Specialty coffee key to industry recovery: first NCA Specialty Coffee Breakout Report

Specialty coffee NCA

The four in ten American adults who drink specialty coffee each day were found to be less satisfied than traditional coffee drinkers with coffee-at-home during the COVID-19 pandemic and more likely to miss visiting their regular coffee shops. This is according to the National Coffee Association (NCA)’s first Specialty Coffee Breakout Report, released on 19 May as part of the 2021 National Coffee Data Trends research series.

Drawing on nationwide polling and released in partnership with the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA), the report reveals that 47 per cent of 25 to 39 year olds drank specialty coffee yesterday, more than any other age group.

Coffee consumption is highest for Americans who drink both specialty and traditional coffee, about 4.6 cups per day, compared to just under three cups for those who drink exclusively specialty or exclusively traditional coffee.

“Specialty coffee drinkers will be key to getting beloved coffee businesses back up and running post-pandemic, and no other report has ever explored their profiles and preferences in such depth,” NCA President and CEO Bill Murray says.

“With COVID-19 restrictions loosening, this data is more important than ever. Many specialty coffee drinkers experimented with coffee at home, but this new report confirms they are very eager to get back to their favourite specialty drinks and trusted baristas.”

Additional key findings include that specialty coffee drinkers are evenly split between men and women. A majority (60 per cent) do not have children and live in cities or suburbs and 43 per cent of specialty coffee drinkers earn less than US$50,000 per year.

Surprisingly, compared to traditional coffee drinkers, specialty coffee drinkers are about three times as likely to choose flavoured coffee, 50 per cent more likely to choose dark roasts, and 57 per cent more likely to sweeten their coffee.

Specialty coffee drinkers are nearly three times more likely than traditional coffee drinkers to pay attention to coffee news and 86 per cent more likely to say coffee is good for their health.

“The data shows that 73 per cent of specialty coffee drinkers are more likely to miss their regular coffee shops, which shows how important local coffee businesses are to our daily lives in many places,” SCA CEO Yannis Apostolopoulos says.

“This pioneering partnership with the NCA enables us to bring analysis on consumer data to specialty coffee businesses to help them get through this challenging time and come back stronger than ever.”

The reports defines “specialty coffee” as including any espresso-based beverage; non-espresso- based beverages like frozen blend, cold brew, and nitro; and traditional coffee that consumers perceive to be brewed from premium coffee beans/grounds.

To read the full report click here.

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