Coffee delights: A journey through the world of coffee

Coffee delights in a glass
© MyCoffeebag

Kick-start your day with an indulgence: As soon as you climb out of bed, it’s time for a good old cup of joe – a morning ritual that takes place all over the world. Even an afternoon coffee is widely revered as an absolute must. The beverage is often seen as the ultimate energy boost that helps us get through the day. But not all coffee delights can be painted with the same broad brush: A slew of innovative coffee trends are currently enjoying increasing popularity, and a younger generation of consumers is eagerly slurping them up.

In the 17th century, coffee delights from Africa and the Orient took Europe by storm. Vienna, in particular, developed its own unique coffee house culture. The first coffee house in Germany was set up in 1673 in Bremen. Since the middle of the 19th century, the drink has quickly become quite popular in Germany. According to the German Coffee Association, we’re currently in the grip of the “Third Wave of Coffee,” which is defined by a new awareness of how to enjoy and appreciate the beverage. Topics such as cultivation, varieties, bean quality, roasting, and processing, alongside issues related to sustainability, health, and the ways of preparing coffee delights are also getting increasing coverage.

European Union leads as coffee-drinking champion

Brazil, with 32.4 percent of the global share, was the largest global producer of green coffee in 2017 and 2018, according to the ICO (International Coffee Organization). It was followed by Vietnam (17.9 percent), Colombia (8.8 percent), Indonesia (6.8 percent) and Honduras (5.3 percent). The ICO estimates that, in 2018, the human race drank its way through approximately 168,000,000 60-kilo sacks of the precious beans. Outside of the European Union, it’s the U.S., Brazil and Japan that are the largest coffee consumers at the moment. Every day, more than 2 billion cups are consumed all over the world. That’s a turnover of roughly $200 billion every year.

A recent study, carried out by the market research company Nielsen, found that Germans spent almost €4 billion, or around €50 per capita, on coffee from early December 2017 to early December 2018. A report put out by Tchibo, a major chain of coffee shops in Germany, says that daily per capita consumption in Germany is 3.4 cups of coffee, with 18 to 39-year-olds consuming 2.7 cups per day, while those in the 40 to 75 age bracket throw back 3.7 cups of the stuff every day.

Coffee treats to get you through the day: Ready-to-drink beverages enjoy increasing popularity

Across the board, ready-to-drink (RTD) coffee beverages are attracting more and more interest, especially among a younger market. According to Mintel, cold coffee delights are also making considerable gains. The market research company found that, globally, almost every fifth newly launched RTD coffee beverage is now also a cold drink. In the U.S., in particular, cold varieties are big business. Jonny Forsyth, Global Food & Drink Analyst at Mintel, stated: “Cold brew helps not only to further strengthen this market category, but also moves it toward a premium market.”

Cold brew refers to a type of coffee beverage in which the tastes and aromas are extracted from ground coffee that’s infused in cold water instead of the traditional hot water treatment. Coarsely ground coffee takes a bath in a container filled with water. The mixture is stirred well and left to brew for a long period of up to 24 hours before being filtered. The advantage is that, in comparison to classic brewing techniques, fewer unwanted elements (such as bitter compounds and acids) are released from the coffee. When you add a dash of liquid nitrogen to this cold-brewed elixir, you end up with “nitro coffee.”

Cold brew – much more than just cold coffee

Cold brew, no matter how it’s packaged, has shown that it is also capable of breaking down the boundaries that exist between the coffee segment and other drinks segments. Take for example the refreshing drink Caffezza, a canned concoction of cold brew and citrusy soda. Caffezza recently took home the German Innovation Award. Another shining example is ffeel, the latest cold brew offering from Melitta, which is marketed as a carbonated lifestyle drink and comes in printed 330 ml glass bottles in Calamansi Tangerine, Coconut Mango or Grapefruit Yuzu flavors. With its offerings of Coffee & Lemon and Coffee & Orange, the Austrian fruit juice producer Pfanner is also banking on consumers’ thirst for fruit juice and coffee mash-ups.

