Top Coffee Trends Shaping Our Mornings in 2024

As the coffee industry bubbles with new trends in 2024, it’s essential to know which ones are making a real impact.

We’ve brewed up a concise rundown of this year’s top coffee trends, detailing the rise of cold brews, the shift toward plant-based milks, the tech transforming home coffee-making, as well as evolving health and sustainability concerns. Explore these trends to stay ahead in the rapidly-changing world of coffee.

Key Takeaways

  • The coffee industry sees a significant rise in cold brew and nitro coffee market with predictions of reaching $1.37 billion by 2025, driven by changing consumer tastes and new innovations like nitrogen infusion.
  • There’s a growing trend towards plant-based milk alternatives with environmental and health benefits over dairy, with almond, soy, and oat milk leading the charge in coffee shops.
  • At-home coffee experiences are powered by sophisticated brewing technology and a demand for higher quality, while the industry is also focusing on sustainable practices and digitalization to meet consumer expectations and increase engagement.

The Rise of Cold Brew and Nitro Coffee

Cold brew coffee has ushered in a new era in the coffee industry, significantly shifting consumption patterns. It’s no longer just about a cup of hot coffee in the morning.

Cold brew coffee, with its distinctively smooth and sweet taste, has won the hearts of many coffee lovers, driving a market expansion projected to reach $1.37 billion from 2020 to 2025.

The versatility of cold brew coffee has made it a favorite among coffee aficionados, with its suitability for a range of customizations, from syrups and milks to even being a component in alcoholic beverages.

Nitro coffee is another innovation that has captured recent attention. This nitrogen-infused cold brew variant has been a game-changer, winning over enthusiasts with its small nitrogen-infused bubbles that elevate the beverage’s taste and texture without adding fizziness.

Despite a higher cost, consumers appreciate the distinctive qualities of nitro cold brew and are willing to pay a premium over traditional iced coffee variants.

The Cold Brew Phenomenon

Cold brew coffee, often referred to as cold coffee, has gained universal appeal as a healthier alternative to traditional coffee. The lower temperature and extended steeping time in the cold brew process result in a higher caffeine content and less acidic beverage than traditional hot coffee.

This unique taste profile, combined with the convenience of at-home preparation, has played a significant role in the increased popularity of cold brew coffee.

The health benefits and unique taste profile of cold brew coffee resonate with coffee enthusiasts. This resonance has not only led to an increase in cold brew consumption but has also given rise to new trends like nitro cold brew, further shaping the coffee market.

Nitro Coffee: A New Sensation

Nitro cold brew has emerged as a trendsetter in the coffee industry, attracting a wide range of coffee drinkers with its creamy, smooth texture, and less bitter taste.

What makes nitro coffee stand out is the unique velvety texture and natural sweetness achieved without the addition of sugar or dairy. This unique offering has made nitro coffee particularly popular among younger consumers.

Nitro cold brew maintains a strong market position, despite its higher price tag. The distinctive taste and premium appeal of this coffee variant have influenced consumers to willingly pay a premium over traditional iced coffee variants. This acceptance and willingness to pay more speak volumes about the impact of nitro coffee in shaping the coffee market.

Embracing Plant-Based Alternatives

The coffee industry is experiencing a trend towards plant-based alternatives as consumers become more health-conscious. Recent surveys indicate that 60% of consumers have tried plant milks in coffee shops, and Generation Z purchased 20% less dairy milk than the national average in 2022.

While over 90% of coffee-based beverages in cafes used dairy products as of 2020, the alternative milk beverage industry witnessed a growth rate of 11.6%, reaching sales of $3.3 billion.

The trend towards plant-based alternatives not only mirrors changing dietary preferences but also a growing awareness of food choices’ environmental impact. Major plant milk brands have specifically targeted coffee shops to establish their products as preferable dairy alternatives, showing active marketing strategies to appeal to the coffee consumer base.

Almond milk and soy milk are among the most popular non-dairy milks used in coffee. However, oat milk is increasingly being favored in coffee shops because of its favorable environmental footprint and appealing taste profile compared to dairy milk. This trend signifies a shift in consumer preferences and the growing demand for plant-based alternatives.

The rise of these non-dairy milks in the coffee industry can be attributed to their unique attributes. For instance:

  • Almond milk is known for its creamy texture and nutty flavor, making it a great addition to coffee.
  • Soy milk is known for its high protein content, which adds a frothy texture to coffee.
  • Oat milk’s creamy and slightly sweet flavor makes it a perfect companion for coffee.

Environmental and Health Benefits

The shift towards plant-based milks in coffee consumption is not just a trend driven by taste preferences. It is a conscious choice made by consumers aware of the environmental and health implications of their choices.

Dairy milk production is resource-intensive, requiring significantly more land and freshwater for production, and leading to greater levels of eutrophication than plant-based milks.

