Vancouver Starbucks Destroyed in Explosion

Related entries in Coffee news, Vancouver coffee

Early this morning, a Starbucks on West Broadway and Heather in Vancouver exploded.

At 2:30 am on the morning of February 13th, an explosion in the 600-block of West Broadway in Vancouver leveled several street-level stores, including a Starbucks and Taco Del Mar, and did some damage to the London Drugs across the street. The noise and shock wave awoke residents for many blocks around.

No injuries have been reported, and no structural integrity issues have arisen as a result of the explosion.

Police and fire crews are investigating what caused the explosion and whether or not it was deliberately set. Police Spokesman Constable Tim Fanning said that arson investigators are calling the explosion "suspicious." Eye witnesses are reporting a man running from the area after the explosion. That said, fire investigators are looking into a possible gas leak at Taco Del Mar as the source of the problem.

You can view more photos taken by a local resident here.

Via, canadian press, aol Photo credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward Tags: , , , ,

Murchie’s under new ownership

Related entries in Coffee news, Tea, Vancouver coffee

Vancouver coffee and tea chain Murchie’s is under new ownership by a Victoria family, under management of Belmont Management.

Murchie’s is a 113-year-old Vancouver landmark with five metro Vancouver stores and one Victoria store. The chain was facing bankruptcy.

The new managing director, Grant Kuebler, thinks marketing lies at the root of the issue - a good product that has gone unmarketed. Though the name may be well known, it is not top-of-mind in product purchase decisions.

What will this change bring? More locations, modernization (behind-the-scenes and up front), and broader marketing.

"So we see an opportunity there, and within a year our goal is to get a blueprint in place that will allow us to expand."

Via Vancouver Sun Tags: , , , ,


Related entries in Coffee news, Starbucks

Ok, anyone else do a double take recently in Starbucks? What is it with coffee shops adopting the McBreakfast? First, it was Tim Hortons, and now Starbucks has jumped onto the bandwagon.

This does not appear to be a new thing in the US - first being test marketed around Chicago, and now in many cafes across the US. Yesterday was my first sight of them in Vancouver.

These "Breakfast Sandwiches" come in a variety of options, which were taste tested by the Chicago Sun Times (via Slashfood):

  • Eggs Florentine with Baby Spinach and Havarti - "a favorite"
  • Sausage, Egg and Cheddar - "crisp but bland"
  • Black Forest Ham, Eggs and Cheddar - "smoky ham is good"
  • Peppered Bacon, Egg and Cheddar - "good bacon but bland"
  • Low Fat Turkey Bacon, Cholesterol-free Egg and Reduced Fat Cheddar - tasters did not like this

I can’t find any news releases or coverage about when and where these new sandwiches appear in Canada.

McDonald’s has been encroaching on the Starbucks market for some time now, promoting their "Premium Coffee", and getting more of the breakfast crowd. Likely the equal response from Starbucks is to offer a Mc-like Breakfast. The testing across the US must have been successful enough to continue the expansion of this offering.

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Starbucks vs. Tim Hortons on Parliament Hill

Related entries in Coffee around the world, Coffee news, Starbucks

Tories are up in arms because the House of Commons has chosen Starbucks as the “premium” coffee served in the West Block cafeteria. Other brands that were considered were Tim Hortons, Second Cup and Timothy’s, but they all required purchasing a franchise.

Multatuli Coffee, an Ontario coffee roaster that supplies coffee to all of Parliament’s cafeterias, is also not happy that Starbucks is considered a step above them.

Read the whole story, with some amusing quotes from MPs, here.

Meth Coffee Super-Caffeinated Beans

Related entries in Coffee news, Other Drinks

Meth Coffee, a San Francisco based coffee company, launched today an energy-based coffee roast for "energy addicts and caffeine freaks."

Meth takes "super-caffeinated" beans and adds in yerba mate (a stimulant and very yummy drink).

 Boasting an intense buzz and cocoa-tobacco finish, Meth Coffee is fresh-roasted within 48 hours of shipment to jumpstart workaholics, thrill seekers, artists, and subversives seeking an exciting new fuel for their endeavors.

