Predictions for 2012

January 3rd, 2012

This is the fifth year of these predictions posts, and considering each post contains five predictions there is a pleasing quality to this being the last one of these. Feels appropriate…

Looking back over previous years it seems that the predictions have generally fallen into certain categories:

The WBC Prediction:

Alejandro’s win in Bogota felt like the culmination of a certain approach to a competition performance, combined with great execution. There’d be increasing focus on better connecting the producer and the barista and I think Alejandro took that as far as it can go. Alejandro wasn’t the only one taking this route – Pete Licata’s routine was also a great expression of that idea. That means that this year there will need to be a new angle, a new focus. I think the field of competitors will struggle with this – though I think there is a great opportunity for someone to do well by having a very clear vision and idea. (I hope I get to commentate again, as I really enjoyed that in Bogota.)

The C-Market Prediction:

A lot of the factors that caused the wild fluctuations in price seem to have moved away from the coffee market, but a lot of the base causes for the rise are still there. I predict a slow and steady creep up in price over the next 12 months.

The Brewed Coffee Prediction:

Like it or not, I think we’re going to see an increase in the quality of coffee coming out of batch brewers. This doesn’t imply an upcoming innovation in the technology, more a shift in the places using them. They make really nice coffee when used well, and this year I think it is very important that we focus on just getting coffee right regularly rather than trying to blow people’s minds with clever by the cup techniques.

The UK Coffee Market Prediction:

London has seem some explosive growth in the last few years, but this hasn’t spread at the same rate outside of the capital. London businesses have enjoyed some protection from the UK’s economy because London is pretty much a separate economy unto itself. The recession certainly hit, and many feel like there must surely be an end to the storm. I don’t think that end will be in sight in the next year, I think 2012 is going to be extremely tough in London for coffee retail. I hope I am wrong on this one.

The Equipment Prediction:

Always a tough one. I think we’ll see some technical innovation in espresso and coffee brewing from outside of established manufacturers. We’re not yet at a point where we’ll see the reinvention of the espresso machine (which I do think will happen in the next 3 years), but we’ll definitely see some great ideas coming from unusual places. Whether these ideas end up being industrialised or licensed to the larger manufacturers – I don’t know.

If anyone fancies throwing a prediction out there then do please write a blog post and stick a link in the comments, and do feel free to argue with me and tell me I am an idiot in the comments too!

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