The Matty Macchiato 4th Annual Holiday Gift Guide

tick tick tick

This year I’m taking a slightly different approach to my previous gift guides (2018, 2019, and 2020). While some of the models may have been replaced by newer iterations, pretty much all the recommended items in those posts would still make for great gifts. This version, however, is for those of you who just thought, “Oh $#%@!, it’s five days to Christmas and I haven’t written my annual gift guide post finished my shopping yet!”

So if the calendar is not your friend, supply chain worries are making you pull out your hair, and you’ve got a coffee lover in your life, here are a few suggestions.

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the past 4 years weren’t bad enough?

this came up during the vote count for the US presidential election. good god man, haven’t the American people suffered enough?

this would never actually happen, of course, but if it did we’d need to implement the 25th Amendment on Uncle Joe right quick.

is COVID killing quality coffee?

New article from Bloomberg Business with the attention-getting headline “Say Goodbye to Your Local Coffee Shop in America’s Great Coffee Shake-Up

I’d like to find the headline writer responsible for this and box their ears, but as for the article itself….. well, I’m afraid it’s all too true. The explosion in independent cafes has been a godsend for the coffee snob, but the reality is there that pre-COVID we had a lot of places that didn’t focus enough on quality and/or had shaky business models. My great fear is that the pandemic, rather than a needed correction to weed out the weaker shops, will cut far too close to the bone and wipe out the good places as well. And helping Starbucks and Dunkin is just insult to injury.

Please support your local purveyor of quality coffee, chances are they need it. Buy takeout, frequent their outdoor seating areas, order beans on line, get some merch, pick up some gift cards and give them to friends.

coffee world faces its own reckoning

Angela Weiss/AFP

As the US, and now the world, is forced to face up to the injustices and structural racism which confront black people on a daily basis, it’s no surprise that the coffee industry is dealing with shocks of its own. The past week in particular has caught up key players in the specialty coffee world, as well as the gargantuan icon of the global coffee industry. Let’s weed through a few examples.

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loving coffee in the time of COVID-19

As we transition into what we all hope will be a temporary new normal, it’s natural to expect an impact on cafes and the coffee industry as is the case with pretty much every business in every industry.

Here are a few changes that have already happened:

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Peet’s is getting hitched

Peet’s Coffee is merging with European coffee company Jacobs Douwe Egberts. It’s a combination of siblings, as both companies are owned by German holding company JAB, whose other investments include pieces of Krispy Kreme, Pret A Manger, and Keurig Dr. Pepper. JDE’s portfolio of brands are found mainly in Europe with some outlets in Asia, aimed toward mass-market rather than highest quality, so it’s a good marriage in that sense. The move prepares the combined unit for a potential IPO, possibly next year.

I wouldn’t expect to see operational changes in individual Peet’s outlets, but the combination and the potential IPO could give them a war chest for expansion with an eye toward eating into Starbucks’ dominant market share. Both also slug it out on grocery shelves for bags of beans, and this may mean we see more Peet’s branded pre-made drinks in retail coolers.

survival instincts

I’m at an industry conference in the convention center of a large hotel/resort in central Florida. Long days of programming that I’m enjoying, but no access to coffee other than an on-site outlet of the evil empire and urns of questionable industrial drip coffee. Not ideal for an espresso addicted coffee snob.

Here’s how I’m making it through:

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