Coffee Trends 2020
The world is pretty much obsessed with coffee. In the UK alone we drink 95 million cups of the stuff every single day. Globally that number sores to a staggering 2 billion. From espresso drinking purists to the fancy flavoured cappuccinos you chug on the way to work, almost all of us have got our go-to coffee style.
But these things are not set in stone. New coffee trends come and go with astonishing speed, often gaining traction and sweeping around the world through social media platforms such as Twitter and Tik Tok. The most popular trends are seen by millions of people online, many of whom will give them a go at least once or twice and, occasionally, some may even find a brand new coffee style that they adopt as their go-to in the mornings.
As exciting as of this can be, coffee consumer trends are incredibly important not just for the coffee industry, but also of the many other industries that are related to the production of the world’s most popular drink. From the very earliest days of coffee consumption in the western world, trends in the coffee industry have had far reaching and economically important consequences. From the creation of entirely new forms of ceramic and porcelain products to the invention of countless coffee flavoured foodstuffs, the first coffee trend, the adoption drink in the first place, rocked western society more than one might expect.
These days, coffee is everywhere, and its variations are almost endless. The modern age of the internet had made it possible for millions of people to keep up with the latest iced coffee trends or find out if its ok to be drinking coffee with a cold with just a click of a button. As a result, the ever- changing face of coffee trends can be difficult to keep track of. That’s where this article comes in.
From the legendary dalgona coffee foam to the rise in sustainable coffee cups, I’m here to talk you through some of the most earth-shattering coffee trends currently sweeping the world and answer the question – what are the current trends in the coffee shop industry?
Dalgona Coffee Foam
Of all the latest coffee trends, there is one that took over the internet back in the early days of 2020 when videos of the whipped coffee foam being made from humble instant coffee went viral on a number of social media platforms. Here was a fancy as hell coffee trend that everyone could make AT HOME. No barista needed, just your favourite instant coffee, a bit of sugar, and an electric whisk (or a normal whisk and some serious elbow grease if you’re feeling brave.)
It’s safe to say that coffee lovers worldwide went absolutely bonkers for Dalgona, not least as the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world and the cafes and coffee shops began to close their doors. The drink even became known in some places as ‘quarantine coffee’ in reference to the trend’s popularity during lockdown.
In fact, according to Vice, as reported in the Times of India, the phrase ‘Dalgona Coffee’ was almost non-existent on Google until January 26th of this year, after it was first seen on a Korean TV show.
The drink’s popularity comes, at least in part, from the ease with which it is made and the aesthetically pleasing texture that it creates. Indeed, it was the shape, and possibly the taste, of the finished espresso foam that gave the drink its name due to its resemblance to a Korean honeycomb-like sweet by the name of dalgona.
But how do you make the stuff?
It’s pretty simple really, as coffee trends go.
- Place instant coffee, sugar and hot water in a bowl and whisk until aerated stiff peaks form, similar to whipped egg whites.
- Spoon the resultant coffee foam into glasses atop either warm or cold milk.
And that’s it. 2 steps and you have officially made Dalgona coffee.
Told you it was simple, didn’t I?
Vietnamese Egg Coffee
Sticking with our international coffee trends theme, lets take a look at another drink that originated in the cafes and coffee houses of Asia, or in this case Vietnam, to be specific.
The story goes that during a war-induced milk shortage in the 1940’s, a man by the name of Nguyen Giang decided that he would have to find an alternative dairy product for the customers of the hotel where he was working to have in their coffee. The improvised coffee concoction that resulted from his experimentations apparently contained a number of ingredients, but chief among them was egg yolks, well beaten, from which the drink now gets its name. And so Vietnamese Egg Coffee was born.
Now a famous delicacy known the world over, this rich, viscous drink is a must try for any coffee enthusiast who finds themselves wandering the streets of Hanoi. Over the years egg coffee has become available outside of the Vietnamese capital, but the general consensus seems to be that the birth city of the drink is still the best place try it, specifically at Café Giang.
Recognise that name?
After having invented what became one of the most popular coffee styles in Hanoi, our old friend Nguyen Giang decided to go it alone and established a new café, specialising in the egg coffee that have become such a roaring success.
But what about making egg coffee at home?
