While 2020 has not gone how many would have expected, the changes COVID-19 has brought to the coffee industry are likely to have a lasting impact.
American roaster Onyx Coffee Lab is one of many businesses that has had to adapt to operating within the global pandemic. Jon Allen, Founder of Onyx Coffee Lab, says the shift to take-away was the most prominent trend of 2020.
“COVID has forced us to really innovate in how drinks are both presented and enjoyed. Glassware, presentation and the physical way to drink a beverage has a major impact in the flavour profile, expectation, and general enjoyment. For instance, currently all of our drinks are consumed from a lid or straw. This impacts the way we can layer different tactile experiences, temperatures and garnishes,” Allen says.
“Overall, we have an incredible team who has innovated classic Onyx drinks and new seasonal beverages that highlight the ‘take-away’ experience.”
The FRIIA water system from Marco Beverage Systems makes it possible to experiment with these types of seasonal beverages. Pouring hot, cold, or sparkling water from the single tap, a barista can seamlessly move between customising different drinks.
Marco Beverage Systems has had a strong history in the coffee industry, particularly with its SP9 automatic coffee brewer. Company CEO Drewry Pearson predicts many movements on the horizon for the coffee industry.
“To understand trends in coffee, it is best first to try to identify the drivers of those trend,” says Pearson.
He identifies five key drivers that will push new coffee trends in 2021.
- COVID and “lockdown” coffee.
“Clearly the closure of many sectors of the hospitality industry throughout the world has driven immediate major changes in the coffee industry,” Pearson says.
He adds that “every action creates and equal and opposing reaction”, so closure of indoor hospitality will lead to a greater role of:
- Outdoor dining
- Takeaway coffee
- Drive through coffee
- Home delivery coffee
- Coffee sold at outdoor markets
- The location of new coffee shops in the suburbs and short-term decline in city centre out lets to facilitate the trend to working from home
- Coffee roasted and sold for the explosion in domestic/at home coffee
- The emulation in “at-home coffee” of the experience of professional coffee, “the main beneficiaries of which will be the pod coffee companies, especially Nestlé and JAB,” Pearson says.
- COVID and cost management
“COVID will accelerate the trend towards optimising workflows and reducing costs in the retail sector. In large and wealthy organisations, such as petrol stations and c-stores, there will be the installation of bean-to-cup ‘robots’ to replace operatives,” Pearson says.
“In less wealthy outlets there will be a move towards higher quality instant and concentrate coffees to achieve the same end. If the retailer is suffering, cost savings will be driven down the chain to coffee origin, so price and quality are also likely to suffer.”
- Environmental Issues
“Environmental issues will start to have an impact, commencing with the rejection of single-use plastics and paper cups. This is just the beginning. Carbon footprint labelling is on the way as part of the dramatic shifts required to meet the target of a carbon neutral world by 2050,” Pearson says.
- Deglobalisation geopolitical tensions
“The emergence of China and Asia as the centre of global economic development and wealth will drive the reversal of global cooperation towards ‘Trumpian’ division,” Pearson says.
“This in turn will accelerate the emergence regional cultural identity as opposed to accepting global and ‘old world’ brands.”
He predicts this will lead to an emergence of many different styles of coffee, such as Indian, Vietnamese, Indonesian, and iced/cold/nitro/bubble cups. It’s in these areas that a versatile system like FRIIA could prove useful.
- Generational shift
“Generation Z are increasingly replacing Millennials in influencing consumer trends. Millennials are all about coffee perfection, terroir, roasting, extraction, right down to store design and ambience,” Pearson says.
“The Z Generation are about experimentation and virtual experience. Anything goes, mix it up and see what comes out the other end.”
Marco Beverage Systems is catering to these new trends with the soon-to-be-released POUR’D undercounter solution for hot and cold coffee. The tap system allows a coffee shop to seamlessly serve hot and cold coffee beverages from diluted coffee concentrates kept under the bench.
Looking ahead, Onyx Coffee Lab’s Allen hopes for a resurgence of community to be a driving trend of 2021.
“I personally realise how much I took for granted within our industry. I lament the social and community aspect of coffee that now escapes us. Working in a 10,000-square-foot [three-square-kilometre] café and roastery that is empty except for our staff animates a real tangible loss that we experience all throughout our workday. The background conversations, kids running, seeing familiar faces, and watching new ventures and businesses spring forth. All of this is gone and all that’s left is to roast coffee and make beverages,” Allen says.
“This may sound obvious but the difference between our beautiful industry and many other manufacturing/hospitality jobs is people, culture, and community. This is something I hope returns in whatever form is possible in the future.”
For more information, visit www.marcobeveragesystems.com