The flavor of Meth Coffee’s Arabian and South American beans with yerba mate starts as a smooth, herbaceous attack that runs to a soft tobacco-cocoa finish. Yerba mate’s presence produces a gradual buzz arc for periods of intense play and creativity that some drinkers find more cerebral than coffee alone. Research has shown that yerba mate contains mateine, an alkaloid stimulant similar to those found in coffee and chocolate, as well as significant antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds.

I think I’d definitely get a buzz from this coffee. It might be a weird buzz since a coffee buzz and mate energy feel different.

Via Boing Boing & Yahoo ; Tags: , , , , ,

Coffee with milk, sugar and… pee?

Related entries in Coffee Experiences, Coffee news

Yep, you got it. A mighty pissed of employee started peeing in the coffee pot, and it was all caught on video.

Yep, I’d say that’s why the coffee was tasting weird. Ew!

Via piehole ; Tags: , , , ,

Lavazza ad offends Swedes

Related entries in Coffee around the world, Coffee news

A coffee advertisement by Lavazza has been deemed as too risque by Swedish authorities. The ad was criticized as using a sexualized photo of a woman to sell a product completely disassociated from the image.

"Coffee brand Lavazza has received a rap on the knuckles for its Swedish ad campaign after the Trade Ethical Council against Sexism in Advertising (ERK) judged it to be discriminatory.

“Intercoffe marketed Lavazza coffee. The pictures showed a woman lying on a bed drinking coffee, wearing a flight captain’s cap and a uniform shirt. The shirt is unbuttoned and the woman’s bra is visible,” according to ERK’s description of the offending campaign…

Sweden’s Ethical Council has a lower tolerance for the use of scantily clad women to advertise products than comparable regulatory bodies in other countries.

“Throughout Europe there is a big difference. If you just go over the bridge to Denmark you see that they accept a lot more,” ERK Secretary Jan Fager…

And regarding the Lavazza campaign ERK considers “that the woman is used as an eye catcher without any connection to the advertised products, and that it is insulting towards women.”

In its defence Lavazza wrote that the 2006 calendar from which the images were taken used humour and irony to recreate a 1950s feel. The company claimed that the images depicted glamour, style and a lust for life and were in no way discriminatory…"

Can you see how it would offend?

Image Source ; Tags: , , , , ,

Vancouver Water Advisory Lifted

Related entries in Coffee news, Vancouver coffee

The boiled water advisory has finally been lifted. From the press release:

the boil water advisory that has been in effect for Vancouver, parts of the North Shore and Burnaby is now lifted for these areas. Hospitals, care facilities, schools, food premises and the public are no longer being advised to boil drinking water or to use an alternate drinking water source. There is no boil water advisory for any area receiving water from the Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD).

Water turbidity is still a little higher than normal but is getting better.

Dominican coffee exports growing

Related entries in Coffee around the world, Coffee news

Coffee Exports from the Dominican Republic grew 196% between 2005 and 2006:

Dominican coffee exports, which registered a meager 54 thousand quintals last year, increased to 160 thousand quintals in the period 2005-2006, representing a recuperation in the order of 196.2 percent, which means that the sub-sector is certainly recovering from the crisis suffered between 2000-2003, when international prices declined to the lowest levels of the century.

Coffee sales abroad increased from 54,000 quintals during 2004-2005, to some 160 quintals during the coffee year 2005-2006.

Coffee is the 2nd greatest agricultural product that contributes to the country’s GDP.

Via Dominican Today ; Image Source ; Tags: , , ,

Coffee as renewable fuel

Related entries in Coffee Education, Coffee news

More research is being done into using coffee grounds as a renewable fuel source.

From Times Online:

Dynamotive, a small Canadian company, has been thinking about bits of plant waste and come up with a solution: bio-oil. It has begun operations at West Lorne in Ontario, converting waste from a woodflooring company into a liquid fuel that runs a 2.5 megawatt power plant, supplying the town with electricity. Dynamotive is the brainchild of Andrew Kingston, a former oil company man whose vision for biofuels differs from those rushing to lay waste to millions of hectares of virgin forest to build palm oil plantations that can fuel our cars…

The biofuel industry is hitting the buffers over concerns about crop shortages and the use of food crops, such as rapeseed, for fuel.

