I don’t know why I keep coming back for this, having not done so well last time but they are kind of fun to do. So without further ado here are my predictions:
1. Widespread measurement of brewed coffee
The spread of the Extract Mojo will help, and I think anyone who uses one will see their value and they’ll continue to spread. Projects like the Gold Cup Research Group – more info on the project here – will help reinforce the value of measurement. I am not saying we should stop tasting – the whole point of the research group is to make sure the alignment between measurement and taste is correct. A bigger concern for the US market – with good measurement tools the brewed coffee at major chains can easily be improved, and don’t think they haven’t started using them because they already have.
2. Another very bad year for the UK Branded Chains
I sometimes worry I default to just picking on them, but I genuinely think this is going to be another hard year for them. You could argue that it is only really Starbucks who are suffering, Costa are growing, Nero are growing – but they fear the independents (they’ve said as much in public) – and there are less and less reasons to frequent them as more and more viable alternatives appear.
3. Increasingly explicit seasonality
To some extent seasonality has always existed in coffee. What I think has changed in the last few years is that it has gone from being obscured through blending and the sale of old and past crop coffees to being celebrated a little more. Intelligentsia’s “In Season” mark, seasonal espresso blends, shops celebrating fresh crops – all this will continue to gain momentum in the coming year.
4. Baskets for Espresso machines
We’ve always known baskets have had an effect on extraction. Some people prefer certain baskets, not just because they allow a certain dose/headroom with their machine. However, recent evidence shows that there are many issues in espresso baskets beyond the placement of the holes across the base. Expect to see people getting excited about baskets in the next 12 months.
5. The WBC Prediction
I won’t predict a winner, because that is foolish. I will say that I think the inclusion of a 12 person semi-final, on the same day as the final, will be a good thing for both the competition and the spectators. I will predict that at least 4 of the 12 will be from coffee producing countries.
I look forward to seeing lots of people at the WBC – should be a lot of fun!