The growing popularity of online shopping has made the buying experience more convenient than ever.
As a result, consumers are prioritising convenience when it comes to purchases, and often expect retailers to offer innovative ways to save them time and effort.
Within the coffee industry, this has seen a rise in sales for convenient coffee options, such as capsules, drips bags, and takeaway orders. As tastes and trends in the sector evolve, roasters and coffee shops must adapt to meet the needs of the younger, always-on-the-go generation.
This is particularly important, considering 9 out of 10 customers say they are likely to choose a retailer or brand based on convenience alone. Additionally, 97% of consumers have backed out of a purchase because it was inconvenient for them.
For roasters and coffee shop owners, there are many factors to consider when trying to appeal to those looking for fast, convenient ways to brew and consume coffee.
For more insight as to why convenience has become so important to coffee consumers, I spoke with the owner of Yardstick Coffee in Manila, Philippines, Andre Chanco.
How can convenience influence consumer buying decisions?
Specialty coffee developed its foundations on steel conical burr grinders, swan-necked kettles and digital scales.
That said, getting the most out of high-quality beans has long been a craft that takes time to perfect. However, for a new wave of modern consumers, it’s about more than unlocking the finer nuances of specialty coffees.
“Convenience can mean many things,” says Andre, who is also a green bean buyer. “It can mean access to coffee, the ability to brew in faster or easier ways, and to make ourselves more available to new and existing customers.”
“As everyone gets busier, roasters are looking at ‘convenience’ across all facets without compromising quality,” he adds.
With convenience in mind, coffee consumers are now looking for more than just the best whole beans.
The desire to find a balance between quality and accessibility has influenced how modern coffee drinkers receive their daily caffeine boost.
Many consumers are juggling an active lifestyle with work, school runs, and social activities.
Coffee products that reduce the time spent in lines, or the need to grind and brew whole beans could be the answer they are looking for – without having to sacrifice on quality.
Does convenience trump quality for younger coffee consumers?
Convenience as a driving feature behind consumer decision-making has often been the case with consumers who favour the ease of a drive-thru window, or the simplicity of instant coffee.
In the past, many roasters tended to opt for whole bean or ground coffee, believing that instant lacks the high level of quality and flavour to be deemed “specialty”.
However, with a global market value of more than $12 billion, the instant coffee sector is on the rise once again. That said, the added intervention of specialty coffee has helped bring clarity to the supply chain, and raise the quality of ingredients used.
“I think there are two types of home-brewers: enthusiasts and aficionados,” Andre explains. “For enthusiasts, it’s just about getting their daily dose of caffeine fuss-free, and being happy with the outcome.
“For aficionados, they don’t mind experimenting with brew parameters on a daily basis.”
Andre says that everyone may not have the time to dial in a coffee every day, or have the option to brew with an espresso machine.
“Thus, we want to make their daily ritual as simple as possible, regardless of the brewing method.”
Brewing coffee in a specialist piece of equipment can add to the enjoyment of those who enjoy freshly ground beans. But, for some, it may not be the most convenient or affordable option.
“We recently did a survey across 100 customers,” Andrew says, “And quality still came out as the priority. Here, we see convenience as a value-added perk for those who already enjoy quality coffee at home or in cafes.”
So, finding ways to lower the barriers between convenience and the consumption of high-quality coffee has become a focus for many coffee roasters.
What are the critical areas that can make coffee more convenient for customers?
As Andre mentioned, convenience can come in many shapes and sizes.
For many coffee lovers, equipment such as a portable hand grinder and an Aeropress makes for a convenient coffee set-up. Both are easy to transport and require fewer steps than a pour-over.
However, as the industry has evolved, the demand for high quality, accessible, and convenient coffee has led to roasters adapting their products.
For example, some have chosen to produce their own line of specialty coffee capsules that can be used at home or in offices. Some have created a range of drip coffee bags as they are portable and easy to use.
Others, such as Yardstick Coffee, have chosen to adopt a more “retro” approach by using quality coffee beans to create their own instant coffee.
“Flash coffee is our freeze-dried specialty coffee,” Andre says. “We launched it during the Covid-19 pandemic, and it has been incredibly successful.”
The offering is for those who enjoy coffee in places where they would not have access to proper brewing methods, such as while camping, on an aeroplane, or even at home,
“The main benefit is that the customer gets the best coffee without having to think of any recipes,” he adds. “They can also easily brew coffees side by side to do taste comparisons.”
Thanks to a greater understanding of flavour profiles, roasters can select beans that shine when brewed and freeze-dried.
This allows customers to choose a flavour profile they enjoy, with an additional level of quality and traceability that separates specialty coffee from the older brands of jarred freeze-dried coffee.
Coffee bags are another product that is steadily finding its place in the market. Sealed in airtight packaging, coffee bags offer consumers a more compact solution.
They replicate a similar cup profile to a French press, without needed fragile equipment. This makes them ideal for campers, hikers and avid travellers.
A bonus with coffee bags is having access to varying roast levels applied to the beans inside. Lighter roasts tend to hold higher acidity and fruitier profiles, while will suit those who enjoy flavourful black coffee.
In contrast, a consumer who prefers to add milk or sugar can choose a medium to dark roast.
As convenience becomes increasingly important to customers, roasters must adapt by minimising the steps required to get a great cup of coffee.
At MTPak Coffee, we understand every customer has their tastes and preferences when it comes to convenience, which will influence their buying decisions.
This is why we offer recyclable drip coffee bags, filters, and packaging boxes, which can be fully customised to reflect your brand and commitment to sustainability.
Our drip coffee bag options are made using food-grade, non-woven materials that are 100% biodegradable and will not alter the flavour of your coffee.