The constraints of traditional coffee culture are loosening thanks to another trend: The arrival of “super coffee.” The term refers to coffee that is enriched with plant extracts and powders. For example, the drink might be laced with powder from Peruvian ginseng roots, which are packed with a high amount of calcium, vitamin C and many other vitamins. Apparently, blending in mushroom extracts is another way to give your immune system a boost, albeit a particularly unusual approach. Mushrooms, such as Reishi, Chaga or Lion’s Mane, all of which are full of antioxidants, amino acids and anti-inflammatory properties, have all been used for this purpose.

Pink is the new black: the rosy-shaded coffee alternatives

Who says coffee can’t be pink? Beetroot juice has earned a reputation for being a good source of vitamins and minerals, as well as for helping with digestion and strengthening the immune system. Even coconut oil and butter are finding their way into coffee delights more often. Bulletproof coffee, a three-component filter coffee, which includes butter and coconut oil, is purported to give you up to six hours of energy and can be taken as a replacement for your breakfast, according to the creator of the drink, Dave Asprey. Asprey dreamed up this concoction while climbing in the mountains of Tibet, where he fueled his hikes mostly by drinking a mixture of tea and butter. He took the idea of combining fat with a hot drink and translated that to coffee.

Here’s a little something that we Europeans might take some time getting used to: egg coffee. The drink hails from Vietnam, and it’s a snap to make. Simply upgrade a shot of espresso with egg yolk and some sweetened condensed milk – and voilà! You’ve got some egg coffee!

Creative broccoli idea drums up plenty of publicity

New coffee ideas don’t just stir up trends. They can also reel in a lot of public interest at the same time. This has certainly been the case with our next innovation: broccoli coffee. The trendy Melbournese café Commonfolk Coffee recently added the innovative Broccoli Espresso, Broccoli Cappuccino and Broccoli Latte drinks to their menu. The recipe is quite simple: Mix vegetable powder with the brewed beans and maybe even sprinkle some more on top of the foam. Sam Keck, the coffee shop owner, says that the coffee creation has both fans and critics. Regardless of their reactions, the shop managed to make headlines all over the world thanks to its creative broccoli beverages.

Time-honored tradition stills has its place in the coffee world

But coffee doesn’t have to be twisted into weird iterations for a java-related idea to enjoy success. In Germany, for example, Alexander Streck, founder of the start-up MyCoffeebag, has managed to buck the trend. He went back to the roots in Germany and came up with his own novel idea. Looking back to the German café culture of the 1950s, filter coffee was new and quickly gaining popularity as a drink for everyone. Streck reflected on the aspects of sustainability, quality and the demand for one-cup coffee and brought his filter coffee idea to life. And so far it has been extremely successful. The scaled-down MyCoffeebag filter is made of fleece with paper handles, and it’s 100 percent compostable. The manufacturer also offers single portions of pre-packaged coffee, too. Within just 20 months, MyCoffeebag, which relies exclusively on online sales, managed to draw in 40,000 new customers and has sold just over 1.5 million cups of coffee. The setup saves more than 25 tons of carbon dioxide that would be required to produce the same amount of coffee in capsule form, according to product developer Jennifer Shirley.

Sustainability and fair trade are essential elements in the formula for success

It seems a foregone conclusion that the future will bring plenty of new and innovative coffee delights that young consumers in particular will latch onto. At the same time, issues around sustainability and fair trade will be brought into sharp focus. The recent French study “Coffee – a success story that hides a crisis” reveals how the coffee sector is facing dramatic developments in the face of climate change. “In the future, if we want to be able to enjoy a cup of coffee every day, then the conditions for coffee farmers urgently need to be improved,” implores Dieter Overath, the Managing Director of TransFair. “To ensure that as many coffee growers as possible enjoy better working conditions, overarching legal regulations must be put in place.”

Friederike Arndt

As a freelance trade journalist, Friederike Arndt is regarded as an expert in the area of beverages. She spent a long time writing for, inter alia, the trade magazines Getränkeindustrie (beverage industry) and Getränkefachgroßhandel (beverage wholesale trade). On the blog, she reports on the latest trends and innovations in the field of non-alcoholic beverages.