Did you know that coffee is the second most sought-after product in the world after crude oil? Given the enormity of the coffee industry and the fact that each year it rakes in hundreds of billions of revenue dollars worldwide, savvy restaurant and coffee shop owners are invited to read all about the latest coffee flavors and what is in the forecast for java in 2019.
The Latest Coffee Industry Trends
The NCA National Coffee Drinking Trends (NCDT) Report provides us with important insights into current consumer behavior and attitudes, highlighting the most notable coffee industry trends to pay attention to – that can help your business stay up-to-date, in-the-know, and competitive.
So what’s on the horizon for the world of brew in 2019? Two standout phenomenon are:
- The types of coffee customers are clamoring for
- The age of the largest demographic of java consumers
New Coffee Flavors on the Rise
The days when coffee options were limited to ‘black’ or ‘with cream and sugar’ are far behind us. Also beginning to wane in novelty, although certainly not in popularity, are more modern coffee flavors, including iced coffees, latte, espresso, cappuccino, mochachino, hazelnut, vanilla, and peppermint. The new kids on the block, however, rapidly growing in popularity and taking the coffee industry by storm, are options such as sweet coffee drinks, coffee shakes, bottles of pre-made coffee (frappuccinos), coffees from around the world, cold brew coffee, coffee on tap (aka nitrogen infused coffee), and, to go along with your coffee: non-dairy milk options to cater to the expanding population of lactose-intolerant and vegan customers.
And, if these pioneering brews weren’t enough to give your notion of hot beverages a stir, imagine the tantalizing taste of groundbreaking espresso martinis, assorted coffee cocktails, bubbly brews (carbonated coffee), tea and coffee blends, and black coffee lagers. In the words of the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) and the NCA, we are experiencing “a fundamental shift in the American coffee landscape.”
New in Coffee Consumption Demographics
So, who are the customers driving this spike in coffee consumption and influencing the industry tides? According to the experts, the population your coffee shop or restaurant should be targeting, attracting, and catering to are millennials and younger customers who are just entering the market. Expressed in more modern terms, the two populations influencing coffee menu selections are ‘Generation Xers’ (aka millennials) and the fast-growing ‘Generation Y’ (ages 13-18).
And what we know about this demographic are two relevant factors for your business:
1) They value personal experience over price tag, which means that providing topnotch, customized customer service is a recipe for your foodservice success. Pay attention to what matters to your customers (i.e. a cool company image, a certain genre of music playing, eco-friendly practices). Likewise, be aware of their comfort level in your establishment (i.e. Is your restaurant furniture comfortable? What sort of ambience is prevalent?) and make any necessary changes or upgrades to ensure that your java customers keep coming back for more.
2) In an age where consumers are experiencing an increase in disposable income, industry reports indicate that they are willing to spend more money in coffee shops and even pay top dollar for the latest and greatest gourmet menu selections. Be sure to update your coffee menu regularly, introducing exciting and surprising novelties. Or, for a sure-fire return on your investment (ROI), get creative by inventing what will always be a crowd favorite: A new twist on a java classic!
Healthy Coffee Choices
In response to consumer demand and a growing desire to be more conscious about the foods they are eating, some of the major movements we have been witnessing in the 2018-2019 foodservice sector are an increase in: nutrient-rich foods and beverages; healthier menu choices; foods that have been grown under environmentally friendly conditions; biodegradable food packaging; support for fair trade.
These trends are echoed in the 2019 java landscape in the form of customer preference for fair trade coffee and for coffee beans that have been grown under organic and sustainable conditions (i.e. without causing land or water damage or deforestation). Likewise, we are seeing a rise in “superfood coffees” to which healthy spices, protein powders, and other nutritional ingredients are being added. Mushroom coffee, for example, is a current favorite in upscale coffee houses, while buttered coffee, featuring the addition of some coconut milk or butter, reflects the modern dietary desire for healthier fats.