The political momentum behind renewable energy has created a plethora of projects that are driving up the price of palm oil, a raw material for biodiesel…

“Where we have an advantage,” Mr Kingston said, “is we are not taking food crops.” He has set up a team to prospect for secure supplies of biomass. That includes crop waste, timber from demolition sites and a 5,000-hectare energy park in Ukraine, where Dynamotive and its partner, Rika Biofuels, is planting enough msycanthus — elephant grass — to replace the energy of 250,000 barrels of crude oil.

Dynamotive uses a patented technology, pyrolysis, that turns plant material into liquid in two seconds. According to Mr Kingston, the fuel is competitive at oil prices of $25 to $30 a barrel — half the crude price…

Anything based on cellulose will do, including coffee grounds, the object of talks with another large company. “It’s coming to a coffee shop near you,” Mr Kingston said.

I like the concept immensely, since it not only recycles but solves a major political and environmental issue.

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Canadian Barista Championship

Related entries in Coffee news, Vancouver coffee

IMG_5647Monday I went to the coffee & tea expo to watch the result of the Canadian National Barista Championship. It was a lot of fun. Got to browse the expo, check out some other retailers, try various tea options as well as coffee, and watch the pro’s do their thing.

The competition was timed, and each barista had to pull out three beverages, usually a cappucino, an espresso and a signature drink, the latter of which could be mild or quite extreme.

The judging was on everything from the coffee, to its presentation to the barista’s ability to keep the work area clean.

In the end, the results stand as follows:

  1. Colter Jones
  2. Barrett Jones
  3. Bob Blumer

Bob Blumer is a celebrity chef who came into the competition as a part of his new show, “Glutton For Punishment”, which has him sign up for competitions in various things, from this to being a great waiter and all sorts of other food-related competitions. Sammy Piccolo, our 3 time Canadian champ, trained up Bob in 3 days, and Bob, who hadn’t had a coffee in 17 years, zoomed up into 3rd place.


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Canadian Coffee & Tea Expo

Related entries in Coffee news, Tea

This weekend is the Canadian Coffee & Tea Expo in Vancouver. September 24-25 at the Vancouver Convention Centre, over 80 exhibitors will get together to display goods, classes will be held, cuppings, and the crown jewel - the Canadian National Barista Championship.

We will be attending on Monday, hopefully to witness the final round of the barista championship, which is being held between 1-4.

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Free Starbucks coffee

Related entries in Coffee news, Starbucks

Update: Starbucks has decided giving free coffee to everyone is a bad idea. The coupon will no longer be honored. The press release is here.

Greg emailed us to let us know about a Starbucks coupon you can print to get a free iced coffee every day until September 30. We were skeptical at first so I did some research and it turns out that this is actually real. Apparently this was supposed to be a regional offer but the coupons leaked so much that they will now honour them in all of North America. has more details.

So if you like Starbucks coffee just print this coupon and enjoy!

Win Blenz Coffee - Canada Day Contest

Related entries in Coffee news

I won’t claim to like Blenz coffee, but I am not one to pass up the chance for others to win anything for free, even bad coffee.

So, if you’re a Canadian, here is a contest for you:

Simply write to Blenz what Canada means to you, and you could win 139 days of free coffee to celebrate Canada’s 139th birthday.

I entered with some snippets from my post/essay on being Canadian, although I don’t know what I’d drink if I won. Tea? Latte?

Thanks to Bill for sending in the tip. And good luck to all those who enter!

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Brazil Cup of Excellence coming to Vancouver

Related entries in Coffee around the world, Coffee news

Last Tuesday the top lot at the Brazil Cup of Excellence was from Fazenda Santa Inês. The auction fetched a record $49.75 a pound with the winning bid coming from Instaurator and Caffe Artigiano.

There seems to be a lot of talk about the lot being overpriced and the coffee over-hyped, but the people who have tried this coffee say they love it and the fact that the price ended up being as high as it was says a lot about how much they wanted to get a hold of it.

We are really looking forward to trying a cup and we are lucky to live a short walk away from Artigiano, where they will be offering this coffee by-the-cup, brewed with their new Clover.

Here are some links with more information and opinions:
Laughing Meme