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Coffee industry – Current scenario & changing trends
Wednesday, 30 November, 2022, 12 : 00 PM [IST]
Anand Iyer
Coffee, alongside tea belongs to India’s popular hot beverages. Although Indians have been cultivating coffee for hundreds of years, the first seeds of coffee were planted by Baba Budan (a saint) way back in the 1600s on the Chandragiri hills (now called Baba Budan Giri) in Chikmagalur district, Karnataka.

Coffee plantations were established in and around Baba Budan Giri only in 1840. Even today, the production of coffee lies primarily in the hills of the southern region, of which Karnataka accounts for the highest yield.

Some of the reasons and the trends that has changed the coffee culture worldwide and specially in India which has seen a rise in the consumption lately-
Younger Coffee Customers
If you know anything about Generation Z, then you understand their love for coffee-derived drinks. While they may not be lovers of traditional coffee, that doesn’t mean they aren’t making their way into coffee shops to order specialty drinks almost daily. In hopes of keeping up with these trends, coffee shops are using creamers, cold brews, and anything they feel will appeal to this new audience in hopes of keeping them drinking.

New Brewing Methods
New brewing methods are in right now when it comes to coffee. Two of the most popular methods traditional coffee drinkers and new age drinkers are falling for are cold and nitro brews.

Cold brew is a sweeter, smoother, less bitter version of hot coffee. That being said, cold brew has been on the rise for several years. When it comes to cold brew, coffee shop owners need to come up with a creative brewing process and an applicable timetable. Cold brew takes longer than other methods and needs to be readily available to truly make a profit.

Nitro cold brew, however, is just now bringing people back to coffee shops. Due to the pandemic, many cold brew lovers have found ways to make their favourite cold coffee at home. Nitro cold brew is more accessible through a cafe, however. It has become a popular cafe trend for 2022.

With nitro-brewed coffee, shop workers will craft it similarly to cold brew but once it’s finished it is put on tap. By keeping the kegs visible inside the shop, this new trendy drink can become quite popular and attract the attention of younger drinkers.

Custom Ordering
Having the ability to choose flavours and add-ons for coffee isn’t a completely new concept, but more and more people are becoming interested in it. 2022 is expected to be the year when people want to create their own coffee drinks and mix things up. A coffee shop that wants to stay on top of the latest trends should be open-minded to this concept and let creativity reign.

Specialty Drinks and Artisan Coffee Are on the Rise
Another trend expected to blow up in 2022 is the use of local roasters. This will help artisans craft signature specialty drinks and market the brewing methods and flavours of beans provided by people in the local area. For places without a large coffee scene, this could be the ideal way to promote one another and bring coffee lovers to shops to try what their town has to offer.

High Popularity for Milk Alternatives
Another not-so-new trend is the use of non-dairy milk in coffee. Adopting plant-based milk goes hand-in-hand with the health trend that has been in full swing for many years. Most coffee shops and cafes offer alternative kinds of milk like oat and soy already. It does not seem as though this trend will slow down. Milk alternatives for coffee are becoming more inventive with companies producing plant-based flavoured creamers that mix more easily with coffee. Besides that, potato milk is also gaining momentum as the new alternative to dairy milk.

Oat milk is at the top of the list when it comes to milk alternatives that younger generations and those hoping to get healthier are using. When choosing milk alternatives to offer in their shops, owners need to keep their minds open and stick with what everyone prefers. As long as the non-dairy alternative acts similarly to milk it should work great for any coffee drinks they hope to make.

Coffee Treats
Yes, coffee has branched out. While we may love coffee in our cups it is now found in ice cream, candy, and even mixed drinks. If a coffee shop wants to capitalise on this popularity creativity is key. Try to come up with cool coffee treats to offer customers and the next big thing could be right around the corner.

Sustainable Coffee
By focusing more on the people involved in the process of making coffee, companies can help with sustainability. Working with Fair Trade and Rainforest Alliance Certified farms is a great way to meet these new standards. This will help the planet and those associated with the growing, selling, trading, and crafting of coffee.

Fair trade is a term heard quite often. Our society has taken a deeper look into the fairness of working conditions and labour guidelines in the communities that produce our products and goods. In this case, fair trade indicates that the farmers who grow coffee plants are being compensated fairly for their crops. Coffee brands that indicate they are fair trade certified are not only on-trend, but many people feel it has become a sociological necessity.

More Choices for Equipment
Espresso machines, coffee urns, commercial makers, bean grinders, and coffee presses are staples in most coffee shops but now there is more equipment to choose from. Flavoured syrups, nitro and kegs, and even cute to-go boxes should be on the list to add to a shop in hopes of standing out.

Trendy Coffee Shops
In the past, people who drink coffee wanted to sit in an eclectic area and feel like they were in a coffee shop. This trend is long gone. Now people want comfort when they are enjoying coffee alone or with friends. This is especially true when it comes to coffee shops. Family-sized tables, natural lighting, and a cosy atmosphere will soon be requirements.

Heath-Conscious Coffee
Health-conscious food and beverages have long been a trend in popular culture, and coffee, as one of the most consumed beverages, is not immune. There are some brands that are putting antioxidants and other health boosting nutrients first in their production and marketing efforts. Some brands are going a step further by adding additional ingredients to increase the health benefits. What’s more, coffee shops are featuring coffee alternatives like matcha lattes, as well.

Coffee Tourism
Coffee has become more popular among the younger generations, but not just for the caffeine. Instead, they’re in it for the experience. Millennials, in particular, have found coffee to be an experience that is better served in an authentic environment. Traveling to different locations to find the best cafes and coffee farms has become the Euro backpacking of 2022.

What Role Do Trends Play In The Coffee Industry?
Trends play dual roles in the products we buy and consume, and coffee is no different. On one hand, the interests and concerns of the general public often find their way into products like coffee.

Some trends are superficial and don’t have a lot of staying power like miniaturising everything or tie-dye. Other trends, the ones with more staying power, are those motivated by cultural, environmental, and community-based issues like sustainability and health.

On the flip side, organisations look closely at trends to stay relevant. For example, environmentally friendly products have been a huge trend for many years. Coffee companies whose packaging is not recyclable will not do as well in today’s market.

Finally, what happens in the world around us also influences our trends. Wars, natural disasters, pollution, or a global pandemic can shape the way we shop, eat, drink, and purchase products.

(The author is manager- operations at Indus Hospitality)
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