From the outside (I’m Australian), the last years have seen the impression of the US change from “that dangerous place full of guns, but still tries to be the distinguished host of the cocktail party” to “that dangerous place full of guns, now just a circus”.
Now, it looks like the circus is full of Pennywise’s.
We’ve gone from scared deference, to laughing at the US, to now just being sad and sorry for anyone stuck inside it, and genuinely worried that the influence will spread.
Sorry, I know this isn’t helpful.
On the coffee front, I am extremely fortunate to live in a city (Melbourne) that is known for its coffee culture, and having a very well established industry of independant cafes that are forced to make excellent coffee in order to survive. We don’t get a lot of franchise/chain coffee shops here. There are of course a few, but most cafes are independant, or at most part of a collection of 2-3 shops that the same people run (after being successful with their first). As such, I don’t have any good coffee machinery at home, I would always grab a nice coffee in the morning at work.
…then, the pandemic happened, and my city went in to heavy lockdown. I have not been to my office since March, 2020. I have been dealing with instant coffee at home, purely as a utility drink. It is saddening.
Luckily, machinery is not really required to make tea, so I have still been able to enjoy both some nice black teas as well as some nice genmaichas.