A taste of Italy’s coffee culture

Just as tourists and locals can catch a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower without stamping their passports, authentic Italian coffee culture can be found nestled deep within the newest Strip resort.

The Shoppes at Palazzo house the U.S. debut of espressamente illy, a coffee bar experience first launched in 2003 by the internationally renowned illy brand. Featuring high-quality Arabica coffee, paninis, soups and salads, espressamente illy also offers 54 flavors of Italian gelato, chocolates and pastries.

“We are trying to offer an experience more than just traditional coffee as we know it,” said Stefano Ripamonti, the café’s owner and operator.

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Supporting the coffee farmers

MIDDLESBROUGH mother and son Baristas Necita and Chris Pounder marked the start of Fairtrade fortnight by helping boost donations to the charity Coffee Kids.

As part of the expanding franchise of Esquires Coffee Houses, a proportion of takings from their two town centre bars will support projects that help coffee farmers and their communities.

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New Beduins milking coffee shop revolution

Where are you reading this? In the office? On your Blackberry? Or, most likely, in a coffee shop?

If you are currently enjoying a latte whilst going about your daily business then you’re far from alone – in fact you’re now officially known as a “new Beduin”, a phrase first coined by the US media to describe the growing band of nomadic workers for whom coffee shops, wherever they may be, are their chosen place of work.

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Coffee hits 10-year high

Arabica coffee trading on ICE Futures U.S. tapped a fresh 10-year high as funds continued to buy the market, while cocoa flirted with a 24-year high in quiet dealings, traders said.

“There’s general commodities buying these days,” one coffee trader said about the continued fund interest.

On the screen, ICE’s key May coffee contract was up 0.70 cent at $1.631 at 9:21 am, trading from $1.616 to $1.6635, a high dating back to February 1998 for the second month. The rest ranged from 0.50 to 2.15 cents stronger.

Bean counters raise coffee price

MELBOURNE’S coffee connoisseurs should brace themselves for a $4 cuppa as world bean prices soar.

Cafe owners warn that rising coffee prices coupled with higher overheads will force them to charge more.

Melburnians pay between $2.80 and $3.50 for their coffee fix, but not for much longer, industry experts say.

Even the instant version will cost more at the supermarket.

The global price of arabica beans, used in most espresso coffee shops, has jumped to the highest point in a decade.

Tolly Avgerinos, owner of Atomica cafe in Fitzroy, said that the bean cost was just part of the retail price of a flat white or cafe latte.

Cafe owners and operators said the coffee increase followed rises in the cost of rent, milk and staff.

Mr Avgerinos said customers also were becoming more coffee-savvy and wanted a premium brew, which cost more.

“People are starting to understand what goes into a good coffee,” he said. “And sometimes you have to pay for it, like you would do for good wine.”

Angelo Augello, managing director of the Bean Alliance roasting company in Reservoir, said investment speculators in world commodity markets had driven prices to an 11-year high.

Mr Augello, who is also on the Australian Coffee Traders Association, said arabica bean prices had jumped by up to 30 per cent in the past four months.

“We might be able to hold prices for a couple of weeks,” he said.

But he said coffee was a relatively small part of the cost of a cup and talk of a $1 rise was exaggerated.

Consumers had become more demanding and expected a quality product properly prepared by trained professionals.

Fresh brewed coffee makes up about 20 per cent of Australia’s $1 billion-a-year market.

Newly harvested coffee beans attracting attentions

Just like shimmai (newly harvested rice) or Beaujolais Nouveau, new coffee beans are beginning to enjoy high popularity in Japan. They seem to be attracting attention thanks to their fresh taste and people’s strong preference for the first batch of beans.

Kofi Raifu Zeitaku Kurabu, a Web site run by Doi Coffee, based in Sakai, Osaka Prefecture, put on sale a set containing three kinds of new coffee beans in January. It immediately sold out.

The set contained three 200-gram packs of beans grown on farms in Brazil, Honduras and Panama that were harvested in September and October before being roasted.

Coffee beans can cost as little as 1 yen per gram, but this three-pack set cost 3,900 yen.

New coffee beans are those from the current or most recently available harvest. The sources said the time spent between the harvesting and sale of these new beans has become shorter.

Doi Coffee’s Yosuke Doi said coffee beans offer especially good flavor and aroma for a year after harvesting because “the large amount of water they contain makes them juicy.”

“People in Japan tend to favor the first supply of produce as they like newly harvested green tea and rice. This may be why new coffee beans have attracted attention, too,” Doi said, as there are also many consumers who place importance on the freshness of food.

Key Coffee Inc. sells the first harvest of its Toarco Toraja Coffee beans from its farm in Indonesia for a limited period once a year. The Tokyo-based company delivers beans harvested around April to consumers around July.

The new beans can be expensive–as was the case for the 2007 crop, when four packs of 200-gram beans cost 8,400 yen. It is more than double the price of usual beans, but Key Coffee said they are often flooded with orders when they begin accepting orders over the Internet in early May.

There also are companies selling canned coffee using newly harvested or the first supply of beans, helping to establish the notion of new coffee beans.

Satoru Kakutani, head of the Japan arm of major Swiss coffee company Volcafe, said businesses and consumers began to pay attention to new coffee beans about 10 years go. However, he warns the beans should be considered an Internet product as it is difficult to maintain both the amount and quality.

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