South African Coffee Culture in COVID-19

It is obvious that Covid-19 has had a massive impact on many industries, especially the hospitality industry. Coffee culture, before COVID-19, was on the rise in South Africa with many small niche coffee shops popping up throughout the country. With the massive restrictions on dine-in and sit-down establishments, many coffee shops saw a massive decline in revenue and some who have had to close their doors permanently.

Even though consumers may miss going to grab a coffee at their favourite spot, the threat of COVID-19 still lingers. Coffee drinking is seen in many cultures as a very social affair- one which has been greatly interrupted by a pandemic that requires social distancing. Coffee establishments that relied on sit-down café and food services may have been hit hard and this has had a knock-off effect on local coffee farmers and other stockholders in the supply chain.

Online coffee sales and home brewing supplies, however, have seen an increase due to the lockdown restrictions. Consumers can now make quality coffee in the comfort of their own homes. Without the rush of having to compute to work, many consumers working from home have time to brew their cups of specialty coffee.
Many coffee brands were forced to expand their services to include the retail sale of coffee beans, ground coffee, coffee plungers, etc. The demand for premium and specialty coffee has increased in South Africa as the interest in Nespresso and another capsule or pod-based coffee offerings has increased. Specialty coffee preparation methods, such as Aero press or Drip Coffee makers are also attracting the attention of many consumers. Online sales of these items have been one of the ways coffee shops have kept their doors open during the lockdown period.

With dine-in restaurants and café’ reopening in Level 3 we may see a slight increase in the coffee market. However, only time will tell what effect COVID-19 has ultimately had on the coffee industry and on coffee culture in South Africa.

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