Coffee is big business for both coffee producers and appliance makers. At the retail level, global sales of coffee reached US$75.6 billion in 2015, up 6% from 2014 while unit sales of electric coffee machines totalled 78.4 million in 2015, up 1% from 2014 according to Euromonitor International’s Hot Drinks and Consumer Appliances databases. Among the more than 2,200 exhibitors at the International Home + Housewares Show running from March 5 to 8 in Chicago, numerous companies offered a wide range of products related to coffee. Three major coffee trends were seen at the show – craft, cold-brew, and connected.
As detailed in “Pour Over Coffee in the US: Trend or Fad?”, the pour over manual brewing method has become popular in “third wave” specialist coffee shops in the US and among Milllennials (born 1982-2000). Coffee drinkers have become inspired to make handcrafted coffee by seeing pour over devices from Chemex and Hario used in coffee shops. The idea of craft coffee is becoming popular as consumers increasingly see coffee as an artisanal product similar to wine that is to be appreciated, understood, and carefully prepared. Though the French press has been around for decades, consumers are rediscovering the method as it offers a way to make handcrafted coffee with less fuss than the pour over method and looks attractive on the dining table.
Numerous exhibitors offered their takes on craft coffee. Bodum, known for its French presses, introduced pour over devices with double-wall glass, cork around the side, and a decorative leather cord. Lifetime Brands featured a La Cafetière display with French presses, stovetop espresso makers, and pour-over filter cones. Aerobie, Inc demonstrated its AeroPress Coffee Maker that uses a plunger, chamber, and filter cap to produce American coffee or espresso style.
The cold-brew method has become a popular way for specialist coffee shops to serve iced coffee. Instead of brewing double-strength coffee and then pouring over ice, cold-brew involves steeping coffee grounds in cold or room temperature for 12 hours or more before straining out the coffee grounds. Cold-brew has gained fans as it produces coffee with less acid and bitterness. Cool Gear and Primula offered single-serve cold-brew kits that allow consumers to make the cold-brew coffee at home and take it to go. The Primula Cold Brew and Travel system uses a 20 oz glass bottle with a protective, insulating neoprene glove. The coolgear BRU single-serve at-home brewing system features a patented adjustable valve system to choose brew strength and a 22 oz double-walled Tritan tumbler.
For consumers looking for an automated way to brew coffee, a number of exhibitors offered “connected” coffee makers that connect the electric coffee machines with iPhone, Android, or iPad apps using Wi-Fi to control the device. These devices seek to appeal to consumers who increasingly rely on their smartphones. Nestlé SA introduced Nespresso Prodigio, a pod coffee machine that allows users to keep track of how many Nespresso capsules they have, reorder the capsules when needed, and schedule brewing time. BEHMOR offered the BEHMOR Connected Coffee Maker with DADO Labs technology to allow users to customize their experience by choosing brew temperature and pre-soak time.