Is it a Covid Coffee crisis too? Purelycoffeebeans wonders how everyone is getting their daily fix of coffee as we’re in the midst of the 2020 Covid crisis across the globe! While I’m not locked down right now, the numbers of confirmed cases are rising fast and we may be facing an imminent community transfer situation in Taiwan.
So it’s best to make preparations for the Covid Coffee Crisis 2020! So I’m going to be writing this article over the next few days in an attempt to help other coffee lovers facing imminent lockdown, as well as those already in lockdown.
If you’re looking for accurate information abot the Corona Virus (Covid-19), visit the CDC website!
Facing Imminent Lockdown: Don’t let it become a Covid Coffee Crisis, too!
Nobody really knows how long the lockdown will last, but other examples including Wuhan (the center of the first crisis wave) seem to suggest an initial lockdown of 2 weeks to as long as 6 weeks. So here are my top tips:
#1 Buy whole bean coffee, not ground
Whole bean coffee recently roasted will last longer. Buying whole bean coffee will allow you to grind it whenever you need to make a decent cup during the Covid crisis. I’m afraid that ground coffee tends to go stale fast, even after a few days. Often with the large commercial brands selling ground coffee, you’ll be looking at coffee roasted sometime ago, and vacuum-packed before shipping.
Costco sell all kinds of coffee products online and in-store, so pick up a couple of larger backs before you head home! Try to avoid the nasty 3-in-1 blends of instant coffee! I personally prefer 1-in-1 only! Coffee! If you’re not a member of Costco or any other big box store, order from Amazon! You’ll find quite a lot of coffee from popular brands on sale there.
#2 Store properly!
There are legions of coffee lovers lined up on all sides of the coffee storage wars. So choose your side and stick with it!
a. Keep your entire bag of beans in a decent storage jar. Recently, I’ve preferred just putting the ENTIRE bag in the jar, including the bag to preserve some of the coffee flavors towards the bottom of the bag. Doing this stops you letting flow through the beans, and keeps them cocooned nicely in their off-gases as much as is possible. Of course, the bag is properly resealed.
b. Divvy up your bags of beans into separate smaller bags, enough for 2~3 days! Then freeze the bags that you’re not using in the freezer. This seems a pretty good way to preserve those flavors, and the small bags ensure that you’re not always opening and closing the bags each day! As long as moisture & air don’t get in to the coffee, it should stay pretty fresh until you open the bags!
I don’t recommend putting them in the fridge because they will go stale as you open the fridge often, and the temperatures aren’t actually cold enough to preserve.
#3 Make your shopping list, and check it twice!
You know that! I know that! And still we’ll run out of stuff. It’s no problem UNTIL you’re locked down! Then the Covid coffee crisis really hits home!
So buy extra stuff that you know you’ll use. This includes:
- filter bags or papers
- creamer (or milk)
- milk alternatives
- K-cups or single cups
- extra coffee for you and your s/o
- sugar cubes (hey, I don’t judge!)
- filtered water (or filters for your equipment)
- coffee cleaner (just in case)
#4 Buying to go! Don’t drink in!
Many coffeeshops like Starbucks are temporarily switching to serving only to-go orders. You’ll be sadly lacking the convivial atmosphere of your local 3rd place, but at least you’ll get that coffee fix!
I suggest that you take along a decent warming cup or insulated cup to keep the coffee warm enough to find a nice park bench! It’s not really winter anymore in many places… so you should be able to sit outside and read! Obviously makes refills an issue though!
#5 Estimate how much you need!
If you’re unsure of how much to buy, then do a bit of simple math.
- a. How many days do you expect to stay at home? 14? More? Less?
- b. How much coffee do you use in a single cup? 15g (1/2 oz) or 24g (3/4 oz)?
- c. How many cups do you make in a day? One for breakfast, four for the family?
So if you make 2 cups a day with 24g and you plan to stay at home for 14 days, you’ll be needing about 3 x 1/2lbs bags over that period. If you bulk buy, perhaps just one large bag.
2 cups/day x 24 grams x 14 days = 670 grams (or 1.48lbs)
If you make 1 cup a day with 17g of coffee, and you plan to stay at home for 30 days:
1 cups/day x 17 grams x 14 days = 420 grams (or 0.92lbs)
Or you can work it out the other way. How many cups does a 1-lb bag make (454grams)?
454 / 20 grams = 22 cups of coffee
You may use a different amount, but for most hand poured coffee 17g is pretty typical. The usual ratio is about 1:15~18 or 1g of coffee:15ml of water ~ 18ml of water (approx. 1/2 fl.oz to about 2/3 fl.oz). Make sure you use a standard spoonsize, too!
What other suggestions do you have? I’ll be adding them so speak up now!
#6 Buy Online if you can’t go out!
So you’re actually stuck at home… and you’ve run out of coffee during your Covid coffee crisis, need something different! Now is the best time to experiment with buying coffee online. During a personal quarantine, it’s still quite easy to pick up parcels that are delivered. So seek out local roasters or buy coffee on Amazon (though there is a current risk that it may not be delivered in good time due to the national emergency). But they still have a decent selection of coffee brands.
Amazon may not care about small packages or small orders right now if they’re swamped. But if local coffee roasters have a major drop in regular foot traffic, many are offering free delivery in the local area! This is a great time to discover independent roasteries near your door.
I suggest you enter the search term in Google, like this: “Your area + coffee roasters”. You won’t find them all this way, but it should give you an idea who is supplying, when and if they’re still open. You can always try Amazon, if you need to. Rumors are they’re prioritizing certain deliveries. So buy your coffee and beans on Amazon!
#7 Let’s do a Covid Coffee Compromise!
I know this might come hard to you, compromise a little! If you can’t find your favorite blends or brands, or the typical coffee beans are in short supply right now, I urge you to compromise! Actually, treat it as a journey of discovery! Try what IS available!
Well, with so many people off-work, coffee may not be making its way to the supermarkets or roasteries as normal! I’m finding that surge buying is also having an effect on what’s available as supplies slow but shoppers buy more just in case. Moreover, lockdowns are just beginning in the supplying countries of South America, while they are already entering their second or third week in Europe.
Unfortunately, just-in-time delivery and frequent delivery schedules have meant that people are less willing to hold onto large stocks. Beans move faster… but in periods of disruption like the Covid Coffee crisis, supply chains get kinks that need to be worked out. Fortunately, green beans do keep well, and they’re only roasted at their destination market.
In the meantime, grin & bear it!
Stay safe! And heed the warnings!