Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Coffee Trends 2018: What’s Next for the Australian Coffee Industry?

It's safe to say that here in Australia we are completely head over heels for coffee. In 2017 this obsession paved the way for tons of new coffee drink trends to pop up all over the country - from turmeric lattes and rainbow coffee to cold brew. And as we've already seen, this year won't be any different.

Lately, coffee has increased it's hold over younger consumers, particularly millennials, with a recent study showing that millennials are now spending more money on coffee drinks than investing in their future.

Coffee's increased popularity amongst this group is probably no real surprise given the pervasiveness of social media sites like Pinterest and Instagram. It's now the norm to document your time at a fancy cafe, drinking the prettiest lattes and eating the most amazing-looking dishes. But what may surprise you is that these new consumers are looking for unique and specialty coffee roasts which has in turn inspired the local coffee scene to embrace new menu ideas. Many cafes today are beginning to introduce new drinks that suit the tastes and preferences of this younger generation. This year we are already seeing a big increase in ready-to-drink coffees or pre-made lattes and frappuccinos (usually the staple of convenience stores), sweeter and creamier coffee drinks, mushroom coffee, and of course cold brew.

High-quality coffee and a unique tasting experience will also be huge expectations of consumers so expect to see a big rise in Direct Trade. Direct Trade is when the roaster buys coffee beans directly from a producer. Not only does this process eliminate the middleman it also gives the producer a larger slice of the profits and provides the roaster with the best quality coffee beans available.

Direct Trade shouldn't be confused with Fair Trade. Whilst Fair Trade is focused on improving the business of the producer, Direct Trade is focused on getting the best-tasting, often rarest coffee beans to the consumer. With this practice, coffee roasters can have greater control over the types of bean they buy and can have the option to sell them to cafe owners at a premium price. For Cafe owners they are able to mark out a niche for themselves providing unique and exceptional coffee drinks.

Gone are the days where coffee beans were only available for purchase from limited companies and countries. Today, there's a wider range of “country-of-origin” producers where you can source the best beans and this means that specialty coffee has become more accessible and more sought-after. What's more there is a very obvious trend of consumers who are increasing their knowledge of coffee varieties, becoming more discerning and having higher expectations of their brew of choice. This is an excellent opportunity for cafes and roasters alike as consumers seek out and happily pay more for a superior coffee experience.

Sustainable and environmently-friendly practices were one of the biggest food and beverage trends of 2017, and guess what - it's not going to slow down. Local cafe owners and consumers will continue to embrace a waste-free philosophy and will continue to make environmentally-focused choices. Indeed, 2018 will be the year of reusable cups, biodegradable takeaway cups, biodegradable pods, and other innovations that promote sustainability.

The local coffee scene is constantly evolving and it's an exciting time to be in the food and beverage industry. Of course, as always it's important for coffee businesses to start adapting to the changes and begin tweaking their menus and operations to appeal to the new tastes and expectations of consumers. It's the only way to stay ahead of the game. To help you remain one step ahead we will continue sharing the insights and trends that we think will shape the entire industry, so watch this space!

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