With the ready-to-drink (RTD) market segment on the rise, on-premise coffee and tea face some stiff competition, despite coffee houses clocking in $21.6 billion in sales last year.
According to Mintel, caffeine connoisseurs can expect to see innovative techniques, down-to-earth ingredients and buzzy alcoholic brews in coffee shops, which are trying to stay on top of the market.
- Nitro coffee has hit the mainstream: Starbucks followed third wave coffee shops and RTD beverages in adding nitrogen to cold brew coffee in 2016, giving beverages a creamy mouthfeel.
- Consumers worried about food waste and sustainability can try cascara, a caffeinated beverage made from the erstwhile discarded skins of coffee cherries with a slightly tart and bitter flavor that even Starbucks has jumped on for 2017.
- Coffee beans’ journeys from harvest to cup is the focus of many third wave coffee houses. Some pay more attention to barrel-aging coffees to develop new flavors, while others highlight the fermentation process, with “aged” coffee resonating particularly well with consumers.
- Millennials will take their drinks shaken, not stirred. Mintel reported one-third of 22 to 34-year-old consumers want to see more alcohol in their coffee houses in 2017 with cold brew coffee finding its way into complex cocktails.
- Wellness fans have hopped on teas for their antioxidants and other functional benefits. Over one-third of Generation Zers would pay more for coffee and tea with health benefits, letting beverages such as matcha and kombucha take the stage.