How coffee trends are set to evolve beyond 2018

How coffee trends are set to evolve beyond 2018

Coffee is serious business. There’s always a new coffee shop opening, from coffee-giants Starbucks and Costa Coffee, to smaller independent cafés. So what are the coffee trends for next year?

By Ryan Burnyeat 

We’re spoilt for choice when it comes to coffee too; you can order everything from a standard black coffee, to a venti iced skinny hazelnut macchiato, sugar-free syrup, extra shot, light ice, no whip. We’ve syrups and milk alternatives, different roasts and strengths — truly, the coffee experience has expanded and is becoming all the more creative as the weeks go by.

So, what does the future hold for coffee-lovers? With so much choice and customisation of our favourite pick-me-up, what else could possibly be done for coffee? Join us as we explore the options…

The world loves coffee

We might be a nation of tea-lovers here in Britain, but coffee is certainly holding its own. According to the Mordor Intelligence Global Coffee Market report published in March 2018, coffee is one of the most consumed drinks in developed countries. World coffee production for the 2017-18 period is estimated at around 158.78 million bags — an increase of 0.7% compared to 2016-17 — while coffee’s global market value is anticipated to see a 5.5% compound annual growth rate (CAGR). Looking at the industry from a UK perspective, the British Coffee Association claims that we drink around 95 million cups of coffee a day.

But what specific coffee trends are rising in popularity?  What will we see more of in 2019 and beyond?

Cold-brew coffee

Cold-brew coffee is something of a novelty in the UK at the moment, but that is set to change. Cold-brew is more than just ‘cold coffee’ — and it’s not iced coffee either. Cold-brew coffee is brewed with cold or room-temperature water over 12 to 24 hours. The reason it’s growing in popularity is because it often features a mellower, sweeter, more full-bodied taste with less acidity. More than that, it’s easily bottled and ideal for on-the-go coffee consumers, which makes it convenient for those who don’t have time in the morning to queue and order a hot option.

It’s a popular choice over in the US, with cold-brew coffee sales rocketing by 80% in 2017. We can expect this emerging trend to pick up pace in the UK as the beverage becomes more widely available. Considering that cold-brew coffee is also easier to brew in large batches, there’s no reason that coffee shops shouldn’t be on board.

Nitrogen-infused coffee

Coffee shops might start looking more like pubs in the future. Nitro-brew coffee is a type of cold-brew beverage served on tap and infused with nitrogen that delivers a creamy, ice-cold drink that has the look and texture of a pint of ale! Recently, Starbucks introduced it to its UK outlets after success in the United States and it’s highly probable that other chains and independent shops will follow suit.

Ethical coffee

Sustainability, eco-friendliness, and all-round ethical practices are high on everyone’s agenda, and it’s certainly been noted by the coffee industry. From biodegradable disposable catering supplies to sustainable production practices, many global coffee brands are making greater strides towards their ethical commitments. Starbucks, for example, announced in March this year that it was launching a new gadget that would allow its coffee farmers to log key information regarding their practices.

At the Annual Meeting of Shareholders, Kevin Johnson, chief executive officer at Starbucks, said: “Over the next two years, we will look to demonstrate how technology and innovative data platforms can give coffee farmers even more financial empowerment. We’ll leverage an open-source approach to share what we learn with the rest of the world.”

It’s a must for any coffee business. America’s National Coffee Association recently discovered that coffee consumers — particularly the millennial generation — are influenced by ethical certificates and buy coffee if they know that the treatment of workers and processes involved are fair and environmentally friendly. It’s likely that more brands will follow suit and invest time and effort in ethical coffee.

It looks like the future has less plastic and more traceability when it comes to coffee, which is certainly a great improvement.

Flat white on the rise

The flat white has been around for a while, but it’s recently taken the UK by storm. Described as a “staple on the UK’s coffee shop scene” by head of training at Lavazza, Dave Cutler, and a “key innovation” by Jeffrey Young, who founded the London Coffee Festival, most of us already know how important the flat white order is for coffee drinkers.

Premium coffee shops are noting that 10% of orders are for flat whites. Currently an emerging trend and set to become a regular entry on most coffee shops’ menu boards, drinks such as flat blacks and even flat mochas are gearing up to challenge the popularity of the flat white — so keep an eye out for it at your local cafe.

Alternative milk and mixers

Got milk? Or alternative milk? In the UK, the alternative milk industry is expected to rise by 43% over the next three to four years, according to data from Agribusiness Intelligence, while the plant-based beverage sector — which includes many milk alternatives — is currently worth around £6.9 billion. Recently, the trend for non-dairy foods and drinks and other milk-substitute products that suit lifestyles, like vegetarianism, and conditions, such a lactose intolerance, has grown — and this is affecting the coffee shop industry, too.

We’re already seeing more variation on the menu. Oat, soy, rice, almond, cashew, coconut, and macadamia milks will likely grow in availability in UK coffee shops, with greater creativity around how baristas infuse their gourmet and speciality drinks with these alternative mixers.

Street coffee

Street food is a great way for entrepreneurs to dabble in the business, due to its low-risk, low-investment nature. Head of marketing at KERB — a street food event organiser — Alison O’Reilly, said: “Now a lot of people are leaving nine-to-five jobs in finance, tech and marketing. They see it as a low-risk way of setting up a restaurant without having to invest hundreds of thousands of pounds.”

We’re definitely going to see more artisan coffee shops as the years go on. Considering the rising popularity of cold-brew coffee — suited to spring and summer — alongside hot-coffee options — ideal for autumn and winter; launching a coffee street food business offers the potential to be a lucrative, year-round venture.

The coffee sector is booming and looks set to bring more and more innovations and variety to our menus. Will we see a competitor on the scene any time soon?  


Ryan Burnyeat
Outreach Executive

2 replies
  1. Em
    Em says:

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