Year in Review: Our Top 5 Coffee Posts of 2017

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2017 was a big year for coffee.

What – and where – we drink is changing. Specialty trends moved into the mainstream, from the cold brew craze to the rise of RTD. Today, consumers have unprecedented control to customize their beverage, from unique flavors to nutrition-driven additives (oat milk, anyone?).

To reflect how these changes are reshaping our industry, the NCA even added a new “gourmet” category to our National Coffee Drinking Trends report.

Yet at the same time, the fundamentals of coffee remain as relevant as ever.  Whether you’re a brewing beginner or a brilliant barista, understanding the basics of what makes a quality cup is still crucial to developing and refining new brew methods and flavors. For instance: Extraction will always be a factor, and your equipment needs to be clean.

We’re looking forward to what the next year will bring – we’re seeing a lot of exciting new research on coffee and health, opportunities to improve industry best practices, and critical developments in sustainability.

But the New Year is also an opportunity to reflect on where we’ve been. Here are the most popular NCA blog posts in 2017, highlighting the importance of both innovation and tradition in the world of coffee.

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Perk Up Your Ears with Coffee Tunes

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By Melissa J. Pugash

Coffee is all about enjoyment — as coffee enthusiasts, we appreciate our favorite elixir for its delicious flavor, aroma, deep brown color, and pleasant mouthfeel.

Did you know you can enhance your sensory experience with the pleasure of coffee-themed music? Whether your taste leans toward jazz, Broadway show tunes, rock, or classical music, here are a few songs (available for purchase on iTunes) to perk up your day.

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4 Practical Ways to Teach Second Wave Consumers About Third Wave Coffee

[Editor’s note: If you have no idea what this title means, check out this infographic explaining third wave coffee.]

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The following post originally appeared on Perfect Daily Grind
Written by E. Squires and edited by T. Newton

If you’re anything like me, you’ve spent countless hours reading, researching, tasting, traveling, and diving deeper into our favorite drink. You love reading about farmers and their best practices. You spend hours perfecting your brew methods and your espresso shots.

But many, if not most, of your customers won’t be as interested in the minutiae of TDS and coffee processing methods. They simply want a shot of caffeine (plus or minus sugar). Sure, some customers will come for a quality coffee experience. A select few will even want to know everything. But these will be in the minority.

The thing about us in the Third Wave is that we’re desperate to share specialty coffee with everybody – but we can’t. Great customer service means understanding your customers and meeting them where they are, whether it’s simply a morning caffeine fix or a matter of helping them along their coffee journey in small steps.

Yet while you can’t force your customers to appreciate coffee like you do, you can open the door and allow them to walk through it. Getting the balance is hard, so we’ve come up with four practical ways to teach people about Third Wave coffee without preaching or being intimidating.

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Cold Brew Is Definitely a Thing, Dictionary Confirms

…. And apparently man buns are, too. 

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Cold brew continues to be one of the hottest trends in the coffee market: About 10% of daily coffee consumers reported drinking it past-day in 2017, via the latest National Coffee Drinking Trends report – up from only 1% in 2015.

And it’s not just for the coffee geeks and hipsters anymore: the popular beverage is now officially accepted into mainstream culture.

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Data Snapshot: Coffee Brews Success in Asia

The global coffee market continues to brew up a storm, and Asia is playing a key role in its growth.

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New research from Mintel reveals that three out of the five fastest growing retail coffee markets are in Asia. Indonesia is currently the fastest growing packaged retail coffee market with a CAGR of 19.6% over the past five years, while India has had a CAGR of 15.1%, and Vietnam 14.9%.

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Look at These Adorable Coffee Monsters

Created by former copywriter Stefan Kuhnigk, these charming monsters show the whimsical side of coffee stains.

Here are a few of our favorites (it was hard to choose) – and their stories.

To discover more of these delightful creatures, visit his website or follow @thecoffeemonsters on Instagram.

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For monster Jim there was only one thing going to be the peak of the week. The search for some cattle and eating it as a small snack.”

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How to Make French Press Coffee

An illustrated brewing guide by artist Mike Lowery.

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For be best brew, use a coarser coffee grind for French press coffee.

Bonus pro tip from the experts at IllyAdd a heaping tablespoon (7-8 grams) of coffee to the pot per 200 ml (6.7 oz) of water. (And remember to clean your pot thoroughly after each use.)

The NCA Guide: How To Brew Coffee

For more coffee illustrations, check out our Pinterest board.