Millennials Drive Trend Toward Gourmet Coffee

Very few people start their day off without a good cup of coffee. It puts the kick in the kickstart for the day. Trends in coffee consumption show that consumers are leaning toward gourmet coffee. Coffee is a complex product.

From the growing of the coffee beans to the presentation in the cup, there is an intricate process. Few people take the time to understand what it is. As far as they’re concerned, it’s all about getting their favorite type of coffee from their local grocery store or coffee shop.

What is gourmet coffee?

There is some controversy over the definition of what constitutes a gourmet coffee and what does not. Most of the time, it’s the consumer that defines what gourmet coffee is.

One school of thought is that the origin of the coffee beans defines gourmet or non-gourmet status. Coffee beans are divided into two types. The first is Robusta. It is the more common of the two. The second is Arabica.

Arabica coffee beans are more laborious to grow and aren’t grown in as many regions as Robusta beans. The fact that they’re rarer than Robusta beans makes many people see Arabica coffee as more prized. True gourmet coffee contains 100% Arabica beans. Most coffees are a combination of the two types of beans.

Another feature of gourmet coffee is the depth of taste. Coffee beans that are harvested too early tend to taste bitter. Connoisseurs find the taste of hand-picked coffee beans less bitter. More intensive human labor in the harvesting process will undoubtedly add to the price. Keep in mind, though, that price doesn’t make a coffee a gourmet coffee.

What is driving the market for gourmet coffee?

Simply put, the market for gourmet coffee is driven by consumer demand. Consumer demand is growing, based on the survey conducted by the National Coffee Association. Their National Coffee Drinking Trends (NCDT) report indicates that the number of coffee drinkers of all ages and demographics is growing.

Before this, previous reports had suggested that the number of consumers was leveling off or slightly declining. This latest report shows that an astounding 5 points reversed this decrease. 62% of the people polled had drunk a cup of coffee in the 24 hours before being surveyed.

Based on the statistics, the younger generations are driving the increase in coffee consumption. Millennials fall into the 18-24-year age group. Post-millennials, also referred to as Generation Z, are between 13 and 18 years of age.

It is these two groups who show a drive for and interest in the quality of their coffee. They also drive the increase in overall coffee consumption. Their power over the trends in coffee consumption is such that the National Coffee Association commissioned a separate report on them. It details their coffee consumption habits and preferences.

These are the demographics that will drive the coffee market in the years to come. That’s why their input is so valuable.

The new gourmet coffee

The National Coffee Association has added a new type of coffee to the gourmet category. They are called non-espresso-based-beverages. That means leaving the Americano, Café Au Lait, Latte, Cappuccino, and Mocha behind.

These new gourmet coffees include frozen blended, cold brew, and nitrogen-infused beverages. That means hot coffee is not the only form of gourmet coffee you can drink.

Consumers have reported that their non-espresso coffee consumption is increasing. 14% showed a preference for frozen blended coffee. 11% and 3% preferred cold brew coffee and nitrogen-infused coffee respectively.

Who is drinking gourmet coffee?

The survey also revealed that 59% of respondents had consumed a cup of gourmet coffee within the past day. This category of coffee consumption shows a marked increase. In 2012, the figure sat at 46%. The increase is a distinct indication that the future of coffee consumption lies with gourmet coffee.

All surveyed age groups indicated an increase in the consumption of gourmet coffee. 29% of the Generation Z group (aged 13-18) consumed gourmet coffee in the 24 hours preceding the survey. Millennials (aged 18-24) and the 40-59-year old group drank the same amount of gourmet coffee: 39%.

The age group that showed the most considerable consumption of gourmet coffee was the 25-39-year old group. 50% of them reported drinking gourmet coffee in the day before the survey. Those over the age of 60 who consumed gourmet coffee was numbered at 34% of the respondents.

The most important insight these figures show is that gourmet coffee consumption is on the rise. This is essential information for manufacturers. It allows them to make long-term decisions about planting, harvesting, and processing coffee.

What are the implications for retailers?

Retailers like grocery stores find the results of these surveys interesting as they indicate what products should be under the stock. This influences their budgets in addition to their buying patterns.

Coffee shop owners are happy to see survey results such as these. They know their business is in a sector that is growing. Their biggest concern right now is making sure they serve all the types of coffee that consumers prefer.

The results of the survey indicate that many stores are going to need to up their game when it comes to the ‘new’ category of gourmet coffee. Failure to stock it will see them lose business. There are so many coffee shops around that the customer is in the driver’s seat.

Customers can be notoriously fickle when it comes to coffee. If a shop doesn’t serve what the customer wants they’re more than happy to start going elsewhere.

Coffee growers, processors, and retailers should understand that people are becoming more aware of what they drink. There is an increase in the number of coffee ‘connoisseurs.’ They know what they want, and they’ve educated themselves about how their daily dose of java is made. Their tastes are more refined, so they demand a specific taste.

Consumer-driven players in the coffee industry are making the most of this fact to sell their products. They offer a wider range of products. They also give their customers facts about the coffee they’re drinking. Customers are now making better-informed choices about their daily dose of coffee.

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