It is an undeniable fact that coffee has been the world’s most popular beverage for many decades. However, over the last fifteen years, there has been a sudden surge in the demand and consumption of coffee. Every year we see more and more coffee shops coming up and each of them seems to be doing well. Wondering why? Wondering who consumes all this coffee? Research carried out by various organizations states that the millennials are responsible for close to 50% of the coffee consumption in the United States alone. Based on a number of variables, studies have concluded that millennials are indeed demanding more from their cup of Joe! Let’s go over some of those reasons.
Millennials have a very different take on their breakfast, as compared to the previous demographic groups. Since they have more to-dos than they have time, sitting down with the family for breakfast on workdays and on school days, is all too time-consuming. Millennials seek the ease of portability. This is why the preference for options such as coffee that can be had on-the-go is on the rise. Many restaurant owners and cafe chains said that with the newly evolving trends, for the millennials, coffee is their breakfast.
Having control over their choices is one of the typical characteristics of millennials. Baristas at coffee shops say that they see the same patrons (in most cases, the age group of millennials) multiple times on the same day. In the morning, the customer will want a regular coffee so that they are fresh for work. Around mid-morning, the same customer asks for espresso as they need a stronger caffeine kick to get on with their day. During the afternoon or early evening, they want something more relaxed like a latte or a cappuccino.
A millennial considers coffee more than just a product. They look at it as an experience which they connect to in such a way as if the coffee has more value than the beverage itself. In comparison to various demographic groups, millennials are more culinary conscious and informed about the ingredients they consume. Like any other food, they want their coffee to be sustainably produced and ethically sourced. They are keen to find out what is the origin of the beans i.e. if it is organic or if it has been acquired through fair trade etc. Millennials place great importance on experience and quality as well. In order to respond to these shifting trends, many coffee brands have ensured their packaging evolves to mirror the preference of the consumers.
The coffee culture offers everything a millennial seeks – experience, status, and personalization. Millennials are one of the most social demographic. They prefer to catch up with their friends and social circles at coffee shops. The better / high end the coffee shop, the more socially validated they feel about their lifestyle. If you think steep prices of coffee at expensive cafes can be a potential deterrent, you are mistaken. Millennials look at it as a subtle display of their social status.
In the age of social media, our lives revolve around those perfect captures to post on Instagram for more likes and followers. Baristas around the world are tirelessly creating new latte art and innovative presentation styles to satiate the validation seeking millennial. For the millennial who demands more from their coffee, so many cafes have introduced a variety to choose from. Cafes offer espresso, Americano, iced coffee, coffee slushies, bulletproof coffee, matcha lattes, etc. Since millennials are open to experimenting with their coffee, the trend that has caught on in recent times is to brew their coffee differently. It comes as no surprise that cold brews and nitrogen-infused coffee are gaining exponential popularity. Besides baristas, even mixologists have upped their game. They are keeping up with the popularity of coffee among millennials by creating caffeine-based alcoholic beverages.
Yet another coffee that has been impressing the millennial coffee connoisseur is gourmet coffee. What is this gourmet coffee you ask? Well, allow us to break it down for you. Origin of the bean determines the non-gourmet or gourmet status of the coffee. In simple words, the coffee beans are classified into two main divisions. One is Robusta – this is more commonly available. The other is Arabica – this one isn’t grown as commonly as Robusta, making it rarer. Another defining feature of gourmet coffee is the depth of the taste. Beans that are pre-maturely harvested are likely to have a bitter taste. Coffee connoisseurs say that the taste of the coffee beans tends to be less bitter when they are hand-picked. Hand-picking the coffee beans make the process of harvesting more labor-intensive, which in turn adds to the price of the coffee. However, it is important to bear in mind that price does not give gourmet status to the coffee.
A new segment has been added to the gourmet coffee category by the NCA (National Coffee Association). This segment is called non-espresso based beverages. This naturally means the millennial who wants more from their coffee can look forward to more experimentation as mocha, cappuccinos, lattes, Café Au Lait and Americano will be left behind. Besides traditional hot brews, you can also expect the gourmet coffees to include cold brews, frozen blended as well as nitro coffee.
The millennials are a generation of woke people. They are aware of what coffee they are drinking. They know exactly what they want when they want it and how they want it. The ever so curious millennials have educated themselves about how their daily doses of caffeine mixes are made. Their taste is very refined. They are aware of the consequences of their intake and also conscious of their health. With more spending power than ever, millennials are willing to pay more for their coffee as long as it does not compromise on the quality and the experience they derive out of it.