Coronavirus, also called Covid 19, has spread globally since weeks now (from China to Europe, then Australia and USA) and coffee shops are facing the worst period ever in their history.
THE CURRENT SITUATION IN UK
The London government is going to forced non-essential businesses to shut down over the next few days as the coronavirus is spreading in the whole country.
Coffee shops have just made their decisions ahead of any government guidelines; just on Monday 23 March, the giants of the coffee industry have made their first move bringing all the sector with them.
Let’s see what happened and what this will cause.
Here are some of the big chains that officially shut down their shops.
- Costa coffee closed their UK shops from 5 pm on Monday (it roughly operates 2,700 coffee shops in the whole country) except for the hospital branches which are currently serving free drinks to all NHS staff for the next two weeks. Some of their express services are still working where possible such as the ones inside the supermarkets. The company have ensured to keep paying their 16,000 staff for the next 8 weeks;
- Last weekend has been the turn of the American giant Starbucks, which has also temporarily shut down their coffee shops (roughly 1,000 coffee shops of Starbucks are operating in the whole country) following its competitors and alongside the announcement of the Government that ordered to close also pubs, bars and restaurants;
- Pret a Manger has also closed their 400 UK stores to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Since earlier this week, the company were offering free hot drinks to the NHS staff following Costa coffee line;
- Any coffee shops, from the big chains to the independent ones had shut their doors since last Tuesday 24 as a government directive has forced to close all of them in London.
Let be honest to ourselves: we are going to suffer for months, let’s hope just a few (in China Starbucks reopened their coffee after 45-60 days).
The C-market is collapsing as there’s no demand for coffee so the coffee beans price is at their minimum. And it’s going to be worse as the oversupply generated will lower even more the price.
Now, the question is: how coffee shops can survive during this tough moment?
Coffee shops have closed their doors realizing that it was a tough but good decision to stay safe and to help to slow down the spread of the Coronavirus.
It seems that also the Government has finally understood (I guess from the European countries, especially the Italian one) that Coronavirus (Covid 19) has now become difficult to tackle and it has to act immediately.
So, in order to face the Coronavirus crisis, the London Government has finally decided to close the hospitality industry, coffee shops included.
The whole supply chain is now threated: there’s no more money coming into the businesses as London is officially in lockdown.
The owners are now at the crossroads: do they have to pay the rent and their employees or just saving money from them and paying the rent only? If they decide to not pay them they are responsible for leaving them without a job which is hard to consider. Even if they just decide to pay the rent for how long can they resist? In the case of an independent one, I think a couple of months and then?
Also, on a wider vision, the owner can’t pay anymore their supplier and make new coffee orders from a roastery or a green coffee buyer (which they have to pay their rent too), which mean that no any more coffee is going to be roasted which also means that the farmers can’t sell their crop making their livelihood at high risk.
What can we do to support them?
We have to try to keep the demand of coffee high by:
- Buying local: we need to support roasting companies or local coffee shops (please avoid groceries). Maybe the ones in where we used to go daily or generally by checking some favourite coffee roasters websites to purchase some bags of coffee;
- Drinking coffee: coffee is great, so drink it more. As in quarantine, you should have all the time to drink it: while in your breakfast, working from home, during lunch or when chilling in the afternoon;
- Exploring coffee at home: now you have plenty of time to focus more on the different brewing method. You should try a new way of brewing your coffee as your trusted barista is not waiting for you. I usually wake up in the morning drinking a flat white or any milk-based beverage to kickstart my day. Then, I tend to prefer a double shot of espresso during midday and a filter coffee (V60 above the rest) to keep going.
In case you are not familiar with the different brewing method I wrote for you some articles about the most famous.
Have a read on the following links:
- Aeropress Personal Coffee Maker
- French press Coffee Maker
- Chemex Coffee Maker
- Syphon Coffee Maker
- Hario V60 Vs Kalita
A FEW CONSIDERATIONS
London economy works with hospitality and so with loads of coffee shops, bars, pubs hotels, restaurants, clubs and so on. All of them do pretty good business with coffee, so it makes a big part for the economy of the country that it can’t be stopped for too long.
If you are a barista I don’t need to tell you how important is to act now. If you’re not a barista but you normally love coffee, please keep buying more coffee and push your colleagues/friends and anybody else to consume it to keep the demand as high as possible.
I’m not going to lie: we are on a difficult, stressful period but we are all called to make our part and to make this period lasts the shortest time possible.
We have to come together to each other by staying home, safe and keeping a positive attitude.
Sooner or later we will catch up over a cup of coffee.
I am an Italian coffee lover that pushed for the love of this “amazing drug” decided to come to London to study about coffee and its different extraction procedures and tastes.