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  • Writer's pictureJoe Canham

Just how important is coffee in business?

Small flat white coffee

Have you ever heard the saying 'coffee makes the world go round'? If not you're forgiven. It's a phrase that was most likely thought up by someone who loved coffee a little too much, and it's often accompanied by other bold statements and GIFs that use dry humour to try and compensate for the writer's caffeine addiction.

Don't get me wrong, I can see what these statements are getting at. But how much truth is there to them? Would the world end if everybody suddenly didn't have access to their morning brew, or if students couldn't get their fix at 3am? Let's take a look.

Medium roasted whole coffee beans on plate


If you're one of those people that can't function without a cuppa in the morning, you're going to be feeling the effects of this one pretty quickly. Within hours or days you'll be feeling the side effects - sleepiness, fatigue and headaches to name a few.

The disappearance of coffee, at best, means cranky people and reduced productivity in pretty much every industry, and at worst could result in increased unemployment across the board as people get less work done than they were able to before.

Various sources mention that the withdrawal symptoms of caffeine last anywhere between 24 hours and a week, so companies could expect productivity to stabilise within a few weeks. Doesn't sound so bad, right?

Fresh ground coffee in portafilter close up

It's about more than your cup

You'd be mistaken to think the effects of a huge industry disappearing overnight would begin and end with consumers. Coffee is in fact a global commodity that contributes to the GDP of many countries.

The 52 countries who export coffee would begin losing export income, and the top 4 producers; Indonesia, Columbia, Vietnam and Brazil, who produce 40% of the world's coffee, would have a serious problem on their hands. Let's not forget some of the world's poorest countries that rely heavily on its production for GDP income, and the cafes, roasters, suppliers and other businesses worldwide that would be closing down or having to completely rethink their business models in order to stay in business. At least 95 million individuals would experience some form of economic loss due to this event.

Freshly ground tamped compressed coffee in portafilter

The good news

There's no indication at this time that all the world's coffee supply will vanish overnight, so that's great. Love it or hate it, humanity does rely on it to a point, be it to make a living, to stay awake in the office, or something else. So no, the world probably wouldn't stop spinning, but millions would be affected and it'd be back to the drawing board for many, along with at least a few weeks of reduced productivity for most workplaces.

The not so good news

In the coffee industry, there are good, progressive players who care about the wellbeing of everyone in the business chain as well as the environmental impact of what they do, but there's also not-so-good ones that don't seem to give a damn about things other than profit. If you think the first one sounds cooler, make sure your brew is made from certified fair trade coffee. It costs more, but there's reasons behind that. If you can't afford coffee that respects people and the environment, consider moderating your intake to compensate for the added cost.

Iced latte milk jug pouring into double walled glass with espresso


As you can see, there's a lot of variables within this topic, maybe I'll dive deeper into a certain subtopic sometime. First I need a coffee. If you'd like to know more about something, please comment below or get in touch.

Champion Creative is a company in New Zealand that wants to promote things that are good. If you want to learn more about our values, see The Champion Way.



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