Science Technology

This Place in Japan Sells Coffee Roasted by Visually Impaired Workers

Photo: The Asahi Shimbun

A Japan-based welfare workshop named Ryoke Green Gables has received a big reaction following a decision to employ visually impaired workers to roast coffee beans.

The idea was conceived by Koji Katogi, the president of the nonprofit organization, Minori, which operates the workshop. Katogi was inspired by his time as a teacher at a prefectural special needs school for the visually impaired. He was aware of challenges visually impaired workers face in the job market and wanted to create opportunities. It’s likely thanks to his experience the genius idea of roasting coffee beans came to mind.

Using an open flame, workers can discern the readiness based upon time and sound. Timing determines the flavor and a one-second difference can impact taste positively or negatively. After several trial runs, taste tests resulted in rave reviews with lucky participants remarking, “This is exactly what it tastes like,” and “It tastes just like Guatemala,” while others suggested that the beans “should be roasted a little more.”

Through these exchanges, they continued to make improvements, and the beans were even praised as “tastier than those of imported grocery chains.”

Photo: The Asahi Shimbun

They decided to name their new coffee bean product Bokura wa Mimi de Baisen o suru, which means “We roast coffee by ear.” Last December, during the holiday season, sales of the special roast reached around 400,000 yen (about $3,260), accounting for 60% to 70% of the facility’s total revenue.

Kento Ikuta, the coffee bean roasting leader, was previously unable to pursue his desired career. Ryoke Green Gables gave him the opportunity to put his skills to great use.

“At first I wasn’t sure if I could do it. Now, I am happy because we get a lot of orders. I want to continue roasting so that people will say, ‘This is delicious,'” he beamed.

Drinks Fast Food What's New

Taco Bell’s Cinnabon Delights is Now a Coffee

Photo: Taco Bell

Here’s a quick new pick me up for you: Taco Bell’s Cinnabon Delights are now a coffee. The Bell’s fan favorite Cinnabon Delights making its way into java form is possible through the fast food brand’s premium roast coffee blended with cream and the unmistakable flavor of Cinnabon cinnamon.

Fans can order the new Taco Bell Cinnabon Delights Coffee either iced or hot for $2.29.

Deals Drinks Restaurants

Panera and American Express Partner to Offer Unlimited Coffee and Tea

Photo: American Express

Coffee and tea are in a category deemed as essentials when it comes to beverages, so it’s natural that both are always in high demand. Now imagine if you were able to get unlimited coffee and tea for free? Surely that’s a big chunk of daily expenses whisked away for many folks.

Thanks to a new partnership between American Express and Panera, that prospect will be a reality for all US American Express Consumer and Corporate Card Members who sign up between November 1, 2021 to January 31, 2022.

This offer includes a complimentary, six month membership to MyPanera+ Coffee (valued at $54), allowing for free unlimited hot coffee, hot tea, or iced coffee every two hours, in any size and flavor, with unlimited refills in-store or online using their MyPanera Membership account.

American Express card members can learn more and get in on this perk here.

Drinks Packaged Food

International Delight And Reese’s Collab On A Peanut Butter Cup Iced Coffee

Forget the other stuff, the best part of waking up will be this new International Delight and Reese’s Iced Coffee. The formula is simple here: peanut butter, chocolate, and coffee. A holy trinity that will make my morning a lot better, to be quite frank.

The ready to drink Reese’s Iced Coffee will be available starting in early October at retailers nationwide and will go for $3.99 for a 64-ounce carton.

Celebrity Grub

Detroit Lions Coach Dan Campbell’s Starbucks Order Is Not For The Faint Of Heart

Between declaring that his players will bite a knee cap off and wanting a pet lion be present during team practices, the Detroit Lions’ head coach Dan Campbell has been a lightning rod for eyebrow-raising quotes this past year. However, him recently sharing his daily order at Starbucks might give us some insight on why he’s wired to say such outlandish things. Key word, wired.

“I’ll get two Venti, of the Pike, with two shots in it. That’s what I come in with, that’s how I start my day.”

While a Venti is only 20-ounces, instead of the 40 claimed in the Tweet above, an added total of 12-ounces of espresso shots makes for 52-ounces of jet fuel coursing through this man’s veins. That might explain the whole pet lion thing and his appetite for kneecaps.

