Happy Monday! Some interesting coffee-related things that have been rattling around in the news lately: Amazon is now selling its own brand of coffee, a recent study found caffeine may hinder the ability to recovery from temporary noise-induced hearing loss, and Starbucks raised prices, introduces new Affogato-Style Frappuccinos and Iced Coconut Milk Mocha Macchiato to menu.
Amazon recently launched its very own, private-label coffee brand, available only to Amazon Prime members. The coffee, called Happy Belly, is 100% organic, fairtrade certified, and touted as bringing “artisan, small batch roasted blends like those found at your favorite neighborhood coffee shop, to your doorstep”. Priced at around $10 for 12 ounces, Happy Belly coffee is currently available in Breakfast Blend, House Blend, Espresso Roast, and French Roast.
A recent study out of the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre found evidence that caffeine consumption may lower the body’s ability to recovery from temporary noise-induced hearing loss (the kind you get after a loud concert or using loud power tools for a long period of time). The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, exposed two groups of female albino guinea pigs to loud noise (comparable to that of a loud Rock concert) for about an hour. In the days following, one group was given daily amounts of caffeine and the other was not. After eight days, the caffeine-free group had recovered their hearing almost completely, while the group given caffeine still had impairment. Further study is needed to see how these results translate to humans.
Starbucks raised its prices by 10 to 20 cents on select sizes of brewed coffee and 10 to 30 cents on espresso beverages and tea lattes. The price increase went in to effect on July 12th and wasn’t quite as shocking as it could have been since a system error earlier in the month prematurely entered the new price into sale systems in their U.S. stores and let the cat out of the bag.
On the upside, Starbucks has added some more great new coffee items (If you haven’t tried their Caramel Espresso Granita off the Starbucks Sunset Menu, you really need to, it’s amazing) to their menu this summer: Affogato-Style Frappuccinos and Iced Coconut Milk Mocha Macchiato. Modeled after gelato affogato, which is a scoop of Italian ice cream with an espresso shot poured over it, Affogato-style Frappuccino blended beverages are made from finished Starbucks Frappuccino with hot espresso shots poured over the top to create “creamy pockets of coffee”. While Affogato-style Frappuccinos are available at Starbucks stores all over the U.S. and Canada, The Starbucks Reserve® Roastery and Tasting Room in Seattle has actual coffee-over-ice-cream affogato, plus Cold Brew Floats and Malted Shakes (the whole line-up sounds absolutely fabulous). Also available at Starbucks’ all over the U.S. and Canada is the new Iced Coconut Milk Mocha Macchiato, their first iced espresso beverage featuring coconut milk. The beverage is made with espresso, chilled coconut milk, and white chocolate mocha sauce, then topped with caramel sauce and a “swirl” of mocha sauce to “create five layers of espresso sweetness” – I’ve tried it and it’s delicious 🙂