• Super-size me? Not any more. Doug Zell and the gang at Intelligentsia Coffee are ‘just saying no’ to Big Gulp portions of brewed coffee, as they discontinue their 20-oz. serving size. Is it about the bottom line? Doug says no, it’s not that at all

    “Drinking our coffee is not like drinking jug wine,” said Intelligentsia Coffee founder and Chief Executive Doug Zell on Tuesday. “We’re focused on intensity of flavors and providing coffee in the way it tastes best. And it’s not in that size.”

    As a coffee snob, I think it’s a good call… coffee does not want to be slurped in giant takeaway cups. As a commentator on the business of coffee, I worry about the timing: folks are minding their pennies these days, and “value shoppers” may migrate to someplace where they feel they get more caffeine for their buck. ‘Course, that might be offset by an increase in same-day sales… folks who used to buy a Venti to last them the morning may visit twice for two twelve ounce cups. Maybe.

    P.S. Speaking of Zell, have you seen his Amex ad? He’s the new Mr. Big, man.

  • Rwanda preps for its first Cup of Excellence! Rwanda is rightly celebrating one coming out party after another… last year it hosted its first Golden Cup competition, and this year it’s joining the ranks of the prestigious Cup of Excellence program.

    “As the host country of the first Cup of Excellence competition in Africa, Rwanda will set the stage and create the benchmark for the rest of the quality coffee-producing countries on the continent where coffee was born,” said Susie Spindler, Cup of Excellence director. “The farmers of Rwanda have worked very hard to produce exquisite coffee. We are pleased by the support these farmers have received from even the highest levels of their government and think this competition will have thrilling results.”

    If you’ve been reading here for any length of time you know that I’m extremely happy about the rise of Rwandan coffee — and the consequent lifting-up of the Rwandan people. More, the recognition is well-deserved… through hard work and force of will, Rwandan coffee growers and processors just keep raising the bar on their own performance. Good on them. And congrats to friend-of-Bloggle Stephen Leighton [HasBean], who will be one of the jurists for the first Rwanda CoE. Lucky guy.

  • Cold-brewed coffee is hot. It’s the sweaty season (not you: you don’t sweat, you glisten), and folks all over — even in the northern climes — are discovering a whole new way to drink coffee.

    Cream and sugar is fine — for children. Once you start messing with the temperature and natural flavor of coffee, it’s a slippery slope ending in frothy, icy, sickeningly sweet concoctions.

    You see, I’m fussy about coffee. I’m the purist sipping a steaming hot cup, even in the dog days of summer.

    Then, one particularly sweltering day in Chicago last month, I broke down and had an iced coffee at a local Caribou Coffee; a large with a vanilla soy topper and one packet of raw sugar, to be precise. I was stunned. This velvety smooth, deeply refreshing, richly satisfying beverage was nothing less than a revelation in caffeine delivery.

    Not so long ago cold-brewed (or “Toddy“) coffee was strictly a B-list brewing method, save for a select set of the javaratti, who knew a cold-brewed concentrate is the ideal foundation for iced coffee.

    Me, I’m still holding out for the Coffee Snob Cold Drip Coffee Maker. Naturally.

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