As we roll into the end of 2019, let's take a look at the health of the coffee industry. This is a business that has seen a 10% growth in the last year alone, and a 31% boost since 2016. But what keeps it growing?
Some of the biggest trends have been a part of this growth for the past several years as companies like Starbucks and even startup companies like my local shops, find new and innovative ways to reach a younger - and smarter- audience. Millenial coffee drinkers want something sweet. Coffee shakes and sugary alternatives are high on the list of popular items. According to Starbucks, the three most popular drinks are : Vanilla Latte, Iced White Chocolate Mocha, and a Pumpkin Spiced Latte. All very sweet drinks indeed.
There is also a huge business for pre-made coffee drinks in just about every dairy aisle in your local market, convenience store, or fast casual restaurant. Bottled confections, labeled with trendy packaging that speaks to an entire generation obsessed with getting things faster. My local markets have entire refrigerated end caps devoted to this trend. It sells.
Gourmet coffee used to be the playground of coffee houses and Sanka commercials. But recent years have seen the rise of gourmet coffee as a mission statement. With Fair Trade as a buzz word being bandied about, and the focus on being seen as wonderful humanitarians, it's no surprise that this has become trendy. Fair trade espouses the idea that the coffee you're enjoying comes from producers who are treated fairly and ethically. It helps us sleep better (or not, with all this caffeine) knowing that we're contributing to the good of these folks who pick our beans. Sustainably grown also gets the front of the package on so many products. This is the idea that the coffee you're still enjoying comes without the devastating effects of deforestation, land erosion, or water erosion. Coffee is big business, and we need to do our part to help the planet.
And no list of current trends would be complete without talking about booze. In this case, the merging, and rising trend of the Coffee Cocktail. Long have we ordered Baileys and coffee, or Kahlua and coffee, or even that old staple Irish Coffee. Espresso Martinis, Cold Brew Gimlets, and black coffee lagers dot the menus now. Nitro infused cold brew has also become popular with its strong punch and rich, creamy texture.
Buttered coffee, which is exactly as its name implies, has also become the staple of the Keto diet. Simply adding butter or coconut milk to your coffee adds a bright , velvety texture to something that may be bitter and acidic. This is a trend that has roots as far back as 9th century Ethiopia, proving that coffee has been trendy for far longer than any Millennial can possibly imagine.
The top three coffee producing countries as of May 2019;
Brazil - 2 million+ metric tons
Vietnam - 1,600,000+ metric tons
Colombia - 810,000 metric tons
Coffee is here to stay, so raise a hot mug and enjoy!