Year in Review: Our Top 5 Coffee Posts of 2017


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.

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What Upsiide Tells Us About Coffee Production and Consumer Perception


By Michael Edwards, Dig Insights

Upsiide is a new idea screening app that is inspired by Tinder. Designed by Dig Insights (the experts behind the NCA National Coffee Drinking Trends Report), the mobile platform connects companies to real-time consumer feedback and powerful analytics.

The concept sounds complicated, but it’s simple to use. Here’s how it works:

Survey respondents using the app are shown an idea (a potential claim, a new beverage idea, a packaging idea, a branding idea a positioning idea, etc.). The idea can be expressed with any combination of text, images, and/or video. The respondent swipes right or left to like or dislike the idea, or can request more information. Once two ideas are liked, they are paired head-to-head for the respondent to indicate which concept they prefer most. The winning concept is advanced to the next round of trade-off.

The NCA used Upsiide to test how consumers react to coffee production information, including certifications, information about the farms where the coffee is grown, information about the coffee strain used in the product, etc.

So, what does Upsiide tell us about coffee production information?

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How Many People in the United States Drink Specialty Coffee?


2017 U.S. Specialty Coffee Consumption Trends Infographic

The full version of the following post was first published on SCA News

By Heather Ward

Specialty coffee consumption in the U.S. is growing, and 2017 saw a significant increase in daily specialty coffee drinkers.

Over the last 18 years, the number of daily specialty coffee drinkers has consistently increased, strengthening the consumer demand for specialty coffee.

Let’s take a closer look at the data.

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Coffee Shops Are on the Rise


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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Infographic: The Millennial Coffee Market Is Lit

* [Ed. note: Millennial translation gifs available here]


Millennials are really into their coffee. (It’s no coincidence that BuzzFeed recently launched their own roast … sold through a personality quiz.)

But not all cups are created equal.

Just like the cloud, “coffee” often means something different for the 19-35 year old demographic than it does for previous generations. In fact, Millennial behavior and attitudes are transforming the coffee market. (For starters, they really love espresso.)

But what do these changing consumption trends mean for the future of the coffee industry?

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Cold Brew Is Definitely a Thing, Dictionary Confirms

…. And apparently man buns are, too. 

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Cold brew continues to be one of the hottest trends in the coffee market: About 10% of daily coffee consumers reported drinking it past-day in 2017, via the latest National Coffee Drinking Trends report – up from only 1% in 2015.

And it’s not just for the coffee geeks and hipsters anymore: the popular beverage is now officially accepted into mainstream culture.

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From Brew Boomers to the Gourmet Generation: National Coffee Drinking Trends 2017


By Kyra Auffermann, NCA

Today’s “typical” cup of coffee is anything but – it may not even be a cup.

Innovation is fueling growth across the gourmet coffee segment (aka specialty coffee), according to the new NCA National Coffee Drinking Trends Report 2017, released at the NCA 2017 Annual Convention in Austin on March 25, presented by Michael Edwards, Dig Insights.

The latest data shows a market shift toward high-quality, premium beverages, with younger demographics driving this change.

So what does this mean for the coffee industry? Here are the top consumption trends, based on the latest market data.

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Flavor, Fat, and Fermentation: 5 Coffee Trends You Can’t Ignore

By Kyra Auffermann, NCA


For today’s consumers, it’s more than “just” a cup of coffee. From extra antioxidants to artisanal craftsmanship, the future of coffee is anything but ordinary.

During the recent NCA webinar, “Coffee Outlook 2017,” Datassential’s Mark DiDomenico shared how the latest food trends are impacting the coffee market:

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