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Starbucks music video

17 Feb

An interesting music video by John Wesley Harding, a solo artist with a unique way of writing songs. This video was filmed in front of twenty-eight different Starbucks locations in New York city in less than five hours.

Harding said about the song: ”Starbucks isn’t the real target. To me, its a song about gentrification. It could be Starbucks, it could be The Gap, it could be Barnes and Noble. It could be anyone. It just happens that Starbucks – its like saying ‘God’ or  ‘the Devil.’ People know what you mean.”

Harding has a sort of split-personality in that his other job is as a novelist. He says, “I think that novel-writing is kind of taking care of a lot of the fictional impulses that I have. Now, when I think of an idea for a song, I often think, ‘Oh, no — that’s a terrible idea for a song. But it’s a great idea to put into a novel,’ ” It has changed the way he produces music too: “Suddenly, I find myself writing rather more personal material — which, of course, is what a lot of people do use music for. I’d just never really used it in that way.”

Record Low for Coffee Bean Crops

28 Jan
2011 was a devastating year for coffee growers; for growers in Columbia, it was especially catastrophic, with crops shrinking to a 35-year low after excess rainfall, diseases and a lack of sunshine took their effects on the coffee yields.

Columbia – the second largest coffee bean producer in the world, second to Brazil – saw the harvest tumble 12% in 2011 to under 8 million bags, the lowest level since 1976. The crop usually levels out about 8.92 million bags a year, though this is still a lower number than previously experienced.

However it’s not simply the dreadful weather which has caused the massive drop in production. Rising prices for fertiliser have increased overhead costs and a stronger Colombian peso against the American dollar has seen a decrease in revenue for farmers. As mentioned in our earlier post on Colombian coffee crops, these farming communities are certainly feeling the pinch.

This, of course, translates into a higher price for our beloved coffee. We can only hope that 2012 will see better weather and better news!

DiB in the Aloha State

24 Jan
Hawaii is the only state in the USA that produces coffee; it is grown on every major island in the State with seven million pounds (3181818.2 kg) produced annually. Hawaii is not only known for its coffee – the most famous being the Big Island’s Kona – but for their herbal teas as well.

One company in Hawaii has dedicated itself to serving its customers with the best quality Hawaiian coffee and providing opportunities within the community. DiB, standing for Deaf in Business, is the only company to run deaf-only cafes in the world.

Their mission statement declares that they will provide employment opportunities for deaf or hearing-impaired (DHI) people in Hawaii and Malaysia and ensure that they have good career prospects. Operational and management training is offered alongside instruction to become a barista, and they aim to motivate and coach DHI people to become business owners themselves. The idea is to start a franchise company, run by DHI who have been trained by DiB and open cafes throughout Malaysia.

There are numerous blends on offer, and tons of teas. All are Hawaiian blends and recipes. However, the cafes serve freshly baked cakes and other bakery treats as well; their passion fruit cheesecake is said to be especially well regarded.

This a wonderful opportunity for many people, and it’s great to see such support within the community. If you’re lucky enough to live in Hawaii, make sure you pop over and see them; if not, their website delivers to the main islands. Here’s hoping they offer international shipping soon!

Give Blood; Get Coffee.

23 Jan
The American Red Cross and Dunkin’ Donuts – an American donut and coffee shop -have teamed up in a scheme dubbed ‘Give a Pint, Get a Pound’. In the hope of raising the number of people who donate blood in the colder months, the scheme has been implemented in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont. For every pint of blood that’s donated, the participant will receive a gift voucher for one pound of coffee.

So far, this has been a very popular campaign. Since its launch, there has been a 16% increase of blood donations in January. The colder months of the year have always seen a dip in those volunteering to give blood; American Red Cross Communications Program Manager, Elaine St. Peter says ‘January is a much better month because people love to come get their Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and help those in need.’

Should you wish to donate blood and live in England or Wales, you can find out more here

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

19 Jan
If you’ve been in any university library recently, you’ll have seen one of these. My KeepCup has exploded on the scene of ethical coffee enjoyment, and has quickly become the new ‘it’ thing to be seen with in the local coffee shops.

