Fall Colors Canadian Style – Specialty coffee in a failing marketplace

Your daily coffee and how bad times drain the potThe last few radio appearances that I have done have focused on one thing – Specialty coffee consumption during shaky financial times.

“What do people do when their financial portfolio starts to shrink? How does it effect their consuming habits?”

Interestingly, specialty coffee, like lattes and cappuccinos are the first to go in times of money trouble.

“Why is that?” Well – Coffee… the good stuff that is, is largely considered a luxury item… a treat, if you would… and people, rich and poor – regardless of how wealthy or poor they are, generally cut back on the coffees, the cupcakes, the muffins, the lunches out and so on. It should not be too surprising that coffee is near the top of the heap when it comes to items than can be trimmed…


Because it is easy to sub in the caffeine somewhere else… cheaper… and still get that kick without the kick in the pocketbook. I mean, it would be nice to have a great cup of coffee everyday – but if there is a crunch, there is always way to make a cheaper cup and achieve the primary objective…

“Which is…?”

Brace yourselves folks… The clear majority of North Americans drink their coffee for the caffeine kick. And you can find that kick in Folgers, many cheaper grocers brands, super-store coffee at $1.99 a pound and yes, even the dreaded instant coffee.

In summary, the specialty coffee marketplace in North America is totally at the mercy of financial fluctuations – we have seen what happens to the megalith Starbucks when the tides turn. And that was months ago.

In late September of 2008, we have not hit the bottom of the barrel on Wall Street and Bay Street – we can, however see the bottom of a drying coffee pot.