Despite another year of shifts caused by the pandemic throughout the US, the coffee industry made great progress in coffee sales and innovations. Advancements in vaccines and increased health and safety practices encouraged consumers to comfortably enjoy their favorite caffeinated beverages at local restaurants, coffee shops, and cafes again.

While there were still hurdles that coffee businesses had to overcome, new forward-thinking trends developed at a steady pace. Coffee customer demographics have widened, innovative coffee additives have been introduced, and new ways to experience coffee in and outside the home have all contributed to a new batch of trends. To help you provide the best possible service to your community in the new year and increase your coffee sales, we have compiled the key trends that businesses should be prepared for in 2022.

Premiumization of Specialty Coffee

The demand for specialty coffee and consumer willingness to pay more has increased over the past year. Socially conscious customers looking for new beverage experiences want to see more from brands that are not just mainstream. Brands that can offer high-quality coffee paired with a unique experience and story can expect to see even more interest in 2022.

Many coffee lovers, especially millennials and Gen Z customers, want coffee experiences that are authentic, honest about their origin, and that boast trustworthy credentials. Now is an ideal time to introduce new specialty flavors and brews to your menu. Innovation will play a key role in customer retention during 2022, and specialty coffee is at the forefront of this trend.

New Non-Dairy Alternatives

Over the past few years, almond and oat milk have been the predominating non-dairy alternatives. Their success has encouraged consumers to seek out different options that offer new tastes and health profiles. These new non-dairy alternatives will provide even more opportunities for businesses to bring coffee health benefits to the forefront and increase revenue.

We are starting to see even more experimentation with interesting contenders like barley, banana, and even potato milk. Apart from their health benefits, non-dairy alternatives tend to be more eco-friendly in the production process. Coffee shops and cafes have been creatively using emerging alternative non-dairy milks for a while but we will only see more creative coffee beverages being prepared using these new dairy-alternative types. Coffee businesses should include new non-dairy additions to their menu to stay competitive.

Unique Blends

The word “blend” has traditionally carried with it a stigma in coffee circles for some time. However, we are starting to see a renewed interest in blends that bring new techniques and flavor profiles beyond the usual flavors of their community. This is largely a direct result of the travel restrictions brought about by the pandemic. With more options on the market and an increased interest in new experiences, customers are invested in trying out new combinations of their favorite roasts.

As a reminder, coffee blends include beans from more than one origin. Some of the most popular blends in recent months have been African and Central American, as well as mixes with warm flavors like apricot or nutmeg. Much of the blend experience is the creativity involved, with baristas having an opportunity to make some very special beverages.

Comfort vs. Experience Balance

The COVID-19 pandemic still remains an unpredictable reality, and foodservice businesses must continue to enforce health and safety protocols to protect their customers. That being said, things are much different than they were at the very onset of the pandemic. While some people are not fully comfortable yet in public spaces, many customers are ready to find safe in-person coffee dining experiences. Businesses should keep offering creative ways to provide interactive, fun, and safe services to appease every type of customer.

To provide a balance of both comfort and experience, restaurants, coffee shops, and cafes need to continue providing safe distancing and sanitization practices like no-touch transactions, QR menu codes, socially distanced indoor and outdoor seating areas, and staff protocol transparency. Consistently enforcing a strict protocol with your team is one of the most important aspects of being a business owner in the current landscape. Ensure they are always properly wearing coverings when handling food and beverages and post your safety requirements for customers to see. Offering this style of service will allow you to build trust with your customers so that they continue to visit your establishment.

Digital In-Person and Online Ordering

Digital and online ordering technologies are evolving innovations that will continue to impact the future landscape of the coffee industry. The pandemic solidified digital ordering as a convenient and no-contact method for customers to still enjoy favorite local spots. In 2022, there will be a large opportunity for growth in the digital and online menu realm for foodservice businesses.

To make the most of this digital opportunity, business owners should invest time in creating a fast and responsive online storefront for both in-store and delivery online menus. Online ordering offers countless benefits for business owners beyond the pandemic, such as targeting a wider audience beyond their area of influence and adapting to trends at a much faster pace. Online and digital ordering may not be a completely new concept, but its growth has been rapid. Developing a platform that includes all your important business information, a good user experience, and easy order customization will allow you to operate productively and efficiently anytime and anywhere.

Key Takeaways

We are hopeful that 2022 will be a year of progress and immense growth for coffee communities around the world. Changes in coffee preferences will be a major factor in 2022 as baristas and owners adapt to a consumer base that is interested in new flavors, blends, and non-dairy alternatives. Digitization, clear safety protocols, and premium coffee experiences will be vital to providing a welcoming and enjoyable coffee experience to your customers. Get a head start on these trends and adopt them early so you can continue to focus on the areas that make your business unique.

Gaviña Coffee is proudly committed to sharing our expertise in coffee, sustainability, and industry trends with businesses who are ready to set themselves on the path to success. Our turnkey solutions offer companies of all sizes a helping hand in providing the best coffee experiences possible. Get in touch with us today to start planning your 2022 vision.