The changing world of Coffee, Trends and Blends
A personal view from Eindhoven-
By Marc Engelman / www.eindhovenhotspots.nl
About two decades ago, a coffee revolution started in the Netherlands when Philips (the electronics company) and Jacob Douwe Egberts (coffee company) introduced Senseo. It was a new way of making coffee, oriented on the single cup of coffee, with a nice crema layer on it. Totally different to the big coffeepots, that stood on the heater all day, waiting for you to grab an (old) cup of coffee. It was the beginning of mass customization in the Dutch coffee world, with all kinds of coffee pads being used to each their liking.
It was one step forward in the experience people had when drinking coffee at home.
Coffee as an Experience
I once read (part of) the book The Experience Economy by B. Joseph Pine and James H. Gillmore*. In one chapter the theory of the experience economy was explained through coffee. I can’t remember all of it, but the basics were, that coffee (like any other product or service) has many levels of experience.
Example: Coffee beans are sold through wholesale traders at a very low price. Once the coffee has been made into coffee grind, the price goes up a little and when the coffee is blended and packaged, the price has gone up several times.
But what about a cup of coffee in your favorite coffee spot, I guess you would pay more for that than at home. And maybe you would likely pay even more, when you are having a cappuccino at the San Marco square in Venice.
The idea is interesting, but the experience has gone further with online and social media.
Maybe the next level experience is creating a positive brand around your coffee with well-known handsome male actors, making people brag on social media (with pictures) that they are waiting in line (part of the experience) to get their luxury cups (this company is in the top 19 of Dutch E-commerce spend only with coffee). 🙂
Trend – more coffee being drunk out of home
A couple of decades ago, a lot of coffee was average, not to say bad in some cases. But in the last few years we have adopted going out for a coffee in one of the Coffee Hotspots of your city. Maybe initiated a little by the hipster-bars you see on social media.
Probably an additional factor is that the average budget has increased in the past decade or so, making this more possible (before eating out or having coffee was a luxury done maybe only once a month). We have become a more hedonistic society, and especially with the arrival of the smartphone (with social media nowadays) the coffee world is at our fingertips. In the USA alone the average spend has gone up by almost 60% (up to 85 billion in 2020)**. In the Netherlands, the actual consumption has gone down by 8%, but the average spend up by 20%***. This means we are spending more per cup of coffee.
Going out for a coffee has become normal, and posting photos on social media about this as well (and yes, I plead guilty).
Other trends and Blends
I am seeing some trends in the coffee market, do you agree? Let me know if you see more coffee trends, as I like to learn more.
- Better Coffee is being drunk at home
- Coffee out-of-home (underway)
- Specialty blends and beans
- Better coffee at work
- Filter coffee is hot!
- Different coffee concepts
- So what’s next for coffee?
Better Coffee is being drunk at home
A couple of years ago we had the introduction of single cup-coffee by (for example) Nespresso, Senseo and others. More recently you see all kinds of refillable cups and organic or sustainable coffee brands.
Lots of brands have found your way home, for example Illy with their machines and coffee, and of course Nespresso. Starbucks also offers coffee (beans) for at home and serves you coffee underway (vending machines and chilled coffee in gas stations). Recently they made a deal with Takeaway.com (NU.nl article in Dutch) and it seems like you will be able to order your cup of Starbucks caramel oatmeal latte directly with your Takeaway (Thuisbezorgd) app.
I don’t buy my coffee in the supermarket anymore, especially since I bought my new espresso machine. I prefer freshly roasted beans, with a particular flavor from specialty roasters from Eindhoven (I like the support the locals) or somewhere online.
Coffee out-of-home (underway)
About two years ago I started seeing an upgrade in the coffee drunk underway. For example in Gas Stations, it changed from simple coffee machines to Starbucks (Illy and other) coffee machines, with several options, and in most places you can have a ‘barista’ make you a fresh cup of coffee or cappuccino. There has been a shift from buying ‘gas’ and snacks to salad bars, sandwiches and coffee.
