Expanding Coffee Trends

Coffee beverage innovation is one of the top macro movements in the culinary world today. Coffee can be the focus on a beverage menu or play a supporting role in alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage development.

Cold-brew continues its rise to the top of the coffee world, with more and more chains featuring it on the menu and offering unique takes on the beverage. It’s made by steeping ground and roasted beans in cold water for 12+ hours. Experts claim cold brewing results in a sweeter beverage, with less acidity and bitterness. This makes it the ideal choice for flavorings and even additions that run from the nutritious to the super sweet. Coffee houses are also experimenting with nitrogen to create a creamier mouthfeel. Cold-brew does have its detractors, however, who claim instead that cold brew takes away coffee’s “true nature” and results in a flavor that is inferior to traditional hot brew.

An increasing number of coffee shops are adding cocktail bars to their establishments. This gives the advantage of serving beverages during different dayparts and to different types of customers. These shops are also delving into their guests’ passion for new flavor profiles found in both types of beverages.

As with other foods and drinks, consumers are concerned with where their coffee comes from. They want coffee beans that are harvested in a way as not to hurt the environment or mistreat workers. This is not only for boutique coffee but for mainstream shops as well. Many buyers are pouring into the actual source of their coffee, working with farmers in other countries to help them improve their crops. Improving crops also advances the lives of the farmers growing the coffee.

Hot or cold, espresso, or a maple pecan latte – coffee is giving a big boost to restaurants and consumers alike!

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Expanding Coffee

  • “We’re making decisions for our customers and our staff. We invest in their behalf in projects that support their growers, funded by proceeds from coffee sales.” Mary Allen Lindeman, Coffee By Design NRN February 12, 2018
  • “There are other factors helping to drive the growth we are seeing in cold brew: flavor appeal and craft appeal. Consumers are attracted to it because of its smoother, less acidic taste resulting in a more refreshing beverage than iced coffee.” Patrick Main, Senior Research and Development Manager, Peet’s Coffee, based in San Francisco, CA
    Nations restaurant news on August 20, 2018
  • “Cold brew tastes more like the brew method—it all makes coffees taste at best like stale chocolate and at worst like fermented dirt water. If my job is to share with you the glory of all the hard work that the supply chain invested in [coffee], then cold brew defeats the purpose.” Sam Penix, co-owner, Everyman Espresso, NYC Nation’s Restaurant News p. 68, August 20, 2018
  • “We saw a lot of synergies between cocktail making and coffee making. A lot of the same technique and tools used.” Scott Kobrick, Kobrick Coffee Co., NYC NRN May 7, 2018
  • “The curb of growth for coffee shops is much more gradual than bars. People are always looking for a new bar. But they get into a morning routine with where they get their coffee and it takes a while to convince them they want to get it from us.” Daniel Brian, co-founder Covo, St. Louis, MO NRN May 17, 2018
  • As consumers are becoming more aware of how their food and beverage choices impact their health, we are seeing them choose cold coffee beverages as a replacement for other non-coffee caffeinated beverages, like soft drinks,” Patrick Main, Peet’s Coffee NRN, August 3, 2018

More and more Americans consume espresso based beverages on a daily basis.

  • Cold-brew coffee and nitro coffee were the highest looked-for items in their category from April 2015 to 2017. This shows the interest in process-driven drinks. Google’s 2017 Food Trends report
  • Cortado espresso with steamed milk has grown 41%, Vietnamese Iced Coffee by 9%, Turkish coffee by 7% and café con Leche by 2% in the past year. Italian macchiatos are up in sales by 12% and Americanos 9%. Datassential 2018
  • The National Coffee Association reports that people are consuming more espresso-based beverages daily, primarily among older millennials (ages 25 to 39 years old). Daily consumption of these drinks tripled from 2008 to 2016. February 2017.
  • Cold-brew consumption was up by 80% by year-end February 2017. Studylogic, Cedarhurst, New York Nation’s Restaurant News p. 64, August 20, 2018

THE PROS: What they are saying FACTS: Here’s what you need to know

  • Coffee has grown the beverage business in all applications. We serve it at every meal from breakfast to dessert. It conforms itself easily to seasonal treats. We ring in fall with pumpkin coffee, lattes, and cold brew floats with pumpkin ice cream. Winter, with its spice blends, cocoa and peppermint flavors easily offers single or combined flavor varieties.
  • The sustainability that is expected with most of our foods is also attained in the growing and harvesting of coffee. The concern for people harvesting it is important to many of us. Enjoy coffee and enjoy life!


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Tony Lagana

Chef Tony is a 42-year veteran of the food industry and is often known by his peers as “The New Product Guru.” Throughout his illustrious culinary career, he’s earned several notable titles and positions including Acquisition International’s “Most Influential Product Development Expert, U.S.” in 2019.

In 1997, Tony also founded Culinary Systems Inc., a group of culinary consultants that assist with culinary training, restaurant start-ups, concept development, and more. Since then, Tony and his team have generated over two billion dollars in sales for their clients in restaurants, retail, and manufacturing.

The strategic, technical, and culinary skills of Tony and his team can be seen on the menus of national chains, in the portfolio of national food manufacturers, and on the grocery shelves of products produced by major retail companies.