Plant-based milks, on the other hand, offer lower environmental impact and health benefits compared to dairy milk, appealing to eco-conscious consumers. Almond milk is known for lower greenhouse gas emissions and land use, though it demands more water and contributes to higher levels of eutrophication than soy milk.

Soy milk stands out for its minimal contribution to eutrophication, making it a more environmentally friendly option compared to dairy milk. Oat milk presents a sustainable choice with much lower greenhouse emissions and water usage than dairy milk.

At-Home Coffee Experiences and Innovations

As many people adopt new routines that include at-home coffee enjoyment, home coffee consumption has skyrocketed. This shift in routine has sparked a preference for sophisticated home coffee experiences, reflecting a broader trend toward more elaborate and personal coffee consumption at home.

The year 2020 saw nearly one-quarter of Americans purchasing new home coffee machines, with a notable interest in single-cup brewing systems.

The at-home coffee experience trend goes beyond just convenience. It’s about:

  • the pleasure of brewing a perfect cup of coffee
  • experimenting with different coffee blends
  • creating a personal coffee shop experience at home
  • the growing consumer demand for high-quality blends and unique single-serve options which align with the convenience and savings of home coffee machines.

Home Brewing Technology

The rise of at-home coffee experiences has been facilitated by advancements in home brewing technology. Single-cup brewing systems have gained significant traction in the home coffee market, with popular machines such as Keurig and Nespresso leading the charge.

These machines not only offer convenience but also allow a range of coffee styles at home, including espresso-like drinks.

In addition to these popular machines, new brewing technologies are redefining the home coffee experience. The introduction of the Balmuda The Brew and Cerapotta porous ceramic coffee filter are prime examples of innovation, offering diverse brewing methods and enhancing control and monitoring for brewing.

These advancements are blurring the line between professional and home coffee gear, bringing the coffee shop experience right into the comfort of your home.

DIY Coffee Shop Experiences

To recreate coffee shop experiences at home, consumers are looking for high-quality blends and unique brewing options to use with their home coffee machines. Coffee brands have risen to the occasion, creating products and experiences that allow consumers to engage in sophisticated coffee experiences at home.

The introduction of innovative brewing products like the all-metal Miir pourover brewer, AeroPress XL, and the Hikaru V60 Smart Coffee Brewer is enabling consumers to replicate professional coffee brewing at home.

Serving hot beverages in mugs that emulate those at coffee shops, and using one-cup filter pods for convenience, enhance the at-home DIY coffee shop aesthetic, offering an alternative to instant coffee.

Health-Conscious Coffee Choices

Numerous studies have documented the health benefits of drinking coffee, with coffee consumption linked to boosting energy levels, improving cognitive function, and reducing the risk of some chronic diseases.

However, with 46% of consumers identifying physical or mental wellness as a top priority, there has been a shift towards healthier coffee choices. This shift is reflected in the growing popularity of functional coffee additives and transparency in caffeine content.

Functional coffee additives, designed to boost health and wellness with advantages like stress reduction, immune support, and increased energy, are gaining popularity. Additionally, transparency in caffeine content is becoming increasingly important, with 53% of UK coffee drinkers actively seeking information about caffeine levels in their beverages, similar to those who consume energy drinks.

Functional Coffee Additives

Functional coffee additives are increasingly finding their way into our coffee mugs. These additives, designed to enhance our health and wellness, cater to consumers seeking stress relief, cognitive enhancement, and beauty benefits.

Coffee beans with adaptogens such as ashwagandha and holy basil are being added to coffee to help the body resist various stressors, thus catering to the growing demand for stress-relieving products.

Nootropics are another class of additives integrated into coffee with the aim of enhancing cognitive functions, offering improved memory, creativity, and motivation, appealing to health-conscious consumers focused on mental clarity.

Even beauty-enhancing ingestibles like collagen are finding their way into coffee, aligning with the trend of beauty-enhancing ingestibles.

Transparency in Caffeine Content

Transparency in caffeine content has become a major area of focus in the coffee industry. With 53% of UK coffee drinkers actively seeking information about caffeine levels in their beverages, the demand for coffee blends with transparent caffeine content is on the rise.

This demand presents a market opportunity for creating coffee products with varied levels of caffeine, as consumers are showing interest in moderating their caffeine intake.

The trend towards reducing caffeine intake has not substantially increased the consumption of decaffeinated coffee, indicating a preference for lower overall coffee consumption instead. This trend reflects the health-conscious mindset of modern coffee drinkers, who are increasingly aware of their caffeine intake and its potential health implications.

Coffee and Sustainability: A Growing Concern

A sense of purpose around sustainability has emerged as a major priority within the coffee industry, influenced by social values like climate protection and labor movements, as well as regulatory pressures from deforestation regulations in Europe.

The increase in consumer searches for ‘organic coffee,’ ‘fair trade coffee,’ and ‘shade-grown coffee’ indicates a significant rise in demand for sustainably sourced coffee products.

