Chicago’s Sputnik Coffee Boldly Grows in Ways No Roaster Has Grown Before

Sputnik Coffee Roaster Chicago

Since lifting off its launchpad roastery in the Back of the Yards neighborhood of Chicago in 2017, startup Sputnik Coffee Roasters has rapidly carved out a niche for itself with a concise product line and personable service.

In response to rocketing demand, Sputnik has now tripled its capacity with a new 15-kilo, IMF roaster and upgraded its packaging from hand-stamped craft bags to printed bags.

Starting with smaller and lower-priced retail bags of its one core blend, Sputnik’s growth also depends on the sales work of co-founder Vova Kagan. And with the recent shift from hand-stamped craft bags to printed bags, the company also adjusted its labeling to provide info in multiple different languages, reaching directly out to more people in the communities it serves.

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Starbucks begins mobile ordering rollout in Beijing and Shanghai

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“Starbucks said it has begun rolling out its Starbucks Now mobile ordering platform to 300 select stores in Beijing and Shanghai and will expand the service throughout China over the next year.

Starbucks Now, available for Starbucks Rewards members through the company’s mobile app in China, allows customers to order their food and beverages ahead of time and pick them up in store.

“Starbucks Now represents a significant opportunity for Starbucks China to drive new, innovative customer experiences,” Belinda Wong, chief executive officer of Starbucks China said in a company release. “This builds on the latest of several digital initiatives in China, including Starbucks Delivers and locally relevant gifting and e-commerce experiences.”

Customers can use Starbucks Now to find a local store based on the mobile app’s GPS location, order food and customized beverages and make payment, with the order ready to pick up when they arrive at the location.”

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Peru’s Efforts to Boost Coffee Sector Stifled by High Costs, Low Prices

Peruvian coffee arabica organic

“Coffee farmers throughout Peru are weighing the relatively high costs of replanting old or diseased trees against low international prices. Such market forces are threatening the country’s already economically delicate coffee sector, according to the latest annual report from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agriculture Service(FAS).

Peru remains the world’s leading exporter of organic Arabica coffee, with an estimated 90,000 certified hectares in addition to non-certified farms, which in many cases are following organic practices out of necessity due to lack of access to chemical fertilizers, pesticides and fungicides.

According to the FAS report, many smallholder coffee farms throughout Peru have not fully recovered financially from the leaf rust outbreak that peaked in the country in the market year 2013/14, affecting as much as 50% of the country’s total crop production.

While Peru’s Ministry of Agriculture has led an ambitious rust recovery and replanting program in the years since, and the federal government has initiated a sweeping marketing initiative for coffee, total coffee-farmed land in the country is estimated to be 390,000 hectares in 2019, a negligible increase compared to last year. The report further estimates that countrywide production volumes and export volumes will see slight increases over last year’s levels.”

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Starbucks Launches Summer LTOs

“It’s already summer at Starbucks as the chain brought back three of its limited-time Frappuccino flavors this week and also created a few other LTOs. The Frappuccino optons include the:

  • S’mores Frappuccino, which combines marshmallow whipped cream and milk chocolate sauce along with a blend of coffee, milk and ice. It’s finished off with more whipped cream and a graham cracker crumble.
  • Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino, made with mocha sauce and Frappuccino chips blended with coffee, milk and ice layered on top of whipped cream and chocolate cookie crumble and finished off with whipped cream and chocolate cookie crumbles.
  • Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappuccino, a dark caramel sauce blended with coffee, milk and ice on top of whipped cream and dark caramel sauce then topped with another layer of dark caramel sauce, whipped cream, caramel drizzle  and crunchy caramel sugar topping.”

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Three Owls Market: One Part Bodega, One Part Restaurant

Three Owls Market

“Lehrer Dumaine seeks to close the gap with Three Owls Market, which is one part bodega, one part prepared-foods all-day cafe and one part bar. The Mamaroneck, N.Y., native who lives close by, (“I’ve got it down to an eight-and-a-half-minute walk,” she says) hopes to serve the neighborhood with New York City bodega staples like Domino sugar, Heinz ketchup and toilet paper — and also feed and imbibe them, with a full menu of hot sandwiches, prepared vegetable dishes and rotisserie chicken, as well as craft beers and wine for happy hour.

To staff her full kitchen, Lehrer Dumaine brought in head chef Greer Lou, who previously worked as a private chef for Jessica Seinfeld at her Hamptons home, and is a veteran of Alice Waters’ Rome Sustainable Food Project.

Lehrer Dumaine has been working on Three Owls since 2017. The landlord for the property informed her the previous tenant — the Nonno Gourmet deli and bodega run by a man named Charlie — wanted to hang up his hat. Lehrer Dumaine said yes, and started on renovations and acquiring a liquor license; a process she says allowed her to become closer with the community.

“The liquor license process required me to meet with the neighborhood associations around here,” she explains. “That was really eye-opening to me because I’d never been involved with city politics before — just seeing how influential the people who live in a neighborhood can be, determining what goes where.”

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Truebird Swoops Into New York with Robotic Specialty Coffee Kiosks

Truebird coffee

“(…) Could the surly and spirited humans of old New York embrace a joe by droid? A new company called Truebird has fluttered in to find out.

Like its predecessors, Truebird pitches its system squarely at the specialty coffee crowd, claiming that its automated coffee kiosks offer drinks that are “consistently as good as those made by the best baristas using the finest ingredients and equipment.”

At a Truebird coffee station, customers are able to choose a fresh and locally roasted coffee from a touchscreen menu, then designate a type of milk and an espresso beverage style for the machine to execute.

The flat ceramic “standard” burrs of one of the machine’s two integrated grinders break the beans. An extraction occurs, and milk is stretched by unseen internals as the customer waits, while a trio of cute, black magnet-driven pucks charmingly coordinate to nudge cups around on the visible surface behind glass.

“We chose our magnetic transport solution versus other options, including an articulated robotic arm, for a variety of reasons, but chief among them was the surprisingly warm, approachable, and magical experience it creates,” Truebird CEO and Co-Founder Josh Feuerstein told Daily Coffee News. “We believe a coffee break is not just about the quality of the drink, but about the feel of the experience. We’ve tried to make every element of our product warm, approachable, and beautiful, from the design of the micro-cafe itself, to the mesmerizing experience of watching your cup glide from the espresso machine towards your hand. We keep that emotional component top-of-mind in our design process. It’s a fascinating challenge, especially for an automated product.”

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Toby’s Estate Brooklyn Changes Name to Partners Coffee

Partners coffee

Fresh off the heels of a second Brooklyn roastery opening and new cafe, Toby’s Estate New York today announced a name and brand change, becoming Partners Coffee.

Toby’s Estate in Brooklyn has been building a passionate following and impressive wholesale roster since opening with a Williamsburg roastery in 2012. Co-Owners Amber Jacobsen and Adam Boyd had licensed the name from the popular Australian roastery, founded by Toby Smith, of the same name.

While 2012 and the subsequent years turned out to be fortuitous times for Australophile specialty cafe businesses riding the Third Wave in New York, the change to Partners Coffee serves to better reflect the local ownership.

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“We are only as great as the sum of our partners, and we are excited to continue evolving and growing with a new look, feel and name that fully embodies who we are and what we stand for,” Jacobsen and Boyd said in an announcement of the rebranding.

The Partners Coffee effort was assisted by the New York design firm Love & War, which sought to “develop a bold, dynamic design aesthetic that evokes heritage coffee brands and the classic energy, optimism and simplicity of old-school New York coffee counters,” according to the Partners Coffee announcement today. (…)”

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