Funny-man Jerry Seinfeld hit the nail on the head when he said, “We want to do a lot of stuff; we’re not in great shape. We didn’t get a good night’s sleep. We’re a little depressed. Coffee solves all these problems in one delightful little cup.” Coffee and speciality coffee, in particular, are fast becoming the beverage of choice in America with speciality sales increasing by as much as 20% per year, according to E-importz.
While many Americans still enjoy a regular cup of Joe, up to 50% of the population turn to speciality coffees such as espressos, lattes, cappuccinos and cold brews while closely following the latest trends the industry has to offer. Coffee drinkers are becoming more fastidious in their preferences, seeking out interesting and unusual brews in addition to their regular caffeine fix. Apart from new flavour offerings in terms of both instant and brewed coffee, a few other trends are still continuing strongly amongst American consumers.
Cold brew coffee remains one of the most popular cold beverages sold at coffee shops across the USA. Cold brew coffee is significantly stronger than traditionally brewed coffee and also contains less acidic and bitter flavours, rendering it an overall sweeter taste. Nitro coffees (cold brews infused with nitrogen) are becoming increasingly popular due to their rich, creamy texture. Nitro coffee is generally very strong and a number of companies have started selling it in cans that can be conveniently purchased at your nearest grocery store.
Direct-trade and fair trade coffee
Coffee drinkers are becoming increasingly concerned about where their favourite beverage comes from. Direct trade coffee aims to cut out the middleman completely, allowing coffee shops to purchase directly from the farmer. Consumers feel that, by drinking coffee from a single farmer, they are assured the best quality brew each and every time. Direct trade also benefits the farmer and the coffee shop as the farmer gets a larger portion of the profits and the coffee shop is guaranteed direct access to fresh, high-quality coffee beans.
Fair Trade coffee standards encourage the use of sustainable agricultural practices in terms of growing coffee with most Fair Trade coffee also being certified as organic. In order to be certified as Fair Trade, farmers have to follow sustainable practices which include environmental preservation as well as ethical labour systems. While direct trade focuses on procuring the best coffee beans possible, Fair Trade aims to improve the lives and business prospects of the coffee producer.
Low acid coffee
The acids in coffee are what supply us with the vivid, tart flavours that we all find so alluring. Unfortunately, these acids can lead to a great deal of health-related complications such as tooth decay, heartburn and acid reflux. Cue the introduction of low-acid coffee that is becoming increasingly popular amongst health-fanatics and general coffee-fundies alike. Low-acid coffee is gentle on the body and is typically made from Arabica beans which are harder to grow, produce a smoother, sweeter and richer taste and contain less caffeine and acid. Coffee shops around the globe have started offering low-acid brews in a bid to attract an even more diverse coffee-drinking market. If your favourite coffee outlet does not have a specific low-acid coffee opt for a darker roast as coffee beans that have been roasted for longer will have more acid burned off. Espresso Italian and French Roasts are generally good examples of low-acid dark roasts.
Whether you are a coffee-connoisseur that can tell a medium-from a dark roast just by sniffing it or simply an average Joe who enjoys a good cup of coffee, you will find the brew of your dreams amongst the myriad of options on the market. Coffee trends may come and go but the ability to appreciate a delicious cup of steaming (or icy-cold) java will evoke memories that will last forever.