Consumers are becoming more conscious about their choices and their impact on the environment. As a result, they expect coffee brands to adhere to ethical standards, with 45% of consumers considering responsible sourcing a key aspect of sustainability.

This growing consciousness is driving consumer trends, such as efforts to enhance coffee sustainability through the implementation of traceability and transparent supply chains.

Ethical Sourcing and Supply Chains

Beyond simply using buzzwords on packaging, the coffee industry must align its products with customers’ growing sustainability consciousness. This expectation has been amplified by the EU Deforestation regulation that is putting pressure on coffee companies to practice supply chain due diligence and sustainability.

However, the Coffee Barometer suggests that many coffee companies in the EU are not adequately prepared for compliance with the new sustainability regulations.

The concept of living incomes for farmers is gaining traction in the coffee industry, though it requires deeper commitments and collaborations for sector-wide change. All these factors highlight the importance of ethical sourcing and supply chain transparency in the coffee industry.

Sustainable Packaging Solutions

The shift towards sustainability extends to packaging solutions in the coffee industry. With 40% of consumers aware of environmental issues affecting their shopping choices and inclined to pay a premium for eco-friendly products, investing in sustainable packaging solutions is a method for coffee businesses to address packaging pollution concerns.

Current coffee packaging options include:

  • 100% recyclable materials such as kraft and rice paper
  • Biodegradable materials such as LDPE (low-density polyethylene)
  • Compostable materials such as PLA (polylactic acid)

The transition towards paper packaging as an alternative to single-use plastics is growing among coffee brands that prioritize environmental sustainability. These sustainable packaging solutions cater to eco-conscious consumers and reduce the environmental impact of coffee consumption.

The Digitalization of Coffee Shops

Another trend shaping the coffee industry is the digitalization of coffee shops. With e-commerce growth stabilizing and creating new opportunities for coffee brands, online coffee sales reached $5.8 billion in the past year, up 23.9%.

This growth is reflected in the way coffee is ordered, with 20% of consumers using coffee shop apps to place their orders.

Technology integration in the coffee industry goes beyond mere convenience. It’s about enhancing the customer experience, promoting brand loyalty, and staying ahead in a constantly evolving market. Mobile coffee shop apps are increasingly incorporating features such as integrated loyalty rewards, mobile payment options, and the ability to customize and place orders in advance.

Mobile Ordering and Loyalty Programs

Coffee shop experiences are being revolutionized by mobile apps. By incorporating features such as integrated loyalty rewards, mobile payment options, and the ability to customize and place orders in advance, these apps are revolutionizing how consumers interact with coffee shops.

Chains like Costa Coffee are encouraging app usage by offering easy order placement, locating nearby outlets, and earning loyalty points, integrating online and in-store experiences.

Contactless service and payment options have become a standard feature in mobile coffee shop apps, reflecting the shift towards a more health-conscious and efficient customer experience. These features not only enhance the convenience of ordering coffee but also promote customer loyalty and engagement, making them ideal for coffee subscription services.

Social Media and Coffee Culture

Social media platforms significantly contribute to the spread and popularity of coffee trends, as evidenced by the viral success of Dalgona coffee on TikTok.

Coffee brands are increasingly engaging with a broader audience online through strategic influencer collaborations and encouraging user-generated content.

Moreover, coffee shop operators can strengthen their brand’s appeal by supporting social causes and showcasing these efforts on social media, aligning with consumer interests in advocacy and empowerment. These online engagements not only enhance brand visibility but also create a community of coffee lovers who share a common passion and cause.


The coffee industry is continuously evolving, shaped by the changing tastes, preferences, and values of consumers.

From the rise of cold brew and nitro coffee to the embrace of plant-based alternatives, from the surge in at-home coffee experiences to the growing focus on health-conscious choices, and from the increasing emphasis on sustainability to the digitalization of coffee shops, these trends reflect a dynamic and vibrant industry.

As consumers, understanding these trends helps us navigate our coffee choices better. As industry players, these trends present opportunities for innovation, growth, and building stronger connections with consumers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who controls the supply for coffee shops?

The supply for coffee shops is controlled by market prices, as well as factors like the price of inputs and production costs, and technology developments.

Coffee flavor trends are leaning towards non-traditional flavors such as nuts, vanilla, fruits, spices, and seeds. Fruit flavors, especially those of berries and summer fruits, are experiencing significant growth in popularity.

Cold brew coffee has become popular due to its smoother, sweeter taste and higher caffeine content, making it a versatile and flavorful option for coffee lovers.

How are at-home coffee experiences being enhanced?

At-home coffee experiences are being enhanced through advanced home brewing technology and high-quality blends and unique brewing options, such as single-cup brewing systems and precision brewing equipment. These innovations empower consumers to replicate professional coffee brewing at home.

What are functional coffee additives?

Functional coffee additives are ingredients added to coffee to enhance health and wellness, including adaptogens, nootropics, and ingestibles like collagen. Incorporating these additives into your coffee can provide various benefits for your overall well-being.

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