Coffee Megatrend #6: Baristas will be the creative force behind our future innovation

By John Buckner — SVP, National Account Sales


As the largest coffee and tea manufacturer and supplier to restaurants and convenience stores in America, we are in tune with the trends of the away-from-home market for coffee — which entails 10 billion servings annually and is growing at a 6 percent clip. In this blog series, we will walk through 10 mega trends we’re seeing in the coffee industry.

Every industry needs a creative force to periodically reinvent itself. Our creative force is over 200,000 strong, and these amazing coffee artists are called baristas.

With speed and accuracy they build a beverage that is customized to delight our consumers, and they inject the industry with imagination, innovation and entrepreneurship.

The next mega-trend is #6.  Baristas will be the creative force behind our future innovation.

S&D is full of people who are passionate about coffee and tea, and one of these individuals is process engineer Steven Lim, who also works as a barista and latte artist in his off-time. Steven was named the winner of the 2015 Coffee Fest PDX Latte Art World Championship Open.

Curious about his dual roles in the coffee industry, I asked, “Steven, you work all week. What drives you to barista in your spare time?”

For Steven, it boils down to his passion for customers and perfecting his art.

He said, “The customer should receive coffee that is both consistently delicious and beautiful, and I am addicted to serving the customer. Fast art with precise service leads to some of the best multi-tasking the world has to offer. Watching an experienced barista work is magic. It’s like a dance. They invent new ways to use the coffee in espresso, coffee or extracts.”

Steven’s right. Baristas are magic, and they literally manufacture innovation one smile at a time.

In recent research, millennials said baristas were…

  • The #2 factor in supporting the claim that the establishment is high quality
  • A top factor in supporting the claim that the coffee is upscale
  • And the #1 factor in supporting the perception that the beverages are hand-crafted

So, baristas may just be the most cost-effective marketing strategy you can buy.

It is Steven and thousands of others — mostly young people making less than $15.00 an hour — who are constantly bringing energy to our industry. And being a barista isn’t typically their end-game, but it IS their introduction to coffee.

Let’s make a commitment to get to know our baristas, encourage them and promote their creativity. These individuals are the heartbeat of the coffee industry!