Another year over, a new one just begun…

It is difficult to write a blog when you’re back at work, but your brain still seems to be on holiday! Every year as New Year’s Eve approaches, I find myself saying the same thing, “Wow, did this year fly by…I cannot believe the year is over and a new one is about to begin…” I really need to find a new cliché!

That being said, I truly cannot believe another year has come to a close — and 2019 was certainly a confounding one: political and economic uncertainty in many countries, continued mergers and acquisitions within the coffee industry, (capped off with the recently announced Peet’s Coffee and Jacobs Douwe Egberts union), trade wars, and coffee prices so low that they traded below the cost of production for the second year in a row — to name just a few challenges.

Perhaps 2020 will start strong on the heels of 2019 ending on a high note with a “softening” of trade tensions between the United States and China resulting in billions of dollars in tariffs being removed or delayed, and Arabica prices rallying 40% in the last two months of the year.

But, it’s likely to be another year of uncertainty for coffee as estimates on the 2019-2020 global coffee crop vary. Industry estimates have mostly forecast the transition to a supply deficit with demand outweighing supply as Brazil entered its “off-year” in the biennial cycle and consumption continuing to rise around 2% per year. However, both the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) and CoffeeNetwork issued reports that differ from the rest of the industry estimates, maintaining their expectation of a surplus. (See the Green Coffee Report in T&CTJ January 2020.)

For tea, I’m keen to see which type consumers will gravitate to this year. Will green, herbals and other specialty teas remain strong or will black tea reclaim the favorable position it once held, or will it continue to underwhelm consumers?

For now, we’ll just have to wait and see how things unfold.

As I did not have a chance to do so in my last blog of 2019, I want to take a moment to express my gratitude to all our contributors, advertisers, subscribers and readers — our newsletter and website would not exist without your support. Gracias! Grazie! Merci! Obrigado! Thank you!

We welcome suggestions so please feel free to leave comments below or email me directly at: [email protected].

Best wishes for a happy, healthy new year!

  • Vanessa L Facenda, editor Tea & Coffee Trade Journal. She may be contacted via [email protected].

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