An extremely serious challenge awaits our company, Gemini Espresso, at the beginning of 2023. We are in an active faze of the war against Russia. With temporary occupied territories, more than 20 per cent of the population was forced to leave Ukraine, all having a negative impact on the consumption of coffee.
Compared with the end of 2021, when the entire world only had to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw high growth of coffee consumption in Ukraine, especially premium specialty coffee and blends with higher Arabica content. But now, we have the opposite situation. We see a decrease of coffee consumption. Customers are preferring cheaper blends compared to those of good quality. However, coffee remains very popular, even indispensable for most people, considered a necessity.
Aside from all the war-related problems we face, is one more dreadful issue – power blackouts after Russian missile attacks. It was, and remains, a challenging experience to build sales strategies when there is no electricity in restaurants, coffee shops and other food establishments. The main solution (a real rescue) for us, has become filter and portioned coffee, such as drip and coffee pods. During the short intervals when there is electricity – we use coffee makers to brew dozens of litres of coffee filter into a thermos, which is sold throughout the day. This strategy has increased coffee consumption several times.
In regards to the global coffee market, I have a positive vision for its future: the pandemic has finished, and the exchange prices for Arabica and robusta coffee have started to stabilise and decrease.
Closer communication between coffee farmers and producers has created significant contribution to the development of the coffee industry, and is directly affecting the quality of processing coffee, and helping to gain the best “cup of joe”. It is impossible not to admit the growth of quality coffee and the customer’s demand of it. More often, customers are taking interest in coffee, not just as a basic product, but to understand its taste, and try something new and delicious. Lastly, I want to say that coffee business is one of the sufficiently stable and strong in such difficult circumstances as war and pandemic.
This article was first published in the January/February 2023 edition of Global Coffee Report. To read the research paper, click HERE.