Trending: The Buzz on Coffee

Q: Name something that 54% of Americans do every day? And of those that do, how many claim to need it to “make them feel like themselves”?

A: drink coffee

That’s a whole lot of pressure on one beverage but if any category is up to filling consumers’ cups, it is coffee. Never has there been a more exciting time to be a coffee brand, manufacturer, local roaster or neighborhood shop as the above stat shows. With coffee consumption in the U.S. predicted to increase 2% each year until 2020, new technology, innovation, and trends in coffee have us jittery with excitement.[1] Check out what’s percolating in the world of coffee.

Drivers / The Bubbling Coffee Market

  • Millennials – Unlike their Boomer parents, Millennials are all about the experience and the same philosophy applies to coffee. Prone to sitting in coffee shops to meet friends or work in their virtual office, technology dependent Millennials turn to premium coffee shops to connect. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t value coffee at home. In 2017, twice as many Millennials than cash stable Boomers plan to buy expensive semi-automatic machines.[2]
  • Health and Wellness – Practically a driver in every segment, health and wellness is also leaving its mark on the coffee industry. As consumers pay more attention to what’s in their food, they are turning away from high sugar sodas and looking for alternatives. Industry powerhouse Dunkin’ Donuts has partnered with soda king Coca-Cola in a line of bottled cold coffee beverages coming soon to the refrigerator case.
  • Sustainability – Coffee is natural, can be sustainably sourced causing consumers to pay attention. Coffee varieties, their source region and sustainability information all matter to infohungry consumers who are armed with knowledge. McDonald’s recently announced a plan to change how they source all of their coffee by 2020 which will please the 45% of Millennials whose opinions change towards brands based on sustainability efforts.[3] And value-grocer Trader Joes is selling coffee flour sourced from cascara skins.

Trends / Coming to Your Cup

  • Coffee Meets Cocktail – The ‘it’s five o’clock somewhere” mentality certainly applies to this trend as coffee makes its way into cocktails at a rapid pace. NYC’s Kobrick’s Coffee Company found the answer to high rent by becoming a dual purpose business playing coffee shop by day and bar at night. Capitalizing on the similarities between barista and bartender (in many European countries, both words mean the same thing), they’ve taken to blending the two in coffee cocktails like the Mexican Jumping Bean which blends reposado tequila, a ristretto espresso shot and flavored liquors into a frothy delight that will have consumers jumping out of their seats.
  • All in the Process – We expect to see roasters and manufacturers promote their unique processing and fermentation methods with some experimenting with barrel aging coffee. Dark Matter Coffee in Chicago is one such roaster. Creating the best coffee by partnering with farmers in South America, Dark Matter Coffee is all about sustainability, Fair Trade Practices, transparency, and fermentation and consumers are loving every drop. They also have incorporated barrel aging into their brewing program playing around with barrels that previously housed whiskey favorites Koval, Knob Creek and local beer Goose Island.
  • Move Over, Pour Over – New coffee technology is being invented all the time tempting coffee aficionados with promises of a smooth cup—at home. One of the newest and most interesting entries into the coffee maker market is Spinn. Created from the vision with the roaster and the consumer at the center of the process, Spinn takes whole beans, grinds them perfectly and using their patented centrifugal process, produces the perfect cup of coffee, espresso, ristretto, doppio, allowing the consumer to coordinate it ALL FROM A PHONE redefining coffee in bed. Spinn launches later in 2017.
  • More Pumped Than Ever: Nitro/Military Lattes – For a little more of a jolt, caffeine loving consumers can look to options like Nitro coffees or military lattes. The flavor can be as intense as the name. While adding nitrogren to coffee isn’t necessarily new, it’s become more mainstream as Starbucks and Califia have each launched Nitro Coffee products and consumers are loving the creamy mouthfeel resulting from the hit of nitrogen. In Chicago, Sawada’s Military Latte is espresso pumped with cocoa powder, vanilla syrup and matcha glorious in its bright green color and embellished artwork froth. Not super sweet, the flavor is balanced and the chocolate counteracts the grassiness of the matcha making the perfect ten-hut.

 And for something fun, check out Singapore’s Selfie Coffee. Consumers take a selfie as part of the ordering process and the picture is printed on top of the foam in their cup making this a favorite for teens. Note to self: make sure to remove bunny slippers before venturing out for this one.