Coffee is no longer about getting that all-important caffeine hit, and it certainly isn’t that thing you order at the diner that you know nothing about. No ma’am. Coffee, you see, is now a lifestyle choice. It’s what you drink to feel whole and good and pure again.
Although it might seem like we know everything we can about coffee, the industry still has a lot to learn. The third wave of coffee means that we’re now actively educating consumers on coffee production, equality within the industry and where coffee beans come from, but there’s more work to be done, and the fourth wave of coffee is right around the corner.
Here are some key coffee trends to watch for in 2019.
1. Nitro cold brewing
We saw a lot of nitro cold-brewed coffee in 2018, but this year it’s set to really take off. That’s right. Cold-brewed coffee infused with nitrogen gas will mean you can enjoy a naturally sweet, velvety cup of cold coffee on a warm summer’s day.
It’s also often poured straight from a tap, so you can feel like you’re drinking a cold stout when it’s only 10 in the morning. Not too bad, right?
2. Chemex coffee
Chemex coffee is a lost coffee-brewing artform. In 2019, however, we can expect to see the Chemex cup return to most coffee shops across the country.
Many specialty stores already brew coffee using Chemex equipment, and the pour over method of making coffee is undoubtedly on the rise. And like everything we’ve observed in the coffee company, the specialty coffee stores often set the trends for other coffee players. It’s likely, then, that bigger firms will adopt the Chemex pour over as a new way to entice consumers to buy their (rather disgusting) coffee.
3. Coffee drone delivery
This one is a fun one! Amazon are sending packages via drones to peoples houses now. Delivery company Deliveroo are looking to deliver food via drones, too. But that’s not all. IBM have recently patented technology that recognises when someone is tired and delivers them a coffee… via a drone.
Cool, or creepy?
According to an article in the BBC, ‘the patent describes a drone that can identify the “cognitive state” of office workers and lower cups of coffee on an “unspooling string”.’ No longer will an office worker need to leave their desk to source a cup of coffee. Heck, they don’t even have to avert their eyes from the screen to get a refill.
Too far? Yes, we think so. Expect to see further testing of this technology in 2019.
4. Store-bought instant blends
There’s been a lot of talk about specialty coffee lately, and about the ‘experience’ of drinking a cup of coffee, but while this chatter has gone on, there’s been a rise in store-bought instant blends. To many, coffee is nothing more than a slightly tasty thing that wakes them up in the morning; the minor details are irrelevant.
In 2019, we can expect to see a rise in the consumption of store-bought instant blends, and we can expect to see a rise in their quality, too.
5. Data-driven coffee
Whether you like it or not, we’re now a fully-functioning, data-driven society. We track our sleeping habits, our step counts and our calorie intake from our mobile, and chance are, we’ll begin to use apps to monitor not just our coffee consumption, but our caffeine intake (in mgs), too.
This is no bad thing, so long as your data doesn’t put you off enjoying a nice Sunday evening cup of coffee because you’ve ‘exceeded your limit’.
6. The rise in non-dairy milk
Soya, almonds, oats… you name it, alternative milk options are now readily available on the market, and at affordable prices, too. As we become more aware of what we eat and drink as a society, we’ll likely continue to see the switch up from traditional dairy drinks to alternative non-dairy options. Quartzy even predict that ‘Oat milk is poised to take over the U.S.’.
It’s all for the greater good of everything
Will 2019 bring with it the fourth wave in coffee?
That’s a tough question to answer, and it depends on what the fourth wave of coffee might be. To some, we’re already there, and to others, we haven’t yet begun the journey.
What we do know, however, is that progress in coffee is being made, and on a daily basis. We’re more educated now than before about the entire coffee chain; we know exactly where our beans come from; we understand how different brewing methods can affect a cup of coffee; and we have good, working alternatives to traditional dairy.
But there’s still work to be done, and the industry has a long way to go before it can definitively say that it has exited the third wave of coffee and entered the fourth. Perhaps with all our data-driven analytics, we can paint a better picture. In the words of the great T.S. Eliot:
‘I have measured out my life with coffee spoons.’