The June + July 2020 issue of Barista Magazine is out, featuring China’s Jeremy Zhang on the cover. Also included: ‘Coffee in the Time of COVID-19,’ ‘Cashbox: Crisis Management for Coffee Businesses,’ ‘The Manager’s Handbook: Leadership During Adversity,’ ‘Open Source Sensory,’ a ‘Master Q+A’ with Food 4 Farmers’ Marcela Pino, and much more!
BY KENNETH R. OLSON
Heading into this issue, we were expecting it to be challenging. We had been, after all, planning to complete the issue while traversing the globe to attend the World Barista Championship in Melbourne, Australia, originally scheduled for early May. It’s always somewhat tricky to finish an issue while not even on the same continent as our office or printer, but Barista Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief Sarah Allen is a pro, and she always hits her deadlines no matter where her work has taken her.
But once again, just like with our last issue, things didn’t work out as planned. We are operating in the same situation as most of our readers—as a small business—trying to take on and solve the problems presented by the COVID-19 pandemic as best we can while information and best practices can change sometimes in the blink of an eye.
As Sarah writes in her editor’s letter, when originally trying to put this issue together while numerous countries around the world went into various stages of lockdown, shutting down retail businesses, restaurants, and cafés, we wondered if we would be left with nothing and no one to write about.
But here’s the thing: Even in the midst of this terrible pandemic, whose death toll here in the U.S. has already climbed past 100,000 lives lost, and with unemployment reaching levels not seen since the Great Depression, people are still at work, and people are still making and drinking coffee. And more people will be working tomorrow and the day after, and cafés will be there to serve them.
Knowing this, we sought then not to dwell on the lockdown and devastation leveled by the disease on people and economies, but how to respond. We are big believers in the adage, “It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get back up.” So we looked where the disease started, and where the lockdowns were lifted soonest, to see what we could learn about how we can all recover from this pandemic and come out stronger on the other side.
Cover Feature: Jeremy Zhang
Jeremy Zhang, two-time barista champion of China, never stopped working throughout the worst of the pandemic, even though his retail shops in Nanjing were closed. Instead of sitting back, he jumped to action. “From my perspective, we wouldn’t be as good at sending coffee to hospitals straight away, but why not help coffee shops? That’s where our expertise is,” he says. With lockdowns being lifted after a first quarter without sales, the biggest problem coffee shops were facing was cash flow for their reopening. “They don’t have much money to buy coffee, milk, or pay salaries, let alone rent,” he says, so he began offering free coffee to cafés in China, so they could start operating again.
Jeremy’s efforts during and following the lockdown in Nanjing were a roadmap to recovery, but also a reminder that the specialty-coffee community is just that, a community, and that we can help each other through the worst of times. Read more about Jeremy in the June + July 2020 issue of Barista Magazine.
‘Coffee in the Time of COVID-19’
The pandemic is proof of the interconnectedness of the entire world, not just the coffee community. But as each country is facing a different level of threat and response from the novel coronavirus, coffee companies across the globe are as well. Editor-in-Chief Sarah Allen used the isolation-ubiquitous Zoom app to conduct dozens of interviews with coffee pros from different locales to discuss how the pandemic is affecting them and how they are planning to respond in “Coffee in the Time of COVID-19.”
Coffee business consultant Tracy Allen of Brewed Behavior is back in the June + July 2020 issue with another installment of our series “Cashbox.” In this edition, Tracy writes about what steps coffee businesses ought to be taking to continue operations in the year of COVID-19.
‘The Manager’s Handbook’
Also in the June + July 2020 issue, contributor Maggie Davis presents the second part of the series “The Manager’s Handbook.” Continuing in our COVID-19 coverage, the subject in this issue is “Leadership During Adversity.” Everyone is facing difficult and uncertain times, from owners, to managers, to employees, and in such an environment, calm, cool leadership, based on facts, science, and best practices, can help everyone.
‘Open Source Sensory’
Luckily, even in the face of a pandemic, coffee gives us avenues to explore. If public cuppings are on hold, virtual events are taking off because the complex, intriguing, delicious aspects of coffee are still there, waiting to be indulged with each fresh brew. But what if the aspects of quality you’re looking for in the cup don’t match your customers’ preferences? What if what we think of as quality isn’t even the same as what the public thinks? CoffeeMind founder Morten Münchow and scientist Jesper Alstrup write about creating a new way to quantify and discuss what exactly we mean when we talk about “quality” in “Open Source Sensory: Building a Broader Consensus Around Coffee Quality.”
‘Master Q&A’: Marcela Pino
Our Master Q&A in the June + July 2020 issue features Marcela Pino, who is a cofounder of the nonprofit Food 4 Farmers, which seeks to alleviate hunger at coffee origin by providing resources and education to help farming families diversify their incomes. Writer Chris Ryan interviews Marcela about her background, her first experiences with coffee, and how she came to start Food 4 Farmers.
These are just some of the stories you’ll find in the June + July 2020 issue of Barista Magazine. And as always, you have your choice to read it in paper or digital format. You can order a hard copy through our online store here or start a subscription. Of course you can also read it for free online on our website or take it with you with our free app.
One more note: I have to say that I am beyond impressed with this issue of Barista Magazine, and I am humbled to have been a part of the team that produced it. Throughout the uncertainty of the ongoing crisis, our team continued to do some of their best work in creating content that not only informed our readers but hopefully inspired them too. From Sarah Allen’s tremendous writing and leadership, to our online team who also contributed to this issue, Katrina Yentch and Mark Van Streefkerk, to our copy editor and contributor Chris Ryan, and our far-flung correspondents like Tigger Chaturabul in Hong Kong, who came through with a great story on Jeremy in difficult circumstances, and all of the others without whom we could not have made this magazine: You are all amazing. Thank you for your perseverance.
And thank you to our readers, and our community—you are the reason we do this, and why we will continue to create this resource for you.