As I said in the post at the start of the year, this is the fifth time I’ve made five predictions and it is the last one. Â I had a little think about what I would predict if I was going to go again but I came up empty handed (or empty headed….)
So – let’s have a look at how badly I’ve done this year….
The WBC Prediction:
Alejandroâ€™s win in Bogota felt like the culmination of a certain approach to a competition performance, combined with great execution. Thereâ€™d be increasing focus on better connecting the producer and the barista and I think Alejandro took that as far as it can go. Alejandro wasnâ€™t the only one taking this route â€“ Pete Licataâ€™s routine was also a great expression of that idea. That means that this year there will need to be a new angle, a new focus. I think the field of competitors will struggle with this â€“ though I think there is a great opportunity for someone to do well by having a very clear vision and idea. (I hope I get to commentate again, as I really enjoyed that in Bogota.)
Wrong. Â This year the baristas from origin countries were strong again and Raul’s winning routine was very much focused on the journey of the coffee.
The C-Market Prediction:
A lot of the factors that caused the wild fluctuations in price seem to have moved away from the coffee market, but a lot of the base causes for the rise are still there. I predict a slow and steady creep up in price over the next 12 months.
Absolutely wrong. Â There has been nothing but a steady drop in the C in the last 12 months. Â This year was one where I became increasingly interested in what drives the C-market. Â Supply and demand don’t have the kind of impact I thought they would, especially as more and more outside factors contribute to the fluctuations we see.
The Brewed Coffee Prediction:
Like it or not, I think weâ€™re going to see an increase in the quality of coffee coming out of batch brewers. This doesnâ€™t imply an upcoming innovation in the technology, more a shift in the places using them. They make really nice coffee when used well, and this year I think it is very important that we focus on just getting coffee right regularly rather than trying to blow peopleâ€™s minds with clever by the cup techniques.
In London – Correct. Â Outside of London – I don’t really know. Â Be interested to see if people have any thoughts on this one in the UK or further afield.
The UK Coffee Market Prediction:
London has seem some explosive growth in the last few years, but this hasnâ€™t spread at the same rate outside of the capital. London businesses have enjoyed some protection from the UKâ€™s economy because London is pretty much a separate economy unto itself. The recession certainly hit, and many feel like there must surely be an end to the storm. I donâ€™t think that end will be in sight in the next year, I think 2012 is going to be extremely tough in London for coffee retail. I hope I am wrong on this one.
True. Â We saw some businesses struggle throughout the year, a few close, and it has been a tough environment for independent and chain operators. Â Whenever I talk to cafe owners the two main points of concern remain staffing and profitability.
The Equipment Prediction:
Always a tough one. I think weâ€™ll see some technical innovation in espresso and coffee brewing from outside of established manufacturers. Weâ€™re not yet at a point where weâ€™ll see the reinvention of the espresso machine (which I do think will happen in the next 3 years), but weâ€™ll definitely see some great ideas coming from unusual places. Whether these ideas end up being industrialised or licensed to the larger manufacturers â€“ I donâ€™t know.
Wrong. Â I had hopes to see some cool stuff hit the market, and I don’t think I can claim we’ve seen much. Â Tell me if I am wrong.
So – another pretty poor year of predictions. Â I should probably have given up earlier but they were fun to do each time. Â Perhaps I try something different next year…