What is it about coffee?
The bitter liquid brew of the mountain bean – reportedly discovered by an Ethiopian goat herder – seems to stirs up more drama, emotion and passion than all the crude oil, Type O blood and holy water on the planet.
And with more industry gyrations brewing – like the Starbucks announcements last week that it has aggressive plans for the single-serve coffee market and that it has a deal to provide coffee supplies to up to 500,000 hotel rooms – now may be a good time to check out your local java scene.
It helps to understand the lingo. I kept seeing headlines about Starbucks “getting into” the single-serving business and thought, “Isn’t that what they DO?” But in this case, it apparently refers to those convenient pods people use in coffee-making appliances, not supertripleventiatttemocahcinos in one-person cups.
Unfortunately we missed National Cafe au Lait day last week, but you’ve still got plenty of news pegs from which to choose.
Upscale coffee is everywhere, from gas stations to hospitals to supermarkets to mall courtyards, truck stops, airports, museums, theaters and even public buildings. In addition to the beverage itself, supplies ranging from travel mugs to brewers that plug into dashboard power outlets, flavored additives and sweeteners, home appliances, commercial appliances, disposable cups and holders and now even vehicles with built-in warming cupholders so that precious liquid doesn’t cool down.
It’s really difficult to think of a business beat that couldn’t find some connection to the coffee industry, from shipping and logistics to airlines to health care (not just sales of the brew but a sidebar on health studies?) to retail to restaurants to casinos, technology, autos. Organic coffee, domestic and artisanal coffee; coffee trade, coffee-growing equipment – the list goes on and on.
And coffee is getting more attention lately as one item among that vanguard of foodstuffs experiencing inflationary trends; this Bloomberg article explains some of the global supply issues.
This 2011 outlook report from Specialty Coffee Retailer is a great read (note though, that it was sponsored by a coffee-making equipment firm.) It says that while consumption has leveled off, consumers are spending more on what they do drink, and posits that value-oriented consumers are brewing more at home.
The report says the number of coffee shops has declined (hard to believe) but that non-traditional outlets selling coffee are on the rise. It would be fun to map or chart these trends (or variations from them) in your region.
Other industry information is available from the National Coffee Association.
Here’s a worldwide map of coffee consumption (the Finns have it all over us)
Last, but not least, “The Birth of Coffee” exhibit currently is on display at Miami Dade College.