Remember the last time you met someone to chat over a cup of coffee? Just like toilet paper and disinfectant wipes, a quick visit to the cafe with friends is something we all took for granted.
There's been a new adopted phrase to describe our daily lives – the “New Normal.” It affects every part of our daily lives, large and small, including our normal, ordinary cup of coffee.
Ever since the Covid-19 virus turned the world upside-down, officials at every level, from the White House task force to grade school principals and local store managers have laid the foundation for the “New Normal.”
The Pandemic's Economic Reach is Truly Worldwide
It is impossible to exaggerate the enormity of this sea change. States, cities and even local communities and organizations like schools and museums have declared lockdowns; restricted travel and immigration; required social distancing, hand sanitizing and masks. Companies of all types and sizes have laid off millions of workers.
No one has been spared, including everyone from the corporate offices of international coffee brands to workers in Costa Rica harvesting coffee beans by hand – virtually the entire coffee industry worldwide.
Over time, drinking coffee has become such a natural social activity that millions of people consider a visit to a coffee shop to share a cup of coffee and nibble pastry as daily requirement. Depending on who’s counting, some estimates indicate that Americans consume almost 400 million cups of coffee every week (Motley Fool). Coffee ranks third among the most popular drinks worldwide, nearly tied with water and tea.
The pandemic has created devastating impacts on the economies of the major coffee producers — Brazil, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia and Ethiopia. Optimists have predicted improved coffee production in Brazil because of unusually heavy rainfall, but observers without rose-colored glasses point out that many of the markets for those coffee beans have disappeared.
In the United States alone,over 40,000 places that serve a lot of coffee – shops, diners, cafes, restaurants, hotels — have closed.
Beyond the United States, many governments have imposed strict rules to enforce quarantine and social distancing, requiring bars, hotels, restaurants and cafes to close. In China, the largest consumer of Brazilian coffee beans, 2,000 Starbucks stores have closed, and Starbucks stock has declined nearly 7 percent.
Because coffee has become the heart of an entire worldwide social culture, economic chaos also affects all of the businesses associated with coffee, especially restaurants, stores, bakeries tourist attractions, and even transportation that people customarily use for travel to meeting places. Furthermore, because so many people have lost their jobs, many fewer people can afford to patronize places that traditionally boost coffee sales.
While coffee is typically considered a recession-proof commodity, the world has simply never seen an economic shutdown of this magnitude.
Internationally Covid-19 has spawned hotspots – notably Italy, Singapore, Japan, Spain, and South Korea. In all of these areas, dining outside the home has not surprisingly become rare. Some cities have banned customary practices of association in groups. Some have arrested people who violate social distancing requirements. As a result, coffee sales have nosedived.
The Future of Coffee in the U. S.
Enormous losses in the coffee industry, unprecedented since the Great Depression, have damaged small coffee vendors more than the franchises like Starbucks, that may recover over time. Nevertheless, for the time being, large numbers of people will remain afraid to venture out in public.
Even if the outbreak ends relatively soon, there is no guarantee that the public and all of those thousands upon thousands of coffee vendors — especially the smaller boutique cafes — will recover, nor can we feel confident that people will resume their former social habits.
Therefore the shops that survive must evolve to embrace yet another “New Normal” by renewing innovative marketing strategies. One such technology being used to possibly
Along with the havoc that this virus has wreaked also comes a silver lining. With adversity always comes opportunity. The coffee community has seized this opportunity to band together as ordinary people and not competitors. There are countless stories of coffee shops and businesses doing their part to help others out….and in some cases, even their own competitors. Not long ago, we wrote an article specifically detailing how the coffee companies have been helping their communities during these uncertain times.