More than 40% of adult Americans drink coffee on any given day, making brewed coffee the most consumed beverage after tap water. Roughly two out of three Americans drink hot brewed coffee. Hot brewed coffee is overwhelmingly consumed at home, but two-thirds of operators that offer non-alcoholic beverages offer hot brewed coffee. Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of coffee descriptors that suggest a premium offering: the words “local” and “fair trade” are among the fastest-growing coffee terms on menus – you’ll find many operators who call out fair-trade sourcing to educate customers on why their coffee stands out.
Espresso shots and cappuccinos are the most commonly offered hot specialty coffees. Growing in popularity are variations like Cuban espressos, “premium” drinks, and descriptors like “full-bodied.” Iced coffee, which is not as widely offered as hot brewed coffee, is also a varied category that can offer operators check-boosting opportunities. While cold-brewed coffee is in Inception, it is quickly moving along the Menu Adoption Cycle, with brands like Starbucks having debuted its own variation in March. Other iced coffees gaining traction include Thai iced coffee and green coffee.