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For the past year, people across the globe have changed every aspect of their life. Although your daily cup of coffee may seem as simple as brushing your teeth in the morning, the coffee industry affects millions around the world. A 2011 Business Insider piece says that coffee farms are the economic livelihood of over 25 million people and 90 percent of coffee production happens in developing countries. That’s a big impact for something that’s an afterthought for most people, and those numbers have most certainly gone up in the past ten years.
Coffee in Quarantine
For many professionals living in metropolitan areas, the daily stop at Starbucks or the local cafe on the way to work was a simple habit. And then it all stopped. Once offices shut down, followed by restaurants and shops, employment in “food services and drinking places” dropped by 5.5 million in April, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
An April 2020 survey conducted by YouGov on behalf of Nestlé revealed that a third of American adults are making coffee at home more often that ever before and two thirds said they’ve perfected coffee making. Due to the mass layoffs of service workers and copious amounts of free time, several baristas joined to create the Quarantine Coffee Project to set up a “creative, fun and tasty coffee quarantine experience.” The Instagram page is filled with coffee recipes and best practices.
People stuck at home early last year finally had time to explore more complex coffee brewing techniques like the pour over. Josh Barro of New York Magazine writes “Personally, I’m one of the people who bought an OXO coffee maker in the spring quarter. My own coffee-at-home consumption has markedly increased, and I’ve been buying less prepared coffee in shops.”
Assuming this is the narrative for most consumers, the question remains: once in-person work resumes everywhere, will people continue using brands like Chemex and Hario, or resort to more convenient options like instant mix and mobile pickup?
Quick and Convenient
Instant coffee has historically been considered lower quality but several startups are trying to tackle the issue of taste with convenience. Voila Coffee, started in Oregon in 2016, offers instant coffee packets made in partnership with different coffee roasters from across the country. They also source different beans each month to account for seasonality and ensure freshness. Brands like Swift Cup Coffee offer similar versions in the $2–3 price range.
Coca-Cola (KO) is introducing a new version of its namesake soda called Coca-Cola With Coffee in hopes to manage the decline of soft drink consumption. The drink will be available starting January 2021 and has three flavors: Dark Blend, Vanilla, and Caramel. Coca-Cola originally launched a coffee soft drink in 2006, but it was discontinued in 2008.
Three Brands To Try In 2021
A post-COVID coffee lifestyle may not look like a Michelin-starred dining experience every day, but rather, simply boiling some water or opening a can. Here at The Quality Edit we recently tried three new ways to get your daily dose of caffeine, and it may be hard to go into a Starbucks again.
Mushroom Coffee To Supercharge Your Day
Four Sigmatic’s Mushroom Coffee is for the person who wakes up early, does a workout, and then hits the desk: it delivers the same satisfying, ritualistic coffee experience and then adds in some Lion’s Mane and Chaga mushrooms for increased focus and productivity. Our editor Scott said: “Well through 5 pm that day, I felt a consistent and sustained focus and presence without the usual afternoon crash. Lion’s Mane provides steady, sustained, natural energy.” Four Sigmatic brings a no-nonsense approach to coffee designed to help you live better. No special oils, supplements, or machinery needed.
HAMAKA To Switch Things Up
Ready-to-drink coffee has become all the rage in recent years. Starbucks’ iconic glass bottle Frappuccino, La Colombe’s canned draft latte, and High Brew’s cold brew have led the growing single-cup coffee market. HAMAKA is bringing something new to the (coffee) table with a canned oat milk latte, cold brew, matcha tea, hibiscus tea, and mineral water.
Like Four Sigmatic, HAMAKA is formulated to provide sustained, jitter-free energy. Each drink is infused with hemp and all of the ingredients are produced in the most natural way possible. Our editor Hallie—a self-proclaimed canned-coffee skeptic—gave HAMAKA a try and said: “I feel a boost of sustained attentiveness that’s free of the heart palpitations and jitters I sometimes otherwise feel. Additionally, each can is small (8.45 fl oz) but targeted, so I’m able to drink just one and feel focused for hours.”
Jot For The Quick Fix
If you’ve been taking the extra time to prepare a luxurious cup of coffee for the past year, but just can’t anymore, Jot is for you. The brand, which was launched in mid 2020, claims to be “The purest, most concentrated form of liquid coffee in the world.” The concentrate—called Ultra Coffee—only has two ingredients: filtered water and organic coffee. And other than coffee that comes in a bottle, this may be the easiest method. All that a cup requires to prepare is hot water and a scoop of Jot. Read more about Jot from editor Iman’s experience.
With the new year upon us, it may be the perfect time to switch up your coffee routine. Whether infused with mushrooms or in a hyper-concentrated bottle, coffee is one of the best parts of the day and these exciting new innovations may offer a better way.