5 Coffeehouse Trends that Could Perk Up Your Business

From cold brewing to 'single origin,' find out what the future of the cafe business looks like.
Offering cold brew, one of the latest coffee trends, is a great way to attract customers to your coffeehouse. (Photo: iMoa Kiatbordin Doojai/Shutterstock)

Coffee, everyone’s favorite caffeinated beverage, remains as popular as ever. But, with home-brewing methods increasing in sophistication and quantity, it’s vital for coffee houses to embrace new trends to attract new and loyal customers.

With these five trends, coffee house owners can increase customer traffic and satisfaction using many facets of the business.

Get creative with coffee drinks


“Many of the current trends or development revolve around winning over this age group’s share of the market.” -Cody Kinart (Photo: Cody Kinart)

For years, customers were satisfied with the usual suspects on café drink menus. With the profusion of Starbucks and other national chains, espresso-based drinks and drip coffee have become the norm for coffee drinkers. But, as mirrored by the rise of foodie culture, customers want more from their coffee.

“More than just mixing coffee and milk together, many craft coffee bars create ‘signature beverages’ with syrups, fruit reductions, bubbly water, and other uncommon ingredients,” said Cody Kinart, former great lakes chapter representative of the Barista Guild of America and current green coffee buyer for Colectivo Coffee in Milwaukee, WI.

And one demographic, in particular, is downing these craft coffee beverages in record numbers. According to the National Coffee Association’s 2016 National Coffee Drinking Trends (NCDT) report, consumers between 18-39 invested more in gourmet coffee beverages than drip coffee.

As Kinart noted, “Many of the current trends or development revolve around winning over this age group’s share of the market.”

Do business through an app

By offering reward points through apps, coffeehouse owners can attract more customers. Customer loyalty and café friendly app examples include Folk, LevelUp and Spring Rewards.

According to research conducted by Barista magazine, for the 68 percent of cafes that offer reward programs, 91 percent of customers use them, resulting in more sales for 92 percent of shop owners.

If coffee houses transfer their punch card loyalty programs to an app, they’ll be able to combine an increasing reliance on technology with the pleasure of earning a free cup of coffee for their benefit.

Consider a pop-up

Pop-ups are mobile kiosks, RVs, hand-drawn carts and more that serve as an ancillary arm of a café. Because they can go where their brick and mortar “parent” can’t, pop-ups provide unique marketing opportunities.

According to entrepreneur.com, the mobile businesses present few risks with many rewards because of the low buy-in for renting space and the flexibility for locales and experimentation is huge. Whether it be a farmer’s market, furniture store or college campus, pop-ups offer a unique way for established coffee houses to increase their outreach.

In fact, an office building may be the perfect location for a new pop-up as the NCDT report found that of the 70 percent of coffee drinkers that drank in-office brew, half were unhappy with their circumstances.

Get to the (single) origin

Increasingly, consumers want to know more about where their goods and provisions come from. This is where the “single origin” bean comes in. If identified as such, the coffee provided has a specific, known growing region — whether it is a country or a farm.

Kinart noted that customers seek out single origin whole beans and drinks for a number of reasons.

“Aside from the fact that these coffees are likely much lighter than traditional blends, a lot of modern coffee drinkers turn to ‘single origin’ coffees for their transparency. Since these coffees are sourced from one-single origin, they are very likely to be from one single farm — so they can offer specific details like elevation and size of the farm and the cooperative or organization name. This allows customers to get specifics of where their money is being spent. People like knowing where their dollar goes.”

Offering single origin coffee offers a way for customers to engage more deeply with the beverage they consume.

Turn down the temperature for cold brew

Another way to attract newcomers and aficionados alike is through offering cold brew. Cold brew is the process of brewing organic beans in cold water for 12-24 hours, as opposed to the typical hot water brewing.

According to Pilar Westell, owner of popular coffee shop Zendo in Albuquerque, cold brew “is a lot of work, but so delicious and hugely popular.” Customers have been crowding Zendo for the drink, which is noted for its smoothness and ability to highlight certain flavors.

Zendo’s experience with customer demand for cold brew mirrors national trends for the popular treatment. According to research, cold brew sales grew 115 percent from 2014-2015. That’s more than just cold brew curiosity.

With so many innovations in preparation, technology and production, coffeehouse owners can increase business through a number of avenues.

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