Do’s and don’ts of coffee shop trends

Janice Kanniah
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May 19, 2023

The ability to keep up with the hospitality, consumer, and coffee trends is one of many factors that can set a coffee shop apart from others. Business owners that get it right can tap into a lucrative and attention-grabbing offering that helps put their brand on the map. However, getting it wrong may deter loyal customers and generate long-lasting negative publicity. 

For coffee shop owners, relevant trends impacting your business may often encompass your choice of packaging, food and beverage offerings, as well as your decor. Some coffee trends, such as pumpkin spice lattes, may have outlived their projected lifespan due to their popularity, while others, like Dalgona coffee or deep-fried beans, fail to make lasting impressions. 

As a business owner, how can you differentiate a winning trend from a losing one? And how can you tell if it will suit your budget, capacity and existing customer base? Take a look at a few coffee shop trends currently impacting the market and how you can decide whether or not to adopt them.

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What trends are emerging in the coffee market?

In an industry like coffee, there’s no shortage of new innovations and emerging trends. However, any trend you wish to adopt should be tested and trialled with customers. In an interview, co-founder of Camber Coffee, David Yake, mentions balancing perspectives and opinions can help coffee shops determine if a prospective offering is suitable or not.

Trend #1 — Olive oil + coffee

The coffee Oleato combines specialty coffee with extra virgin olive oil. It was launched by Starbucks’ founder Howard Schultz, who describes it as “velvety smooth” and “deliciously lush” While it’s only currently available in the US, it is likely to debut in other countries over the next year. Notably, the beverage has had mixed reviews, with consumers stating that the taste is “fine” but that the combination created unpleasant digestive issues. 

While some may argue that all press is good press, this may only apply to large specialty chains that generate enough profit to ride out potential controversies. It is unlikely to work as well for smaller coffee shops, where a single bad experience can make or break the business. 

Trend #2 — Eco-friendly spaces

With the environment a concern for customers, you can use your retail space to communicate a commitment to sustainability. This can go beyond offering customers sustainably produced and sourced coffee and recyclable or compostable packaging and utensils. If your coffee shop is due for a revamp, keep circular design practices in mind. This can involve installing energy-efficient lighting, integrating alternative power sources like solar, or using as much natural light as possible. Additionally, consider using censored faucets and toilets. 

Smaller coffee shops with tighter budgets can switch to energy-efficient tools and appliances or work on eliminating waste. For example, you can donate uneaten food or your used coffee grounds to local farmers or garden centres so they can improve their soil’s drainage, water retention, and aeration. Communicating these efforts to customers can alert them to the dedication to your principles, which can create positive word of mouth and help you retain and attract customers.

An image of an embossed coffee box from Onyx Coffee in an article about coffee shop trends

Trend #3 — Protein + Coffee

The social media platform TikTok was the first to showcase this trend, and videos on the topic have already gained over 45 million views. “Proffee” gets its name from combining the words “coffee” and “protein” and involves adding protein to your beverage before consumption. This aligns with a trend specialty coffee experts have predicted for 2023, which is the increased popularity of functional coffees with healthy additives.

When deciding whether to offer “proffee” to your customers, first consider if there is a significant amount of interest or demand for it. It is more likely to appeal to health and fitness-concerned customers or younger consumers who are more willing to experiment with their orders. To ensure it appeals to a wider range of customers, consider using vegetarian, gluten-free, and soy-free proteins, and declaring all potential allergens on the menu.

Trend #4 — Inclusive packaging 

Being aware of who makes up your customer base can alert you to the fact that some may have unique access needs that impact their ability to access your coffee shop or product. Notably, a quarter of Europe’s population has some form of disability, which means a few are likely to have visited your establishment. 

According to the Inclusive Design Research Center, inclusive design encompasses creating products or packaging that consider “the full range of human diversity with respect to ability, language, culture, gender, age and other forms of human difference.” For example, you can use typefaces accessible to partially sighted customers on your coffee packaging, or including braille lettering to help blind customers differentiate between products. Furthermore, you can also incorporate inclusive designs into your packaging.

An image of a coffee roaster roasting coffee in order to keep up with coffee shop trends in an article about coffee shop trends

Trend #5 — AI coffee roasting 

Manufacturers and technology experts are starting to integrate artificial intelligence (AI) into many forms of equipment to make it more intuitive. This has helped enable machine learning and improved the speed and quality of a roaster’s outputs. 

AI-equipped roasting machinery is starting to enter the market, helping roasters produce a more consistent output with fewer chances for errors and less waste. It can also make workloads more manageable and allow those without advanced roasting skills to execute and control a roast. Some machines can automatically detect first crack and automatically collect and compare roast data to help you track your progress over time. These machines can be expensive, but if you’re due to replace your current roasting equipment it may be worth considering. It could also benefit your roasting business if you have limited resources or want to improve your roasting qualities and skills.

Knowing what trends to follow or exclude can be challenging, especially if you haven’t considered doing it before. No matter which trend you’re considering integrating, MTPak Coffee can assist you – and we can help you balance your practical requirements with your sustainability efforts. Our range of coffee boxes is made using recycled cardboard, while our sustainable coffee bags are made using kraft paper, rice paper, or multilayer LDPE packaging with an environmentally friendly PLA lining. More so, both our sustainable coffee bags and coffee mailer boxes can be fully customised to accurately reflect your brand, as well as your coffee’s characteristics. 

MTPak Coffee offers a wide range of customisation techniques across our packaging options, including spot UV with a glossy, satin, or matte finish, embossing and debossing, as well as hot foil stamping in a variety of colours, to name a few. We give our clients complete control over the design process of their packaging, to ensure the brand is represented accurately, and the packaging portrays its personality. We also offer our clients a quick turnaround time of 40 hours and 24-hour shipping time in addition to low minimum order quantities (MOQs) for those looking to remain agile while showcasing a commitment to the environment.

For more information on customising coffee packaging, contact our team. 

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