Seattle coffee connoisseurs are reacting to news from California that their favorite beverage may soon have to carry a label warning consumers of possible cancer risks.
"I rolled my eyes a little bit," said Jesse Nelson of Conduit Coffee Company.
Conduit is a Seattle based coffee roaster that focuses on fair trade and sustainability practices, like delivering coffee on bicycle. Nelson worries the negative press will give consumers the wrong impression of his kind of small businesses.
"I think it's good that we're concerned about the food we're consuming and what it could be doing to us with over consumption," Nelson said. "I think it's a little overblown as far as what the actual effect from coffee could be."
A Los Angeles judge has determined that coffee companies must carry an ominous cancer warning label because of a chemical produced in the roasting process. Superior Court Judge Elihu Berle said Wednesday that Starbucks and other companies failed to show that benefits from drinking coffee outweighed any risks. He ruled in an earlier phase of trial that companies hadn't shown the threat from the chemical was insignificant.
The Council for Education and Research on Toxics, a nonprofit group, sued Starbucks and 90 other companies under a state law that requires warnings on a wide range of chemicals that can cause cancer. One is acrylamide, a carcinogen present in coffee.
"It's been a debate in the coffee world for a long time," Nelson said. "I'm not concerned about people changing their coffee habits."
For Nelson, the labels would be more annoying than anything, making for extra work. But he's not worried about the labels hurting his bottom line.
"I don't like labeling. Any change of label is hard for small businesses, different packaging, different concerns," he said.