You may be hearing rumors of coffee shortages. Turns out the rumors are actually true. Much like one’s Facebook relationship status, the reasons are many and complicated. Coffee is literally grown all over the world and there are environmental, political, and population factors influencing every country independently and the coffee industry globally. Since I
am was (gray area) a licensed social studies teacher I am perfectly qualified to explain it to you. Mostly… I shall do my best.
First… Let’s clarify. There is a current shortage and a predicted shortage. The current shortage is based on the 2020 harvest. Beans are harvested, then dried then shipped, and the coffee being shipped now was harvested in 2020 (someday we’re going to do a post about that process). The predicted shortage is based on the 2021 growing and harvesting season (which we are beginning to enter in some parts of the world).
The predicted shortage has a lot to do with a frost affecting a large portion of Brazil’s coffee crop and a continued global labor shortage, largely due to the pandemic. As well as an increase in demand. Turns out more and more people than ever are turning into coffee lovers, and we are here for it! Literally, we are delivering it to your front door. While we do not currently offer any coffee from Brazil, the shortage in Brazil will likely increase the demand for the other coffee.
The current coffee shortage is pretty much because there is a giant backlog of cargo ships coming and going from ports all over the world. The cargo ship issue gets political and more specific to importing and exporting countries, but you can pretty much sum it up with “Global Pandemic Complications.” Some countries are sitting on a large pile of beans they can’t export, or it’s just taking forever because isn’t everything these days? Green (raw) bean suppliers in the U.S. are starting to sell out of varieties they have stockpiled in their warehouses as they wait on new inventory to arrive.
A few days ago Big E sent me this image of our main bean supplier. Usually, they have 50-70 varieties. As of that day-12. And you can see many of the quantities are down to the single digits.
So what does this mean?
Large coffee roasters have the capacity to stock up on beans in the hopes of riding out the shortage, small roasteries, like us don’t have the storage space to beef up our inventory. But don’t you worry. Big E is extremely resourceful and an obsessive researcher and we are working hard to balance inventory and sales demands so that we can keep supplying you with the coffee you love. And so far we are doing great.
But, you know, what kind of friend would I be if I didn’t suggest you trying out a new Big E Coffee variety in case we run out of your favorite. I mean, it’s always good to have a backup. And we have lots to choose from. Check them out.
If you found this explanation fascinating or confusing, check out this article on the coffee market forecast, written by, you know, experts.