Coffee is big business. In 2022, the economic impact of the U.S. coffee industry was estimated at over $343 billion, generating more than 2.2 million jobs and $100 billion in wages. That’s not even touching on the global market for this popular beverage.
The difficulty for coffee sellers is competition. Even with so many options for beans, roasts, and brews, it can be hard to create distinctive offerings that draw in seasoned coffee drinkers and new customers alike. One great option is to experiment with unique flavor profiles, or you could even dip into a range of cultural cuisines.
Manufacturers and coffee shops may also want to explore limited-time offers (LTOs), particularly seasonal roasts and brews.
Pumpkin spice beverages are an ideal example of this principle at work, but there are plenty of other ways to capitalize on seasonal trends throughout the calendar year, from highlighting actual seasons to focusing on holidays, events like the Super Bowl or the Oscars, and occasions like school graduations.
How can you create innovative options that become seasonal faves? Let’s take a trek through a few Seattle establishments that are doing it right.
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Hood Famous Café and Bar
Chef Chera Amlag has made this hip café into a destination, thanks to the inclusion of Filipino flavors that highlight her cultural heritage.
Her ube cheesecake is a major draw, but equally appealing are beverages like the Iced Ube Latte, featuring ube simple syrup, and the popular Calamansi Espresso Tonic, which pairs a shot of espresso with tonic water and calamansi lime syrup. Visitors will also enjoy options like the Pandan Latte and passion fruit-flavored Iced Matcha Lilikoi.
Ghost Note Coffee
It turns out there is a cure for the summertime blues, and Ghost Note Coffee is the place to find it. The elegant and complex concoctions served at this Seattle hotspot are nothing short of magical flavor alchemy.
Take, for example, the Lush Life, which tempers the bitterness of an espresso shot with the creamy sweetness of almond milk and orange blossom honey. Lest this sound a bit too restrained, the drink is topped off with grapefruit aromatics for extra tartness.
The Mocha Shake, featuring espresso paired with oat milk, coconut cream, and vegan drinking chocolate, is another elevated menu item that has customers coming back for more.
This Seattle-based roaster is famed for coloring outside the lines when it comes to experimental flavor profiles, as with the Pistachio Matcha and Blueberry Caramel Iced Latte.
While the Pumpkin Stuff Latte may sound ho-hum, it not only features pumpkin spices like others of its kind but adds pumpkin puree to the mix, along with rich maple, brown sugar, and vanilla bean paste, taking this seasonal standby to the next level.
Salt & Straw
Pacific Northwesterners may already be familiar with Salt & Straw, a popular Portland-based ice cream parlor with locations across the U.S. While they don’t sell coffee, specifically, they do use it in their cold, creamy concoctions, most notably the Coffee & Love Nuts ice cream.
It features a medium-roast Colombian bean with caramel notes, paired with pecans caramelized in Tahitian vanilla, tossed in sea salt, and coated with a whopping 14 layers of chocolate.
For coffee sellers looking to branch out, partnering with another food category could be a great opportunity to expand.
Encouraging Coffee Exploration
The goal is to create a unique experience in coffee, providing consumers with reasons to stray from their tried-and-true cuppa joe and keep coming back. Exploring cultural cuisines, seasonal flavors, and even other formats for consumption are all smart ways to gain a competitive edge.
If you have questions about Insights or trends, get in touch with us today!