While possible, it’s unfortunately not as simple as simply putting egg in coffee. For starters, there are a litany of different recipes and variations on the drink, each with different ingredients and preparation methods. However, one possible method is as follows:
- Beat egg yolks with condensed milk and vanilla until foaming and about doubled in volume.
- Brew some strong espresso coffee and pour it into your chosen drinking vessel, leaving a few centimetres of space at the top.
- Gently spoon your egg mix onto the top of the coffee, allowing it to rest above the liquid.
Sounds easy enough, I know, but stick with it if it goes wrong a few times. Like many things in the culinary world, Vietnamese egg coffee requires work to perfect, but once you get there it will be worth every second.
Unlike the other two coffee trends we have covered so far, this is less to do with a coffee style and more of a whole subsection of the production process. Organic and fair-trade products have been steadily gaining popularity in recent years as people’s global and climate awareness have increased. In fact, according to the Organic Trade Association of the US ‘consumers are eating more organic food and using more organic products than ever before’, with the organic sector posting a 5% increase in profits compared with last year. We all like to do our bit for our fellow man, and given that most of the worlds coffee production happens in some of the poorest and most environmentally delicate parts of the world, making sure you buy well sourced, responsibly grown coffee is a great place to start.
But what actually is organic coffee?
Organic is the term we use to describe animal and plant-based products that are farmed without the use of, or with minimal use of, environmentally damaging practices and with the highest possible standards of animal welfare.
In terms of coffee, organic coffee beans must be produced without the use of many kinds of fertiliser and pesticides. This does increase the cost of production which, in turn, means that you should expect to pay slightly more for your morning caffeine hit if you decide to go for the organic option, but its for a very worthy cause.
More and more cafes are beginning to stock organic and fair-trade coffee, with some establishments even specialising in such things, building entire businesses around the trade of responsibly sourced coffee. Online platforms are in on the action too, with e-shops selling sustainable, well sourced coffee and delivering it right to your door. In short, the available options in terms of organic and fair-trade coffee are plentiful and leave very little excuse for not getting involved. The future of coffee will have to be globally and environmentally aware, and that starts right here, with products like this.
Sustainability Cafes and coffee
Carrying on in our environmental vein, it’s time we talked about coffee industry trends that aren’t actually about the drink itself, but rather where and how you get it in the first place.
The environmental impact of coffee goes beyond the farms on which it is grown. From the cups we use for our takeaway drink to the machines we have on our kitchen counters, awareness about the sustainability of our coffee related habits is becoming more and more important with each passing day.
Thankfully, many things are being done to help lessen the coffee industry’s impact on the environment, and responsible coffee drinking practices are seemingly becoming quite trendy, with big names like Starbucks and Costa getting in on the action. Not only that, but a brand-new style of coffee house known as a ‘sustainability café’ has started to spring up in cities all over the world, specialising in responsibly grown coffee, eco-friendly packaging and sustainable drinking habits.
Let’s take a look at a few examples of how the coffee industry is changing in this age of climate change and global warming.
Coffee pod recycling – Depending on the types of pods a machine uses, they can be responsible for producing a fair amount of unrecyclable waste. However, there are a number of things that have been done recently to counteract this, as reported by Wired in an article last year. Many companies have turned to easily recyclable materials, such as aluminium, to make their pods, while some academics even argue that because of the small amount of coffee required to make each single-use pod, many of the environmental costs associated with the growing of the coffee in the first place are lessened. Basically, if you’re looking for a way to help the environment whilst still enjoying your favourite caffeinated beverage, coffee pod recycling is an excellent place to start.
Recyclable paper cups – For many years, many of us wouldn’t have given any thought to the number of paper coffee cups that were used each and every day around the world. Eventually, though, somebody pointed out that all that paper has to come from somewhere, and that somewhere is the rapidly shrinking forests of the world. Not good.
Soon, many coffee houses and cafes began turning to eco-friendly packaging and recyclable paper cups, but still the problem was not completely solved. For example, though the new cups COULD be recycled, they still relied on customers actually disposing of them by recycling them, which not everyone does.
Thankfully, a popular trend emerged where people started to bring their own reusable cups to their favourite coffee shops, thereby saving the use of a paper receptacle. Not only that, but this means that you can choose the design of your cup! Suddenly, the world was awash with colourful, patterned coffee mugs in every size and shape imaginable. You save the planet, get a new fashionable item to flaunt around and your coffee will stay warmer for longer. What’s not to like?
