Research conducted by the National Coffee Association examined generational trends in coffee consumption. Over the past eight years, gourmet coffee beverage consumption has soared from 13 percent to 36 percent among 18-24 year olds, and from 19 percent to 41 percent for those 24-39. For espresso-based beverages, consumption increased from 9 percent to 22 percent for 18-24 year olds, and from 8 percent to 29 percent for respondents 25-39.
The results revealed the newer generation of coffee lovers is not content with the coffee that their predecessors enjoyed. The market share of “gourmet coffee beverages” is primarily younger Millennials (18-24). This category is known as “specialty coffee” and includes: gourmet traditional coffee, espresso-based beverages, and iced or frozen drinks. Older Millennials (25-39) are more likely to drink: espresso-based beverages, cappuccino, mocha, espresso, gourmet coffee, caffe Americano, flat white, cold brew and nitrogen-infused coffee.
Millennials are continuing to change coffee consumption patterns and behaviors. Millennials view “value” differently—not as price her ounce, but as a brand’s philosophy, authenticity, and commitment. Millennials will purchase coffee from companies that reflect their own values. Because of their high levels of individuality, Millennials also prefer getting more customized coffee beverages. Millennials have also turned coffee-drinking into a more public activity and are drinking coffee more out-of-home than previous generations who drank coffee primarily at home. Finally, Millennials tend to be more sophisticated in their coffee choices. As a result, they are more likely than older generations to experiment with new beverages and preparation methods.