Last month, the Coffee Collective dove deep into the coffee industry with its article, The History of Millennial Coffee Culture in the Making. In this article, the Collective spoke on the history of coffee, coffee culture, how the coffee crisis has and continues to shape the coffee community and social standards, as well as a little about the struggles associated with coffee, and cultivating, producing, and selling it.
Coffee Pour Over Overhead View By: Mariah P. K. Ardrey
The Collective's article emphasized the fact that coffee is not only a global cultural staple. Coffee is a way of life.
Yet, the article also left the future of coffee up to question.
It posed questions like, "what is next for coffee in 2020? Is it really on its way to extinction? How can millennials, and other coffee loving men and women (of all ages), help keep the coffee market alive? What will the world miss most about coffee, if it does disappear from grocery shelves and stores?"
So, what does the world need to change in order to save coffee then?
Saving coffee is a twofold issue.
As climate change shifts the dynamics of environments around the world, coffee is beginning to suffer from its effects, and coffee farmers are loosing their precious, fragile coffee crop in the process. Coffee farmers, and other industry professionals, have been working overtime, trying to find news ways to adapt the farming process, and the crop itself to the environmental changes. Yet, the industry at large, is unsure whether or not the crop is adaptable enough to survive a total shift in ecosystem, and cultivating regulations.
Yet, despite all of these climate change issues, the shifts in the ecosystem's regulatory process is not the only major issue coffee must overcome.
If coffee lovers and coffee enthusiasts truly want to save coffee, so that they can enjoy drinking the beverage into their 80s and 90s, and that their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren can also fall in love with the liquid gold, they have to be willing to pay the difference.
What does that mean?
The price of coffee, since the onset of the coffee crisis 30 years ago, has been anything but stable.
Empty Coffee Mugs By: Mariah P. K. Ardrey
At times, the market price of coffee soars, generating small glimpses of prosperity for coffee farmers. But typically, these economic highs, are followed by new, historic coffee price lows. Over the last 7 years, the average market price for coffee has generally remained under $1 per pound.
Yes, it is true that coffee is an imported good, and generally the American dollar carries further in foreign countries. Despite this "currency value" in comparison to other monetary systems in the world, the $1 coffee farmers are making on each pound of coffee farmed, is not outweighing the costs their livelihood is taking on them, as they compete with eating trends, new types of pesticides used, and new growing regulations, enforced by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and similar administrations, Jenny Anaya of Anaya Coffee said.
Craft coffee and food trends that "make sense" in the United States, are quite simply, putting coffee farmers out of business.
Coffee cannot be made within the U.S., or many other coffee loving countries. Most global climates simply do not support coffee growth the way many coffee developers and traders would like.
And it may be one of the only ways the public can help save coffee...by agreeing to pay more for their daily cup of Joe.
The cultivation of coffee is a difficult art form, and as such, coffee producers should be paid accordingly, so they can not only afford to keep their farms working, snd their families fed, but so they can keep coffee plants growing as well.
But, how do millennial coffee lovers help keep coffee culture alive in the midst of this global pandemic now? Millennials are willing to pay, but coffee shops have only just begun to open back up in the U.S. as phases 1-3 begin in different states, with different parameters, across the country.
So, how do millennials support the coffee industry now?
Well...it should not come as a surprise that the global COVID-19 pandemic has affected every aspect and field of the coffee industry, especially coffee shops themselves.
Empty Starbucks Coffee Store Front Closed Due to Pandemic. By: Mariah P. K. Ardrey
COVID-19 has affected most societal norms, customs, and business at this point, in many different ways. Although the overall impact of the coronavirus has been predominately negatively.
Yet, when it comes to coffee...COVID-19 has actually begun to positively affect coffee sales, and thus coffee prices, as bulk buying not only put coffee into high demand, but prior yearly cuts in coffee cultivation put less coffee beans into the available market stream. Thus, supply has lessened, as demand has grown, and the global coffee market price has begun to see some positive change.
Of course, this positive impact on coffee price does not equate a positive social coffee culture and community impact.
Coffee loving millennial men and women around the world miss their old coffee drinking habits, ordering from cute store fronts, and sitting down in their favorite coffee shops to enjoy their twist on the worlds most loved caffienated drink. Yet, millennial are also showing their own ability to adapt to their living situations, as new coffee trends have begun to surface, even throughout quarantine regulation. Speciality coffee made at home.
The truth is, everyone is missing the way society used to run before COVID. That is no secret, and should not come as any sort of surprise either.
Coffee Pour Over By: Mariah P. K. Ardrey
It is also no secret that the global pandemic has caused an unmeasurable amount of pain, fear, and unease.
But with that pain, there have also been small glimpses of global healing, revitalization, and rest. Even when it comes to coffee.
So, this is where 2020 has lead the coffee industry so far.
It has been a hard year, fraught with danger, fear, distress, and deep sadness around the world. But, even with all of the pain 2020 has brought with its onset, there have also been instances of healing, and growth, that may not have been possible without the "global pause and rest."
The Collective is in no way of course justifying the pandemic, or any of the negative event, situations, or cirmcunstances the disease has forced so many people to live through. But, those here are the Collective look towards the coffee industry at least with a growing sense of hope.
It is uncertain where the future of coffee lies from this point on. But, for the moment, coffee's luck seems to be turning around.
Now, the Collective is beginning to wonder about what awaits millennial coffee culture in the next 6 months, and it cannot wait to see how the coffee community grows and adapts to the new industry standards and trends. Maybe, hopefully, coffee will be saved after all.