What’s been happening this year, plus a sneak peak into 2023

Well done, you’ve made it to the end of another dynamic year.

Like many across the coffee community, we’ve ducked-and-dived to manage external events. However 2022 has also been out biggest year to date.

United Baristas invested heavily during lockdown. As the coffee community sprung into action this year, the use of our services set new records. We’ve been working across the year to simultaneously manage growth and build for the future.

The launch of United Baristas Market 2 was a significant milestone for me. I started work bringing together the sourcing and servicing of coffee equipment in 2017 – it been a long journey to make it work. Plus, the new service also lays the groundwork for future growth.

Whatever you have planned for the year ahead, the team at United Baristas wishes you all the best. We hope you have an enjoyable, festive break and start the new year feeling refreshed. My sense is that coffee is going to need you at your best.

founder, United Baristas


Tackling Inflation

With cost increases on the horizon, we prepared Life & Work subscribers for pay negotiations.

The newsletters was so popular we published an article version to help coffee people better navigate the higher cost of living.

Rising prices has been a recurring theme this year.


🇺🇦 Sláva Ukrayíni!

Russia started its invasion of Ukraine. It’s a stupid strategy with tragic consequences.

Globally the war stoked inflation, with repercussions felt throughout the year.

The ongoing fighting will continue to shape events in the year ahead. Key commodities such as fertiliser, wheat and energy will be more expensive because of the conflict. Ukraine is also paying a significant human toll repelling the invading forces.

It’s been massively inspiring to see Ukrainians act with heroism and kindness. And the success of their plucky armed forces is to be greatly admired.

Ukraine needs our continued support. Sláva Ukrayíni!

Coffee Events

As covid restrictions lifted, we started attending coffee events again. It’s been great to catch up with so many people from across the coffee community.


Opportunities for entrepreneurs

United Baristas explored new opportunities for coffee businesses following creation of the E use class (merging various A, B and D uses).

The new regime makes common global formats, such as the café and bistro, more readily possible in the UK. Plus, it removed the legally-imposed takeout emphasis from coffee shops.

United Baristas called on Government to make these changes in our response to the proposed latte levy in 2018, arguing it’d offer greater environmental and economic benefit.

We look forward to seeing more new concepts from coffee entrepreneurs in 2023.


Coffee needs your love

We handed out hundreds of condoms at London Coffee Festival as part of our ❤︎ Coffee campaign.

Climate change threatens the future of coffee.

There’s many things coffee drinkers, baristas and business can do to reduce coffee’s carbon footprint.

United Baristas has reduced the carbon footprint of our services by over three-quarters per user since 2018.

In the year ahead the world needs to significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions to prevent the worst impacts of global warming.

Packaging Lite

United Baristas HQ has been inundated with stickers, flyers and postcards included with coffee beans over 2022. It’s cute advertising but, sorry, we have little use for them.

We suggest roasters give customers a packaging lite option at checkout. If customers check the box, their coffee beans are shipped without associated marketing material.


Trust for buyers & sellers

We introduced the peer-to-peer, escrow payment service Trustshare on Marketplace to allow coffee people to buy and sell more securely and more cheaply.

Trustshare is more cost-effective for transactions over ~ £/€/$ 250.

It’s been another big year for Marketplace and we love seeing it support and grow the coffee community.


Increasing cup prices makes sense

With costs going up and coffee businesses under pressure, we were amazed that cup prices weren’t yet increasing.

This United Baristas article explained the need to increase prices and presented our playbook for managing price rises.

The guidance was obviously necessary, it’s been one of this year’s most-read articles.


Summer sort out

Each year since 2017 we’ve taken a month to prioritise tidying up loose ends and building better foundations for the future.

The launch of Market 2 later in the year would have been impossible without key changes made over June.

We’re telling you this because the summer sort out is an idea that should spread across the coffee industry. Imagine how much easier things would be in your workplace over 2023 if you’d spent a month sorting out stuff this year.

So, in 2023, pick some practical and tangible things to achieve in the quieter months. For example, clear out the stock room, update your opening hours and accurately communicate them on your website or make the leap to better HR or accounting software.


Brexit means… who knows what

Frustrated with the lack of analysis on how Brexit was shaping the UK economy, United Baristas founder Tim Ridley took matters into his own hands with an in-depth dive into the impacts on UK specialty coffee.

The outcome was the most-read article of the year. It explains why the closer you are to coffee production or manufacturing, the more you have been impacted by the post-Brexit trading regime and sought to shelter your customers from the impacts. And the closer you are to consumers, the more you’ve been on the receiving end of cost increases as well as goods and staff shortages.  

Reading it again now, the article eerily foreshadows the forthcoming chaos of the Truss administration and the political bind PM Sunak finds himself in. 

The central thrust also remains pertinent: Government needs to take a set of pragmatic decisions to make the most of a bad Brexit. 

Plus, the article also broke news of the London Coffee Festival sale to William Reed.

Coffee Jobs

Staff shortages and pay has been another recurring theme of 2022. Largely shaped by Brexit, many coffee businesses found recruiting challenging. With work options abundant, many baristas found post-covid job security by hedging their bets and working multiple part-time jobs.  

However, with economic conditions deteriorating, baristas should now move to permanent contracts to enhance their job security in 2023. The year ahead is likely to be rocky and part-time employees and contract workers will be the first to be let go. 


Energy Prices

With energy prices skyrocketing (we fixed at 72p per kWh for 12 months, up from 15.99p), baristas and coffee businesses were under increasing pressure.

A moderately busy espresso machine now costs almost £10,000 a year to run.

We updated our Espresso Machine Guide to include a section on running costs and saving money with more energy-efficient machines.


Carbon footprint of coffee shops

A new pilot study made it clear that the heaviest part of coffee shop’s carbon footprint is milk.

While there are a variety of actions baristas and coffee businesses can take to lower their carbon emissions. The research shows a focus on milk selection and espresso machine electricity consumption is mission-critical. This is both because of their magnitude and the relative ease with which significant improvement can be made.

Carbon Neutrality

Offsetting isn’t the best route to carbon neutrality. Some schemes are excellent, most are mediocre at best. Plus a regulatory system, designed to ensure quality, is yet to be implemented. On balance, offsetting schemes currently overestimate the benefit and few actually achieve carbon reductions now.

What the coffee industry can’t do is offset emissions and claim to be carbon neutral. That would be factually incorrect. Furthermore, it diminishes our financial resources to actually cut emissions.


United Baristas Market 2

On United Baristas Market, everything connects.

By keeping coffee-making equipment in use for its full working life, our objective is to help baristas make tastier coffee and business boost profitability – while reducing the industry’s environmental impacts

Market 2 extends our popular marketplace to include sourcing new and used coffee-making equipment, offering maintenance tips, and connecting baristas with engineers, parts suppliers and manufacturers.


Preparing for the year ahead

We’re working to make it even easier for you to do everyday tasks. Plus, we’re improving support and tips for people just getting starting out with United Baristas.

Specialty coffee has an exciting future – we look forward to seeing what you do in 2023 ☕️⚡️

Looking forward to 2023

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