World Cup since 1950. Dock workers went on strike several times last year and it is seen as in the interest of port authorities to keep them happy as soybean shipments wind down and sugar and coffee pick up in the world’s top exporter of those commodities. The agreement in Paranagua applies to Brazil’s matches during group play, including Monday afternoon’s final group match against Cameroon, Razzak said. The match kicks off at 2000 GMT. If Brazil advances to the next rounds of the tournament, which begins June 28 and ends July 13, a new ordinance will likely be drawn up, she said. In Santos, the port that accounts for 25 percent of Brazil’s shipping trade, individual terminal operators decide what to do during the national team’s games, a port spokesman said. During the previous two Brazil matches on June 12 and June 17, most terminals halted operations for two hours during the games and resumed work shortly thereafter, the spokesman added. Administrative workers at both Santos and Paranagua planned to leave work at 1 p.m. local time on Monday, though some mooring and security workers were to continue working. Financial markets, banks and other companies have also closed early on game days in Latin America’s largest economy. (Reporting by Caroline Stauffer and Gustavo Bonato, editing by G Crosse)


Colombia coffee exports to hit 21-year high

Colombia will strengthen its newly-rediscovered grip on third rank among world coffee producers next season, lifting its harvest to a seven-year high, while heavy rains lower output in rival Indonesia.

Colombian coffee production will hit 11.9m bags in 2014-15, the highest since 2007-08, as bushes mature that were planted a reseeding programme aimed at promoting varieties resistant to the rust fungus, the US Department of Agriculture’s Bogota bureau said.

“Replanting efforts with rust resistant varieties and the return to more normal weather conditions have continued to support a production recovery,” the bureau said in a report.

Besides the wait for new trees to mature, Colombian output was also held back during 2009-11 by excessive rains, blamed on the La Nina weather pattern, which promoted ideal conditions for the spread of rust.

But output has recovered strongly since, and its forecast to hit 10.8m bags this season, with rust believed to have affected “only” 7% of coffee area.

Colombia vs Indonesia

The rise in production will lift exports to 11.59m bags, a 21-year high, the bureau said,

“Colombian coffee exports have been expanding significantly since 2013,” with more than 40% going to the US.

The South American country’s rising fortunes contrast with those of Indonesia – which overtook Colombia to take third rank in coffee output between 2008-09 and last season, when output was depressed first by hot and dry weather which reduced flowering, before excessive rains set back fruiting.

Production in the South East Asian country is seen falling for a second successive season in 2014-15, to 8.9m bags, depressed by “excessive precipitation during the 2013 dry season”, which disturbed pollination of the flowers bearing this year’s cherries.

“Robusta coffee, which requires wind and insect pollination, is expected to face declines up to 500,000 bags,” the bureau said.

Indonesian output is also being held back by “poor agricultural practices” and by the extent of old trees, with waning yields.

El Nino threat

Indonesia’s woes will curtail its exports to a seven-year low of 7.2m bags in 2014-15, more than 4m bags behind those of Colombia.

However, Colombian growers may yet face their own weather setbacks if an El Nino weather pattern begins this year, as expected, and which has a history of cutting the country’s rainfall levels.

Official Colombian meteorologists say that “the El Niño phenomenon is on the horizon, and will create drought conditions towards second half of 2014, which could stem the ongoing production recovery and affect coffee quality”.

Drier weather would also encourage outbreaks of the broca cherry borer beetle, “also impacting coffee quality and exportable supplies”.

Some concern over Colombia’s recovery was also raised last week when data for April showed the first year on year fall in monthly output since 2012, with output falling 14% to 832,000 bags.

In March, production rose 34% year on year.
By Agrimoney.com – Published 20/05/2014


Coffee fungus raising prices for high-end blends

E – In this Feb. 9, 2013, file photo, small coffee producer Hector Perez show coffee beans damaged by the roya fungus in San Gaspar Vivar, Guatemala. The U.S. government is stepping up efforts to help Central American farmers fight a devastating coffee disease _ and to keep the price of your morning cup down. A fungus called coffee rust has already caused more than $1 billion in damage across the Latin American region. It is especially deadly to Arabica coffee, the bean that makes up most high-end, specialty coffees, and it is already affecting the price of some of those coffees in the United States. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. government is stepping up efforts to help Central American farmers fight a devastating coffee disease — and hold down prices.

At issue is a fungus called coffee rust that has caused more than $1 billion in damage across Latin American region. The fungus is especially deadly to Arabica coffee, the bean that makes up most high-end, specialty coffees.

Already, it is affecting the price of some of those coffees in the United States.

“We are concerned because we know coffee rust is already causing massive amounts of devastation,” said Raj Shah, head of the U.S. Agency for International Development.

On Monday, he was expected to announce a $5 million partnership with Texas A&M University’s World Coffee Research center to try to eliminate the fungus.

But the government isn’t doing this just to protect our $4 specialty coffees, as much as Americans love them. The chief concern is about the economic security of these small farms abroad. If farmers lose their jobs, it increases hunger and poverty in the region and contributes to violence and drug trafficking.

Washington estimates that production could be down anywhere from 15 percent to 40 percent in coming years, and that those losses could mean as many as 500,000 people could lose their jobs. Though some countries have brought the fungus under control, many of the poorer coffee-producing countries in Latin America don’t see the rust problem getting better anytime soon.

Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Panama and Costa Rica have all been hard hit.

Much of the blander, mass-produced coffee in this country comes from Asia and other regions. Most of the richer, more expensive coffees are from small, high altitude farms in Central America. Because the farms are smaller, farmers there often don’t have enough money to buy the fungicides needed or lack the training to plant in ways that could avoid contamination.

The rust, called roya in Spanish, is a fungus that is highly contagious due to airborne fungal spores. It affects different varieties, but the Arabica beans are especially susceptible. Rainy weather worsens the problem.

“We don’t see an end in sight anytime soon,” said Leonardo Lombardini of Texas A&M’s World Coffee Research.

So far, major U.S. coffee companies have been able to find enough supply to avoid price increases. But some smaller outfits already have seen higher prices, said Ric Rhinehart of the Specialty Coffee Association of America.

Rhinehart said the worst-case scenario is that consumers eventually will pay “extraordinarily high prices for those coffees, if you can find them at all.”

He said some very specialized varieties from a single origin — Guatemalan antigua coffees, for example — have been much harder to source. If the problem continues, he says, some small coffee companies either will raise prices or use blends that are easier to find, decreasing the quality of the coffee.

Larger companies such as Starbucks and Keurig Green Mountain Inc. have multiple suppliers across the region and say they have so far been able to source enough coffee.

“It’s a little bit too soon to tell what the impact will be on supply and long term quality over time,” said Lindsey Bolger, who heads up coffee sourcing for Keurig Green Mountain.

Still, the companies are trying to ensure that their future supply isn’t affected, so they are working closely with growers on better practices that will help them avoid contamination.

“Supporting the farmer’s ability to access information, technology and resources allows them to adapt to these uncertainties and ensures the longevity of our industry’s supply chain,” said Craig Russell, Starbucks Global Coffee executive vice president. Starbucks even bought a Costa Rican farm for research purposes.

USAID intends to work with Texas A&M to step up research on rust-resistant coffee varieties and help Latin America better monitor and respond to the fungus. The U.S. already collaborates with some of the coffee companies and other international organizations to finance replanting of different varieties of trees.

The effort is part of the Obama administration’s Feed the Future program, which aims to rid the world of extreme poverty through agricultural development and improved nutrition.

While the effort has helped hungry children around the globe, “we’re at risk of backtracking because of coffee rust,” Shah says.


Coffee Flour … coming to a cake near you…

Two years ago, Dan Belliveau hit upon the idea for a new product: Coffee Flour. A former director of technical services at Starbucks, Belliveau had learned about coffee production while designing and building roasting facilities. The process, he realized, resulted in lots of waste, which could be used.

The dried, roasted coffee beans we use to make our java are actually seeds that have been extracted from bright red fruit known as coffee cherries. Once farmers remove the beans, they are left with a huge amount of edible, nutrition-rich cherry pulp. In some countries the byproduct is dried and used to make tea, but, for the most part, it’s simply discarded and left to rot. Suspecting there must be a better way, Belliveau took it upon himself to create a rudimentary coffee berry flour and began experimenting. “My wife made some shortbread cookies and granola,” he says. “When it actually tasted good we thought, wow, we’ve got something here.”

Photograph by Nathon SimsToday, Belliveau’s Vancouver-based startup, CF Global Holdings, has developed a patent-pending process for the milling of commercial-grade coffee flour. Gluten free, the product has three times more iron than spinach, three times more protein per gram than kale, and five times more fiber than whole grain flour, according to the company. “Most flours are somewhere between 5 and 12 percent fiber,” says Belliveau. “Coffee flour is 55 percent fiber.”

The java flour doesn’t taste particularly like coffee—it has a “sweet, dried fruit flavor,” says Belliveau—nor does it have much caffeine. To get a jolt equivalent to one cup of joe, a person would have to eat anywhere from seven to 16 slices of bread made with about 20 percent coffee flour. (To get a palatable consistency and texture, coffee flour is best used in combination with other grains.) Also, the edible caffeine product tends to have a slower, more sustained effect than liquid coffee.

Story: Can Coffee Kill You?

With mills churning in several countries, CF Global plans to produce about 350,000 pounds of coffee flour this year. The startup received an undisclosed amount of funding from private investors and from industry giants Mercon Coffee and Ecom Coffee; Intellectual Ventures, a firm started by former Microsoft CTO Nathan Myhrvold, also invested and helped with the patenting process.

Belliveau says his process requires only minor tweaks to existing coffee manufacturing equipment and that farmers will profit while only expending about an extra 25 percent effort, since they already have the coffee waste on hand. CF Global hopes the added sales will help farmers take home an extra 30 percent to 50 percent of what they get from manufacturing coffee beans.

Even if it doesn’t pack a huge wallop, caffeine-laced flour will undeniably have appeal. U.S. retail sales of caffeinated foods totaled about $1.6 billion in 2012, a 49 percent jump since 2008, and the growing list of bizarre caffeinated products includes Bang!! Caffeinated Ice Cream, Perky Jerky, Java Mallows, Cracker Jack’D Power Bites, and Wired Waffles. There’s even a patent-pending topical caffeine spray called Sprayable Energy, which is spritzed on the same way as perfume or cologne (“preferably on the neck for greatest effect,” say the inventors).