2017 was a big year for coffee.
What – and where – we drink is changing. Specialty trends moved into the mainstream, from the cold brew craze to the rise of RTD. Today, consumers have unprecedented control to customize their beverage, from unique flavors to nutrition-driven additives (oat milk, anyone?).
To reflect how these changes are reshaping our industry, the NCA even added a new “gourmet” category to our National Coffee Drinking Trends report.
Yet at the same time, the fundamentals of coffee remain as relevant as ever. Whether you’re a brewing beginner or a brilliant barista, understanding the basics of what makes a quality cup is still crucial to developing and refining new brew methods and flavors. For instance: Extraction will always be a factor, and your equipment needs to be clean.
We’re looking forward to what the next year will bring – we’re seeing a lot of exciting new research on coffee and health, opportunities to improve industry best practices, and critical developments in sustainability.
But the New Year is also an opportunity to reflect on where we’ve been. Here are the most popular NCA blog posts in 2017, highlighting the importance of both innovation and tradition in the world of coffee.
By William (Bill) Murray, President & CEO, National Coffee Association
“The farmer has to be an optimist, or he wouldn’t be a farmer.”
– Will Rogers, U.S. Social Commentator, 1879-1935
More than any other pursuit, successful farming depends on “external” factors. Successful farming depends upon some things that can’t be controlled easily, and some things that can’t be controlled at all.
COMPANY: Magnum Coffee
LOCATION: Nunica, MI & Las Vegas, NV
Questions answered by Robert Johnson, VP of Sales and Marketing
What does Magnum Coffee do?
We specialize in premium and specialty private label coffee programs for retailers.
By William “Bill” Murray, CAE, President & CEO, NCA
What’s ahead for your business?
As you look to the months and years to come, what are the greatest challenges you are facing, the biggest opportunities you see?
And how are you going to build the future you envision for your organization?
We’re in the midst of this very exercise here at the National Coffee Association, USA. Our current Strategic Plan was written three years ago. At that time our priority was to evolve NCA, rapidly and efficiently, and catch up with a changing world.
Our 2015-2017 plan called for us to update our infrastructure and communications (websites, newsletters, social media) and add member benefits (discount programs, Coffee Career Center, Business Directory, webinars).
Even as we were making these changes over the past three years, our day-to-day agenda grew exponentially. We took on new projects ranging from science and health issues (like last year’s review of coffee and cancer by the World Health Organization), to Federal regulatory developments (like the proposed Border Adjustment Tax).
All of which raises the question:
What’s next for the NCA?
“As a regressive tax borne largely by consumers, the proposal can hurt […] hundreds of independent roasters, coffee shops, restaurants, retailers, and suppliers. Aimed at promoting a healthy diet, the tax would have the opposite effect if applied to coffee.” – William M. Murray, CEO, NCA
The Seattle City Council will vote on introducing a “soda tax” in the city on Monday. The measure would put a one-cent per ounce tax on sugary beverages, and would impact coffee as collateral damage. Furthermore, small businesses would be disproportionately affected.
The National Coffee Association has submitted the following letter to the City Council to express the industry’s strong position on how the tax would severely impact the local coffee economy and that coffee should be exempt should any soda tax be ratified.
Read the full NCA comment letter.
In the News
Is Seattle’s proposed soda tax also a tax on sugary lattes?
Tell the Seattle city council that levying a soda tax on coffee would have unintended and unanticipated consequences for the coffee industry and local businesses. Send an email to email@example.com, or call 206-684-8888.
Comments? Share your thoughts in the comments below, or get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Rocky Rhodes, International Coffee Consulting
[Ed. note: The following is an unsolicited post sharing the author’s experiences at the NCA Annual Convention 2017 in Austin, TX. Learn more about contributing a guest post to The First Pull]
I have been in the coffee industry for 21 years now. I feel I am pretty well versed in most things ‘coffee.’ That was until I went to the National Coffee Association Convention.
The attendees are made up of multi-generational coffee companies that have survived and thrived for 50, 60 – even over 100 years. I knew I had a lot to learn at this event.
The theme of the National Coffee Association 2017 Convention is “innovation” – inspired not only by our host city Austin, TX, but the transformations and transitions we’re seeing across the coffee industry.
Wherever it’s found, innovation can be fueled by the power of “weak connections” (and strong coffee). In other words, exposure to fresh perspectives through conversation and acquaintances – such as networking with more than 700 coffee industry executives – helps your brain combine different ideas in new ways.
Because often, inspiration comes from the most unlikely places. For instance: leftover soap can catalyze life-saving change.
Here, Derreck Kayongo, Global Soap Project Founder & CEO of the Center for Civil and Human Rights, shares how learning about the hospitality industry’s considerable waste led him to create a global humanitarian initiative.
Reily Foods is the sponsor of the NCA Convention 2018, March 15-17, in their hometown of New Orleans – during NOLA’s tricentennial anniversary!
Meet Our Members
COMPANY: Reily Foods Company
LOCATION: New Orleans, LA
Responses provided by Mark Woods, Director of Purchasing and Quality Assurance, Reily Foods
What does Reily Foods do?
Reily Foods provides many of the staples you will find in your kitchen cabinet.
By Joseph DeRupo, Director of External Relations, NCA
The following is an excerpt from a recent NCA Member Alert. (Want to receive the latest industry updates directly? Learn more about NCA membership.)
After a deeply divisive campaign, a new administration is poised to assume power in Washington, having been elected on a platform which has expressed skepticism toward big government and regulatory intervention.
The transfer of power has only just begun, cabinet and agency appointments are a still in progress, and budget negotiations are far off – including the implications of funding cutbacks or additions.
In the meantime, we’re preparing for the changes that may be ahead. Earlier this year, the NCA released the first-ever Economic Impact Study to measure the U.S. coffee economy, and the NCA’s 2017 plan already includes outreach in Washington to raise awareness of the industry’s importance. That outreach will now take on even greater significance as the coming months unfold.
The NCA will not speculate as to what these changes in Washington may mean for coffee. But it’s never too soon to begin planning, and here are some key issues on the industry’s docket:
By Bill Murray, NCA
There’s never been a more exciting time to have a career in coffee.
From the barista who pulls the perfect shot, to the unheralded scientists working to preserve the genetic diversity of coffee, professionals all around the world have turned their passion for coffee into a livelihood. And yet, until now, there’s never been an easy way to find those career opportunities – or to find talent to match these opportunities.
This is why we are pleased to announce the launch of the first dedicated career center for coffee – anchored by a coffee job board. A venture of the National Coffee Association, U.S.A., the Coffee Career Center is intended to be your first career stop – whether you are hiring, or looking to get hired, in the fascinating and rewarding world of coffee. Continue reading