Reuters Investigates

Insight and investigations from our expert reporters

from Shop Talk:

Coffee’s third wave

intelligentsia1Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea founder Doug Zell is part of an independent third wave of upscale coffee houses taking advantage of America's growing thirst for the premium coffees that Starbucks helped introduced to the masses. ( Click here to see today's special report on Starbucks on Reuters.com, or read the report in PDF format.)

"It's moving from a commodity to a culinary ingredient," said Zell, whose buyers scour the globe for the best beans and increasingly are focused on treating coffee like a seasonal item -- meaning the time from harvest to cup is no more than six months.

Coffee has come a long way in the last few decades. While our parents' generation grew up on grocery store brands like Folgers or Sanka instant coffee, today's kids are coming of age at a time when higher-quality espresso drinks like lattes are the norm.

"The consumer is becoming more sophisticated. I still think there is a long way to go," said Zell, who recently opened Intelligentsia's ninth location in Venice, California's offbeat Abbot Kinney section. A tenth spot, which will be a cafe and roasting plant, is in the works in San Francisco.

The fresh Prince of Brunei

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BRUNEI/By Mark Hosenball

The veins of Prince Jefri of Brunei may course with Royal blood and, though depleted by years of lawsuits, his bank accounts probably still hold enough riches to fund an imperial lifestyle. But the brother of the Sultan of Brunei didn’t get much respect from British High Court Judge Sir Peter Smith when, two years ago, Jefri failed to appear in court for a scheduled cross-examination on his tangled legal and financial affairs. (For a special report on Prince Jefri’s legal battles, click here. )

Sir Peter, who gained international attention  as the Judge who wove his own secret message into a ruling he handed down rejecting a literary theft claim filed against “Da Vinci Code” author Dan Brown, showed little deference to Prince Jefri’s royal status when handing down a decision to issue a bench warrant for the prince’s immediate arrest if he sets foot on British soil.

How to make friends and influence people

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White House correspondent Caren Bohan’s special report out today examines President Barack Obama’s testy relationship with the business community.

OBAMA/After Tuesday’s election, Obama was faced with the prospect of legislative gridlock. Republicans pushed Democrats decisively from power in the House of Representatives and strengthened their ranks in the Senate as voters vented frustration over the economy.

How visible is the hand of Treasury in steering GM?

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By Kevin Krolicki

“What we are not doing — what I have no interest in doing — is running GM.”  — President Barack Obama, June 2009.

GM/GM has undergone massive changes in the nearly year and a half since the Obama administration stepped in to save and restructure the company in bankruptcy to spare it from liquidation and to save hundreds of thousands of American jobs.