Specialty blends and beans
Just like the beer-market has had an explosion of specialty beers, you now see a divergence of specialty coffeebrands in coffee hotspots nearby. Most of them have roast their own coffee and some of them focus on fair coffee at fair prices (for the coffee farmers). In Eindhoven I have my top 5 specialty coffee spots, if you happen to visit Eindhoven, check out my post on coffee.
Of course a coffee hotspot without great latteart is not a coffee hotspot it seems. But on social media you have a great abundance of videos on latteart, and the Latteart is moving home, as well as higher-level espresso machines. I have been trying for a while, sometimes with or without succes. 😉 I tried with a regular latte are milk jug, but the spout was too wide and this didn’t work. I found a milk jug with a better (smaller) spout and ended up with a nice looking black Scarlet espresso milk jug and I am still practicing…
Better coffee at work – The introduction of Specialty coffee
Besides some offices offering better espressomachines, coffeebars and baristas, you also see a trend of smaller Specialty Coffees being offered at your workplace. I have seen examples in Eindhoven, where you can enjoy the best coffees right at work. Isn’t that a bonus to be at the office. Also some big brands find their way to the office. For example Nespresso is letting you know that they’re the reason you would want to go back to work at the office.
Filter coffee is hot!
While my story started with filter coffee being suboptimal, you now see a run for filter coffee (machines) at home and at the coffee hotspots. Although the techniques vary a bit, and have been refined, filter coffee is not particularly made for big pots anymore, but one-on-one (or instant). There are several techniques for filter coffee, also sometimes referred of as Slow coffee (although this concept is broader).
Besides the filter coffee-trend, I believe hardware is getting better and better, meaning more good coffee (anywhere).
Different coffee concepts
Right here in Eindhoven I see some interesting concepts. For example I see a coffee bar & eyewear store called ‘Specs & Beans’ or ‘Vanallesenco’ which offers coffee, lunch, but also vintage furniture and goodies. I like the way the attraction of coffee serves (small) stores.
In the USA, there are already coffee Drive-ins. And I saw somewhere there is a bycicle Drive-In in Germany. I haven’t seen them in the Netherlands yet, but would be nice sometimes, when you’re in a hurry and left home without coffee (the Dutch commute a lot and spend lots of their day in traffic jams).
Another concept I saw in Eindhoven is ‘Uitgestelde koffie’ meaning ‘delayed coffee’. This means you can buy a coffee for yourself, but also for a person in need of a coffee. This person can come in, and get his or her coffee for free. How about this concept which resembles ‘Pay it forward’ (you know the movie).
So What’s next for coffee?
So what’s next in the coffee world? We just had the partnership by Takeaway.com and Starbucks, so this means probably soon your hazelnut cocoa almond skimmed milk Latte is brought to your home very soon. 🙂
Some future ideas:
- 3D printing your best cappuccino at home?
- Growing your own coffee in a special environment at home?
- Printing your latteart at home?
- Growing your own patch of beans (renting a patch on a coffee bean farm) and having your ‘own’ coffee sent home?
- Lots of new coffee concepts can be imagined, when adding good coffee to the mix
I still see lots of opportunities and unexplored areas for coffee. Let me know when you have other ideas concerning coffee trends and blends.
Whether you like your coffee for at home, in a nice coffee hotspot, by filter, through your own espresso machine, or just in cups, there is a coffee for everyone now. Thanks the transforming coffee market for that!
Sorry for the long read… I was trying to put together my thoughts… This helped the brain drain process. 🙂
Be sure to check out my other hotspots on this website. Enjoy Eindhoven!
*Book: ‘The Experience Economy’ by B. Joseph Pine II & James H. Gilmore
** Source: https://myfriendscoffee.com/usa-coffee-statistics/
the most detailed US coffee statistics for 2020. AUthor: MyFriendsCoffee Team
*** Source: https://nos.nl/artikel/2318428-nederlanders-zijn-minder-koffie-gaan-drinken-maar-van-betere-kwaliteit.html Author: Jeroen Schutijser