U.S. Consumers Crave Upscale Coffee

The number of American adults who enjoy a daily cup of coffee remained steady in 2013, the annual National Coffee Association of USA’s National Coffee Drinking Trends study showed. However, the popularity of espresso-based coffee drinks such as cappuccinos and lattes, jumped with 18% of the 3,000 adults surveyed saying they drink these daily. This is up from 13% last year.

Americans are also drinking more gourmet coffee on a daily basis, with 34% of the adults surveyed saying they drink this every day, up from 31% in 2013.

Gourmet coffee is defined as espresso-based drinks as well as regular coffee made with beans that the drinker considers gourmet.

The way Americans are brewing their own coffee has also changed, with 29% of the survey respondents saying they made their previous day’s java with a single-cup brewer. This is up sharply from 20% in 2013.

The surge comes as Americans buy more single-cup brewing systems, such as Keurig Green Mountain Inc’s brewers, which instantly make one cup of coffee at a time with “K-cups”.

Of those surveyed, 15% said they had a single-cup brewer in their homes, up from 12% one year prior and 10% in 2012, and 25% said they were likely to buy one in the next six months.

Many major U.S. roasters including Maxwell House maker Kraft Foods Group sell their coffee in K-cups, which are single pods filled with roast and ground beans that are placed in the brewer.

This study has been done annually since 1950, and includes adults 18 years and older. It was conducted online from mid-January to mid-February.

Five Coffee Trends Raising the Coffee Bar
Coffee is finding its rightful place amongst the gourmet crowd, NCA identified five coffee trends that cover a spectrum of professional and personal choices that are influencing the way people drink their coffee. Many are focused on the quality and freshness of the extraction, often with a desire to brew a single cup or smaller volume of coffee more effectively and delicious-tasting.

Small batch roasting is spreading across the country as a growing trend. Coffee shops are micro roasting green coffee beans. Coffee roasters are using equipment to brew smaller, more consistent batches of coffee, much as New York Coffee does. This trend has gone so far that many coffee fanatics are starting to roast green coffee beans at home. You really can’t get any fresher than that.

The last couple of years have seen the rise of the cold brewed coffee. This is coffee brewed in room temperature or lower water for as much as 24 hours. The cold extraction of coffee compounds provides a smoother, less bitter extraction that many compare to dark chocolate. While this method involves patience, it results in such an excellent brew that many companies are now bottling and selling cold brew coffee.

Pour over coffee is gaining in popularity so quickly that coffee shops across the country are investing in pour over coffee equipment to meet the demands of consumers. Pour over coffee brewing is accomplished by putting a coffee filter into a glass or ceramic funnel, packing it with ground coffee, and then pouring boiled water through the grounds for the freshest extraction possible. Pour over coffee enthusiasts rave about the coffee produced with this method of home coffee brewing.

Ever since Starbucks stormed the American coffee scene in the 90s, Americans have been drinking more and more dark roast coffee. The trend seems to be reversing after nearly twenty years of dark roast dominance. Developing American palates are seeking out more complex flavors and really seeking to taste the bean rather than the roast. Light roast coffee is the way to do it.

Fresh, fresh, fresh! That’s how people want their coffee these days, leaving behind old stale carafes of heated-all-day coffee and embracing a single cup of coffee brewed on demand. While some use the pour over method to accomplish this goal, many are turning to single cup coffee makers to enjoy a fresh brew that is easy and convenient. Single-serve coffee makers are leading the way with this trend, but many other brands are arriving on the market to meet this consumer demand.infographic


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