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  • DaedalusHowell

    There's getting your venti Pike's Place served to you by a snarling 20-something with a chip on her shoulder as big as her graduate degree thesis, then there's a nice cuppa by master baristo Giorgio Milos. The legendary Italian stallion of espresso will be showcasing the art of authentic Italian espresso, courtesy of Illy Caffe and the Mandarin Oriental Coffee Bar in San Francisco, from 9 to 11 a.m., Monday, April 11.

    Milos was awarded master barista status (yes, there is such a thing) by the Speciality Coffee Association of Europe and placed among the world's top craftspeople in the World Barista Championships. He serves on the faculty of the Universita del Caffe, Illy's coffee-centric facility at its headquarters in Trieste, Italy.

    Well-v…

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  • DaedalusHowell

    Okay, there’s an MSNBC show called “Morning Joe.” It segues to commercial breaks with bumpers that read “Brewed by Starbucks.” Every cuppa that an anchor sips from is branded with the java juggernaut’s mermaid logo. In fact, it’s been a “name sponsor” of the show for two-years, to the well-reported tune of $10 million.

    So why is anyone shocked that Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz got a plum seven-minute interview to tout his empire’s 40th anniversary? Though MSNBC didn’t formally announce the relationship prior to the interview, it’s surely implicit.

    As Brian Steinberg reports in AdAge Mediaworks, some have taken umbrage despite the cable channel’s insistence that if warranted it get frothy with the sponsor.

    At the time of its inception, Phil Gr…

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  • DaedalusHowell

    Chris Morran of the Consumerist, reported that former friends-turned-rivals Peet’s Coffee and Starbucks are in talks for a merger –or rather, an acquisition, seeing as the Seattle-based Starbucks is nearly ten times the size of the San Francisco Bay Area-based Peet’s.

    “Analysts predict that Starbucks could quickly double or triple the value of Peet's, which currently has almost 200 retail outlets in addition to its brands of packaged coffees it sells through Safeway and Kroger,” reports Morran.

    Though chatter is rampant online, there have been no formal announcements as such from either company, whose respective stories share the same origin myth. According to coffee house lore, the original Peet's Coffee in Berkeley, CA, was the inspiration…

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  • DaedalusHowell

    The druggie gags that surface around caffeine may belie more than their tellers realize. Sure people talk about “mainlining” espresso and about the intensity of their “addiction” but the fact is, according The Science and Lore of Alcohol and Caffeine author Stephen Braun, caffeine is a drug.

    “I don't think the mass of folks really consider caffeine a drug. It’s so omni-present and, of course, so relatively mild and socially accepted, that I think, for the mass of people, it's almost invisible,” Braun said in an interview with Lifehacker last year. “Understanding caffeine as a drug can help make sense of things like rebound headaches, rebound fatigue, insomnia, or heightened anxiety—just some of the less pleasant things that can occur from c…

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  • DaedalusHowell

    A quarter-century ago, Maxwell House took a flyer with then-ad agency Ogilvy and Mather and cranked out a bunch of odd spots with TV actors waxing sentimental about its instant coffee product. The pitchman were a motley of personalities that included Justine Bateman* of Familiy Ties, Harry Anderson of Night Court and Bronson Pinchot, the most qualified to pitch coffee given his turn as "Serge" the gallerist who offers Eddie Murphy an espresso with a "lemon twist" in Beverly Hills Cop.

    Suffice it to say, the results were mixed. Though the advertisers attempted an off-the-cuff vibe, the bits were obviously scripted to play on the perceived character quirks of the actors (Bateman breezily assesses her appearances in tabloid headlines, Anderson…

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