The New Year has arrived and so have forecasts for the upcoming coffee trends. The good news is that pandemic or no pandemic, restaurant goers continue to clamor for coffee! If you work in foodservice and are looking for a way to stay ahead of the competitive pack, it’s time for a coffee menu update.
What’s Brewing in the World of Java
In the era of COVID-19, coffee shops may no longer be crowded, but java sales remain high thanks to a host of new options.
To capitalize on the lucrative market, consider the following:
- Adding international coffee flavors to your menu
- Offering a high-end coffee house experience at home
- Selling canned or ready-to-drink (RTD) coffee (the latter is giving soft drinks a run for their money!)
- Offering coffee subscriptions
- Serving healthy coffees (chicory root, anyone?)
- Selling the new coffee-flavored Coca-Cola
Coffee Out of the Cup
For your caffeine-loving customers, here is some more good news. This year, coffee flavor is coming out of the cup and being placed into almost everything – snacks, smoothies, yogurts, ice cream, candy, side dishes, breakfast items, and even main courses.
Not to be outdone, the food-and-beverage big guns are also cashing in on the momentum with the likes of Coca-Cola’s newest product to hit the shelves: Coca-Cola with Coffee. Each 12-oz. can of the soda-coffee combo contains 69 mg of caffeine, fewer than the 95 mg per 8-oz cup-of-Joe and far fewer than Red Bull’s 111 mg per 12-ounce can. In a recent press release, here is what the company had to say about the new launch: “Coca-Cola with Coffee has the great Coca-Cola taste infused with rich, luxurious coffee flavor, and provides a unique way to enjoy the everyday coffee experience.” Calling it “the beverage for the on-the-go consumer,” it is available in three original flavors: Vanilla, Caramel, and Dark Blend.
Coffee Flavors Go International
With global travel at an all-time low, consumers have been thirsting for an international experience via foods and beverages from around the world. Frontrunners in the race for the top caffeinated beverages are Asian coffee drinks. To cash in on the business opportunity, consider adding the following to your eatery’s menu.
Dalgona Coffee: The most popular pick since March 2020 is the Korean whipped caffeine sensation called Dalgona coffee. Comprised of four basic ingredients – instant coffee, sugar, water, and milk – its claim to fame lies in its alluring presentation and recipe variations that are keeping social media pundits abuzz. Look for fluffy whipped coffee floating on top of iced milk and for the picks such as Dalgona Affogato (whipped Dalgona coffee on top of gelato) and Seasonal Dalgona (for example, a peppermint mocha hybrid or Dalgona pumpkin spice latte). Tea lovers are also enjoying the ride with Boba Tea topped with the popular whip.
Vietnamese Coffee: Did you know that Vietnam is the world’s second leading exporter of coffee by volume and that Vietnamese coffee drinks are now some of the most sought-after international beverages for 2021? Made primarily from the country’s robusta coffee beans, they feature a thicker mouthfeel, greater acidity, and double the caffeine strength. Coffee aficionados are recommending drinks such as Vietnamese iced coffee and Vietnamese egg coffee. Best yet, your chefs can easily whip up a batch of Vietnamese Iced Coffee as follows: Pour a shallow layer of sweetened condensed milk into a cup. Brew 2 oz. of robusta coffee on top. Ice and serve.
Turkish Coffee: You can offer your customers a bona fide international taste experience by investing not only in Turkish coffee, but by serving it in traditional 2.5 fluid ounce Turkish coffee cups. Small but mighty, the beverage is known for its overly extracted coffee bean flavor which is the result of grinding coffee beans into a fine consistency. The taste is so powerful, in fact, that the drink is often served with a sweet chocolate or cold water palette cleanser on the side.
Healthy Coffee Substitutes
With health number one on consumers’ minds and list of priorities, many restaurants are rising to the occasion by providing healthy coffee alternatives. Made by adding nutritional supplements into the traditional morning cup, customers are increasingly choosing the subs to replace their second or third cup of coffee. Popular picks for 2021 include: gut-friendly mushroom coffees; chicory root coffee; brewed cacao (which tastes like a cup of delicious dark chocolate and is made by roasting, grinding, and brewing cacao beans to unlock their rich nutrients); turmeric coffee (a longtime staple in India made by adding milk laced with turmeric and spices like cinnamon and ginger); matcha coffee drinks such as matcha frappuccinos, lattes, and even lemonades. The latter contain a green tea leave base ground into a fine powder.
Also rising in the popularity charts are collagen creamer supplements that have a positive effect on the skin, gut, and overall health. With the added bonus of being a great source of protein, you can jumpstart your customers’ day by incorporating a collagen creamer into their morning cup. And don’t forget the ongoing popularity of plant-based milks in coffee. The trend is expected to continue and grow with increasing demand for alternatives such as soy, oat, nut, coconut, almond, and other flavors.
Finally, be sure to add buttered coffee (aka keto coffee) to your menu. The added fat is said to slow down metabolism, slow down the absorption of caffeine, and create a longer-lasting energy boost. The drink is being championed by numerous celebrities and professional athletes and gaining momentum as a healthy coffee.
There is a new buzzword for java taste experiences at home. ‘Coffee insperiences’ are being provided by restaurateurs in effort to reach the large customer base who are working from home, in lockdown, or restricting social contact to reduce the risk of covid infection. Using platforms such as Zoom, you can cash in on the corona crisis by providing home barista tutorials, blind coffee tastings, and more. And here’s another good reason to invest: The insperience market is expected to be worth over $200 million in 2021!
Single-Cup Coffee Brewing
With more people preparing coffee at home than ever before, and with pandemic restrictions preventing travel, receiving single-cup coffee beans from local and global resources has become a favorite past time for coffee enthusiasts. Many of them are willing to pay top dollar for a package deal that includes the coffee beans, instructions on how to roast them, info regarding the country they came from, photos, back stories, and even snack pairings that create a one-of-a-kind at-home tasting and destination experience. Moreover, the market for single-cup coffee home-brewing equipment is also on the rise (and slated to surpass sales of traditional coffee machines). If your foodservice can deliver the goods, the payoffs are almost guaranteed.Coffee Subscriptions
No matter what type of eatery you manage, there are scores of ways to up your coffee game. Here are a few more options on the table:
- Offer drive-through coffee
- Invest in recyclable, compostable, eco-friendly packaging for takeout
- Think contactless service and automation. The latter is being hailed as the future of the restaurant industry.
- Snapchilling, anyone? The latest in cold coffee RTD offerings, the new brew harnesses the power of simple science to chill everything poured in seconds, without ice or chemicals. Created by the Elemental Beverage Company, it is packed with flavor and quickly becoming a hot ticket item.
So grab a cup, experiment with the new coffee sensations, and offer your customers a java experience that will keep them coming back for more.