An Empty Netherlands - Coronavirus
Cancelled Amsterdam Coffee Festival
This weekend, a few members of our team flew out to the Netherlands to attend the Amsterdam Coffee Festival – only for it to be cancelled a few hours before we stepped on the plane.
We still flew out to the Netherlands, and tried to salvage the trip with some European market research – travelling around Amsterdam, Eindhoven and Rotterdam to scout out their coffee scenes. Despite a notably quiet country, we were still able to speak to a few locals and professionals to get a sense of what European cafe culture is like.
Fairtrade in Europe
‘It’s all about Fairtrade now, it’s the way we are moving’, explained a barista in one of Eindhoven’s independent roasteries. ‘Coffee is appealing to young professionals in Europe who are much more conscious about how their food and drink are produced. In the Netherlands, we’ve seen a rise in independent, small coffee brands who put ethics and environment at the forefront of their brand.’
The trend that the barista was describing is often referred to as a ‘coffee-like-wine’ attitude – consumers are seeking a high quality coffee that focuses on particular taste attributes, as well as transparency in the supply chain right down to farm level.
This ‘3rd wave of coffee’ follows two earlier cycles: the first wave marked the popularisation of coffee consumption in Europe from the 1960s through to the 1990s, where a second wave saw a shift to higher quality coffees served through chains such as Starbucks and Costa Coffee.
It has also been marked by ranges of speciality coffees, reflected by the increasing number of independent roasters and cafes, like the ones which populate Eindhoven’s Bergen district. Although the majority of European’s still favour cheap, mainstream coffee (instant, standard blends, robusta etc).
The story was quite similar in Rotterdam – we stopped in at a few coffee shops and roasters to see what we could learn from them, but the only issue on everyone’s mind was how the coronavirus was going to impact their job and industry. We visited Rotterdam port, which is the first stop for a lot of our coffee being transported from South America. Just like the rest of the country, the port was like a ghost town.
Unfortunately, the cafe and hospitality industry is going to be one of the hardest hit in the Netherlands due to the coronavirus pandemic. At 6pm on Sunday evening, just as we were checking in at Schipol to return home, an announcement from the Dutch government closed all cafes, bars and restaurants with immediate effect. We need to make sure we remain safe, and look out for each other in this difficult time