Coffee drinking has well and truly reached maturity. Recent reports ( and the world’s largest coffee drinker survey results dumbfounded people by concluding that drinking more coffee could significantly improve a person’s life expectancy. When a statement like that hits the consumer market, you know it’s only the beginning.

With that in mind, we’ve scoured the coffee market trends to pull out some key themes, innovations and elements of the “all new coffee” that our clients and prospects could consider to stay up to the minute with consumer expectations;

  1. Coffee menus are the new wine list

Coffee’s huge global audience is only just understanding all the possibilities and diverse elements that coffee has to offer. Appreciation of coffee quality is growing and alongside that, more attention is paid to the provenance and flavour notes rather than simply the roast.

The established production methods of natural, washed and honey are common across the globe, but being a barista is an art form, and some are seeking to explore coffees that are processed in new ways. Variations such as “shaded natural”, “Anaerobic Fermentation”, “Wine Process” and “double-soaked” have also been mentioned in coffee circles.

The specifics of the producing country are also creating differentiators – be that by production, flavour notes or the methods and times of drinking. It would come as little surprise to see Brazil, Vietnam, Columbia, Indonesia and India topping the largest producer rankings but research suggests that the world’s biggest coffee drinkers reside in Finland, Norway, Iceland, Denmark and the Netherlands where coffee consumption behaviour is thought to be quite similar. Market predictions are that the next big coffee flavours will come from the East.

And, much like a wine list price range and expectation, there are some that just set a new bar altogether. For example, in Melbourne a glass goblet of Jose Alfredo coffee will set you back $150 a cup! This exotic bean costs around $US5000 per kilogram and offers complex floral and fruit flavours with notes of lychee, passion fruit, cognac and cocoa.

  1. What’s your flavour?

Buttered coffee – yes you read right. Provider of an energy boost with no caffeine crash, mental alertness and appetite suppression. In America, young men are among the keenest followers of this addition to their coffee, and we think it won’t be long before it hits the UK!

However Starbucks’ top selling flavoured coffees include an iced white chocolate mocha, pumpkin spiced latte, cinnamon roll Frappuccino, java chip Frappuccino, green tea crème Frappuccino and a chai latte – some are very seasonal flavours which work well as limited time frame offers, and others are poplar year round.

A much sweeter coffee flavour is that of a cold brew, made by infusing coffee with cold water for long hours to reduce bitterness and acidity. It is smoother than an iced coffee that is somewhat bitter to the taste, thanks to its greater oxidization which avoids exposing coffee to heat. Millennials appear to view cold brew as a healthier alternative to soda and energy drinks and also use it more regularly in cocktails. In a bid to capitalize on this growing thirst for chilled coffee drinks, Lavazza plans to launch Nitro Cold Brew – cold brewed coffee infused with nitrogen – machines in 500 French bars, restaurants and hotels in September. Watch this space we say!


  1. Not just a drink

Cascara are the red coffee cherries that are the rest of the coffee fruit and have become a popular superfood in recent times. They’re now being used in teas and flour for health-conscious consumers as they contain great levels of iron, fibre, antioxidants and protein – the holy grail of the healthy! Starbucks in the USA have already launched a limited-edition cascara latte so it is only a matter of time before others follow suit. In terms of wellbeing, this is a great addition to a menu board.

And of course, coffee is not only coffee – we see it flavouring chocolate bars, popsicles or lip balms,  mixed into beer, soda or liquers. Given the health benefits being promoted by consuming more coffee we expect more dishes and snacks to come to market that include coffee over the coming 12 months.

  1. Working 9-5

Given that after home, a workplace is the place where most coffee drinkers consume coffee, and that a coffee break before or between work has been proven to have an effect on efficiency, job satisfaction and employee experience, it seems 2019 could well be the time to ensure that coffee provision in the workplace has more than just a small part to play in employee wellbeing. Ensuring provision of quality coffee machines, franchise or contractor to aids performance and satisfaction will reap rewards with employees.

From a lifestyle, productivity and wellbeing perspective, there are now apps and online tools available to help drinkers plan their optimum coffee drinking based upon the sleep they’ve had, time they woke up and proposed coffee break times. The Coffee Kick Calculator will present users with a timeline of their likely alertness – what a great way to plan times for your meetings!

  1. Expensive taste

For coffee lovers, with premium comes unique taste experiences the coffee has to offer. The uniqueness can come from a rareness (e.g. micro-lot), a special processing method or rare, expensive or new beans (e.g. Esmeralda Special Auction).



Just last week, The Caterer published an advertorial promoting a newly engineered coffee machine from Swiss espresso experts Thermoplan. Said to raise the bar for high street coffee quality and developed specifically for high volume operators this uses advanced technology to deliver quality and consistency at speed. Most machines sell capacity but this machine shows the real statistics tested on the high street and benchmarked against UK & Ireland’s best-selling coffees. We’ll wait to see more and will keep our eyes on –

6. Sustainable

Coffee & sustainability were one the biggest themes at the last London Coffee Festival and it’s likely to be a hot topic yet again. From big impact like large companies initiating actions such as 100% sustainable sourced to entry level initiatives like keep cup usage or recycling coffee waste, everyone can do something to improve the sustainability angle of their coffee production, serve or consumption.

However, there can be contradictions and challenges for operators. The arrival of the first coffee drone deliveries which will be part of Wing, a subsidiary of Google’s parent company ‘Alphabet’ could be seen as a contradiction to the environmental benefits of the sustainability initiatives being implemented, and while its good to see an increase in keep cup usage, some more advanced pioneers of sustainability – where reusable cups are the default option and consumers pay a premium for a china washable cup – are seeing a reduction of around 20% tea/coffee consumption.  It can be difficult for consumers to realise the value of the premium coffee option – when the cleaning element remains the customer responsibility. Boston Tea Party claims sales have fallen by £250,000 since it banned single use cups last summer but continue to urge major national and international brands to follow suit and to factor in losses to ensure they put the planet before their profits.