Although we may joke that the day can’t officially start without a hot “cuppa joe,” from a coffee shop’s point of view, coffee trends are no laughing matter. A survey conducted by Statista.com found that that 44% of respondents drink two or three cups a day. And not just any blend will do. Coffee trends are skewing toward specialty coffees as consumers become more adventurous, average coffee consumers are getting younger and these younger coffee drinkers have considerably different palates than older adults.
Consider adding these items to your menu to align your business plan with 2018 coffee trends:
Sweetened coffee and coffee shakes
WebstaurantStore.com’s blog notes the teenage demographic (ages 13-18) is the fastest growing group of coffee drinkers. But the younger generation isn’t opting for black coffee; they prefer sweeter, creamier beverages.
Although Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts were the first to capitalize on the sweetened coffee and coffee shake trend, other cafés and coffee shops are adding these drinks to their menus. However, Starbucks remains the master of capturing the younger demographic. The brand’s limited-edition Unicorn Frappuccino was a viral sensation among teens and spread the message that Starbucks also sells non-coffee based beverages.
Gourmet coffee/Globalized tastes
Consumers are traveling more and trying new things, including high-quality, carefully prepared beans. People will pay a premium for “small batch” “organic,” “freshly roasted,” or coffee from certain regions of the world. Forget about buying coffee beans in bulk from food suppliers—one of the hottest coffee trends is to source beans from a boutique roaster. This is a key selling point, because people want to know when and where the beans were roasted, and they care about the social implications of their purchase.
Coffee shops and cafés should advertise if they sell or serve beans from either of these categories:
- Direct trade coffee: Beans are obtained through direct transaction between producer and coffee shop. The producer (like Stumptown Coffee Roasters) gets a larger cut of profits while the coffee shop gets fresher, better-tasting beans.
- Fair trade coffee: Like direct trade, but the brand focuses on its impact on the lives and business of the coffee producer.
Serve up a specialty drink
Gone are the days of “regular” coffee with milk and sugar—the new coffee trend is about options. It’s not just hot or iced anymore, now customers have their choice different brewing methods, coffee cocktails, frozen drinks and different milks. Here are few of the most prevalent offerings:
- Cold brew coffee: Although it looks the same as iced coffee, cold brew is stronger than traditionally brewed coffee, easy to prepare in large quantities and does not have the bitter or acidic taste.
- Coffee cocktails: Creative bartenders have been putting their own spin on coffee drinks. Irish coffee is delicious, but you can get a little more creative with drinks like a Dead Rabbit (Rum, chocolate, espresso, sugar), Iced Carmel Coffee (caramel vodka and iced coffee) and more.
- Nitro coffee: Nitro coffee was born out of the craft brewing craze. This coffee trend involves infusing coffee with nitrogen gas, resulting in a rich, creamy texture and carbonation. This sort of coffee isn’t for the faint of heart—it’s very strong and it can also be purchased in cans.
Stay up-to-date with coffee POS technology
More than ever, customers are searching for your coffee shop online. Ensure that you are implementing the necessary technology to turn their search into your transaction. Online and mobile ordering solutions integrate with your point of sale system, empowering you to take customer coffee orders online for pick up in store, accelerating your customers’ speed of service and improving customer satisfaction. Serve your customers the coffee drink they want, when they want it.
Coffee drinkers are looking for a higher-quality experience, whether they prefer to try new tastes from around the world or demand sweet, blended drinks. If you’re still serving “regular” coffee with milk and sugar, it may be time to switch it up. Offering menu items in line with coffee trends may be just the thing to give your business a boost.