amongst coffee stores, with media coverage claiming a coffee war is taking place with Caribou Coffee and the International Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, who are now jockeying for a larger share of the market.
After a recent visit to New York, Caribou’s c.e.o., Michael Cole, proudly spoke about his store’s comfort and the quality of his beverage. He credits Caribou’s employees with their success in being the second largest roaster/retailer in the U.S., which he insists reinforces every aspect of the coffee production process and service. The company has also recently undertaken a huge plant expansion. McDonald’s and Burger King are upgrading their coffee beverages to also get market and stomach share in this race. But nevertheless, the more quality beverages offered will only bring in more drinkers.
One venue which knows a lot about that epidemic is Coffee Fest, which was held in Washington D.C., at the end of February, and again brought in record amounts of coffee newcomers interested in opening retail shops. The show’s instructional programs seems to grow each year, with particular attention shown to the barista certification and roasting workshops.
Earlier in the same month, the Eastern African Fine Coffees Association (EAFCA) held their third African Fine Coffee Conference and Exhibition in Arusha, Tanzania. One Zambian coffee farmer chose to ride his bicycle the 2,500 miles to Arusha.
Another trailblazer in the industry, the National Coffee Association of the U.S. (NCA) held their annual convention in early March with over 450 attendees. One of the many discussions at the convention was the possibility of coffee gaining popularity in tea-drinking countries, such as China and India. Starbucks is flourishing in China and coffee bars are becoming more popular in India. Meanwhile, several coffee producers were also predicting a coffee shortfall within five years and that the prospect of paying $6.00 for a cup of coffee may actually become the norm. But hey, doesn’t Starbucks and Coffee Beanery already get a good $4.00 for a coffee double whatever, with a shot of whatever, and white chocolate foam or whatever?
There were also murmurs at the NCA Convention that revealed importers are feeling the strain of state fees and little cash incentive on coffee imports. Here’s where associations can help in fighting and advising the entire industry, so that each firm doesn’t have to pay separate legal fees to fight the same battle.
We distribute this issue at the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s tradeshow and conference in Charlotte, North Carolina - an association that has reached pivotal heights in serving the industry and is now dealing with internal fiscal issues. We await their progress report.
Editor & Co-Publisher