You may not have noticed—it’s one of the countless small adaptations we make every day—but it’s taking a little longer to get your morning coffee. The line, most mornings, has always been pretty long, but lately, it’s been, well, even longer. And slower moving, because almost everyone in front of you seems to be ordering lattes, and espressos, and cappuccinos.It’s not in your head. This is actually happening. Drinking coffee’s on the rise (again). But drinking gourmet coffee (you may know it better as artisanal coffee if your café of choice is hipster-run—or Dunkin’ Donuts), especially, is having a moment. So if you are planning an event, why would you not want to give your guests that same experience? That’s where coffee catering comes in.
The National Coffee Association’s annual National Coffee Drinking Trends report, a nationwide survey, showed a big uptick in the number of Americans who are drinking coffee on an everyday basis, from 57 percent in 2016 to 62 percent in 2017—which reversed a slow decline since 2013.
The numbers jumped across all age groups, but the increases were sharpest in 13- to 18-year-olds, who grew from 23 percent in 2014 to 37 percent in 2017, apparently emboldened by the debunking of the myth that coffee stunts your growth, and in 40- to 59-year-olds, who grew from 53 percent in 2016 to 64 percent in 2017, though that increase is basically a recovery to their 2014 level.
And those numbers grew even more pronounced when the question became, “And was your coffee gourmet (espressos, cappuccinos, lattes, and the like)?” For 39 percent of the 40- to 59-year-olds, it was. That’s up 15 percent from only a year earlier. But it’s still only the second-largest jump because 70 percent of 13- to 18-year-olds answered yep.
As a whole, 59 percent of everybody surveyed said they’d had a gourmet coffee in the last 24 hours, up 46 percent from just five years earlier. That, the National Coffee Association says, is a record high, and it’s been conducting this trends report since 1950.
So, what does all of this mean, other than the lines at your café, morning, afternoon, and evening, aren’t going to let up anytime soon? It means that coffee catering could distinguish your next gathering (wedding, milestone birthday or anniversary, charity dinner, or work conference) the way a smartly curated bar or a meal that’s not served under a procession of heat lamps does. Similarly, it shows a true thoughtfulness for the guests’ side of the experience, where so often they can bear the brunt of some 11th-hour budget slashing.
Think back to the last wedding you attended. The night’s winding down, a server drops a small wedge of wedding cake over your right shoulder and returns a moment later to fill up your coffee cup. Within 20 minutes, you were out the door and on your way home. Now, reimagine that scene with a coffee bar and a barista. As soon as it’s announced, it becomes a gathering spot. And just as fast, there’s a surge of new energy around the room.
A limp cup of banquet coffee is an excuse to leave. A scratch-made espresso becomes a reason to stay.