Coffee prices set to soar?

Global coffee prices are set to increase following a disastrous fungal outbreak in Central America. It's estimated that the fungus, known as la roya, or leaf rust, has destroyed around 20% of the high quality arabica crop in the region.

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Bean counting

Yes, because many retailers - including Starbucks - use Central America's arabica beans in their espressos and other coffee products. For countries like Guatemala and Honduras it's seriously bad news as so much of their economies are dependent on coffee.

Brazil is an alternative source for high quality arabica beans, but they're in short supply too from rising middle class local demand. "The global supply of the best quality arabica beans is hugely dependent on Brazil," global drinks analyst Jonny Forsyth, of Mintel, told the Mirror.

Cheap shot?

"And by reducing supply at a time of huge – and still rising – global demand, this could force a sharp rise in global coffee-bean prices." The International Coffee Organisation estimates around $500m worth of coffee has been hit.

Coffee drinking, globally, is climbing, despite stagnant growth in recession-hit Europe. A distinct robusta (lower quality) and arabica (high quality) divide remains though; companies like Nestle blend the two beans helping keep coffee prices low for emerging economies like India and China.

Large retailers like Starbucks and Costa should be able to contain some price rises, given that much of their overheads relate to store rent and staff salaries rather than the cost of product. But your average 227g average arabica bag of coffee isn't going to get much cheaper.

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Coffee prices set to soar?

Not many companies have films made about them. But the story of social networking site Facebook attracted enough attention to interest Hollywood, resulting in the 2010 film The Social Network. The interest was not just due to the immense popularity of the Facebook website, which was created in its earliest form by Harvard University student Mark Zuckerburg in 2004, though. It was also a result of the legal wrangling between Zuckerburg and fellow Harvard students Divya Narendra and Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, who founded the social networking site ConnectU and accused Zuckerberg - who worked for them before creating Facebook - of copying their ideas and coding. In something of a damp squib ending, however, the case was dismissed due to a technicality in March 2007 without a ruling being made.

Most of the companies on this list are household names. However, comparatively few people have heard of Olam International, despite it being one of the world's largest agricultural commodity companies.

In fact, it produces enough cotton to keep everyone in the world in socks (three pairs per person, per year).

Fans of chocolate bars such as Mars are also sure to have consumed chocolate made from beans handled by Olam - they just don't realise it.

Headquartered in Singapore, Olam was founded in 1989. It now purchases ingredients such as coffee and cocoa from around 3.5 million smallholder famers based in emerging markets around the world. This enables it to work with communities in rural Africa and Asia on everything from productivity to environmental impact, resulting in a potentially huge impact on some of the world's poorest people.

Love them or hate them, Starbucks coffee shops are everywhere nowadays. Hardly surprising when you consider that the company has opened an average of two stores a day since 1987 (despite having to close some locations down too).
However, back in 1971 there was just one Starbucks coffee shop, in Seattle, Washington.
Named after Starbuck, the first mate on the whaling ship in the novel Moby Dick, the shop originally sold roasted coffee, but did not brew coffee to sell.
Now, though, you can get everything from a blueberry muffin to a mocha frappuccino from your local Starbucks store.

According to the company the white ribbon was introduced under the name in 1969. When competitors first entered the market, Coke made much of its curved bottle design which distinguished it from those that followed. As fewer and fewer people drank from bottles, the ribbon was produced as an alternative distinctive curve.

According to mokokoma, the apple is the fruit of the tree of knowledge. There is some question as to whether the bite taken out of it is a play on the word byte, symbolism of the fruit being eaten and the knowledge imparted, or just to make it look more like an apple and less like a cherry tomato.

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