Best Practices and up to the minute news on Customer Experience Management and Service Excellence

6 Coffee Shop Trends to Watch in 2023

From “healthy” coffees to popular brewing methods, consumers expect the latest beverage trends at their local coffee shop.

The coffee shop industry is “steadily recovering” from the pandemic, and it’s not just the big chains that are finally on better footing, according to restaurant software provider Toast.

Coffee shop chain sales grew by 10 percent from June 2021 to June 2022, with Starbucks and Dunkin’ continuing to make up a significant market share in the U.S., But the number of independent coffee shops and cafes are on the rise, serving as “cornerstones of their communities,” says Toast.

Nearly 30 percent of consumers surveyed prefer traditional coffee, and 22 percent said they drank espresso-based coffee-based beverages such as macchiatos, straight espresso, cappuccinos, lattes and Americanos, says toast.

In 2023, Coffee shops must design their coffee and tea drinks to meet shifting consumer demands, according to digital marketing strategy company Linchpin.

“Consumers can buy brain-enhancing energy drinks, molecular cocktail creations, and zero-alcohol beverage options. “The coffee and tea industry can keep up with these trends by embracing coffee and tea trends. Lovers of coffee and tea are ready for new ideas.”

To stay on top of coffee shop trends, check out the following top trends for 2023.

1. Online ordering

“Customers quickly grew to love the convenience of ordering and paying for their coffee drinks (and maybe a little pastry) on their phones as they leave the house, and showing up to the cafe ready to grab their order and go — COVID or not — so online ordering has taken hold,” says Toast.

2. Plant-based alternatives

Half-and-Half and skim or whole milk remain customer favorites. But non-dairy alternatives such as oat milk and almond milk are gaining in popularity, says Toast:

“Milk alternatives have exploded in popularity in recent years. Requests for plant-based milk have become ubiquitous, whether it’s due to lactose intolerance, a preference to avoid dairy consumption, or veganism. And some consumers just prefer the taste of non-dairy milk to cow’s milk.”

3. “Healthy coffees”

Consumers now expect coffee shops to offer proprietary blends of coffee that support good health. “Varieties like mushroom coffee and matcha lattes are standard,” says Linchpin. “Most dedicated coffee shops offer combinations that increase gut health, boost metabolism, and support the immune system.”

4. Snapchilled coffee

Snapchilling cools freshly brewed coffee rapidly to extract more flavor and appealing aromas than the cold-brewing process for chilled coffee and tea beverages, says Linchpin:

“Snapchilled coffee doesn’t take as long to make as cold-brewed, and you don’t need to dilute the coffee by adding ice cubes. This trend is becoming more common in coffee and tea shops everywhere.”

5. Generous tippers

“People are still tipping generously to help service workers make ends meet,” says Toast. “In the current economic climate, where cost of living is so much more expensive than it once was, hospitality patrons who can afford paying a slightly bigger tip — especially if it helps keep the workers at their favorite businesses safe, housed, and fed — are continuing to do so.”

6. Instant coffee variations

Not to be confused with instant coffee from the grocery store, instant coffee beverages similar to Korean dalgona coffee (popularized in the Netflix series Squid Game) and Greek frappes are more popular than before the pandemic.

“Coffee shops rarely, if ever, sell plain instant coffee — instead, they whip it with sugar to create frothy, creamy, sweet iced or hot coffee beverages,” says Toast.