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Top Coffee Trends of 2020

Updated: Nov 4, 2020

With a greater variety of coffee drinks available comes an influx of coffee drinkers. A 2017 study showed that drinking coffee regularly could improve life expectancy. The findings of this study may have lead to a boost in coffee drinkers. After these results were published, the National Coffee Association (NCA) discovered the percentage of daily coffee drinkers increased from 57% to 62% in the course of a year.

Coffee is a fundamental part of food culture around the world, and it's especially prevalent in the food service industry. Over the past few years, the coffee industry has changed drastically for a variety of reasons. As a food service operator or a restaurant owner, it’s important to stay ahead of new food trends so you can make the most of on what’s new and popular. Here are some general trends that we’ve noticed in the coffee industry, as well as some specific things to look out for in 2020.

A growing trend in the coffee industry is offering a greater variety of coffee drinks and flavoured beverages for an ever-evolving coffee-drinking audience. Now, when you go to a coffee shop, there are dozens of drinks you can pick, ranging from iced beverages to coffee shakes to classic options. Here are some new types of speciality drinks that are going to be popular in 2020:

Coffee-Cola Drinks

Cola and coffee combinations have just been an experiment until now. In April 2020, Pepsi will release a line of canned coffee-infused cola beverages under the name Pepsi Cafe. The drink is expected to have twice as much caffeine as their regular Pepsi soda, and it will be available in original and vanilla flavors. Coca-Cola already has a competitor product in international markets called Coke Plus Coffee that may make its U.S. debut in 2020 as well, but it has yet to be confirmed.

Nitro Coffee and Coffee Spritzers

Nitro coffee saw extreme popularity in 2019 and is expected to be a fixture in the coffee scene of 2020. Joining nitro coffee this year will be the introduction of coffee spritzers. Coffee baristas are adding a splash of seltzer water or other carbonators to smooth cold brew coffees and create a new drink for 2020. This new coffee creation is highly influenced by the influx of hard seltzers in the latest bar trends.

Snapchilled Coffee

Move over cold brew! Snapchilling coffee is about to become the new way to drink chilled coffee. The process of snapchilling takes coffee that was brewed hot and rapidly cools it in minutes in order to extract additional flavors and aroma, which can’t be drawn out with cold water, from the coffee bean.

Snapchilled coffee takes a lot less time to make than cold brew and results in a more flavorful cup of coffee. It’s also a better alternative to iced coffee because it does not include ice cubes that can dilute the drink. Currently, there are only a few companies that sell bottled snapchilled coffee, but we expect the process to become more widespread -- if not this year, then the next.

As consumer trends lean towards more holistic practices, coffee trends are following suit. Cafes are adding coffee blends to their menu like mushroom coffee, maca lattes, and coffee with collagen creamers. These new options allow customers to address gut health, metabolism speed, immunity, and more with their morning energy boost. You can expect to see unique blends increasing in popularity in 2020.

Non-Dairy Milk

Non-dairy milk variations have grown in popularity over the last couple years and have recently started impacting coffee trends. We expect to see a surge of non-dairy milk varieties offered in local cafes. Soy, lactose-free, or almond milk are pretty well-established, but options like cashew, oat, rice, coconut, hazelnut, macadamia, and pea milk may take centre stage in 2020 as dairy substitutes and creamer alternatives.

Ready to Drink Coffee

The young generation is increasingly on the go, and they are looking for coffee and drinks that are easy to carry around. Ready-to-drink coffee like bottles of pre-made coffee, frappuccinos, or cold brew that you can find in gas stations and convenience stores have been a successful solution for customers on the move. Portability may lead to the success of Pepsi Cafe or snapchilled canned coffees in 2020.

Coffee Tourism

Millennial coffee consumers are often looking for an experience to accompany their purchases. This is making coffee tourism a big hit on social media, directly impacting cafe interior design. The thought behind this movement is that customers are seeking out unique cafes around the world that feature elements they can share on their Instagram accounts and travel blogs. Cafes can spruce up their look in 2020 by adding fashion wallpaper that provide eye-catching photo backgrounds and a unique drink presentation along with their coffee menu.

Coffee Subscriptions

With customers brewing craft cups of coffee right at home, coffee subscription boxes have increased in popularity. Millennials are seeking variety to help them expand their palette preferences and find their favorites. Plus, many of these options delivery coffees from around the world straight to their customer’s door.

Coffee Sourcing Trends

Young people want their coffee on the go and in an attractive package, but coffee drinkers in general are moving toward sustainably sourced coffee. As interest in coffee increases, so will the demand for environmental and social justice in the coffee industry. Here are a few coffee sourcing trends that we expect to grow in 2020:

Fair Trade

Consumers have been increasingly attentive to social justice in recent years, which has increased the demand for fair trade coffee. Fair trade is primarily focused on improving the lives and business of coffee producers by guaranteeing their fair pay and ethical treatment. Coffee consumers have been looking for this certification more often when purchasing their coffee grounds and beverages in order to support the fair trade standard.

Sustainably Grown

With concerns for the Earth and warming temperatures, customers have been seeking out coffee beans that have been sustainably grown. This means that the coffee trees must be grown organically and without causing deforestation, land erosion, or water erosion. The support of sustainable growers has been increasing steadily over the past few years and is projected to keep increasing.

Sustainably Packaged

Not only do customers want coffee that came from a sustainable source, they also are looking for coffee that is packaged in sustainable materials. Because of this trend, coffee producers are now looking for a solution to replace the material of single-serve pods that originally have been made from non-recyclable plastic. Many cafes also offer discounts for customers using reusable cups when they order instead of opting for a paper or Styrofoam to-go cup.

Because of the importance of coffee in our culture and its prevalence in food service, it's imperative that restaurant owners and operators keep up with what's current. We expect that 2020 will be a big year for the coffee industry as younger generations start to discover coffee, people demand access to sustainable solutions, and coffee shops expand their menu and try out new interesting techniques.


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