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Coffee Shop Trends for Generation Z

Generation Z brings a new wave of coffee consumption and their preferences are very different from other types of consumption. As of 2018, 48% of 18- to 24-year-olds now drink coffee. Coffee shop industry trends show that Generation Z consumers show strong preferences for everything but traditional coffee. They prefer ready-to-drink beverages, iced options, and the use of both whitener and sweetener. To appeal to younger audiences:

Avoid artificial materials whenever possible.

Generation Z consumers have shown that they will actively avoid products with GMOs or artificial ingredients. Take this initiative one step further and make complete and transparent ingredient lists easily accessible.

Offer an option.

Unlike older groups, Generation Z consumers do not see coffee as a daily ritual. Gone are the days of the obligatory coffee break before work or school.

Use technology and tradition.

As digital natives, Gen Z expects technology that offers consistent branding and convenience. Explore options to make sure you don't get old while delivering an authentic coffee shop experience.

New coffee brewing methods

Cold brew, Nitro, and tabletop coffee presses are changing the way coffee shops finish their products. While cold brew was initially seen as a novelty, it has grown into a $29 million market in the US. Cold brew is also prominent in markets in Japan and China.

Start cold brewing with some new equipment and some room temperature water. Cold brew coffee withstands a much longer brewing process. As a result, if you want to add cold brew coffee to your menu, you will need a carefully thought-out timeline for brewing.

Trends in the coffee shop market show that Nitro-brewed coffee is making its way into the industry as well. Nitro uses the same brewing method as cold brew, but then goes through a process similar to holding and serving the coffee.

Stored in barrels, nitro coffee is brewed with nitrogen for a smooth and occasionally bitter taste.

Special order trend

While coffee shops in Europe haven't caught on to this US craze, specialty orders have been on the rise for a while. Let your customers create their own drinks from scratch. They will choose the type of beverage, its size, and any additions such as sauce or syrup flavorings. After placing their order, the barista makes them a drink that has everything the customer wants.

Dairy alternative drinks

Plant-based milk, often perceived as a healthier option, is popular with young people. The non-dairy milk used in coffee should function as close to real dairy as possible. That is, for cappuccino, it should foam easily, not greasy when faced with a hot liquid, and should generally not give an unpleasant taste.

Currently, oat milk is leading this trend. Other top choices include soy, almond, rice, and cashew milk options. Popular coffee shop trends like specialty drinks can benefit from alternative textures of dairy alternatives.

Stretched concept coffee

Coffee is now in ice cream, popsicles, chocolate and even mixed drinks. The possibilities are endless and the trends here show once again that coffee is becoming a pleasure. Get creative and start experimenting by presenting the flavor and experience of coffee in many different ways.

If you have a liquor license, consider adding a Siciliano to your menu. Pair sweet Italian vermouth with cold brew and Amaro Averna for a smooth, sweet and strong drink. Or get your barista and mixologist together to create custom creations for your brand.

sustainable coffee

One of the biggest trends in the coffee industry is sustainability. Many brands, which shed light on the contribution of the coffee industry to ecological and social issues, announced that they will make effective changes.

The problems that sustainable coffee is tackling are huge. Focal points include the people involved, the planet, and profit.

source coffee

Local farmers and roasters

Fair trade certified farms

Rainforest Alliance Certified farmers

Vendors working with the UTZ Certified seal

Reward dedicated roasters or growers with your business when they pay their employees a fair wage to contribute to social sustainability. This can affect countries and businesses that use child labor or harsh working conditions.

Coffee mug , coffee tasting

A fun way of saying coffee tasting, the coffee mug is often based on coffee bars, cafes or cafes hosting an event. Participants in coffee cup classes will smell the coffee in a deep breath, followed by a loud slurp. The slurping method offers a different experience than sipping, as it spreads the coffee behind the tongue.

During the coffee cup, tasters will measure and discuss the key elements of the body of the coffee:

Mouth feel – texture

Sweetness - natural sweetness as there are no sweeteners included warm

Acidity - sharp delivery or bitterness

Flavor – often reminiscent of the fruit, wood, nut or spice involved in the manufacturing process


You are selling an experience during these lessons, so think hard about how you can become a good home owner.

Wider equipment options

Coffee shop beverage trends will always rely on proper equipment. When just opening your coffee shop, consider adding a few of these to your coffee shop equipment budget.

Standard equipment

A requirement for all coffee shops include:

Espresso machines (Manual, semi-automatic and super-automatic models are available)

commercial coffee machines

Coffee Presses

coffee bean grinders

Coffee Boxes

Special equipment

Taking part in trends like nitro brewing is vital. For cold and nitro brewing, consider investing in:

Nitro solid taps or nitro coffee taps


Nitrogen gas

Chinese Strainer


Offer some flair using:

Sparkling jugs and thermometers (great for latte art)

Coffee-to-Go boxes for added convenience

Flavoring syrups and special whipped cream for "treatment"-inspired drinks

Trends in coffee shop interior design

Interior design has always been a hot topic and this trend is seeing another big shift. The use of eclectic furniture and mismatched cup sets is long gone. Regarding interior design, business owners should choose a simple design, natural light, catchy coffee shop names and sometimes theme decor. Hot design trends in coffee shops and cafes focus on blending functionality with comfort.

Design trends for coffee shops

Group or "family" sized tables to provide a meeting point for friends or workgroups.

Large and well placed windows for natural lighting.

Use bookshelves or visually appealing partitions around seats to create an image of privacy.

Opt for durable wood options or high-quality materials like metal for furniture.

Explore unconventional themes such as Boutique or Steampunk Cafes.

A coffee shop with the latest trends will rely on changes in the industry to build their brand, improve their menu, and drive important business decisions.

Make sure to avoid anything artificial to attract a younger crowd. Finally, put some effort into planning other elements such as design, equipment, and implementation of new technology, even these will increase startup costs for a coffee shop. Current trends in the coffee shop industry will affect your shop, so use them to your advantage! If you don't want to deal with all these details, let us do it for you!


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