Inexpensive and with a great deal of customisation available, KeepCup is reusable for over 1000 uses, and is guaranteed for one year. A medium sized cup, holding 340ml, is priced at £8.40. Through using these reusable coffee cups, KeepCup users have stopped 70,000 trees from being felled for paper pulp. Pretty impressive.

What’s more impressive is KeepCup’s dedication to the environment and to the people who interact with it. They currently are in a supportive partnership with Coffee Kids, a non-profit organisation that works with coffee farming families to improve their quality of life. Coffee Kids helps educate and support the welfare of children of coffee plantation families.

There are several coffee shops that provide discounts or loyalty points for bringing your own mug; Leila’s and Bean About Town are two coffee shops which only serve take-away coffee if you have your own mug. With hundreds of different colour and size combinations, KeepCup is a fashionable and ethical way to enjoy your coffee. They even offer gift vouchers if you’re looking for that perfect gift for a coffee lover!

You can personalise and purchase your own KeepCup here.

Coffee Article – The End of Cheap Coffee

22 Nov

Despite us currently enjoying the boom of the “Coffee for the masses” trend that high street chains like Starbucks and Costa have brought us over the last decade, some would say that we have lost something in the process. Mass production has killed the intimacy and intricacy of making a really good coffee. The magic has gone so to speak.

All that could be changing however as coffee crops have been dwindling in recent years due to climate change and higher demand, seeing a steady rise in prices across the board. The rise in prices has not been passed onto the farmers, who are benefiting the least.

Those looking to keep prices down have been left with buying beans of lower quality, robbing the consumer of the higher standards to which they deserve.

Crisis gives rise to in ingenuity however, as a return to the “coffee experience” business model could see a move towards serving coffee in a way that makes the customer happy to pay more. A coffee shop called Intelligensia makes the whole process of making a coffee right in front of the customer, breaking it down into stages and explaining all the science along the way. A coffee lovers heaven!

Time will tell whether such an idea will catch on, giving coffee enjoyment which is worth its weight in gold!

Can Coffee Reduce the Risk of Cancer?

18 Nov
Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School have stated in a prospective study that the more coffee an adult drinks, the lower their risk of developing basal cell carcinoma, sometimes known as BCC.BCC is the most common form of skin cancer, often presenting itself in early stages as a sore that refuses to heal. Fengju Song Ph.D, co-author of the study, says that there is a inverse relationship between coffee and BCC. This seems like a pretty good reason to drink more of the lovely organic Monmouth Coffee that we sell here at CCK! Not that any of us need an excuse to drink wonderful coffee! Of course, if you have any health concerns it’s best to see a medical professional immediately.

You can find the full article on mediLexicon. We love to know what our readers think, so drop us a line below with your opinion!

Coffee Feature – Black Coffee Song

2 Nov

Black Coffee – The Careless Lovers (The Official Music Video) from Joon Chang on Vimeo.

I spotted this interesting little vid while browsing for coffee features. The song is called Black Coffee by The Careless Lovers, and the video is produced by Joon Chang. A perfect example of the perils of drinking too much Black Coffee!

Coffee Spotlight: Monmouth Costa Rican

25 Oct

Here at CCK we’re currently enjoying one of Monmouth’s Costa Rican blend, which is a bean called the Finca Las Fajas.

As with all coffees that Monmouth sell, they are almost literally on a first name basis with the bean suppliers. The Finca Las Fajas bean is grown by the Chacón Solano family in Caturra and Catucaí, in Costa Rica’s Central Valley.

It’s most distinguished characteristics are its rum and raisin flavoring, with a medium acidity and heavy body.

Have you tried it? What do you think are its good and bad points? What would you recommend as a good coffee? We want to know! Post your comments here, or on our twitter feed at!/coffeecakekink!

UK Barista Championship 2012 Finals

5 Oct

The announcement of the finals for the UK Barista Championships will be hosted by the London Coffee Festival from the 27th to the 29th of April 2012.

The event will take place during UK Coffee Week at Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane, and is expected to host over 12,000 trade and visitors over the three days it is planned to run.

As a special treat, the LCF will be running an exclusive “VIP Trade Day Experience”, giving participants to experience a unique coffee shop and food-to-go tour.

More details on tickets and can be found on their website: