Coffee plays a very important role in our culture. Over the past few years, we’ve been seeing some noticeable trends that shaped today’s coffee industry. Are you curious about coffee’s future? Do you want to stay up-to-date on major trends and influences? If so, here are some peculiar observations from the coffee industry along with the things to look forward to in 2018.

The Third Wave of Coffee Will Keep Growing

If you think the third wave coffee boom will slow down this year, think again. The National Coffee Association (NCA) notes that the number of coffee drinkers in 2017 increased by 31 percent. Compared to the previous year, this trend will only continue to grow. More and more consumers are learning about specialty coffee, and more people will be willing to try new coffee flavors.

Millennials are Driving Speciality Coffee Consumption

According to the National Coffee Drinking Trends Report, 59 percent of daily coffee consumption is allocated to “gourmet” coffee. And guess who is driving the rising popularity of specialized coffee? Millennials! Members of this generation don't always consume their favorite coffee beverages at home. They get their coffee from local cafes, roasters, and often via mobile orders. Not only are they snobby about their coffee, Millennials also spend more on their morning fix than they put aside for retirement.

Related: Top 5 Coffee Flavors of 2018

The Age of Nano-Roasters is Here to Stay

Traditionally, a company that roasts less than 100,000 pounds of coffee per year is known as a "nano-roaster." If a coffee shop is roasting just for itself, it will supply on average only 50-200 pounds per week. And since the agility of small roasters presents an excellent opportunity to experiment with different roasting techniques, the result may end up great or disappointing. It can turn into a great tasting cup of coffee that everyone loves or a mediocre brew with obvious flaws in the roast. So let’s hope that  nano-roasters that deliver great tasting coffee will put pressure on their competition to do better this year!

Turkish Coffee’s Global Appeal Rises

Turkish coffee is lauded around the world for its rich flavor. This specialty coffee continues to influence the global appreciation of the beverage. The roast is usually medium and the beans ground very fine. The unique process of making Turkish coffee doesn’t involve fancy equipment, but rather boiled in copper pots. This coffee is special for the fact that fine grounds are floating freely throughout. Observers will often see people swirl their cups to keep the grounds afloat longer for a stronger brew. It’s stronger than espresso, however it’s not as bitter. In the U.S., sugar can be added after it’s brewed, but traditionally sugar is only added as it’s boiled. Turkish coffee does feature flavors to enhance the otherwise black coffee. However, you probably won’t find any pumpkin spice Turkish coffee around. Instead, count on flavors that are authentic to the region, such as cardamom, clove, cinnamon and fennel or anise.

Instant Coffee Market Expanding 

While Millennials are more likely to purchase fancy equipment for homemade coffee, the demand for instant coffee shows no sign of slowing down any time soon. The market is expected to have a compound annual growth rate of about 4.5 percent and reach $14.77 billion by 2025. Much of this trend can be attributed to lifestyle changes with urbanization trends. However, the industry has also figured out how to attract more people to instant coffee. This has been not just been through competitive marketing and attractive packaging, but also with an emphasis on technology that retains quality and flavor synonymous with premium brands. Whether freeze-dried or spray-dried, or sold in sachets or jars, the industry knows that consumers won’t give up flavor and quality for convenience, and it is poised and ready to meet the demands of savvy consumers.

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