For everyone who shares a passion for coffee in all its various strengths and aromas, here’s a round-up of what’s been happening to those involved in the making and marketing of our favourite beverage.
Tales of enterprise and initiative go hand-in-hand with some interesting revelations about the benefits of coffee consumption. It’s all here in our latest news round-up.
Gareth’s guide pride – This entrepreneur is having a huge impact on the Belfast coffee scene…
When he’s not treating patients at a Belfast health centre, GP Gareth Patterson is usually busy exploring every caffeinated crevice of Northern Ireland to find the perfect coffee pit stops.
Over a year in the making, Gareth has created the most extensive guide to speciality coffee in the city where he lives and works.
But just how did he do it?
It all started on a trip to take in the sights and sounds of one of Europe’s most vibrant, colourful cities, Barcelona.
Eager to sample all the Catalan capital’s delights, his holiday was transformed when he stumbled across a quaint speciality coffee shop in the Gothic quarter and spotted a publication that took his eye.
It was a guide, detailing the exact whereabouts of all the must-visit coffee houses around the city. It became an indispensable companion for the duration of his stay, taking him to parts of Barcelona he never imagined he would see and providing experiences that would live long in the memory.
From that moment on, he became a man on a mission: to make every speciality coffee corner of Belfast just as accessible to espresso enthusiasts and coffee newcomers alike.
There was just one barrier in his way… he had no experience in the industry, apart from enjoying a well-made brew.
This didn’t stop Gareth, as he ventured into cafes, coffee shops, roasters and speciality espresso bars. He was encouraged by the mutual passion he encountered for the guide and created a list of his favourite 17 locations for a delicious caffeine fix.
The Northern Ireland Coffee Map was released last year, and exciting projects are being worked on for the future. (They have just released a coffee map for Causeway Coast!)
Not to be sniffed at – coffee’s aroma will boost mental performance
Do you perk up the moment you set foot in your local coffee shop, before the rich, dark nectar has even touched your lips?
You may be on to something.
And, we’ve got the science to back it up.
We’re all aware of the expression ‘wake up and smell the coffee’, and a new study indicates that aroma, indeed, can be enough to give us that eyes-wide-open fully-alert feeling.
A total of 114 students were split into two groups in New Jersey. Half were exposed to an espresso scent, half were not.
A ‘significantly higher’ performance was recorded for the group who had a whiff when undergoing a test.
Self-belief is part of the explanation behind these results. The students who performed better expected that they would receive better results in the test, which perhaps gave them the confidence to achieve more.
But it could also be down to coffee’s association with alertness and wakefulness.
So, is it caffeine that should take the credit? Nope!
A similar outcome unravelled when students were exposed to a decaffeinated scent.
The relatively small numbers involved in this case study can’t give us indisputable results, but scientists are continuing research to investigate this new benefit attached to coffee.
How Change Please are changing lives for the better
In the UK, over 70 million cups of coffee are consumed every day.
Over 4,000 people have nowhere to sleep every night.
Could the coffee industry aid those in need?
Change Please has spent the past two years training homeless people with barista skills and how to use their own coffee making vans.
The program so far has helped transform the lives of 40 homeless people and has been backed by American rapper Will.i.am.
Founder, Cemal Ezel, also believes in the importance of sustainability by creating 100% recyclable cups and only sourcing beans from farms that support local communities.
Ezel’s ability to adapt and develop the business plays a huge role in its success today. Three years ago, he admits that the business was helping homeless people secure employment but wasn’t providing them with money-management skills for their wages.
After this learning curve, Change Please now works directly with landlords and automatically deducts rent from the workers’ pay to avoid debt incurrence.
The organisation has given those in need a life-changing opportunity that they never would have imagined, by providing the London living wage, valuable life skills and professional support.
Change Please doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon and is looking for more employees and locations to dispense their ethical coffee on the go.
Young artist Ennock uses coffee to create a beautiful masterpiece…
Do you enjoy the inviting smell of fresh coffee beans in your home?
Look no further than Ennock Mlangeni to bring inspiring art and the wonderful aromas of espresso into one inspiring piece of work.
His discovery came from his passion for using waste and the limited resources available to him.
Coffee and newspapers were readily available and soon become his main source of inspiration. After he spilled a cup on to his morning read, the interesting splash mark became the spark for his compelling creations.
Mlangeni admits that using waste materials requires a lot more creativity, but he enjoys the cost effectiveness and that the recycling element of his art is making a worthwhile contribution to the environment.
Inspiration is drawn from his surroundings and life experiences. With little planning, the materials used for his pieces are only decided when he begins to create.
The young artist thanks social media for helping make his creations so accessible. His latest updates can be found @ennockmart on Instagram.
Looking to the future, he dreams of opening his own art academy and to go down in history as South Africa’s pre-eminent visual artist. We admire his commitment to creating a platform for young people, and we look forward to his new and upcoming coffee art work.
New study proves coffee does help us live longer
For years, we have heard the uncertain rumours that drinking coffee every day may contribute to life expectancy.
For most of us, this was a theory that lacked any proof, and so we paid little attention to it. Although there had been studies, just how relevant and accurate they were was open to question.
But a UK Biobanks study from July 2018 may be the reliable answer we were looking for to the tantalising question:
‘Does coffee help us live longer?’
The study points to yes.
The publication in JAMA Internal Medicine confirms that their findings indicate consumption of coffee is linked to a lower risk of early mortality.
“We found that people who drank two to three cups per day had about a 12 per cent lower risk of death compared to non-coffee drinkers,” Erikka Loftfield, researcher at National Cancer Institute, tells us.
With almost half-a-million people participating in the study, and ages ranging from 38 to 73, it has been praised for its thoroughness.
For those who ditch the caffeine, we have good news for you.
Researchers believe that caffeine is not responsible for longer life expectancy, though it has not yet pinpointed where the credit is due.
With up to eight cups a day being proven as a healthy part of your diet, coffee fanatics around the world should rejoice as they brew another delicious cup.