Popular Types of Coffee
Where is the coffee industry headed next? Here is a breakdown of some of the most popular types of coffee to add to your 2019 menu:
Coffee on Tap (aka Nitro Coffee/Nitrogen Infused Coffee): Loved for its affinity with the beer industry, this fascinating new blend is made by taking cold brewed coffee and infusing it with nitrogen gas. Served from the tap, it boasts a rich, creamy texture, a frothy carbonated feel, and a strong taste. If you are interested in tapping into a niche market, this cup of java may be your ace in the hole. For a more popular sell, you can also bottle nitro coffee for a convenient portable option.
Cold Brew: Also climbing the popularity charts – and slowly usurping its iced coffee counterpart – is cold brew coffee. While the former is familiarly made by brewing hot coffee and pouring it over ice to cool it down, cold brew is made by seeping ground coffee in cold or room-temperature water for 12-24 hours. Consumers describe its taste as smoother and less acidic, and given that its preparation requires no special equipment or procedures, cold brew has also become a beverage of choice among coffee shop and restaurant owners who can easily prepare it in bulk.
Bubbly Brew: Made from carbonated (tonic) water and espresso, you will find this specialty coffee and the ‘bubbly craze’ debuting and picking up steam in coffee shops in New York and other major U.S. cities.
Premade Coffee: For a generation that is always on the go, ready-made bottles of coffee that consumers can grab on their way to work or school; drink in the car or take on the bus/subway; keep by their desk or in their hand as they cycle, is the next greatest thing. Now available in some restaurants, coffee shops, gas stations, vending machines, and convenience stores, these ready-to-drink portable coffees are usually sweetened and are most popular among Gen Xers and professionals.
Included in this category is Starbucks’ exclusive Frappuccino brand, made from a base of brewed coffee or crème concentrate and blended with ice, milk, sugar, flavored syrups, and topped with sauces and whipped cream. Non-dairy types are also available, as are new versions of frappuccino, including decaf and juice blends.
Coffee Martinis: For a new twist on an always popular drink, cash in on the gourmet java trend by concocting a variety of novel coffee cocktails to add to your restaurant’s menu.
Tea-Coffee Combinations: Finally, the latest fad combines caffeine with the antioxidants found in tea to create a new beverage that is pleasing to the palates of both strictly coffee and strictly tea lovers. With the added bonus of combining the health benefits and energizing effects of both beverages, your chefs can mix it up themselves by combining a teaspoon of any flavor of coffee with any tea bag and adding boiling water.
Blending the Worlds of Coffee and Technology
With a commodity that is constantly evolving and an Internet generation that is used to accessing everything they want and need at their fingertips, it is not surprising that the worlds of coffee and technology are finally meeting. Forging new blends and new trends, here are some of the ways coffee and technology can be integrated into your coffee shop, restaurant, or catering business.
- To help streamline and simplify your day-to-day coffee operations, you can minimize the grind by utilizing a growing number of online business and software tools that allow you to track your roasted brews and coffee bean inventory, set up a point-of-sale system, process orders, create customer loyalty programs, and access an ever-increasing number of other e-conveniences.
- If you’re looking to upgrade your personal coffee game or industry know-how, you can go online to sign up for subscription coffee services or for advanced barista courses.
- Here are some of the latest rages which you can sell in your establishment to make an easy buck while you brew: Consider investing in single-serving coffee pods and “smart” coffeemakers such as WiFi-enabled coffee machines. The latter allows you to simply select your desired number of java cups, set the brew strength, tap your mouse to select additional options, and voila!
- Coffee accessories are also on the rise, from assorted travel mugs to USB-heated coffee cups for the car and a whole host of original latte art. Your millennial customers will love your forward-thinking creativity and hopefully make your establishment their one-stop-shop for all things coffee.
Understanding the new coffee consumer and staying in the know when it comes to the latest coffee and specialty java trends is the recipe for your business success. We hope you found this coffee guide for professionals helpful and wish you “Happy Brewing” and best of luck for 2019!