Coffee Trends for the Future: New Ways to Appreciate a Timeless Beverage

Around two billion cups of coffee are consumed every day across the world1, and many commuters, homeworkers, students and busy professionals now include a morning coffee and regular coffee breaks in their day-to-day routine. 

But with coffee now an everyday staple for the modern worker, what does the future of coffee look like? What new coffee trends and innovations can we look forward to, and how will we reinvigorate our daily brew to bring it in line with our 21st century views on health, nutrition and diet?

Let’s take a look at what to expect from coffee in the future…

The rise of 'healthier' coffee

Humankind has enjoyed the refreshing benefits of coffee for many centuries, with most historians agreeing that the coffee plant originated in the mountain regions of Ethiopia. One myth even states that coffee was discovered by an Ethiopian goatherd when his goats began dancing around energetically after consuming the red berries of the coffee plant2.

We might not eat these red berries – the 'coffee cherry', as they are correctly named3 – like the dancing goats did, but we certainly love what they produce!. We’ve been roasting the beans, grinding them up and producing the smooth, roasted beverage we all know as coffee since at least the 15th century4.

However, tastes and coffee trends are changing in 2020 and a younger generation is now looking for more from coffee than simply a good-tasting beverage.

Key new trends for coffee could include:
  • Transformational properties – Modern drinkers (especially 18-34s) want ready-to-drink (RTD) coffee that delivers a wider variety of health benefits5. And this evolving consumer need has driven the development of coffees that offer ‘transformational properties’. This includes adding protein to supplement your diet and promote muscle growth and tissue repair. Coffee in the future might be more a wellness lifestyle choice than a pick-me-up drink.
  • Gut health – 39% of Chinese RTD coffee drinkers would be willing to pay more for RTD coffee that contains probiotics6. Probiotics are the ‘good bacteria’ that can help promote a healthy gut and good digestion.
The forthcoming trends in coffee

It’s the younger generations that are driving the evolution of coffee, particularly the so-called ‘iGeneration’ of coffee drinkers born between 1995 to 2007.

The iGeneration is less bound by traditional ideas of how coffee should be drunk, and more open to innovation, new trends and new ways of drinking withut sticking to the accepted coffee rulebook.

Key ways that the iGeneration is mixing things up has already given rise toof enjoying the benefits of caffeine without sticking to the accepted coffee rulebook. various coffee trends including:

  • A preference for cold or iced coffee – The iGeneration is the first generation where more people drink coffee cold than hot (75% cold, compared to 71% hot)7.  Whereas Baby Boomers and Gen X overwhelmingly drink more hot coffee, iGen drinkers prefer the convenience of a cold coffee on the go – without the wait for fancy baristas to work their magic.
  • Plant-based and dairy alternatives – In early-adopter US, 38% of iGens would buy RTD coffee mixed with non-dairy altervatives8. Soya, almond, oat and even hemp alternatives all offering an alternative to traditional dairy – an important concern given the rising number of vegan consumers, with the number of U.S. consumers identifying as vegan growing from 1% to 6% between 2014 and 20179.
  • Textured and milky coffees – New and exciting textures can add to the sensual experience of coffee drinking, and the popularity of foamy, creamy, fizzy and cold-whipped coffees demonstrates the vital nature of texture. Blending coffee with additional ingredients, such as soaked chia seeds, banana, tapioca or nitrogen bubbles, helps to create innovative textures that excite the drinker’s palette. 

Coffee innovation in the coming years

We’re at an exciting point in the evolution of coffee, with several new and developing trends emerging over the coming years. 

Fermented coffee is another new trend that we may see more of over the coming years, as consumers look for new transformative properties from their coffee. And we also need to be aware that in the future, coffee might be affected by the sustainability requirements and climate change threats that may change how we grow our favourite arabica coffee beans in the coming decades.

If you’re looking to shake up your workplace coffee habits, we’d suggest embracing some of the new coffee trends and seeing how your employees take to the new breed of ready-to-go coffees and health-conscious beverages.

The future of coffee is here, so now’s the time to experiment!

Why not try out our new NESCAFÉ® product range:

NESCAFÉ® GOLD® Dairy Alternative Lattes – Join the trend and explore our vegan range of non-dairy coffees. Available in Oat or Almond versions, blended with expertly crafted coffee by NESCAFÉ GOLD.

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  1. Coffee Facts, British Coffee Association, 2020
  2. The History of Coffee, National Coffee Association USA
  3. NESCAFÉ® Coffee Journey
  4. The History of Coffee, National Coffee Association USA
  5. The Future of Coffee: 2019, Mintel
  6. The Future of Coffee: 2019, Mintel
  7. The Future of Coffee: 2019, Mintel
  8. The Future of Coffee: 2019, Mintel
  9. The Growing Acceptance of Veganism, Forbes, 2018