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Coffee Trends in 2018

Like entertainment and clothing, food and beverage go through trends. Coffee doesn’t escape this phenomenon and every year different trends grow or die off. In 2018 there are quite a few trends that are floating around in the coffee arena. Here’s what to watch for.   trends in coffee  



Without consideration for “how young is too young,” (we’re just looking at the actual trends) it’s amazing to see how young people are when they start drinking coffee. Today, kids as young as 13 are already drinking coffee. This age group is the Post-millennial or Gen Z (the age group which follows the Millennials) and is the fastest growing group in the coffee drinking world. The Millennial demographic is currently the largest age group at 44% of coffee consumption in the US. Gen Z is poised to over run this. Millennials born closer to 1982 started drinking coffee at around 17.1 years old while those born closer to 1995 started at around 14.7 years old. (citation)  


Americans' palates run much sweeter than those from other countries. And youth palates run much sweeter than those of adults. In order to garner sales from these younger palates, more and more sweet and creamy coffee beverages are showing up on menus. Think coffee shakes, syrups, affogato, and more.  


Our youth are also always on the run with all the activities they have been raised with (football, skating, music, etc.) so their drinks need to be able to keep up with them. Ready-to-drink coffees are grab and go and are typically pre-sweetened. Speed of service is necessary to keep these kids going.  

Gourmet Coffee

Direct Trade

As we become more global, we want to know about our coffee and we want to know that those who are providing our coffee–meaning those who grow, harvest, and processing it, not just selling it–are being taken care of while they are providing high-quality coffee that is the freshest and best tasting. Check out our Direct Trade coffees here.  

Fair Trade

Different from Direct Trade, Fair Trade is not necessarily obtaining the best coffee but does focus on the improvement of the businesses, areas/farms, and lives of those who produce the coffee. We also have Fair Trade coffees here.  

Third Wave

Coffee is in its “Third Wave” now. What exactly is third wave? Well, first wave was coffee as a necessity and second wave was coffee as a luxury. Third wave is coffee as an artisanal type of drink… like wine. Like it was mentioned in the direct trade section above, people want to know more about the growing conditions, the farms, the people, the types of beans, how they are processed, how they are roasted, and more. In other words, people want the origin story of their coffee, and they’re willing to pay for it.  

To Your Health

We’ve all seen the posts, articles, and studies about how healthy coffee is for us. In addition, there are people who swear by what they put in their coffee to make it even healthier. One well known healthy version is Bulletproof Coffee. Made with butter and MCT oil, this coffee is purported to be low carb, filling, and gives you lots of energy. Other healthy add-ins people are using – protein powder and collagen powder, a SCOBY (think kombucha tea), and beneficial herbs and spices like cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, and turmeric. Expect to see more healthy coffee recipes coming along.  

Specialty Drinks

We’ve already talked about cold brew coffee, but did you know there are other interesting ways of preparing coffee? Bubbles are hot right now with nitro coffee being a big hit. But if you’re looking for a different kind of bubble or want to make it yourself, making coffee drinks by combining espresso with tonic water is now a thing. And those Gen Z focused shakes are considered specialty but did you know coffee cocktails are as well? Cheers!  


Going a step, or maybe a leap, beyond specialty drinks are these coffee items. - Mushroom coffee – this is coffee with a specific type of mushroom mixed in to help lessen the caffeine crash.   - Coffee making equipment – whether it’s a beautiful espresso machine, a fancy cold brewer, or a sexy steampunk machine, what makes your coffee can be an interesting piece.   - Foods made with coffee – beyond your usual chocolate covered coffee beans, we are now looking at chocolate bars, gummies, and other candies made with coffee.  

Speed of Service

Also mentioned in the Gen Z section, we appear to be moving away from the slow coffee methods, like pour overs, and looking for ease and speed. Batching of coffee and coffee drinks is coming back into fashion. Because getting your coffee and going about your day is more important than waiting around for water to be painstakingly drizzled over coffee grounds.  

'Gram It

Those sweet drinks from the Gen Z section? Regardless of who they’re being made for they better look good because they will likely end up on someone’s Instagram or Snapchat feed. Don’t be surprised by glitter coffee, rainbow lattes, or bright pink cappuccinos. Remember the Unicorn Frappuccino? Not only are the actual coffees of interest, vessels are starting to get attention as well. Coffee cups or mugs are being pushed aside for cappuccino bowls in interesting colors and finishes.  


Last, but certainly not least, one of the most interesting trends is the experience of coffee. Like wine and whiskey, coffee is seeing an uptick in tastings. Learning to pick out aromas and tastes between varying coffees from different countries makes for a fun afternoon. Touring a roastery is interesting as you learn what different roast levels are and watch a batch of coffee spinning around. And coffee festivals are popping up across the country allowing coffee lovers to get together to learn and experience everything they can about their favorite brew.   Which of these trends is your favorite? Did we miss something you think we should have included? Let us know in the comments!
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