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jimseven #26 - I've been saving these up

It's been a while. A little bit of holiday, a little bit of work travel (ok, maybe quite a lot of hol
jimseven #26 - I've been saving these up
By James Hoffmann • Issue #26 • View online
It’s been a while. A little bit of holiday, a little bit of work travel (ok, maybe quite a lot of holiday this time…), but I’m back now. Lots to cover in this newsletter, but I might not overload you. Let’s start with the fun stuff.

In Coffee
1. Predicting the future of coffee in New York City. This piece was excellent, building a predictive model of where coffee shops would open until it matched reality, then looking at where came next. (I should ask them to do London next…)
2. The Great Nutrient Collapse. Rising levels of CO2, theoretically, mean more sugar produced in plants. This reduces nutrient density, which is a bad thing. What does this mean for coffee? Will coffees get sweeter? It’s probably not good news, but I’d recommend reading this piece from Jamie Goode on sugar levels in grapes and how increased CO2 might influence alcohol levels (a good reminder of why coffee cherries are sweet in the first place…)
3. Is the UK reaching coffee shop saturation point? The BBC looks at something you all know I’ve been going on about for a while. Lots of data, and a reminder that while independents have boomed in coffee - chains have had greater growth in the last 10 years.
4. Travelling in Indonesia a couple of weeks ago, I got to meet some fascinating people. One of them, Rodney Glick, shared an interesting idea: we’re going to see a whole new kind of speciality coffee culture coming from producing countries. As speciality cultures grow and develop in those places then roasters and cafes have the budgets to start buying amazing coffee, and building relationships with producers that, in turn, allow better feedback loops than consuming countries can foster or leverage. Here’s his piece on the subject.
5. Nestle bought most of Blue Bottle for (apparently) $500 million. This interview in Grub Street is a good explainer of why Blue Bottle didn’t want to IPO, and why they sold to Nestle. It doesn’t really address why Nestle thought Blue Bottle was worth the equivalent of $14 million per store. I have a few thoughts that will be making their way to my blog in the next week or two…
Three Other Things
In an effort not to overload this issue here are three things I have recently enjoyed:
1. The Japanese Origins of Modern Fine Dining. This was a great piece, and it explained something about why I’ve struggled with aspects of fine dining menus over the last few years…
2. While I think Nathan Myhrvold can be a… problematic person, Modernist Cuisine was an incredible piece of work from an amazing team. I’m curious to see Modernist Bread. This piece on his researching the history of bread is interesting. (Side note: I agree on Migoya’s comment on flour coming to be seen as differentiated and valuable as chocolate and coffee.)
3. Anatomy of a Moral Panic. I like Maciej Cegłowski’s writing a lot (his Twitter account can be a bit more abrasive, in between his work to unionise tech workers.) How we step back from where the internet has driven journalism, I don’t know…
As always - thank you for reading! Revue, the newsletter service I use, have recently upped the pricing quite a lot. I have to decide if I ought to/want to keep paying to send you all emails every month (I do enjoy it, but maybe there’s another way). Maybe this will change. Maybe it won’t. (I’m sure the tension is unbearable!)
Always interested to hear what you find interesting or noteworthy - thank you to those of you who send me stuff! Have a great week.

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James Hoffmann

Coffee, business, technology, food and that place where they all intersect.

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