Top coffee trends for 2020| Vending Times

By September 8, 2020Coffee and Tea


Christine Potts

Coffee is a fundamental part of food culture in the U.S. and around the world, and it’s especially prevalent in the convenience services industry. Over the past few years, the coffee industry has changed drastically for a variety of reasons. As a convenience services operator, it’s important to stay ahead of new food trends so you can capitalize 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.

Specialty drinks

A growing trend in the coffee industry is offering a greater variety of coffee drinks and flavored 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 specialty drinks that are going to be popular in 2020.

Coffee-cola drinks

Cola and coffee combinations have been available but are gaining traction.

The Coca-Cola Co. will launch a ready-to-drink 12-ounce coffee product next January and will also enter the hard seltzer market. The company will introduce a product called Coca-Cola With Coffee that fuses the taste of Coca-Cola with 100% Brazilian coffee, the company announced in a press release. It will include three flavors: Dark Blend, Vanilla and Caramel.

Nitro coffee and coffee spitzers

Nitro coffee saw extreme popularity last year that has continued through 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.

Healthy coffees

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 center stage in 2020 as dairy substitutes and creamer alternatives.

Coffee drinkers of this generation

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 led to a boost in coffee drinkers. After these results were published, the National Coffee Association discovered the percentage of daily coffee drinkers increased from 57% to 62% in the course of a year.

With an increase in coffee drinkers out there, it is not surprising that coffee is becoming more popular among younger generations. As a result of this rapid growth, the coffee industry is changing to follow trends aimed at millennials. Here is what we expect to see in 2020 as a result.

Ready-to-drink coffee

Young people are 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 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.

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 deliver 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 foodservice, it’s imperative that convenience services 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 menus and try out interesting techniques.

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