How has COVID-19 changed the coffee industry?

How has COVID-19 changed the coffee industry?

This is the first time in our era that the whole world has been heavily affected by a pandemic outbreak. 

While many things have been heavily impacted, we are grateful that we are still able to roast coffee beans and serve our customers. 

Some people may wonder how COVID-19 will affect the coffee industry in the long term. I’ve discussed this with a few coffee roasters and we all think there will be some major changes coming up.

The most obvious one is the way we do cupping (coffee tasting). 

Unlike wine tasting, we don’t use an individual glass when we taste the coffees. Everyone shares the coffee on the table from the same cup. We use a spoon to slurp the coffee, and then rinse the spoon in a glass of hot water, and then slurp the next coffee. 

The size of a cupping session can range from 1 person to 50+ people. Imagine there are 10 different coffees on the table, and each coffee is shared by 50 different people, how easy it would be for the germs to spread!

Since Covid-19 was declared a pandemic, we immediately developed two new restrictions:

  1. Everyone will cup their own coffee, no more sharing of cups, and
  2. We will have our own glass of hot water to rinse our spoon (even this was commonly shared before).

As a result, cupping sessions now take a longer time to set up, complete and clean up. Back to the above scenario, we now need to prepare and clean 500 cups if we have a cupping session with 50 people and 10 coffees. COVID-19 has taught us that personal hygiene and health must always come first. 

Realistically, not many people will have the resource to prepare a large cupping session anymore. Sadly as we adapt to life with Covid-19, we can expect to see less and less public cuppings. Cupping sessions may eventually become an activity exclusively done by coffee roasters. 

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