Friday, March 30, 2007

Size Matters In Lower East Side Coffee; (Or: The Starbucks Effect--Beware)

By Mark Wellborn

Friday March 30, 2007

Starbucks seems to have left another local coffee house in its wake. Earlier this week, The Bean Coffee and Tea, located at 118 Orchard Street on the Lower East Side, closed its doors after being in operation just four months.

While it seems the demise of the caffeine outpost, which also has a location in the East Village, could easily be attributed to the Starbucks that sits just feet away, Bean manager Guy Pujlia blamed the size of the store.

"The space was just too small," Mr. Pujlia told The Real Estate. "People would get tired of waiting in line and just go down the street to Starbucks."

Rumors have been floating around the neighborhood recently that Ini Ani, another local coffee shop, might also be falling the way of The Bean Coffee and Tea. However, an employee at the Stanton Street store, notable for the corrugated cardboard that covers its walls, confirmed that this was indeed a rumor. Long live the independent coffee house! For now.

- Mark Wellborn

Organic coffee a unique success story

by Uma Sudhir, AP/

Friday, March 30, 2007 (Araku Valley)

Tribal women from remote hills of Andhra Pradesh have wowed the world not with their dance or striking nose-rings but with their coffee.

For instance, Gemmile Tikku, a widow from Araku Valley in Andhra Pradesh's Visakhapatnam district, has won national and international recognition for growing one of the best flavours of organic coffee.

However, for them to take the international market by storm, these women will need adequate support.

Coffee grower Appa Rao informs that with NGO help for better farm practices and marketing, he grows coffee that fetches him a better price and his income has more than doubled in the last couple of years.

"I used to get Rs 35-40, now I get above Rs 80-100," said Appa Rao, Coffee grower.

Brown revolution

Some 60,000 tribal families are part of this brown revolution.

They grow up to 4000 tonnes of organic coffee that has a premium niche market in the developed world.

In fact, this invigorating story has had such an impact that it drew the Union Commerce Minister to Gemmile Tikku's doorstep.

"One acre of coffee can fetch up to Rs 13,000 an year. From 75000 acres to 1.5 lakh acres, we plan to double area under coffee here in the next five years," said Jairam Ramesh, Union Minister of State, Commerce.

Spicing this steamy success is black pepper that is grown as a creeper along with coffee and is adding to the income.

The next step is organic certification and standardization of the coffee so that the Araku Valley organic coffee can emerge as a strong international brand.