The year 2020 was as bleak as the Second World War years, with despair replacing hope among humankind. Even the coffee industry, long considered resilient amidst adversity, nearly folded because of pandemic-related issues. However, this year promises renewed hope with these ten coffee trends to watch in 2021 and beyond.
1. Coffee Continues Resilient Surge Amidst Growing Global Challenges and the New Normal
Every coffee statistic may be down in 2020, but the International Coffee Organization says 2021 paints a more vibrant picture. As of May 2021, the organization’s coffee composite index grew by 10.4 percent. Industry analysts say there is a definite upward trend in the recovery of the coffee industry.
Among the vital trade statistics about the coffee industry is the modest 1 percent increase in coffee exports from April 2020’s 11.29 million coffee bags to April 2021’s 11.4 million bags.
The ICO also describes a general upward trend in global coffee consumption, despite lower overall production.
2. Climate Change to Push Down Coffee Yields, While Propping Pests Up
The International Trade Center attributes lower agricultural yield to climate fluctuations, including reduced rainfall and abnormally high environmental temperatures. These ecological factors impact the sensitive coffee-growing periods, leading to lower crop yields.
Unfortunately, it does not stop there. High temperatures favor the proliferation of disease-carrying pests that can further impact crop production.
Unfortunately, the world is no closer to addressing global warming, despite the landmark Paris Agreement of 2016. Some world powers are adamant about giving up their way of life in favor of greener solutions.
Unless world leaders get their act together, the world can continue to see lower annual coffee production.
3. The Continuing Rise of Conscious Coffee Consumers
Today’s coffee consumers are ditching greedy consumerism in favor of coffee uniqueness, better quality, and simplicity. These observations were what Polish researchers defined in 2019.
The same paper suggests that future coffee drinkers will seek authentic experiences instead of the more traditional coffee channels.
The implications for coffee producers are immense. No longer can they rely on time-tested consumerist coffee formulations. They must think out of the box, incorporate green technologies and observe ethical principles in their coffee production.
The National Coffee Association of the US said that more than half of American coffee drinkers want a beverage with exceptional eco-friendliness and coffee beans produced ethically.
4. The Growth of Ready-to-Drink Coffee
Coffee drinkers continue to prefer convenience to go along with their fast-paced lifestyle. The traditional method of brewing coffee requires at least five minutes to enjoy a barista-quality cup. Many people consider the prep time too long for a caffeinated beverage.
Since 2005, Starbucks has been leading the way in providing coffee lovers worldwide with ready-to-drink (RTD) coffee. After the Discoveries, there is the Doubleshot series in 2008. Other famous coffee chains are following suit.
For example, Costa Coffee utilizes Coca-Cola’s canned beverage know-how to create its series of delectable RTD coffees. Experts can only expect this market segment to grow this 2021 and beyond.
5. Increasing Specialization of Specialty Coffees
Coffee shops can no longer rely on espressos, doppios, macchiatos, and latte macchiatos to wow their customers. According to the Center for the Promotion of Imports, there is an increasing demand for specialized specialty coffees.
Many coffee lovers continue to seek authentic and unique coffee drinking experiences. They do not mind if a cup will cost them ten times more than what they get from their favorite cafés.
The main issue with this trend is that coffee houses are clueless about what coffee drinks can provide an authentic experience.
6. A Booming Market for Single-Cup Coffee Makers
Drip coffee makers continue to enjoy the trust of the coffee-loving public. However, single-serve coffee machines are rapidly closing the gap.
If one looks at the historical rise of these coffee makers, one can say that the trend is skyrocketing. In 2005, less than 1% of American coffee drinkers owned a single-cup coffee maker, peaking in 2019 with 42%.
7. Coffee Farms’ Agri-tourism Potential
Part of the modern coffee consumer’s increasing coffee consciousness is their invigorated interest in learning every aspect of coffee production.
Many coffee experts say the growth of agri-tourism is exciting many coffee plantations and farmers worldwide.
Taking their cue from the wine industry, coffee growers can open their farms to eco-tourists. Local roasters can also make their facilities available to travelers who cannot wait to learn more about how their favorite beverage develops from farm to table.
8. Proliferation of Coffee Subscription Models
The COVID19-induced movement restrictions spurred the proliferation of companies that offer coffee subscriptions.
For example, Atlas Coffee Club offers members some of the world’s best-curated coffee sourced from Colombia, Kenya, Tanzania, and other popular coffee-growing nations. On the other hand, Drink Trade provides up to 50% discount to first-time subscribers.
The subscription model allows coffee-lovers to enjoy their coffee beans delivered straight to their doorsteps.
9. Increasing Use of Non-Dairy, Plant-based Milks for Latte-based Drinks
According to Grand View Research, the non-dairy milk market in the US in 2020 was worth $18.81 billion. The organization’s trend analysis shows the market will grow to $41.06 billion by 2025.
The reason for this growth is not surprising. There is a growing number of lactose-intolerant and vegan Americans. Many of them now prefer almond, oat, macadamia, soy, coconut, and hemp milk for their latte-based drinks.
The figures can only increase beyond 2021.
10. The Growth of Coffee Drive-Thrus
While McDonald’s and other popular fast-food chains have been serving drive-thru customers with caffeinated beverages for decades, coffee shops are following suit.
Drive-thrus are convenient avenues for coffee lovers to order and enjoy their favorite caffeinated beverages. It is also one of the safest ways in the post-pandemic new normal.
Even Starbucks is jumping on the coffee drive-thru bandwagon. The coffee giant plans to relocate some of its mall operations to drive-thru locations.
Despite the effects of the COVID19 pandemic and climate change, the coffee industry remains hopeful. These ten coffee trends to watch in 2021 and beyond offer more than enough hope for everyone to strive for and look forward to a more beautiful coffee-driven future.
About the Author
Sarah Reyes is the content manager of Cuppabean, a coffee blog that helps people make better coffee by providing expert insights, recipes, and in-depth reviews on coffee makers. Follow Cuppabean on Facebook here.
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