Jamie Robertson wears a blue shirt against a blue and white backdrop

With the rise of the “at-home barista”, customers are looking for ways to improve their coffee at home, from upgrading their equipment to purchasing better quality beans. We spoke to Jamie Robertson, CEO of Roasting Plant Coffee, who shared what their customers are looking for in the Covid-19 era, plus why they have seen an increase in interest from large grocery retailers during this time.

What main shift have you noticed since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic when it comes to customer behaviour?

The main shifts are a drop in footfall, increase in online sales of just-roasted coffee for home use and more to-go sales and significant interest from large grocery retailers in our format to help drive millennial and Gen-Z shoppers into their stores.

Do you think there are trends that Covid-19 has accelerated or decelerated, and if so, what are these?

It has accelerated the interest in just-roasted specialty coffee from big food retailers wanting to stay relevant to consumers who are becoming really savy about how roast freshness affects flavour.

However, despite the pandemic, our customers could not wait to be able to come in and have a coffee, see the team again and just sit and people watch – I think this human trait will never stop. People need people.

Have there been any surprise spikes in demand in terms of products?

Our just-roasted reserve single origin Ethopian and Kenyan coffees were our best sellers online sales throughout the lockdown as well as at home coffee-making products.

What – if any – changes do you think are here to stay?

Home bean-to-cup machine use. Not only do people realise their coffee tastes better from these machine than the pod machines, they also realise how much better for the environment it is, as well as better value.

What would you love to discover at the European Coffee Symposium 2020?

See the innovation and creativity coming through from this time of crisis. I can never remember who said, “never let a good crisis go to waste!”

For more, check out The World Coffee Portal’s interview with Jamie Robertson here.