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18 Coffee Trends to Watch in 2023: Where Is the Industry Going?

hand holding paper cup of coffee with sleeve

Being a coffee drinker is already trendy, but as we all know, what’s popular is always changing. That’s why, if you’re a true coffee enthusiast, it’s important to stay on top of all the latest coffee trends. Luckily, we have our finger on the pulse of the coffee world and can help you find the best coffee experience around. Read on to learn what to expect from the coffee world this year so you can enjoy all the fun. Let’s take a look at the 18 biggest coffee industry trends this year!

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The 18 Coffee Trends to Watch This Year:

1. Younger Coffee Customers

three women sitting and talking in the coffee shop
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If you know anything about Generation Z, then you understand their love for coffee-derived drinks. While they may not be lovers of traditional coffee, that doesn’t mean they aren’t making their way into coffee shops to order specialty drinks almost daily. In hopes of keeping up with these trends, coffee shops are using creamers, cold brews, and anything they feel will appeal to this new audience in hopes of keeping them drinking.


2. New Brewing Methods

nitro cold brew coffee in a clear glass on a keg coffee dispenser
Image Credit: Gchapel, Shutterstock

New brewing methods are in right now when it comes to coffee. Two of the most popular methods traditional coffee drinkers and new age drinkers are falling for are cold and nitro brews.

Cold brew is a sweeter, smoother, less bitter version of hot coffee. That being said, cold brew has been on the rise for several years. When it comes to cold brew, coffee shop owners need to come up with a creative brewing process and an applicable timetable. Cold brew takes longer than other methods and needs to be readily available to truly make a profit.

Nitro cold brew, however, is just now bringing people back to coffee shops. Due to the pandemic, many cold brew lovers have found ways to make their favorite cold coffee at home. Nitro cold brew is more accessible through a cafe, however. It has become a popular cafe trend.

With nitro-brewed coffee, shop workers will craft it similarly to cold brew but once it’s finished it is put on tap. By keeping the kegs visible inside the shop, this new trendy drink can become quite popular and attract the attention of younger drinkers.


3. Custom Ordering

coffee shop
Image Credit: Joshua Rodriguez, Unsplash

Having the ability to choose flavors and add-ons for coffee isn’t a completely new concept, but more and more people are becoming interested in it. This is expected to be the year when people want to create their own coffee drinks and mix things up. A coffee shop that wants to stay on top of the latest trends should be open-minded to this concept and let creativity reign.


4. Specialty Drinks and Artisan Coffee Are on the Rise

cropped barista in front of coffee brewers
Image Credit: ClaroCafe, Pixabay

Another trend expected to blow up this year is the use of local roasters. This will help artisans craft signature specialty drinks and market the brewing methods and flavors of beans provided by people in the local area. For places without a large coffee scene, this could be the ideal way to promote one another and bring coffee lovers to shops to try what their town has to offer.


5. High Popularity for Milk Alternatives

oat milk
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Another not-so-new trend is the use of non-dairy milk in coffee. Adopting plant-based milk goes hand-in-hand with the health trend that has been in full swing for many years. Most coffee shops and cafes offer alternative kinds of milk like oat and soy already. It does not seem as though this trend will slow down. Milk alternatives for coffee are becoming more inventive with companies producing plant-based flavored creamers that mix more easily with coffee. Besides that, potato milk is also gaining momentum as the new alternative to dairy milk.

Oat milk is at the top of the list when it comes to milk alternatives that younger generations and those hoping to get healthier are using. When choosing milk alternatives to offer in their shops, owners need to keep their minds open and stick with what everyone prefers. As long as the non-dairy alternative acts similarly to milk it should work great for any coffee drinks they hope to make.


6. Coffee Treats

coffee punch with ice cream and mint
Image: Oleksandra Naumenko, Shutterstock

Yes, coffee has branched out. While we may love coffee in our cups it is now found in ice cream, candy, and even mixed drinks. If a coffee shop wants to capitalize on this popularity creativity is key. Try to come up with cool coffee treats to offer customers and the next big thing could be right around the corner.


