5 Predictions for 2009

I suppose I consider my previous predictions (with your support) reasonably successful.

Just for fun I am going to make another 5 predictions and we’ll wait and see how they turn out!

1).    Coffee packaging takes a big step forward

Think for a moment about how many kilos of espresso are brewed every day.  Think about how many bags are thrown away each day.  Good packaging is a necessity for quality, but it isn’t recyclable and that is becoming more and more of an issue.  The reusable, valved buckets we’ve been using at Square Mile have been great, and I am glad the bulk of our production goes out in them, but we still have to bag a good deal up.  Hopefully this year we’ll see someone clever devil make a breakthrough and move coffee packaging at least a little closer to closed loop recycling.

2).    Improved green coffee packaging

Vacuum packaging has started to take hold in coffee, but I don’t yet believe it is the pinnacle of coffee packaging.  I think jute has to go, for speciality coffee anyway, and I am head over heals in love with the smell of greens when you open a vac packed bag up (I might love it more than the smell of roasted coffee!).  However I have a few reservations about the long term storage of green coffee in vacuum packaging and I think slowly but surely we are gathering more and more information about how it affects the greens and we can continue to improve the materials and the process.

3).    Someone invents a grinder worth getting excited about

It probably won’t be a major grinder manufacturer.  In fact it definitely won’t be.  However I think there are people out there tinkering and experimenting and I think this year someone will present an idea that will slowly invade espresso grinder production and improve it immeasurably.

4).    Decent coffee press in the UK

It has been interesting to read the increasing number of good articles on coffee appearing in the NYT and the WSJ.  Most of these articles were indeed about coffee in New York but the scope has slowly widened and I hope the trend continues not only in the US, but spreads to the UK.  London’s burgeoning coffee scene is worth writing about!  Just getting the media to take coffee a little seriously would be a massive leap forward.

5).    Producing countries in the WBC Top 6.

An oddly specific prediction but I think this year there will be at least one barista from a producing country really pushing for the top spot.  I think the limitations of choice and greens variety that many feel were on national champions have gone.  Every producing country competing has great coffee growing there and I think judges are more open to that than ever.  I think the shift away from tech and onto sensory open up the field further still.  As for which countries – I am not that brave!

UPDATE: I suppose I ought to clarify this a little more (thanks Jay) – I think at least two of the top 6 will be from producing countries and I think one will be in the top 3.  I did know that various producing countries have been in the finals before (Silvia from Brazil was in the finals with me in Tokyo – so I ought to remember!)

What do people think?  Does anyone have their own predictions that they would care to share?  Post them in the comments or in your own blog and post a link here!

9 Comments 5 Predictions for 2009

  1. Armen Shirvanian

    The point about the packaging is probably accurate. The opportunities that are presenting themselves to reduce extra material wasted in packaging will cause a motivated set of individuals to create a more efficient way of disseminating it. Reusable packaging devices are becoming more appealing for people to make use of, as they carry more of a positive connotation in uncertain global conditions.

  2. The Onocoffee

    Producing county in the WBC Top Six? That’s not too surprising considering the level of competition in some of those countries. Unfortunately, the WBC is being held in the United States and the chance of competitors from producing countries being denied tourist visas is extremely high.

    But to be technical, a “producing country” has made it to the Top Six on several occasions. The United States has been a coffee producing country since 1893 when American military forces overthrew the Kingdom of Hawai’i and annexed the island nation.

  3. Darryl | Angela

    I too agree that as there seems to be a more general push toward greener products and services, recyclable products, and standards for consumers to judge said products by, then those same forces will affect the coffee industry as well. It is, after all, a marketing and public relations opportunity for those firms which get it right.

  4. Peter D

    Interesting predictitions!

    I really find the packaging issues very interesting and would love to learn more about Your Valve Buckets!?

    And by the way, as far as I remember Vikram Kurana from India was the first to break the Scandinavian WBC Top Three domination in 2002.

  5. John Test

    packaging is much more an issue now compared to previous year, almost all including those electronics, that in turn, made a significant change in the campaign.

  6. Zach Tyler

    I like your predictions. I definitely think in the next few years eco-friendly packaging will become common. I’ve noticed that people are willing to spend a couple extra dollars for a green product. Plus I haven’t seen many green packaging when it comes to coffee.

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