Predictions for 2012 – Analysis

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.  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:

Alejandro’s win in Bogota felt like the culmination of a certain approach to a competition performance, combined with great execution. There’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 wasn’t the only one taking this route – Pete Licata’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 – 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.  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.  There has been nothing but a steady drop in the C in the last 12 months.  This year was one where I became increasingly interested in what drives the C-market.  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 we’re going to see an increase in the quality of coffee coming out of batch brewers. This doesn’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 people’s minds with clever by the cup techniques.

In London – Correct.  Outside of London – I don’t really know.  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 hasn’t spread at the same rate outside of the capital. London businesses have enjoyed some protection from the UK’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 don’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.  We saw some businesses struggle throughout the year, a few close, and it has been a tough environment for independent and chain operators.  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 we’ll see some technical innovation in espresso and coffee brewing from outside of established manufacturers. We’re not yet at a point where we’ll see the reinvention of the espresso machine (which I do think will happen in the next 3 years), but we’ll definitely see some great ideas coming from unusual places. Whether these ideas end up being industrialised or licensed to the larger manufacturers – I don’t know.

Wrong.  I had hopes to see some cool stuff hit the market, and I don’t think I can claim we’ve seen much.  Tell me if I am wrong.

So – another pretty poor year of predictions.  I should probably have given up earlier but they were fun to do each time.  Perhaps I try something different next year…