7. Sustainable Coffee

coffee farmer picking ripe cherry beans
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By focusing more on the people involved in the process of making coffee, companies can help with sustainability. Working with Fair Trade and Rainforest Alliance Certified farms is a great way to meet these new standards. This will help the planet and those associated with the growing, selling, trading, and crafting of coffee.

Fair trade is a term heard quite often. Our society has taken a deeper look into the fairness of working conditions and labor guidelines in the communities that produce our products and goods. In this case, fair trade indicates that the farmers who grow coffee plants are being compensated fairly for their crops. Coffee brands that indicate they are fair trade certified are not only on-trend, but many people feel it has become a sociological necessity.


8. More Choices for Equipment

cropped barista making nitro cold brew coffee in the cafe
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Espresso machines, coffee urns, commercial makers, bean grinders, and coffee presses are staples in most coffee shops but now there is more equipment to choose from. Flavored syrups, nitro and kegs, and even cute to-go boxes should be on the list to add to a shop in hopes of standing out.


9. Trendy Coffee Shops

coffee shop interior
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In the past, people who drink coffee wanted to sit in an eclectic area and feel like they were in a coffee shop. This trend is long gone. Now people want comfort when they are enjoying coffee alone or with friends. This is especially true when it comes to coffee shops. Family-sized tables, natural lighting, and a cozy atmosphere will soon be requirements.


10. Coffee Tastings

a man with a cap at a coffee tasting event
Image Credit: Battlecreek Coffee Roasters, Unsplash

While most coffee drinkers haven’t been to a coffee tasting, that could be changing this year. Many coffee shops and cafes are beginning to host events where coffee lovers around the area can stop by and savor new blends and brews. For coffee drinkers, this is a must-do event. For shop owners, getting in on these tastings could be a great way of bringing attention to shops.


11. Buttered Coffee

buttered coffee
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Buttered coffee is a popular trend making the rounds in celebrity and professional-athlete circles. Adding a tablespoon of butter to a cup of black coffee is supposed to make the caffeine stronger; Plus, it brings out the natural nutrients in the brew. Additionally, when you add butter to coffee, it acts as a secondary appetite suppressant making it easier to skip breakfast. Companies that are cashing in on this trend are able to increase their prices exponentially for the extra ingredient. Whether this trend is here to stay or not is hard to say.


12. Heath-Conscious Coffee

Purity Coffee review

Health-conscious food and beverages have long been a trend in popular culture, and coffee, as one of the most consumed beverages, is not immune. Brands like Purity Coffee are putting antioxidants and other health boosting nutrients first in their production and marketing efforts. Some brands are going a step further by adding additional ingredients to increase the health benefits. What’s more, coffee shops are featuring coffee alternatives like matcha lattes, as well.


13. Coffee Tourism

male ang female tourist touring in a coffee farm
Image Credit: Those_Coffee_People, Pixabay

Coffee has become more popular among the younger generations, but not just for the caffeine. Instead, they’re in it for the experience. Millennials, in particular, have found coffee to be an experience that is better served in an authentic environment. Traveling to different locations to find the best cafes and coffee farms has become the Euro backpacking of today.


14. Bottled Coffee

starbucks cold brew in a bottle
Image Credit: Joseph Gonzalez, Unsplash

Canned and bottled coffee used to only be available in one or two options that left a lot to be desired.  In a society that is always on the go, however, it seems like every major coffee brand has dedicated a portion of their business to canned or bottled brew. They are not only convenient, but they don’t require standing in long coffee shop lines or expensive at-home gadgets. As the quality of bottled brew has improved immensely, this is a trend that is likely to stay put for some time.


