Author: Julie Terebkov
Welcome back to another week with us here at Fourscore! I'm excited to start a blog post where we can talk about coffee and the economy. There is little to no talk on the way coffee interacts with the economy and how specialty coffee comes into play in all of this. Before reading this post I would highly recommend going back and reading our post on the history of the waves of coffee, which will make following along in this post a lot easier.
Let's start by stating, specialty coffee is its own category within the coffee industry. It's important to think about the ways it fits into the industry as well as, how it differs from the rest of the industry (first and second wave coffee). Taking into account things like the start of each historical wave of the coffee industry and where the world was economically during those times. For example, first wave coffee rose out of wartime and we were in a very different economic climate in comparison to the start of third wave coffee. Same as the third wave came from an entirely different necessity and reason than the second wave.
Coffee is a giant in the economy, sitting as the second most traded commodity in the World and responsible for more than 1.6 million jobs in the U.S. economy alone! So, why don't we ever hear about the effects that the coffee industry has on the economy (local, U.S. and even the world)? Locally, a coffeeshop can revitalize an entire micro-community depending on how popular it is. I can recall walking down streets lined with different businesses yet, not a single soul was out other than me. The next thing you know, a coffee shop like Starbucks opens it's doors on the same street and I see a giant change. People are out walking around, stopping at boutiques, and actually going out of their way to an area that was previously dead. An example I really witnessed was when a coffee shop in Santa Cruz began popping up in different areas, Cat & Cloud Coffee. Each neighborhood surrounding the new shops are now busy, crowded with people and more businesses pop up around the shops. We see this impact but, maybe it doesn't register as the catalyst of the shift.
The coffee industry continues to grow and with it, more jobs are being created and cultivated within the industry. Specifically the third wave and specialty coffee industry are beginning to shift into creating and prioritizing careers within the industry. This is a new shift and opportunity that will be interesting to watch and see how it impacts the economy. Creating careers in an industry drastically shifts how it will function. As you begin to keep employees and train them, the training stops being just about functioning in the industry but, moves past this into thinking of how to set themselves apart. Think about it this way, when you're at a new job, the first few months you spend obsessing over understanding and learning how things function and how you fit into it. The longer you stay in a field or in a job the more potential you have for creativity and focusing on how to set yourself apart from the rest.
This idea reminds me of Maslow's Hierarchy. The way it works is that there is a pyramid broken up in blocks that build on top of one another. You must have the bottom "needs" met to rise and begin to meet the next portion. As you climb the pyramid, you open yourself up to things like creativity and self actualization. The same goes for a company (more or less...). If all you're focusing on is how to best train your new employees, it's hard to prioritize and think of new and innovative things to do in your field. Careers in an industry force a space for employee retention and allow the opportunity for people to be creative, innovative and set the industry in other trajectories if needed or desired.
I close out by saying coffee has a huge impact on the economy. We may not always notice or see it but, the change and the impact is there. Coffee has an impact on the way a community functions, looks, and feels. There is more to your decision of buying a latte. That decision is the catalyst and change in micro-communities all over the world. You are changing your environment with the things you choose to buy. Buying fair trade beans has an impact on a farmer's lives and the community across the world that you may never see! Buying a coffee from a small business can impact the lives of a business owner or an employee.
That ends it for this week's blog. I'd love your opinion on this post though! If you enjoy this type of post, comment down below and I will create more content in this category. Also check out our story, and how Fourscore became what it is. That being said,
Stay classy coffee tribe.