Reducing energy consumption – Coffee machines get used a lot, and every time they do, they use electricity. Often, this electricity will come from power stations that burn fossil fuels, which we all no are enemy number one in the battle against climate change.
In an effort to do their part to combat this, many coffee machine manufacturers have started to look into how to reduce the amount of energy their machines use to make our favourite hot drink. This trend in the coffee industry is an excellent sign of environmental awareness and, hopefully, is a positive omen for the sustainable future of coffee and its related industries.
Not technically coffee, but worth a mention none the less, this drink is made from the seeds of the might oak tree, otherwise known as acorns. Put simply, the acorns are processed, ground and then steeped in water just like coffee beans would be. The resulting drink is bitter and, depending on the blend, can also be sweet and earthy. Some prefer such taste instead of regular coffee and choose to have it on a daily, some enjoy it once in a while as an alternative option. It won’t pack the same kind of caffeine punch as your normal morning coffee, in fact the stuff is naturally caffeine free, hence some people who cannot tolerate much caffeine, but want a coffee-like flavour have a great alternative. Even if you’re absolutely fine with caffeine and have no sensitivity or caffeine allergies, it’s still an interesting trend that might be worth a try. Additionally, it’s a sustainable choice as it doesn’t hugely depend on water, fertilizer or pesticides, and is proven to be a great source of vitamin C, magnesium and calcium. And you can drink it as it is or flavour with milk or any sweetener you like.
Coffee and beer might sound like a rather odd mixture, but bear with us, it might not be as carzy as it sounds. According to craftbeer.com, coffee can be added to almost any style of beer to enhance the flavours and produce new, exciting products. From ales to lagers, and even stouts and porters, coffee beers are a niche trend, but a trend nonetheless. Made from steeping coffee beans either in the pre-production water or the finished beer itself, coffee beers have afforded brewers all over the world the opportunity to experiment with their products and create new beers for us to enjoy. It might be a hate it or love it kind of thing, but it’s worth exploring as you might be surprised of the new flavour combination you never through you’d like!
Espresso and tonic
Pouring espresso into a fresh glass of sparkling tonic water might seem like a crazy thing to do, but this new coffee trend is not to be sniffed at. Besides looking incredible with distinct pre-mix layering between the two liquids, the drink promises an enticing range of bitter, refreshing notes, all without the presence of alcohol.
Given the chemical differences between the two ingredients, and the possible temperature difference to boot, the preparation of this seemingly simple drink can vary in its success rates. However, bars and cafes will no doubt have a much better idea of how to get the most out of this slightly unconventional mix, so go ahead and give it a try next time you see espresso tonic on a drinks menu.
New coffee trends appear on an almost daily basis as baristas and coffee lovers alike experiment with this most beloved of drinks. The coffee trends listed here barley scratch the surface of all that can be done to get the most out of your coffee, be it your wake up cup on the way to work or your after dinner treat when you’re eating out. Who knows what the future of coffee holds? Maybe you love to experiment with coffee too, and you’ll bring us a brand new interesting coffee trend to follow next year!
Q – What is Dalgona Coffee?
A – Dalgona Coffee is a drink made by whisking instant coffee, sugar and hot water together into stiff peaks and spooning the resulting mixture on top of warm or cold milk.
Q – What is Egg Coffee?
A – Egg Coffee originated in Hanoi, Vietnam, and is a coffee-based drink that involves the use of egg yolks as a substitute for milk.
Q – What is organic coffee?
A – Organic coffee is the title given to any coffee that is produced according to strict environmental guidelines, such as forgoing the use of harmful and artificial fertilisers and pesticides.
Q – Why is coffee sustainability important?
A – The coffee industry is one of the largest in the world and, as such, is responsible for or connected to a significant amount of the worlds CO2 emissions and waste production. As a result, working towards more sustainable practices in the coffee industry and all of its connected fields is important in the fight against climate change and global warming.
Q – How can I be more sustainable with my coffee habits?
A – Recycle, choose to make coffee at home rather than take out every time in order to reduce trash, if you need to get a takeout coffee, bring your own travel mug, recycle coffee pods and capsules, or even coffee grounds, as they can be used as plant fertilizer.
Sources and further reading