Photo illustration by Dennis Schroeder, NREL
By Phil Pienkos, NREL
When it comes to sustainability in the coffee supply chain, industry members have been finding creative ways to conserve on every level, from the farm to the coffee shop. But what happens to the grounds after the coffee’s brewed?
Many coffee shops already have composting programs, but what if there were a way, not only to divert used grounds from the landfill, but to use those grounds to produce energy? Research at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is exploring this question — and is starting to see some exciting developments with help from the coffee industry.
Coffee sales are making a big difference in the otherwise sluggish restaurant industry, according to a recent article in the Chicago Tribune.
Chain coffee shop locations increased by 6% from 2016 to 2017, reflecting increasing interest in high-quality and specialty coffee across the country. The U.S. has almost 3,000 more coffee shops than it did five years ago.
So what makes coffee special?
2017 was a big year for coffee.
What – and where – we drink is changing. Specialty trends moved into the mainstream, from the cold brew craze to the rise of RTD. Today, consumers have unprecedented control to customize their beverage, from unique flavors to nutrition-driven additives (oat milk, anyone?).
To reflect how these changes are reshaping our industry, the NCA even added a new “gourmet” category to our National Coffee Drinking Trends report.
Yet at the same time, the fundamentals of coffee remain as relevant as ever. Whether you’re a brewing beginner or a brilliant barista, understanding the basics of what makes a quality cup is still crucial to developing and refining new brew methods and flavors. For instance: Extraction will always be a factor, and your equipment needs to be clean.
We’re looking forward to what the next year will bring – we’re seeing a lot of exciting new research on coffee and health, opportunities to improve industry best practices, and critical developments in sustainability.
But the New Year is also an opportunity to reflect on where we’ve been. Here are the most popular NCA blog posts in 2017, highlighting the importance of both innovation and tradition in the world of coffee.
Photo: Robert A. Estremo via Wikimedia Commons
New market research from The NPD Group measured the proliferation of coffee shops in the U.S. by looking at per capita, or the number of coffee shops for every million people.
This post originally appeared on Restaurant Business via S&D Coffee and Tea
Decaf with two raw sugars, half-caf with almond milk and agave, iced Americano with two pumps of caramel syrup: Coffee orders can be as varied and unique as the consumers ordering them.
One consistent aspect, however, is that customization is now an essential part of the coffee experience — a fundamental or basic need and no longer an enhanced need, as confirmed by research from S&D Coffee & Tea and Datassential.
According to their survey of regular coffee drinkers that purchase coffee away from home from a commercial operator or convenience store, the ability to customize is statistically tied with speed/convenience and variety of options as the third most important factor when consumers choose a venue from which to buy coffee. Only price and quality are deemed more important than the ability to add to one’s coffee.
When it comes to coffee, convenience is crucial. Fortunately, a cup of coffee is never far from reach for the majority of U.S. consumers.
More people are drinking coffee out-of-home than ever, reaching a high of reaching a high of 46% in 2017, according to the NCA National Coffee Drinking Trends report. And they’re also opting for more specialty and gourmet beverages.
New market research from the NPD Group shows that coffee shops are popping up across the country to meet this increasing demand. In addition to coffee served at restaurants and other foodservice outlets, there are now 33,129 gourmet coffee shops in the U.S., a 2% increase in units from last year.
Additional highlights from NPD’s Spring 2017 ReCount restaurant census include:
Younger coffee drinkers are changing the market – from specialty brews to coffee shop culture. To stay competitive, companies will need to keep up with their customers.
The NCA Generational Report: Coffee Through the Ages takes a look at key consumption preferences and patterns, highlighting emerging trends and opportunities.
(And, to reflect the reality of how we’re drinking coffee today, this is the first NCA report to release teenage coffee consumption data.)
Here’s a quick look at some of the highlights from the research:
Coffee on-the-go is on the rise. In the U.S. alone, it accounts for 45% of total coffee consumption (second only to Japan, a nation once dominated by tea).
Younger coffee drinkers with increasingly mobile lifestyles are are fueling this trend: About one-third of daily coffee drinkers from 13-24 years old get their java exclusively out-of-home, according to the NCA Generational Report 2017.
However, the popularity of coffee-to-go can vary wildly by country. As the specialty coffee movement gains international momentum, more countries are drinking coffee away from home.
But the practice isn’t popular everywhere — yet.
The following post originally appeared in full on the Bond Street Small Business Blog
Starting a coffee business is not for the faint of heart. It will bring blood, sweat, and tears (plus a lot of caffeine).
Yet, there’s still something that makes the pursuit worthwhile.
And as the saying goes, hindsight is 20/20. So what better way to truly learn what it takes to successfully build a coffee business than to turn to those who know best?
The editors at Bond Street asked individuals behind some of America’s best cups to share what they wish they knew before opening their coffee shops, or other caffeine-infused operations. The result is 33 pieces of advice that all aspiring entrepreneurs would benefit from knowing.
From mistakes made to tricks of the trade, you’re bound to discover at least one nugget of wisdom that will save you time, money, energy, and quite possibly your sanity — or all of the above.
[Editor’s note: If you have no idea what this title means, check out this infographic explaining third wave coffee.]
The following post originally appeared on Perfect Daily Grind
Written by E. Squires and edited by T. Newton
If you’re anything like me, you’ve spent countless hours reading, researching, tasting, traveling, and diving deeper into our favorite drink. You love reading about farmers and their best practices. You spend hours perfecting your brew methods and your espresso shots.
But many, if not most, of your customers won’t be as interested in the minutiae of TDS and coffee processing methods. They simply want a shot of caffeine (plus or minus sugar). Sure, some customers will come for a quality coffee experience. A select few will even want to know everything. But these will be in the minority.
The thing about us in the Third Wave is that we’re desperate to share specialty coffee with everybody – but we can’t. Great customer service means understanding your customers and meeting them where they are, whether it’s simply a morning caffeine fix or a matter of helping them along their coffee journey in small steps.
Yet while you can’t force your customers to appreciate coffee like you do, you can open the door and allow them to walk through it. Getting the balance is hard, so we’ve come up with four practical ways to teach people about Third Wave coffee without preaching or being intimidating.