Infographic: What Does The Coffee Supply Chain Look Like?
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From Bean to Brew: The Coffee Supply Chain

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Coffee Supply Chain

What Does The Coffee Supply Chain Look Like?

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There’s a good chance your day started with a cappuccino, or a cold brew, and you aren’t alone. In fact, coffee is one of the most consumed drinks on the planet, and it’s also one of the most traded commodities.

According to the National Coffee Association, more than 150 million people drink coffee on a daily basis in the U.S. alone. Globally, consumption is estimated at over 2.25 billion cups per day.

But before it gets to your morning cup, coffee beans travel through a complex global supply chain. Today’s illustration from Dan Zettwoch breaks down this journey into 10 distinct steps.

Coffee From Plant to Factory

There are two types of tropical plants that produce coffee, both preferring high altitudes and with production primarily based in South America, Asia, and Africa.

  • Coffea arabica is the more plentiful bean, with a more complex flavor and less caffeine. It’s used in most specialty and “high quality” drinks as Arabica coffee.
  • Coffea canephora, meanwhile, has stronger and more bitter flavors. It’s also easier to grow, and is most frequently used in espressos and instant blends as Robusta coffee.

However, both types of beans undergo the same journey:

  1. Growing
    Plants take anywhere from 4-7 years to produce their first harvest, and grow fruit for around 25 years.
  2. Picking
    The fruit of the coffea plant is the coffee berry, containing two beans within. Ripened berries are harvested either by hand or machine.
  3. Processing
    Coffee berries are then processed either in a traditional “dry” method using the sun or “wet” method using water and machinery. This removes the outer fruit encasing the sought-after green beans.
  4. Milling
    The green coffee beans are hulled, cleaned, sorted, and (optionally) graded.

From Factory to Transport

Once the coffee berry is stripped down to green beans, it’s shipped from producing countries through a global supply network.

Green coffee beans are exported and shipped around the world. In 2018 alone, 7.2 million tonnes of green coffee beans were exported, valued at $19.2 billion.

Arriving primarily in the U.S. and Europe, the beans are now prepared for consumption:

  1. Roasting
    Green beans are industrially roasted, becoming darker, oilier, and tasty. Different temperatures and heat duration impact the final color and flavor, with some preferring light roasts to dark roasts.
  2. Packaging
    Any imperfect or somehow ruined beans are discarded, and the remaining roasted beans are packaged together by type.
  3. Shipping
    Roasted beans are shipped both domestically and internationally. Bulk shipments go to retailers, coffee shops, and in some cases, direct to consumer.

Straight to Your Cup

Roasted coffee beans are almost ready for consumption, and by this stage the remaining steps can happen anywhere.

For example, many factories don’t ship roasted beans until they grind it themselves. Meanwhile, cafes will grind their own beans on-site before preparing drinks. The rapid growth of coffee chains made Starbucks the second-highest-earning U.S. fast food venue.

Regardless of where it happens, the final steps bring coffee straight to your cup:

  1. Grinding
    Roasted beans are ground up in order to better extract their flavors, either by machine or by hand. The preferred fineness depends on the darkness of the roast and the brewing method.
  2. Brewing
    Water is added to the coffee grounds in a variety of methods. Some involve water being passed or pressured through the grounds (espresso, drip) while others mix the water and grounds (French press, Turkish coffee).
  3. Drinking
    Liquid coffee is ready to be enjoyed! One average cup takes 70 roasted beans to make.

The world’s choice of caffeine pick-me-up is made possible by this structured and complex supply chain. Coffee isn’t just a drink, after all, it’s a business.

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Business

Visualizing Tech Company Layoffs in 2022

Mass layoffs in the tech industry have accelerated as the end of 2022 approaches. See which companies let people go in 2022.

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Visualizing Tech Company Layoffs in 2022

Layoffs are happening so frequently in 2022 that everyone from Crunchbase to Indian tech website Inc42 are now keeping track.

There is even a standalone website tracking all tech layoffs in the United States.

For the purposes of this infographic, we’ve used data from trueup.io which includes a mix of U.S. and international tech companies that have let workers go in 2022.

A Thousand Cuts: Mass Layoffs by Tech Companies

Layoffs are having an impact on the entire tech industry, and the phenomenon is global. Here are some of the most high-profile examples of mass layoffs in 2022:

Meta: The social media giant faces competition from upstarts like TikTok, as well as a pool of ad dollars that is shrinking in the face of a faltering economy. Although this reduction in headcount is painful for Meta, it’s worth considering a more broad perspective. In close to two decades of doing business, these will be the company’s first wide-scale job cuts.

Twitter: Though Meta wins with sheer volume of cuts, Twitter’s mass layoffs are surely the most dramatic. In early November, the company’s iconoclastic new owner, Elon Musk, slashed 50% of the workforce, and soon after, thousands of contractors also suddenly lost their jobs. Estimating how many employees remain at the company will remain a challenge until the dust settles.

