The Power of Personalization in Coffee

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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.

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Coffee Shops Are on the Rise

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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:

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Perk Up Your Ears with Coffee Tunes

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By Melissa J. Pugash

Coffee is all about enjoyment — as coffee enthusiasts, we appreciate our favorite elixir for its delicious flavor, aroma, deep brown color, and pleasant mouthfeel.

Did you know you can enhance your sensory experience with the pleasure of coffee-themed music? Whether your taste leans toward jazz, Broadway show tunes, rock, or classical music, here are a few songs (available for purchase on iTunes) to perk up your day.

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Are Workers “Too Busy” For Coffee?

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Compiled by Kyra Auffermann, NCA

A New Study Looks at Coffee and Productivity in the Workplace

Even before I was employed by the coffee industry, my productivity has been fueled primarily by coffee – followed by WiFi, a solid soundtrack, and then another cup of coffee.

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Fortunately, “procaffeination” is supported by science:  Studies suggest that consuming caffeine can help promote creativity, concentration, and even prevent workplace accidents. Plus, coffee breaks are linked to better morale and collaboration at work.

Yet nearly one-third (29%) of European workers said that they didn’t drink coffee at work because they didn’t have time or were too busy, according to a new study commissioned by the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee (ISIC).

The research found that workplace coffee drinking habits are shaped by time, taste, and the desire for a productivity boost. More than two-thirds (68%) of respondents said they always or often drink coffee during the working day.

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Coffee Through the Ages [Infographic]

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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:

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Trends and Prospects for RTD Coffee in the US

By Eric Penicka, Research Analyst, Euromonitor International

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In recent years, RTD coffee has been dramatically redefined by beverage manufacturers through the advent of cold brew coffee. Cold brew coffee is coffee brewed without heat, with coffee grounds steeped for several hours to extract flavor and caffeine. The end coffee is one which is naturally sweeter, less acidic, more caffeinated and ultimately more artisanal. This kind of coffee is different from traditional iced coffee, which is hot brewed coffee, iced or chilled, and in most cases sweetened and mixed with dairy.

While currently cold brew coffee is typically offered in on-trade establishments (which Euromonitor International would capture under fresh coffee beans consumed in the on-trade), coffee beverage manufacturers have been quick to identify the trend and produce cold brew coffee for RTD consumption. While still nascent, the dust surrounding RTD cold brew’s explosion has slowly begun to settle, with brands such as Stumptown, Califia, and High Brew emerging to define this new niche.

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Coffee and Gluten: Start With the Research

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By William (Bill) M. Murray, NCA, CEO

One of today’s challenges isn’t finding enough information on a particular subject, but rather deciding how to evaluate all the information that’s available. Is that information unbiased, expert, and useful?

This is true not only for coffee drinkers, but also for consumers seeking information about the impact of coffee on their health. Sorting through the headlines, opinions, blog posts, and advice columns isn’t easy, which is why it is always best to seek out any underlying research on a topic. (For insight into evaluating coffee-and-health research, see “Behind the Headlines: Coffee, Health, and Research.”)

We were reminded of this after an NCA member recently asked, “Does coffee contain gluten?”

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Coffee-To-Go By Country [Infographic]

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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.

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