Last month, Bar Luce opened in Milan to immediate acclaim mostly due to its sweetly quirky and imaginative design created by American filmmaker Wes Anderson. With almost sentimental attention to detail and a retro-wonderful aesthetic, the cafe mirrors the dreamy alternate worlds that Anderson is known for creating in such films such as The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and The Royal Tenenbaums. This concept cafe illustrates how consumers are flocking to brands, products and services that not only reflect a unique sense of style, but also offers them an experience that is poignant, personal and authentic. While this is true for all categories, it is particularly apt for coffee as consumers here range from habitual drinkers seeking ritual to connoisseurs on the hunt for authenticity to experimenters looking to try something new. To respond to the differing needs and desires of coffee consumers, it is important to have on-the-pulse awareness of what is happening in the category. Below are six coffee trends that are accompanying this renaissance of coffee culture that is steeped in quality artisanship, distinctive styling, and authentic experiences.
1. Back to Basics Say goodbye to mass market coffee cocktails and flavour additives. As consumers become more knowledgeable about coffee origins and flavours, they want to experience the original taste of coffee: no sugar, no milk, just black. This kind of coffee connoisseurship involves awareness of country origins, production processes and specific brewing methods including pour over, cafetiere, chemex, aeropress and cold press. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Txz8w34R7Ns&feature=youtu.be[/embed] 2. Science vs. Humanity As consumers discover more about coffee origins, bean roasting and brewing methods, they are eager to delve deeper into the science behind coffee making. For the devoted coffee aficionado, the technical craft of brewing is becoming more available and less intimidating through coffee fairs and events from the London Coffee Festival to individual coffee brewing master classes like the ones held at Workshop Coffee in London. 3. Signature Roasts Boutique coffee shops tend to target those coffee enthusiasts that are aware of where their coffee is sourced and made. Many are roasting and grinding their own beans and finding ways to emphasise the unique flavours through distinctive brand packaging. Consumers are guaranteed a local and authentic experience without mass market interference, and can even have their favourite artisan blends to savour at home or share with friends. 4. Breakfast Piccolo The Piccolo, commonly known as “low tide latte”, is made with a single espresso shot in a Macchiatto glass, which is then filled with steamed milk. It’s stronger and smaller than a latte - perfect for the coffee drinker who needs a coffee hit without getting too full – leaving space for breakfast.
Smaller coffee houses often have a smaller supply chain and individual relationships with the farmers that supply their beans. They are able to use this network to their advantage and further incorporate this down-to-earth mentality to their communication and design. This unique ethicool style flips ethical codes on their head in a way that mass market coffee companies aren’t able to do.
6. Coffee House Character Non-chain cafés need to give consumers a reason to spend £2.50 or more on a cup of coffee, rather than going to their local (probably cheaper) chain. To offer more to their customers, many have invested in creating a cool, stylised atmosphere - often founded on quite niche aesthetics - engaging consumers with inspired interior design and a unique branding and packaging style. Overall, these trends show a main tendency towards cultivating an awareness and appreciation of coffee culture, localised and original styling, and creating memorable experiences. Wes Anderson’s café is a perfect example of how consumers are eager to have more aspects of their lives a reflection of their identity and personal ethos – especially when it comes to such a particular element of daily life like coffee.