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Today in Britain, we’re witnessing the acceleration of the coffee craze — with both independent and franchised coffee shops popping up nationwide. The selection and availability of one of the world’s most loved beverages has expanded massively in recent years, with ingredients and ways of offering the ‘coffee drinking experience’ becoming more innovative with every new creation.

Due to this craze, the coffee industry is set to make a few changes. With a great focus on sustainability, organic sources, health-conscious options, and quirky flavours, we look at the rise in popularity of coffee beverages and which trends we can expect to become the standard in UK coffee shops of the future.

His & Hers has joined forces with Inn Supplies, plastic glasses retailer to take a closer look…

Outlining the coffee industry worldwide

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You won’t be surprised to hear that coffee is one of the most popular drinks in developed countries. World coffee production for the 2017-18 period is estimated at around 158.78 million bags — an increase of 0.7% compared to 2016-17 — while coffee’s global market value is anticipated to see a 5.5% compound annual growth rate (CAGR). Looking at the industry from a UK perspective, the British Coffee Association claims that we drink around 95 million cups of coffee a day.

With an increase in coffee’s popularity, there are some new trends that the sector is currently toying with. But what can we expect?

Drinking cold-brew coffee

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More people are opting for a cold-brew when they visit their local coffee shop. Cold-brew is more than just ‘cold coffee’ — and it’s not iced coffee either. Cold-brew coffee is brewed with cold or room-temperature water over 12 to 24 hours. The reason it’s growing in popularity is because it often features a mellower, sweeter, more full-bodied taste with less acidity. More than that, it’s easily bottled and ideal for on-the-go coffee consumers, which makes it convenient for those who don’t have time in the morning to queue and order a hot option.

Although this is something we’re still recently adopting in the UK, the USA found that cold-brew coffee sales increased by 80% in 2017. Considering that cold-brew coffee is also easier to brew in large batches, there’s no reason that coffee shops shouldn’t be on board.

A look towards nitrogen-infused coffee

Soon you’ll see queues and queues of people outside of coffee shops! Nitro-brew coffee is a type of cold-brew beverage served on tap and infused with nitrogen that delivers a creamy, ice-cold drink that has the look and texture of a pint of ale! Recently, Starbucks introduced it to its UK outlets after success in the United States and it’s highly probable that other chains and independent shops will follow suit.

An ethical shift

You can’t deny that more people are becoming more aware of ethical practices and are looking for this everywhere they shop. Although this common focus is hitting sectors like retail hard, it’s something that can’t be ignored for coffee shops.

Many premium brands are taking a more sustainable focus too. Starbucks, for example, announced in March this year that it was launching a new gadget that would allow its coffee farmers to log key information regarding their practices. Considering that America’s National Coffee Association also recently discovered that coffee consumers — particularly the millennial generation — are influenced by ethical certificates and buy coffee if they know that the treatment of workers and processes involved are fair and environmentally friendly, it’s likely that more brands will follow suit and invest time and effort in ethical coffee.

Kevin Johnson, CEO of Starbucks commented: “Over the next two years, we will look to demonstrate how technology and innovative data platforms can give coffee farmers even more financial empowerment. We’ll leverage an open-source approach to share what we learn with the rest of the world.”

The iconic flat white

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The flat white is something that can’t be ignored on this trends list, as it’s one of the most sacred orders in a coffee shop here in the UK. More than 10% of orders in premium coffee shops are for flat whites — but has this popular drink sparked a craze for other flat-coffee choices? Currently an emerging trend and set to become a regular entry on most coffee shops’ menu boards, drinks such as flat blacks and even flat mochas are gearing up to challenge the popularity of the flat white — so keep an eye out for it at your local cafe.

The rise of coffee ‘mixers’

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In the next three to four years, the alternative milk sector is set to increase by 43% and is currently worth £6.9 billion according to data from Agribusiness Intelligence. Recently, the trend for non-dairy foods and drinks and other milk-substitute products that suit lifestyles, like vegetarianism, and conditions, such a lactose intolerance, has grown — and this is affecting the coffee shop industry, too.

Oat, soy, rice, almond, cashew, coconut, and macadamia milks will likely grow in availability in UK coffee shops, with greater creativity around how baristas infuse their gourmet and speciality drinks with these alternative mixers.

The street coffee craze

You might be seeing more street food pop-ups around the country. Head of marketing at KERB — a street food event organiser — Alison O’Reilly, said: “Now a lot of people are leaving nine-to-five jobs in finance, tech and marketing. They see it as a low-risk way of setting up a restaurant without having to invest hundreds of thousands of pounds.”

You’ll likely see more artisan coffee stands at street food events too, as start-up businesses show off what makes them special. Considering the rising popularity of cold-brew coffee — suited to spring and summer — alongside hot-coffee options — ideal for autumn and winter; launching a coffee street food business offers the potential to be a lucrative, year-round venture.

We’re very proud to bring you this feature in association with Inn Supplies. For more culinary inspiration, please pay a visit to our food & drink page.


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