GCR Magazine petitioned industry leaders on what to look out for in the year ahead.
The single most prominent development in the coffee industry has been the demand from the increasingly-educated coffee consumer to be able to enjoy not only the highest quality coffee, based upon their perception of what that might be, but also to have that quality delivered to him, or her, utilizing the highest performance vehicle for guaranteeing that coffee experience.
To some, this might marry a convenience factor with this quality demand, which might drive a capsule delivery system. Others may be willing to endure a bit of a wait while a single cup, pour-over process is employed. Others may wish to immerse themselves in the full production and brewing experience within one of the more recent full production showcase/retail coffee houses. Whatever the end result, the emphasis is as much on the performance of the process, brewing and extraction as it is on the product, or the roasted coffee bean.
One good, long-standing, example of this performance, and total experience dimension, is the espresso brewing process wherein the balancing of the variables in that process, particularly the grind, is of paramount importance. Until recently, no other brew methodology has exerted as much emphasis on brewing performance as a function of mechanical factors. The most noticeable trend over the last few years has been the evolution of the single-serve market which, in a way, is an extension of the single serve espresso experience. One of the more recent trends has manifested itself within the pour-over single serve brew “showcase concept” methodology being employed more and more frequently in coffee bars and shops.
With the above as a backdrop, we can anticipate that the biggest game changer for the coffee industry in 2015 will continue to be the explosion of capsules and pods, with the demand to deliver quality in an abbreviated period of time, an equation that requires the precise, scientific performance of the ground coffee. in this sense, the mechanics of the ground coffee particle have become just as critical as that of the espresso barista. The compromise between brew quality and single serve convenience is no longer accepted.
We now have not only the most educated coffee consumers ever, but also the most demanding, and those demands extend to wanting their particular coffee blend wherever, and whenever, they desire. Not only has this driven the growth of the tens of thousands of coffee establishments, but also the vast array of coffee methodologies that will deliver, most conveniently, that ideal coffee experience.