Coffee shop menus have certainly evolved over the years. While regular brewed coffee, lattes, cappuccinos -- and even Frappuccinos -- were once the go-to coffee drinks for many customers, their tastes are starting to become even more adventurous and refined. As a coffee shop, cafe, or restaurant owner, it’s now more important than ever to stay up-to-date on the coffee drinks your customers want. In fact, the 2017 National Coffee Drinking Trends Report shows that the market is transforming greatly due to the demands of millennials who crave innovation with their coffee.
Here are just some of the biggest coffee drink trends that you can’t afford not to offer your patrons this year.
2017 Coffee Trends You Can’t Afford to Miss
1) Carbonated Iced Coffee
Sparkling water is a healthy beverage trend that has been replacing sugary sodas in many customers’ cups. And now, adventurous coffee fiends are beginning to replace their daily cups of Joe with sparkling water, too! Carbonated coffee beverages have been popping up across the country in recent years, offering a new and exciting take on cold brew coffee. While some coffee houses have been serving espresso with a shot of sparkling water on the side for decades, now they are mixing them together to craft trendy coffee drinks their patrons can’t get enough of.
Try making carbonated coffee yourself by using a countertop water dispenser to fill your customers’ cups with filtered sparkling water, then add a shot of espresso, some ice and flavored syrup for sweetness.
2) Nitro Coffee on Draft
Just as craft microbreweries have been using nitro taps to make their beer extra smooth and frothy, some coffee shops are now giving in to the satisfying, frothy texture that only nitrogen-infused coffee can offer. Nitro coffee works by using a nitrogen tap to infuse the cold brew coffee that you’re already making with extremely small bubbles. A restrictor plate then squeezes the coffee through tiny holes to give the coffee a creamy, rich taste without sacrificing flavor. Nitro coffee is a great idea for those who don’t enjoy bitter notes in coffee, yet want a healthy option, too. The process creates a smooth taste, alleviating the need to douse the coffee in heavy cream or sugar.
3) Cold Brew Coffee
The standard cold brew coffee method is still growing in popularity. While not as fancy as nitro or sparkling coffee, it is still flavorful and popular among coffee connoisseurs. That said, if you think simply adding ice to a regular cup of coffee is going to do the trick, you couldn’t be more wrong. While the old method of making iced coffee doesn’t take as long to brew (cold brew iced coffee must steep for at least 12 hours), it will sacrifice the coffee’s flavor since the ice can water it down. And your customers will definitely notice! So if you haven’t yet, replace the regular iced coffee you’re still serving with cold brew coffee, pronto.
4) Ready-to-Drink Coffee
Retailers have taken notice of these coffee drink trends and are now placing a variety of cold brew, nitro, and sparkling coffee on their shelves. According to Bloomberg, in 2015, the ready-to-drink (RTD) canned and bottled coffee market reached upwards of $2.4 billion -- and has only continued to climb. In this fast-paced society, customers need their caffeine fix while on the go -- whether they are grocery shopping, or filling up at the gas station. And with sugary soda sales slumping, it’s only natural that your customers now prefer to grab healthier, RTD versions of their coffee shop favorites -- wherever they may be. You can even try placing your own RTD coffee drinks in the chilled beverage case at your coffee shop for patrons who need an immediate caffeine buzz.
Coffee lovers everywhere are delighting in these fun and refreshing takes on their favorite drink. Because these trends show no sign of slowing down anytime soon, consider adding at least one of these options to your menu to show that your business understands the ever changing demands of coffee consumers.