The Latest Coffee Trends to Try In 2021
Want to be on the cutting edge of what’s happening in coffee? Then you need this list of the top five coffee industry trends of 2021. Cold drinks, healthy additives, and social responsibility are all on the menu.
Five Coffee Industry Trends Not To Miss
Many of 2020’s coffee consumer trends are here to stay in 2021. And that’s no surprise, given that Covid put many things on pause last year. However, those trends have evolved right along with the state of the world.
So, let’s check in on what’s new and exciting in the world of coffee.
1. Ready-to-Drink Coffee
Ready-to-drink (RTD) coffees are the canned or bottled coffees found in your local grocery store. Starbucks may have prompted this trend when they started offering bottled frappuccinos a few years ago. But it has since grown exponentially. Both small local coffee shops and international conglomerates are now selling RTD brews.
You can now find RTD cold brews, mochas, iced lattes, nitro cold brews, and more in nearly every grocery store. These convenient products let you easily enjoy your favorite drinks without the need for a latte machine or professional espresso machine.
2. Healthy Coffees and Additives
The health industry is every bit as trend-driven as the coffee industry, so it only makes sense that the two should combine. There’s a coffee option soon to follow for every new health product or diet that captures consumers’ attention. Just look at the popularity of Bulletproof coffee a few years ago.
Lately, we see healthy coffee additives, like collagen creamers or alternative milks, and health-boosted coffee alternatives, like mushroom coffee or turmeric and matcha lattes. These products claim to improve the immune system, increase gut health, and/or rev up your metabolism.
3. Flash Brew aka Snap Chilled Coffee
Cold brew and iced coffee have grown in popularity in the past decade, perhaps a natural outcome of our warming planet. But now there’s a new option in town: snap chilled coffee, also called Flash Brew, in which freshly brewed coffee is quickly chilled. According to Ryan McDonnell of Elemental Beverage Co., it’s more flavorful than cold brew because it’s fresher and the coffee is extracted with hot water (1). And unlike iced coffee, it doesn’t need to be diluted with ice.
You use cold water to extract coffee for cold brew, but cold water doesn’t do a good job of extracting flavor.
For coffee shops, it’s faster to make than cold brew and requires less coffee, which is good for the bottom line.
4. High-Quality Instant Coffee
Once upon a time, coffee drinkers had to choose between convenience and quality when it came to coffee. Want convenient instant coffee? Prepare for a stale and bitter taste. But not anymore! A growing number of companies are taking the best coffee beans in the world and using new methods to make instant coffee that is rich in flavor.
Again Starbucks deserves some credit here for their pioneering Via instant coffee. But the latest products are a cut above.
The Dalgona Trend Evolves
Speaking of instant coffee, one of 2020’s big trends was Dalgona coffee, which whips instant coffee with sugar and water to create a thick coffee foam.
Check out this video for an explanation and recipe:
Dalgona is still around in 2021, but more complex recipes are emerging, partly driven by access to better instant coffee. Look for seasonal Dalgona coffees like pumpkin spice or peppermint, a Dalgona dirty chai, a Dalgona affogato, or whatever else your local barista can dream up.
5. Sustainable Coffee
Millennial coffee drinkers are knowledgeable, and they care about people and the planet. They want to know where their coffee comes from, how it was grown, and who grew it. Hence, sustainable coffee brands has been gaining a following.
Organic and Fair Trade certifications are important, but consumers want more backstory than what these seals can convey.
In response, we’re seeing more companies develop direct long-term relationships with growers, which have socioeconomic and environmental benefits that can be conveyed to shoppers.
While overarching themes like good health and sustainability are hopefully here to stay, coffee trends come and go. So be sure to sample a trendy mint-chip Dalgona coffee or mushroom brew before the year is out!
Yes, overall coffee is becoming more popular. However, some market segments are growing more than others. Ready-to-drink coffee beverages are experiencing huge growth at the expense of specialty coffee (2).
Currently, the Millennial generation drinks the most coffee. They make up 44% of the U.S. coffee market (3).
This year, Turkish and Vietnamese coffees are trendy. Though they are made in different ways, both have a strong flavor and heavy body. And both are typically served very sweet.
- Babur, O. (2019, May 21). Snapchilling Is Our New Favorite Way to Drink Coffee. Retrieved from https://www.foodandwine.com/coffee/snapchilling-coffee-canned
- Brown, N. (2021, May 20). 2021 Specialty Coffee Consumption Trends Outlined in New NCA/SCA Report. Retrieved from https://dailycoffeenews.com/2021/05/20/2021-specialty-coffee-consumption-trends-outlined-in-new-nca-sca-report/
- Reiter, A. (2016). Millennials Are Really Into Coffee. Retrieved from https://www.foodnetwork.com/fn-dish/news/2016/11/millennials-are-really-into-coffee