Think that line at Starbucks is growing longer every day? You may not be imagining things. A National Coffee Drinking Trends report conducted in early 2017 found that a whopping 62% of those surveyed said they indulged in a hot cup of joe on a daily basis. That’s a 5% jump over the previous year’s findings but what’s even more fascinating is that the increase is most noticeable in young coffee lovers and those java aficionados are showing a marked interest in the gourmet varieties and specialty drinks.
Mochas for Millennials
Bankrate.com asked 1,000 people how often they did common activities like ordering take-out from restaurants or grabbing brewed coffee while on the go. Some 29% of Millennials, defined as those between the ages of 18 and 36, said they were paying for gourmet coffee a minimum of three times per week. At an average of $5 per cup, that works out to $15 per week and about $780 each year, a not insignificant investment in something that is basically a luxury. Why the growing attraction and expenditure? The drive behind expanding specialty coffee habits is likely two-fold. First, younger Americans tend to be more social, hanging out in groups and opting for coffeehouses over bars due to age restrictions, budgetary concerns, cultural norms (it’s far more acceptable to grab a coffee with a friend at 9 am versus a martini), and WiFi availability.
Millennials also tend to be more experience driven. They’re less focused on price concerns and more interested in peripheral considerations like the ambiance of the coffee house or the story behind the beans themselves. Today’s coffee drinkers aren’t simply looking for a quick caffeine jolt. They want more than cheap beans and a weak brew. In fact, some experts claim Millennials view buying coffee as “an emotional experience” and they may have a point.
Coffee Matters: The Quest for Quality, Sustainability, and More
Marketing studies show that millennials are more likely to buy coffee from brands that emphasize sustainability as well as organic beans and environmentally friendly practices and they’re willing to pay more for coffee that meets that criteria. There’s also a conspicuous gravitation towards industry innovations, throwback brewing methods, and exotic beans with tasting notes like the ones you’d previously only find on the back of wine bottles. Coffee shops offer pour-over brewing and Chemex coffeemakers instead of traditional drip machines and there are even nitro-powered kegs that offer creamier, less coffee at the quick flip of a tap. We’re not just searching coffee, we’re searching for coffee with a back story.
The Convenience Factor; Out the Window?
You only have to gaze at the mobile phone you’re likely reading this on to recognize how busy our lives have become. We browse articles in the carpool lane, check email while we’re waiting for class to start, and trade memes while in line at the grocery store. And, of course, we’re buying our coffee ready made, whether that means swinging by a coffee shop or snagging bottled brews at the gas station or supermarket. Sales of carbonated soft drinks are actually down and brands producing bottled cold brews, almond milk lattes, and other specialty coffees are racing to fill in the gap.
This actually contradicts what most millennials are doing in their search for the perfect cup of joe. 71% of Millennial specialty coffee drinkers actually take the time to prepare their coffee at home. The most popular grinder among this gourmet coffee group is the Capresso Conical Burr Grinder and for the those without the budget to use this electric bean grinder, a hand burr grinder will do the trick. The two most popular brewing methods which optimize smoothness and bring for the beans' true flavor are the Chemex and the Hario V60. Both are very reasonably priced and a must for the true gourmet coffee drinker.
What constitutes the “best coffee” may be a somewhat controversial topic but Millennials are making their opinions heard by putting their money where their mouth is – literally. The U.S. coffee market generates a staggering $48 billion annually, and more than half of that is expected to go towards specialty coffee next year – much of it thanks to younger crowds chasing a better way to live, socialize, and sip. Are you ready to take advantage of the top quality coffees fighting for visibility and shelf space? Study up because premium brews are coming and they’re tastier than ever and their affordability may surprise you.