28th of February 2017
With everything that is going on in the coffee industry, it seems safe to say that 2018 is going to be a year filled with new flavours, locations and stunning presentations: from caffe au lait in bowls to vegan kinds of milk and uncharted coffee territories. It’s time to look at what this year has in store for all coffee lovers.
The youngest generation yet of coffee drinkers
According to the National Coffee Association in the United States, the fastest growing demographic of coffee drinkers is the 13 to 18 year-old age group. So what do millennials want when it comes to their coffee? They tend to seek rather sweet flavours and creamier beverages, like frappes. Thus, we are likely to see an increase of these type of drinks on the menus. You might enjoy sitting down and palate the acidity and bitterness of the black coffee, but for a great chunk of these new coffee aficionados, it’s the era of the ready-to-drink coffees and pre-mixed frappuccinos or cold-brew; always on the go!
Gourmet is the new norm
Think about ten years ago and how many coffee shops you had in your neighbourhood; or how many of them roasted their own beans? What were the choices back then? Lots, to say the least, but certainly less than what is available nowadays. With artisan coffee shops popping up here and there, the variety of beans and procedures has skyrocketed. And that is only a reason to celebrate! Shops can now go one step further by ordering their coffee beans straight from the producer through the direct trade coffee, cutting out the middleman. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship since the producer gets a larger cut of the profits while the coffee shops get access to a wider variety and fresher beans.
There’s life out of Colombia
Although you already knew that. With the visible effects of global warming, the so-called “Bean belt” -a series of tropical regions sitting close to the equator with perfect conditions for coffee plants- are potential victims of diseases such as the plant-killing “roya”, which thrives in warm weather. Although “coffeepocalypse” (thanks Business Insider for this new favourite term) seems rather unlikely to happen. Some of these regions have begun experimenting with new coffee hybrids which are less vulnerable to weather conditions, while others have scouted new areas for their plantations.
Ordering a coffee with almond milk or soy milk has now become a common thing. Almost every other coffee shop offer these two options for those clients looking for a non-dairy alternative. But why stop at almond? This year seems to be the consolidation of a trend that is steadily taking over: the rise of non-dairy “milks”. Macadamia, coconut, rice, oat, cashew… they are slowly getting into the spotlight. Although they are far from stealing the show from the beans, these milks have an increasing presence and some coffee shops are gaining popularity by experimenting with them, such as Neighbourhood Café in Sydney.
Over the hype of cold brew coffee? Well, here is nitro coffee to keep things interesting. The latest fruit of the craft brewing craze involves infusing coffee with nitrogen gas. It’s all about experimenting, apparently! This specialty drink has a creamy and rich texture, similar to stouts and porters, which are pumped with nitrogen as well. And just as stouts too, the result is a strong drink, that can also be found in cans. Specialty coffee is experiencing a sweet moment, surpassing the percentage of non-specialty drinks out of all coffee consumed. The same applies if we look at the stats for coffee drinkers, with the number of daily specialty drinkers being the strongest overall growth in the coffee market: from 9% to 41% in less than twenty years, according to the Specialty Coffee Association.
The best coffee wherever you go
If every single time you go on a trip, on a weekend away camping or stay at your friend’s house and you miss that cup of good coffee -and there are no cafes around to save the day-, then you should be considering any of these portable coffee makers. Wacaco had recently released the nanopresso, which almost fits in a sunglasses case. It’s genius! You only need some grounded coffee, water and your hand, to pump a delicious and creamy espresso. Same goes for Aeropress and other brands who are stepping up the game when it comes to portable coffee. Four key concepts: light to carry, easy to brew, even easier to clean and yummy. To complete your kit, you can shop a wide variety of milk frothers, also manually operated. Because going away doesn’t mean leaving a good cup of coffee behind.
While we wait for those feet shots by the beach during summer, we can content ourselves with the perfect picture of a cup of coffee and an avocado toast. Well, yeah, avocado toasts are so 2015, but still a favourite. The point is, the presentation is taking up a huge role when it comes to coffee. Not only do we want to sip delicious coffee, but we also value a good presentation, and that goes beyond a nice milk drawing. Last year we were amazed by Melbourne’s own Truman Cafe and its latest trend: the avolatte. Coffee served in an avocado skin, combining the sweetness of the ultimate hipster fruit. But avolattes have a new rival on Instagram, overall among the youngest coffee drinkers we mentioned earlier; cafe au lait bowls. Drinking coffee with milk in carefully decorated bowls or funky-looking unique pieces, seems to be a new cool trend that will keep things interesting on #your #daily #coffee.
Like wine, coffee has different flavour notes that vary on the roast, the bean, the origin, whether is washed or natural processed… There’s a big world out there on wine and food pairing, courses to learn to identify flavours and to educate the palate in order to appreciate a glass of wine even more. But why do we do it with a drink we don’t normally consume everyday unlike coffee? Well, coffee visionaries such as Salvatore Malatesta, founder of St.Ali coffee in Melbourne, encourage tastings as a way to increase our understanding and appreciation for coffee and all its notes. That’s why you could take home a DIY “Learn to taste coffee” kit, to teach coffee aficionados what they love, what to look for and what they dislike. More and more often, craft cafes are offering tastings for customers to know their coffees, the different styles, procedures, beans available and make sure when ordering a cup of coffee, they are getting exactly what they wanted.
With only few weeks cracking into the new year, it already looks like an interesting one, driven by experimentation and free of prejudices. New flavours to look forward to, as well as regions to discover and gadgets. Keep an eye open and your palate ready for a year filled with wonderful coffee experiences.
Pic by Etty Fidele, Tyler Nix, Rachel Park and Karl Chor on Unsplash