The future of coffee

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June 3, 2013 by Beans Ahoy

In the last few years there have been several movements in the coffee market that should be brought to people’s attention. Some are a threat; some are simply a slow motion change to coffee drinking.

Coffee will forever be changed now – The specialty coffee market has snow grown too large for it to slip into the history books. Even the big retailers like Starbucks are playing the specialty tune. As with all things, as the culture grows so does the complexity and quality range.

Coffee is under threat – There is a supposed long term threat to coffee in the form of global warming, but I don’t think this will necessarily have that big an impact on the growing of coffee. I believe that it may change where coffee is grown, and possibly the flavours, but I don’t think we will see coffee disappear. The bigger threat in the short term is the problems relating to ‘coffee rust’, a disease attacking coffee bushes the world over. The disease is called ‘rust’ because of the orangey-brown blotches that appear on leaves and slowly kill the bush. It is also highly contagious, spreading quickly from bush to bush (See: Farmers need to take drastic and rapid action against coffee rust to preserve their livelihoods. Although it will probably not kill off coffee all together, it is likely to send prices higher, and harm farmers and those who depend on coffee to function in the morning.

Helping the developing world – What to help the developing world? Keep drinking coffee. Intelligent consumption of coffee will help farmers and communities to survive (and give you superhuman coffee strength). Learn about your coffee. Try to discover how the farmer is growing it, and how much they are making from it. If it smells fishy, buy another coffee…no, not the coffee actually smelling fishy, if the source and payment sounds fishy, clear? (If you coffee actually smells fishy, you are probably drinking fish).

The double crack – People are wising up to marketing gimmicks. Some coffee needs a longer roast, some a shorter. Stop buying coffee on fancy terms and learn what the terminology means. There has been a big push towards quality and long may it continue.

Diversity – More and more people are demanding different coffee. So if you are one of those that thinks coffee comes only from Colombia and in a can, be adventurous and try something different. Even if you have heard it’s bad…try it. Knowledge of coffee comes from drinking it in all of its forms.

Another coffee shop! – With more and more of the things opening you do have to wonder when the market will reach saturation. Coffee chains seem to own the high street now, with you never having to walk more than 2 minutes to reach somewhere that will serve you a piping hot brown beverage. Although the market will clearly reach critical mass at some point, this will only spur innovation, and this is good news.

Conclusion – There are good things happening in the coffee market. Some call it the ‘third wave’ others call it the morning kick start. Either way, quality and understanding is on its way in a big way.


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