1. The Unsung Heroes of the Coffee World

    The Unsung Heroes of the Coffee World

    You drink it every day, but do you know what goes on behind the scenes in the coffee industry?

    It’s International Coffee Day on 1 October, and there’s no better time to celebrate the “silent” heroes of the coffee world who work hard to ensure the production of your favourite brew is made possible.

    Here’s a look at who’s who.

    The Coffee Farmers

    Coffee farmers are the folks responsible for the quality and consistent supply of coffee cherries. They constitute a significant part of the entire supply chain, and without their productivity and the effectiveness of their farming practices, the industry wouldn’t exist in the first place.

    The process of farming coffee requires meticulousness and careful supervision, and increasingly, farmers are turning to new technologies to support production.

    Mill Workers

    a man milling coffee under the sun
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  2. Unusual Coffee Brews from Around the World

    Unusual Coffee Brews from Around the World

    Coffee: it’s such a popular drink of choice, and many can’t function throughout the day without their daily cuppa (getting it cafe-standard is easy if you’ve got the slim and sleek Dedica).

    But all over the globe, it’s prepared differently, and versions vary from country to country, sometimes even city to city.

    Here are some unusual coffee brews you can find around the world:

    Kopi Luwak

    coffee cherries on a tree
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  3. 9 Ways to Be a More Eco-Friendly Coffee Drinker

    9 Ways to Be a More Eco-Friendly Coffee Drinker

    In celebration of the 51st anniversary of Earth Day, let’s take small steps toward becoming a more sustainable coffee drinker to ensure our coffee cup stays full well into the future.

    Here are 9 easy ways to get started:

    Support Responsible Growers

    Take a closer look at the label on your coffee beans as it tells you all you need to know about its origins.

    If you want peace of mind knowing that your coffee beans were sustainably grown or ethically sourced, look for certifications such as Fair Trade Certified, USDA Organic, and Rainforest Alliance.

    Purchasing coffee beans like these help enterprises dedicated to supporting sustainable agriculture and fair working conditions.

    By choosing organic coffee, for instance, you are consuming chemical-free coffee that’s made by farmers who focus on the use of renewable resources.

    Go Local

    Delicious artisan brews, a homely atmosphere, and an economic boost for the local community – there are plenty of great reasons to support your local independent coffee shop.

    Think of the environmental impact of your regular coffee spot, too. After all, a small local business like a coffee shop is likely to have a smaller carbon footprint than larger chains.

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  4. Organic vs Regular Coffee Beans – Is Organic Worth the Price?

    Organic vs Regular Coffee Beans – Is Organic Worth the Price?

    The word “organic” has taken over the world by storm with most grocery stores offering organic versions of your favourite food, and the same goes with organic coffee. What’s the difference between organic and regular coffee? Does it taste different and is the heftier price tag worth it? We find out.

    What makes coffee organic?

    [caption id="attachment_8812" align="alignnone" width="2560"]soil in a coffee tamper placed on a white table For coffee to be certified organic, it must be produced under strict conditions and guidelines. Photo from Miryam León.[/caption] Coffee is one of the most widely produced and traded commodities in the world, and meeting that demand isn’t an easy task. As coffee consumption increased globally, farming methods evolved to maximise production, even if it was at the expense of human health and the environment. But over the years, things have changed as the consequences of chemical farming surfaced. Today, organic coffee is more prominent than ever, and obtaining an organic certification isn’t as simple as we think. The first step is ensuring that the coffee farm abstains from using any form of chemical pesticides, herbicides, inorganic fertilisers or additives. Then, the coffee processing plant that handles the coffee before it is packaged must have its own organic system. This includes the exporter, importer, and coffee roaster. Essentially, each player of the supply chain has to be certified organic.

    Is there a difference in taste?

    For most coffee drinkers, taste is the most important factor in deciding whether a cup of coffee is good. Here’s a surprising fact: an organic certification has little to no correlation with the taste qu
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  5. A Guide to Vietnamese Coffee and How to Make It

    A Guide to Vietnamese Coffee and How to Make It

    Vietnam, more widely known for its strong and flavourful local coffee, is the world’s second-largest producer of coffee and top producer of the Robusta bean. The Southeast Asian country’s hilly landscapes and cooler climate make it the perfect location for coffee plantations. The next time you travel to Vietnam, walk down the streets of Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh and be welcomed by the aroma of freshly roasted coffee beans.