Will this heart-stopping order become the next Starbucks craze? They could very well capitalize on it, call it The Lion Tamer or something.

But then again, the coffee chain could likely catch a case once that dark roast gasoline catches a body.

Feature photo: Steven King /Icon Sportswide via Getty Images

Food Waste Plant-Based Sustainability Technology

Introducing The World’s First 3D-Printed Compostable Coffee Pods

Within the US, over half of the population drinks coffee. That’s 150 million people getting their caffeine fix, and typically at a three cup per day average. Additionally, single-use coffee pods have become a popular choice for caf-fiends with 41% of Americans owning a single-cup coffee maker.

Great for productivity, but not so awesome for our environment, over 50 billion paper cups are thrown away within the U.S. each year. It’s even said that discarded coffee pods, which are made of aluminum and plastic, could circle the entire globe a staggering 10 times. Despite this level of massive waste, coffee popularity shows no signs of slowing down.  

To help combat coffee consumption waste, forward-thinking company NEXE Innovations has created the world’s first compostable single-use coffee pods. Founded in 2015, NEXE Innovations uses 3D-printing to design, prototype and patent the pods, offering a sustainable option for eco-conscious coffee lovers. The idea came through a desire to replace non-biodegradable plastic. Spending six years in development, the company is now a leader in plant-based manufacturing. Their first commercial product is aptly-named the NEXEpod.

“Through continued trial and error, we have developed a pod that can consistently withstand the heat and pressure of a Keurig coffee brewing system while also being plant-based, fully compostable and still provides the freshness and great taste that our consumers expect from a good cup of coffee. To be able to provide these qualities and do so in batches of thousands of pods at a time has been a very difficult process and a definite engineering feat,” says Ash Guglani, President of NEXE Innovations.

The company currently uses 3D-printing technology to quickly design the NEXEpods, moving from design to concept in under a day. They now have most of the necessary equipment to produce over 230 million of the bamboo and corn based pods per year.

Introduced earlier this year, XOMA Superfoods is the company’s in-house coffee and superfoods brand. Created as a vehicle to deliver high quality coffee and superfoods to market, XOMA also helps to ensure NEXE adheres to their sustainability goals. The first product offered was a soluble micro-ground coffee blend fortified in MCT-oil and packaged in the NEXEpod. Since then, they’ve expanded to offer additional options like their Keto and Mushroom coffees, each of which can be ordered online

Moving forward, NEXE Innovations plans to continue expanding their proprietary coffee and superfoods lines into conscious coffee consumers. Only available on their website and Amazon currently, the company hopes to achieve Amazon Prime status soon. They’re also in talks with various other online platforms that cater to plant-based and coffee enthusiasts.

Alcohol Drinks

Guinness Nitro Cold Brew Beer Just Became A Reality

Photo courtesy of Guinness

Fans of Guinness will have a new entry into the iconic line of stouts to drool over. 

The brand has added an all-new beverage in the form of Guinness Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Beer

This nitrogen-based drink is an amalgam of roast coffee cold brew and Guinness’s bold stout flavors, along with the rich notes of espresso, chocolate, and caramel. 

While coffee-flavored, the Nitro Cold Brew beer will feature no added caffeine outside of the natural flavoring and boast a 4% ABV. 

Guinness’ Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Beer is now a permanent addition to the Guinness line of beverages. It made its debut in March and is currently expanding to more stores nationwide and internationally within the next year. 


Trader Joe’s Adds Boba-Filled Vegan Cold Brew Frozen Dessert

Photo courtesy of Trader Joe’s

There was a time someone with severe lactose intolerance couldn’t enjoy a pint of coffee ice cream without getting a stomachache. Those days are long gone now, as brands have begun offering a plethora of non-dairy options in all sorts of flavors for those not about dairy.

Take Trader Joe’s new Cold Brew Coffee and Boba Coconut Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert. While this mouthful may give you brain freeze if you dive in too fast, there’s nothing about this robustly-named product that hasn’t piqued my coffee dessert-loving interest.

The brand’s newest flavor features a creamy coconut milk base, with the flavors of cold brew coffee made from Thai-grown Arabica coffee beans, and chewy tapioca pearls.

You can find this entirely vegan frozen dessert at the freezer section of your local Trader Joe’s.