Byju’s: Layoffs are not just confined to the United States. India’s sizable tech sector is also facing cuts. EdTech giant, Byju’s, laid off 2,500 employees in October—around 5% of its total workforce.

Peloton: The high-end workout equipment company has been dropping its headcount throughout the year. In the visualization above, companies like Meta stand out as they eliminated thousands of employees all at once. Peloton, however, executed its layoffs in stages throughout the year. After strong growth during the pandemic began to stagnate, the company is slimming down to regain profitability.

Why are Tech Companies Laying Off so Many People?

The stated reasons for letting so many workers go are economic uncertainty (external factors) and poor performance (internal factors).

Goldman Sachs Research points out that “higher interest rates and tighter financial conditions disproportionately impact the sector because tech company profits are typically expected further out in the future and therefore subject to greater duration risk.”

Shrinking advertising budgets and the implosion of the cryptocurrency market are also factors that may have influenced the decision to cut headcounts. Twitter and Snapchat fall into the former bucket, while Coinbase and Kraken fall into the latter.

What Do These Job Cuts Mean for the Economy?

At face value, widespread layoffs in the tech sector might appear to be a bad omen for the wider economy—especially given the outsize influence tech companies have on the markets.

Thankfully, this does not appear to be the case. Payroll and wage data from the U.S. government have exceeded expectations, and the country’s unemployment rate is close to a half-century low.

So, why the disconnect?

First off, tech jobs only account for less than 3% of total employment in America. As well, tech workers who’ve lost their jobs have a high likelihood of securing a new job in short order.

It remains to be seen whether November will be the peak of job cuts. Employers generally try to avoid letting people go right before the holiday season. One week into December, Trueup.io has tracked 7,600 more layoffs.

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Real Estate

The Median Lot Size in Every U.S. State in 2022

Lot sizes in the U.S. are shrinking compared to a few decades ago. Here’s a look at the median lot size in every U.S. state.

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Comparing median lot sizes in every U.S. state

The Median Lot Size in Every U.S. State in 2022

The “American Dream” is often associated with imagery of spacious estates adorned with white picket fences, wrap-around porches, and sprawling green lawns that seem to go on forever.

But in reality, modern American life has become much more compact. Over the last few decades, the typical lot size in the U.S. has decreased significantly—from 18,760 square feet in 1978 to 13,896 in 2020.

While lot sizes are getting smaller overall, there are still large discrepancies in lot sizes from state to state. This graphic by Angi uses data from the 2022 U.S. Lot Size Index to show the median lot size in every U.S. State, using data from 312,456 Zillow listings as of May 2022.

Largest and Smallest Median Lot Sizes by State

When it comes to the states with the largest plots of land, New England dominates the ranking, with Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine at the top of the list.

RankStateMedian lot size (sq.ft.)
1Vermont78,408
2New Hampshire49,223
3Maine45,738
4Montana43,560
5Alaska42,423
6Mississippi31,799
7Connecticut30,928
8Arkansas24,829
9Tennessee24,394
10Georgia22,215

New England was one of the first regions settled by the Europeans in Colonial America. This long history, along with a large rural population, could explain why the area has strict zoning policies that limit density and require large minimum lot sizes for new builds.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Nevada ranks as the state with the smallest median lot size:

RankStateMedian lot size (sq.ft.)
1Nevada7,405
2California8,327
3Arizona8,726
4Illinois9,025
5Texas9,540
6Colorado10,019
7Florida10,019
8North Dakota10,019
9New Jersey10,019
10Ohio10,019

One possible explanation is that Nevada’s population boom—and subsequent development—is relatively recent. Newer homes listed in the dataset tend to have smaller lot sizes, and in Nevada, 34.6% of homes included in the research were built in 2000 or later.

Comparing Lot Size to Land Price

Generally speaking, the states with the biggest lots also tend to have the cheapest land when broken down per square foot. For instance, in Vermont, properties sold for a median $5.95 per square foot.

comparing average lot sizes in the U.S. to price

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On the flip side, in Nevada, land sold for a median $82.80 per square foot—that’s the third most expensive of any state.

Of course, other factors are at play here when it comes to the cost of land. Like anything else that’s for sale, the price of a lot is governed largely by the laws of supply and demand.

For example, housing supply is scarce in Hawaii, where only 4.9% of the land is zoned for residential development, and the median home size is much smaller than in other parts of the country. Not surprisingly, the median plot of land in Hawaii costs $110.86 per square foot, the most expensive on the list.

The Future of Housing in America

Lot sizes remain relatively large in some states for now, but as the U.S. population continues to become more urbanized, living conditions in America could get even tighter.

Will America hold onto its spacious way of living, or could life in the U.S. start to resemble more densely populated regions in the future?

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