2017 Coffee Trends – It’s All About Growing Demand

Coffee. Who would have ever believed (other than Howard Schultz of Starbucks) that the once simple beverage would blossom into a multi-billion-dollar industry with more flavors, complexity and popularity than just about any other drink out there?

Today, everyone wants a piece of the caffeinated action – from the small corner coffee shop to the largest conglomerate — even Coca-Cola is investing as an alternative to its declining soda sales.

Somehow, the world of coffee continues to evolve.  Coffee purveyors are always finding new ways to source, present and promote their brew. Spurred by coffee artisans, a new wave of coffee is awaiting our next sip.  There is a unique blend of corporate expansion via Starbucks which unveiled plans for thousands of new stores, and the entrepreneurship and artistry of an unrelenting group of coffee connoisseurs.

So, what’s in store for the coffee industry as we head into 2017? Let’s peek at some of the hot (and cold) coffee trends that will emerge:

  • Cold Brew – What began as a simple fad in the Pacific Northwest has spread throughout the foodservice and grocery marketplaces. Cold brew involves a simple process where coffee is brewed over a long period without heat. The result is a smoother, less acidic drink that is stimulating both coffee makers and consumers.
  • Nitro – Another coffee idea that has “exploded” on the scene is the bubbly Nitro with the frothiness of nitrogen that somehow offers a smooth, creamy taste. Stored in a keg under high pressure, Nitro has the allure of a hand-crafted beer. This is exactly the kind of hip new trend that coffee lovers crave.
  • Coffee? Tea? Or Both? – A new slate of coffee-infused teas and coffees that are infused with tea are making their way onto the market. How about a Peruvian light roasted coffee blended with matcha green tea and organic raw cacao, cinnamon and vanilla? Or a green tea French Roast? Or a Tea Latte?  Together, tea and coffee combined will attract fans of both beverages.
  • Globalized Selections – Coffee from around the world is nothing new but now Australia, Taiwan, Vietnam and Thailand are among the latest countries to enter the worldwide coffee celebration.
  • Single Sourcing – This trend is in line with the farm-to-table approach. Consumers want to know where their food and drink are coming from, hence, the single-farmer coffee source. This is not just a marketing ploy, but a genuine way for coffee shops to provide a proven and consistent blend of coffee to its demanding customers.
  • Eco-Trends – Similar to sourcing, consumers are looking for more eco-friendly manufacturers which spurred the movement to eco-sensitive sweeteners. Sugar Foods’ ecoStick saves energy while reducing waste via its ecologically-designed packaging.  ecoStick reduces the carbon footprint by 47 percent compared to other sweetener packs. It is also the first GMO-free sweetener and offers coffee foodservice operators a great way to “Change the World One Sweetener at a Time.” ecoStick.net
  • Sustainable Beans – In line with eco-consciousness is the demand by consumers for Fair Trade coffee, which guarantees labor protections. Fair Trade coffee use has surpassed one billion pounds in the U.S. Certified organic coffee is following a similar path.
  • Purified Water – The next step in the coffee evolution involves the water, which makes up 98 percent of every cup. Quality, consistency and purity will become essential elements of how a cup of coffee is brewed.
  • Locals Rule – Even though the world seems dominated by Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks, it is the small, service-oriented local coffee shop that is making a strong comeback. Coffee drinkers like the idea of a local shop where they know the owners and know where their coffee comes from. In some ways, it shows how coffee has come full circle back to the small-town approach where quality and service stand out.

Whichever way you grind it, serve it, flavor it or source it, coffee may be the most exciting, profitable and sustainable items on a restaurant’s menu.

There appears to be no end to the demand for coffee and that bodes well for the creative instincts of all of those who are a part of this insatiable industry.

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