    The Beginnings

    In 1857, the French introduced coffee to the locals and soon after, the country was filled with coffee plantations as it was a lucrative industry that boosted the economy. When the Vietnam war came along, locals migrated, leaving behind their plantations. It was not until 1986 when private enterprises were given licenses to resume coffee production.

    How It Became a Coffee Production Giant

    [caption id="attachment_8610" align="alignnone" width="2560"]a back shot of people sitting along the window in a cafe in London Drinking coffee in London? The beans might be from Vietnam as it exports coffee beans all over the world. Photo from Christian Battaglia.[/caption] Coffee farmers initially relied heavily on the use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides to increase yields. However, with more worldwide regulations set in place, most farmers are now moving towards organic practices, producing more sustainable coffee. Learn more about this coffee roaster in Malaysia tha
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  6. Kenyan Coffee: The Unsung Beauty of Coffee

    Kenyan Coffee: The Unsung Beauty of Coffee

    A product of Kenya’s once lush and elusive coffee farms elevated 2000m above sea level, the Kenyan coffee is often lauded as one of the best coffees in the world. The bean is loved for its distinctive taste that gives off wafts of fresh, floral aroma and its notes of bergamot, berries and lemongrass upon tasting. Why then, with its quality and complex flavour, is the elusive Kenyan coffee not more popular or known?

    Kenyan Coffee: Origins

    [caption id="attachment_6903" align="alignnone" width="2000"]a person lifting a teaspoon from a cup of coffee Kenyan Coffee, while medium-bodied, lingers on the palate with its juicy and rich flavour. Photo from Louis Hansel[/caption] The Kenyan Coffee originates from the red volcanic soil on plateaus to the north and east of Nairobi. Mainly a crop grown by smaller farms and cooperatives as well as within the confines of larger estates, it yields only 2 million bags a year. In comparison to its 50 - 500 trees, a common South American coffee farm boasts 5,000 - 10,000 trees. The best Kenyan coffee can be found within their very own local coffee roasters, who roast the beans fresh daily. More commonly, however, brands such as Starbucks and Amazon offer pre-roasted packs in stores and online. However, after roasting, the flavour diminishes the longer it is stored and when tasted, simply does not do it justice to the bean’s potential.

    Poor Marketing

    To examine why the Kenyan coffee goes unappreciated, it boils down to bad, if not a lack thereof, marketing. Instead of marketing to the global audience, the coffee undergoes a cooperative system of marketing. Auctions are held each Tuesday of the harvesting season and buyers engage in intense price wars. On top of all tha
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  7. Kapeng Barako: The Endangered Philippine Liberica

    Kapeng Barako: The Endangered Philippine Liberica

    In the Philippines, coffee is the most consumed beverage after water. A 2015 study by research firm Kantar Worldpanel found that coffee is a staple drink for Filipinos, who have shifted from being moderate to heavy coffee drinkers. This probably isn’t a surprise for those in metro Manila and other urbanised areas, which are chock-full of coffee houses ranging from big chains to boutique cafes. But the country’s coffee culture has surprisingly old roots, and some aspects of it – including the elusive and endangered form of Liberia, kapeng barako – are not well known.

    Kapeng Barako: Origins

    A coffee varietal that belongs to the species Coffea liberica, kapeng barako is grown in the Philippines, predominantly in the provinces of Batangas and Cavite. The term barako refers to Philippine liberica. The liberica is one of four identified species of coffee, along with robusta, excelsa and arabica. Of these, liberica has the biggest cherries and therefore, produces bigger beans. The story of barako in the Philippines dates back 200 years, when it was first planted in a place called Lipa City in Batangas. Coffee had only recently been introduced to the country by a Franciscan friar but it quickly grew into a thriving industry. Subsequently, the Philippines became a key coffee producer. In the Philippines, “barako” is a name g
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