Taking a Look at Trends in Coffee

As Manager of Product Innovation, one of my key responsibilities is to scan the horizon for the next best thing. As a result I am always on the search for new trends — trying to understand where we are in the “wave.” I gather a lot of information from the environment around me, but also at unique events such as barista competitions, BGA Camp, food expos, etc. Each one of these events can tell you a lot about the next best thing. Here are a few things that I have seen pop up:

  • When it comes to coffee and coffee processing, we will see more Geisha as crops begin to produce, and natural processed coffees will be heralded for their wonderful complexity and range of uses.
  • Simplicity will be used to help create complexity. Singular flavors will mix with coffee to highlight only certain flavor areas of the beverage. These highlights will mostly help to bring the espresso into an incredible complexity.
    • Bitter will help balance this complexity and remain a foundational property of the top winning drinks.
    • Amaros will inspire many coffee-based cocktails, and amaros made from or with coffee will begin to be released or prototyped.
  • Simple sugars will strike a balance with complex sugars.
  • We will see the use of natural tones from oak to smoked cherry wood, with exploration into the use of barrel-aged green coffee and extracts.
  • Savory’s relationship to sour will dominate the market as sweet takes a back seat. Sour will be the new salt.
  • Tea and coffee will occasionally be in the same cup.
  • The story of the coffee continues to have greater influence on the buyer’s decision.

We are always working with these new flavor profiles and trends in both the coffee and extracts divisions of S&D. We have a lot of menu innovation happening, and we would be happy to hear your thoughts on what you see as the next development in coffee.