• Clearly, the town runs on caffeine. Hollywood-based coffee businesses are reeling in the wake of the writers’ strike as the cast and crew of television and film studios, er… nap, apparently.

    For 35 years, Richard Anderson’s Hollywood coffee delivery service has kept the casts and crews of an endless array of television and film productions alert – until two weeks ago when the Writers’ Guild of America went on strike and Hollywood abruptly lost its thirst for coffee.

    “It dropped off immediately, on the first day,” said Mr Anderson, who estimates business has fallen 40 per cent since the strike began.

    Meanwhile in New York City, coffee consumption among striking writers has likely tripled, owing to the cold temperatures and rigors of walking in circles for hours.

  • Has Starbucks peaked? Pundits are wondering whether the caffeinated-bunny-like proliferation of Starbucks stores has, um… climaxed?.

    The ubiquity of Starbucks has become a joke almost as common as the coffee shops themselves. Not so long ago, satirical newspaper The Onion claimed Starbucks was opening a Starbucks in the toilet of a Starbucks.

    But for the Seattle-based coffee company, the joke isn’t funny any more. Last week, the firm revealed that the amount of traffic flowing through its US stores fell during the fourth quarter — the first dip since the company began disclosing the figure three years ago.

    While the Siren may be showing signs of having thoroughly saturated some markets, I can’t help but think their recent same-store sales slump has less to do with the chain’s ubiquity, and more to do with consumers’ shrinking purses. After all, there’s only so long in a flagging economy you can plunk down a fiver each for a twice-daily double-venti-mocha-latte without starting to wonder if Joe’s Diner down the block — or a press-pot brewed at home — isn’t a better deal.

  • This is how it’s supposed to work… Last week’s Bolivia Cup of Excellence Auction was by any measure a rousing success. One of the more important measures to me — particularly in light of the the unbalanced prices that have marked the last several Panama Cup of Excellence auctions — is that the entire field of juried coffees took home some great prices. None of the lots took home less than US $4.90 a pound. Awesome.

    Be sure to check out Stephen Leighton’s chronicles of his experience as a judge on this year’s Bolivia jury. Some of Stephen’s parting thoughts…

    This competition has proven to me what I thought I already knew. Bolivia has the potential to be one of the best producers of coffee in South America and should be getting more for there coffee in the market place. With the correct organisation (some one like Anacafe in Guatamala or the Conservo of El Salvador) to get the whole marketing and introduce sellers to buyers, would mean they could clean up, really clean up.

    Mover over, Juan Valdez, there’s a new South American origin coming to the fore.

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