In 2013, the Australian Breville coffee product design team came to the US to conduct in-market research and attend the Specialty Coffee Association of America event. While they were visiting, we had a chance to sit down with them and discuss the global coffee movement and trends they see in the market.
According to the design team, consumer expectations on taste and service have evolved greatly over the past decade. Today consumers want more than just a hot cup of coffee; they place more emphasis on being able to taste the coffee’s origins.
“They want to know where their coffee is from, and understand its provenance, the country, the estate on which it was grown, the altitudes, and all the nuances,” says Phil McKnight. “This sophistication is a great shift in the consumer mind over the last 10 years.”
People care about the quality of their coffee because they’re more engaged with food in general. Consumers are not just interested in the caffeine buzz a cup of coffee can deliver. They really want to experience a taste.
“We’re at the very beginning of the third wave of coffee, where mainstream roasters don’t control the coffee scene,” explains McKnight.
There are boutique roasters who are sourcing direct from the farm and often buying green beans from cooperatives. These roasters have direct trade relations with the farmers themselves so they have more control over the quality of the beans and their end product.
With this new interest in beans and sourcing, consumers have a desire to try new brewing methods. For example, single cup pour over and cold brew beverages have emerged in the past three to five years. Consumers are making a return to more simple methods of brewing coffee. And technological advances and new products coming to market are spurring others to try new brewing techniques.
“Every country has a different way of making coffee. These different flavor profiles and brewing methods showcase how varied the coffee trends are globally,” says Gerard White.
For example, in the United States and North America, people are very engaged with the drip filter market. Most people have a drip filter coffee machine in their house and enjoy a darker roast. Whereas in the Southern Hemisphere, in places like Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, consumers favor the espresso market and prefer a lighter roast.
“Keeping up with trends in the global coffee market helps us design better products and ultimately helps us brew a better tasting cup of coffee or espresso,” says Rob Grassia.