The consumption of coffee at home is a habit that has undergone a dramatic shift in recent years. Due to a combination of greater transparency, accessible equipment, and the rise of subscription services, the majority of Americans now consume their daily brew at home rather than at a café.
The impact of Covid-19 and associated worldwide lockdowns have also had a considerable impact, as many have been left with no choice but to change the way they consume coffee.
However, as lockdowns start to ease and coffee businesses reopen, it is unclear whether the preference for at-home coffee consumption is here to stay.
To find out more about this growing trend, I spoke with MTPak Coffee Brand Ambassador Roosa Jalonen.
See also: The Rise Of RTD & Cold Brew Coffee
Why Do People Drink Coffee At Home?
There are various reasons that consumers might choose to drink coffee at home rather than heading to a local café.
One is the rapid increase of coffee-making equipment and their relative affordability, which makes brewing coffee at home more attractive than ever before. Whether using a moka pot, French press, V60, or espresso machine, home consumers now have a wide selection of tools for making coffee.
According to a survey conducted by Sprudge, three-quarters of US consumers now use manual brewing techniques when making coffee at home, as opposed to instant coffee and basic filter coffee makers.
At the same time, the traditional nature of brewing quality coffee has experienced a dramatic shift. In recent years, home consumption of quality coffee has become more accessible, with an outpouring of books, videos, and podcasts dedicated to teaching people how to become better home baristas. YouTubers, such as James Hoffman, upload regular content on everything from improving your French press technique to getting the perfect amount of crema.
A greater appreciation for the culinary side of coffee has also caused coffee consumers to move their habits inside the comfort of their homes. Comunicaffe reports that over 40% of North Americans are willing to pay more for premium coffee to drink at home. Today, consumers value the quality and flavour of coffee over its ability to provide a quick caffeine fix.
How Has Covid-19 Affected Consumer Habits?
The Covid-19 pandemic and related lockdowns have had a considerable impact on the coffee sector. Researcher Marex Spectron estimates that globally more than 95% of the out-of-home coffee market has been closed at some point during the pandemic.
Roosa Jalonen is a certified arabica Q grader and Head of Production at The Gentlemen Baristas. She says that at-home consumption has risen during the pandemic as people have increasingly looked to recreate their favourite beverages outside of the coffee shop.
“If consumers are used to going for takeaway coffees during their days at work, I think it’s natural they want to recreate it as part of their daily routine,” she says.
Despite these closures, roasters and cafés have done exceedingly well to adapt to the ever-changing landscape of the coffee sector. For example, during the first weeks of national lockdown in the UK, it’s estimated that some 50% of coffee businesses introduced a home delivery service of some kind.
Similarly, in the US, subscription coffee sales rose by 109%, while the number of coffee businesses offering subscription services has increased by a quarter since the start of the pandemic.
The rapid growth of home delivery and subscription services have naturally prompted people to change the way they think about coffee. The personalised experience that a subscription provides may encourage consumers to continue spending more time and money on preparing their coffee at home.
Consumers can also learn more about their coffee with subscriptions than they can when grabbing a coffee on the go. This appeals to those who are interested in not only the flavour of their coffee but also information on where it was grown, how it was processed, and the methods used to roast it.
“As customers educate themselves on how to brew coffee, they will become more critical of the coffees they purchase,” Roosa adds.
The Future Of Home Consumption
The number of people consuming coffee at home has risen in the past few years, although the Covid-19 pandemic has driven serious growth in recent months. A study by Mintel found that the US at-home coffee market increased by 4.9% in 2020 (up to $15.6 billion) compared to 3.9% growth between 2015 to 2019.
However, research does also suggest that consumers are missing the café experience.
Allegra Strategies found that cafés remain a top priority for UK consumers, with 42% reporting that they missed visiting coffee shops during lockdowns – the second highest figure by percentage after “seeing family and friends”.
Indeed, around half of UK coffee drinkers state that they intend to go back to visiting coffee shops once more restrictions are lifted, while a third suggest they will visit more often once it is safe to do so. They cited feeling closer to their communities and supporting local businesses as the main reasons.
Roosa believes that while consuming coffee at home has become popular, people miss the physical interactions that come with buying coffee out.
“The increase in at-home brewing will have made people appreciate talented baristas and face-to-face service at coffee shops even more,” she explains.
Higher rates of at-home coffee consumption in recent years, particularly since the outbreak of Covid-19, have encouraged many specialty coffee roasters to change the way they operate. With the rise of home delivery options and subscription services, more and more roasters have started focusing on traceability and increasing information on their packaging, such as home brewing instructions.
And although there is a clear sense that consumers are missing the traditional café experience during Covid-19 lockdowns, home consumption as a trend has long been on the rise.
At MTPak Coffee, we offer a range of sustainable packaging options for specialty coffee roasters, from fully compostable pouches to recyclable drip coffee bags. We can also help you create the ideal packaging for subscription coffee, with sturdy, multilayer pouches and degassing valves that keep coffee fresh.
For more information on coffee packaging, contact our team here.
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