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Coffee News 06/21/2015

The Occupational Hazards of Coffee

How Diacetyl Damages the Lungs (Image: Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

We've had plenty to say about the health benefits of drinking coffee, partly because we love good coffee, and partly because, well, we'd generally rather sip another mug of Stock Exchange dark roast than subject ourselves to broccoli. While those hundreds of chemical compounds are packed with health benefits for coffee drinkers, one in particular poses a possible danger to those who roast coffee. Indeed, according to a recent article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, that compound -- diacetyl, also found in microwave popcorn and e-cigarettes -- has been linked to "hundreds of injuries and at least five deaths." Reported by the Journal Sentinel's Raquel Rutledge, the article is a long, but compelling and thorougly researched, read. WTF of the Week: HOW MUCH For Iced Coffee? In Brooklyn, of course. Gothamist reports that a 24-ounce nitrogen-brewed iced coffee will set you back six bucks. We empathize with their staff writer, who asks pointedly, "What in the fuck gives?" We'll leave it at that. Oh, Fine. Just Deep Fry Everything Why Don't You. Wait, We Take That Back.
And bacon fat, of course. You didn't need those arteries, did you? (Photo: Consumerist)
In the long tradition of state and county fairs frying every last thing (and sometimes putting it on a stick), we've caught wind of a truly disturbing new addition to the menu. We have nothing at all against fried foods. Corn dogs? Yes, please. Zeppoles? Of course. Fried ice cream? Why not? Funnel cake? Get your own, dammit. I'm not sharing. Ahem. Where were we? Oh, yeah. Fried stuff, stick optional. So amid the panoply of increasingly ludicrous fried stuff to be found at the fair -- while we're provisionally down with deep-fried Oreos, did the world really need fried butter? -- Consumerist reports on the hopefully short-lived phenomenon of deep-fried coffee. Mind you, this isn't a cousin to chocolate-covered espresso beans, where quality beans are covered in dark chocolate. This was some lunkhead getting the bright idea to take two things that ought not to meet -- batter and coffee grounds -- and mix them. We'd rather not contemplate the kind of dark, twisted soul it takes to unleash that kind of misanthropy on the world, thanks. Chock Full O'... Information The Washington Post's Wonkblog published an information-laden deep dive into the world's coffee habit(s) in A Coffee Addict's Guide to the Universe. The piece breaks down who's drinking coffee, where, how much, and who's actually enthusiastic about instant coffee (blasphemers). A Latte and Hubcaps for a '72 Pinto Hatchback? Finally, a little something that's just for laughs. Anyone who's ever worked as a barista -- or just worked in retail, for that matter -- will be able to empathize with the folks in Sky Anderson's Barista Horror Stories over on the blog at Coffee Wholesale USA. The moral of the story (short version)? The customer isn't always right. The longer version? For that, you'll have to click through and find out. Just put your coffee down first, 'cause it burns when you spray it through your nose.