Gavina Coffee Solutions

2021 Coffee Trends Outlook

coffee trends

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected industries across the board but nothing like the foodservice industry. These hard-hit establishments, from local cafes to restaurants, have dramatically impacted coffee sales. Thankfully, 2021 is predicted to be more promising, with foodservice forecasted to begin recovering.

With coffee sales expected to grow significantly for coffeehouses, cafes, and restaurants as consumers return to eating out, coffee businesses need to be prepared as best as they can to fill their expectations. Many of the up-and-coming coffee trends forecasted for 2020 were put on hold; however, those previous coffee trends will accompany new arrivals to provide significant growth opportunities. Here are the top coffee trends we predict will be influential in 2021.

Single-Origin Coffee and International Flavors

With travel plans canceled due to the pandemic, finding, ordering, and enjoying international beverages and single-origin coffee has become a way for consumers to experience a taste of other cultures from the comfort of their homes. Because single-origin coffees carry flavors and aromas unique to their origins – with regions ranging from South America to Southeast Asia – they offer a new experience for consumers looking to add some excitement to their current coffee routines. This has even led to a surge of coffee subscriptions catering to niche markets.

To capture this growing area of the market, coffeehouses and cafes should consider adding single-origin coffee options to their menus, as well as popular globally-inspired coffee drinks. The unique flavors and preparation methods for Turkish and Vietnamese coffee are among those quickly emerging.

Ultimately, an increased interest in single-origin coffees and international coffee drinks has given at-home coffee drinkers the opportunity to learn more about their own palettes and expand on their taste preferences. When post-pandemic operations resume, consumers will be seeking the opportunity to experience their favorite taste profiles locally.

Sustainability Driven

Consumers are becoming more interested in what they consume, and coffee is no exception. They want to know the origin of their coffee beans, how they were grown, and who roasted them.

Sustainability is becoming a key driver of value for many consumers. Coffee shops or restaurants that are open about the coffee they serve and support sustainable coffee brands will capture customers who are looking to reduce their carbon footprint.

Important coffee certifications that consumers are actively looking for include USDA Organic, Fair Trade USA, and Rainforest Alliance. These certifications provide the transparency consumers expect while assuring the quality of the product.

Quality Decaf

Not surprisingly, consumers are becoming more aware of their overall wellness and what they put into their bodies. In the past, coffee lovers trying to limit their caffeine would cut out coffee entirely or had to select from a limited offering of tasty quality decaffeinated blends. However, in the past year, there has been an increase in high-quality decaffeinated coffee options. Consumers can now find decaf coffee in both ground beans and whole beans, as well as in a selection of dark, medium, or light roast options to suit their preferences. These premium decaf selections include bold and robust blends, single-origin, and flavors with tasting profiles that rival their caffeinated alternative in both flavor and aroma. Premium decaf alternatives will continue to see growth in 2021 as they deliver a high-quality coffee experience to those who enjoy the ritual of coffee without the necessary caffeine.

Plant-Based Dairy Alternatives

While non-dairy milk substitutes, such as almond milk, have seen a global boom over the past several years, there is still a continued interest to find new alternatives to support sustainability and wellness. By 2025, the dairy alternatives market is projected to grow from $21.4 billion to $36.7 billion. The increasing demand for plant-based non-dairy alternatives seems to be driven in part by the nutritional benefits they offer to many. As such, offering a wide range of healthier dairy alternatives will become a strong competitive advantage for cafes and restaurants. Oat milk, among other alternatives like coconut, cashew, and pea-based milk, has gained widespread popularity as consumers seek options that are both healthy and flavorful. Cafes and restaurants that want to empower their customers with a more personalized coffee experience and turn them into repeat customers should add stay alert to up-and-coming plant-based dairy options, along with other coffee enhancers, to their menu.

Immune-Boosting Coffee Additives

In the realm of plant-based alternatives are several other coffee additives and substitutes that are well-known for their immune-boosting properties. COVID-19 has caused society as a whole to become increasingly more health-conscious, with many coffee drinkers looking to incorporate additives that provide a healthy dose of vitamins, antioxidants, and nutrition.

Healthy coffee additives that will continue to be on the rise in 2021 include matcha, ginger, turmeric, medicinal mushroom powder, and collagen creamer. Since coffee is a standard part of many people’s morning routine, giving consumers the option to add supplements to their cups will be a welcomed endeavor.

COVID-19 Safe Coffee Environments

Having to adapt to a new way of serving customers through the pandemic, many businesses have found new methods of operation to create a safe environment for their customers that still provides convenience for them to order/buy their coffee products. Though not an entirely new concept, drive-throughs, mobile apps, and delivery options will continue to increase in usage as consumers have found them to be highly convenient and safe. Some other best practices businesses are implementing include:

  • Developing and displaying protocols and procedures,
  • Cleaning and sanitizing all areas of contact before and after customer usage, and
  • Installing hand sanitizer dispensers throughout your facility.

Coffeeshops and retailers that want to continue upward in sales should consider making this a part of their business model.

Key Takeaways

Despite all obstacles this year had for the coffee industry, one thing that remains constant is the consumer’s wholehearted love for their coffee. There is still a high demand for out-of-home and dine-in coffee. Now that we have entered a prospective time of widespread COVID-19 vaccination, recovery of the coffee industry is estimated to return to pre-pandemic sales levels by 2023. By focusing on these key coffee trends and consumer behaviors, cafes and restaurants will have the ability to expand their customer base in the new year.

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