15. Koji Fermented Coffee

green coffee beans
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Koji fermented coffee has been a hit in the coffee scene. Introduced in 2019, this particular type of coffee includes an extra step in the normal processing procedure of coffee beans. In this case, a type of ancient Japanese mold spore is added to the green beans prior to roasting. The beans are also left to sit for several days to allow the mold to ferment. Fans of koji coffee find that it makes dark roasts less bold, and it lessens the acidity of light roast beans.


16. Quality Blends

roasted coffee beans
Image Credit: Adam Lukac, Pexels

The opinion among coffee experts has long since thought that the best coffee with the highest quality comes from single-origin beans. It has been the same in specialty shops and the top coffee cafes for many years. Recently, beans blended from different origins have started to take over. Blending different types of coffee together used to be a way to improve flavor and keep costs down. However, some of the top baristas in the world have been using blends in such effective ways that they have garnered more recognition and appreciation. As the future of coffee production is not certain, blends seem to be a trend that is going to last.


17. Energy-Efficient Coffee Shops

drinking coffee while camping in the mountains
Image credit: Nathan Dumlao, Unsplash

Brands, coffee and otherwise, are no strangers to eco-friendliness, and the reduction of carbon footprints. In fact, it has moved from a trend to an all-out global movement. It is an attempt to rectify the damage already done to our environment. With the United Nations set to have their Climate Change Conference in November, a strong pull towards reducing carbon footprints is at hand. This trend will likely take many shapes and forms such as the popularity of micro cafes, the use of equipment with fewer carbon emissions, and less waste-producing, single-serving coffee products. While there is no definitive way to know what the future holds, this is a trend that is very unlikely to dissipate any time soon.


18. Coffee Subscriptions

volcanica world traveler coffee gift box with chemex

The popularity of coffee subscriptions has been a direct result of the pandemic where people were unable to get out to their favorite cafes. Although we are seeing a rise in visits to coffee shops, coffee subscriptions are still hanging on strong. Not only do they allow customers to have fresh beans on their doorstep when they need them, but it is also a great way to try out new blends and single-origin beans. Many subscription services offer sample packs that make great gifts. Even if coffee shops are back in business, most people still consume coffee at home, and subscriptions provide a hassle-free way to obtain quality coffee.

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What Role Do Trends Play In The Coffee Industry?

barista making coffee in coffee shop
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Trends play dual roles in the products we buy and consume, and coffee is no different. On one hand, the interests and concerns of the general public often find their way into products like coffee.

Some trends are superficial and don’t have a lot of staying power like miniaturizing everything or tie-dye. Other trends, the ones with more staying power, are those motivated by cultural, environmental, and community-based issues like sustainability and health.

On the flip side, organizations look closely at trends to stay relevant. For example, environmentally friendly products have been a huge trend for many years. Coffee companies whose packaging is not recyclable will not do as well in today’s market.

Finally, what happens in the world around us also influences our trends. Wars, natural disasters, pollution, or a global pandemic can shape the way we shop, eat, drink, and purchase products.

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Conclusion

As you can see, the world of coffee is steadily changing. By staying up on what’s trendy you can join in on the fun with your friends. Keep your eyes open for coffee shops that keep with the current state of the coffee industry so you can enjoy better drinks with healthier alternatives. Who knows, you may help your favorite coffee shop come up with their next most popular drink due to your creativeness.

Many coffee industry trends are based on environmental and convenience factors. While some of them may still be a direct result of the passing pandemic, others are new to the industry with the goal of improving it for the better.

Only time will tell which trends last. It is safe to say that the popularity of fair labor laws, eco-friendly coffee shops, and quality coffee are trends we will see for years to come. In the meantime, we hope that you enjoyed our list of the top trends for this year.

Read More: 13 Interesting Coffee Startups To Watch


Featured Image Credit: cottonbro, Pexels

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Kate MacDonnell

Kate is a lifelong coffee enthusiast and homebrewer who enjoys writing for coffee websites and sampling every kind of coffee known to man. She’s tried unusual coffees from all over the world and owns an unhealthy amount of coffee gear.

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