Four Revealing Coffee Trends You Need to Know

By William “Bill” Murray, National Coffee Association President & CEO


The world of coffee has never been more complex – which is why having consistent, transparent data about coffee drinkers is crucial for your coffee business. 

We’ve just released the Spring 2022 survey of U.S. coffee drinkers, the latest addition to NCA’s legendary coffee trends research, the NCDT – National Coffee Data Trends – with important findings about the rapidly changing consumer landscape.

But it isn’t only the data that is new: Last year we also introduced a new online interactive data and visualization platform, which allows subscribers to NCA research to run custom reports on the vast datasets contained in the NCDT report.

The Spring 2022 NCDT report is now available for purchase, and key highlights include:

1. Nationwide coffee consumption is at a two-decade high. 66% of Americans reported that they had consumed coffee within the past day. This is up a staggering 14% since January 2021 – the largest year-on-year increase we have seen since we began gathering data.

2. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact Americans’ coffee drinking habits. While 27% of coffee lovers (up 8% from January 2021) are venturing out of home for their brew more frequently, out of home coffee consumption still has not returned to pre-pandemic levels. In addition, we found that at-home coffee consumption remains elevated; 84% of Americans had coffee at home in the past day, up from 4% in January 2020.

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3. The popularity of specialty coffee is at a five-year high. 43% of American coffee drinkers chose a specialty brew in the last day – up by 20% from January 2021. Learn more about specialty coffee in our new, free-to-download specialty coffee breakout report, produced with the support of the Specialty Coffee Association.

4. Americans love espresso-based beverages. Cappuccinos and lattes are tied for the most popular espresso-based drinks nationally, followed closely by plain espresso and café mocha.

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As the country begins to emerge from the worst public health crisis in recent memory, it is only fitting that coffee — backed by decades of independent scientific evidence showing its unique health benefits — is more popular than ever.

 Industry leaders are telling me, over and again, that they have never seen a more complicated, challenging business environment. Our motto here at NCA is “We Serve Coffee” – whether by providing accurate market data, championing fact-based regulation, or celebrating the science of coffee and health. I invite you to acquire our latest market research, as well as learn how joining the NCA can support the strength and success of your coffee business.

 NCA: We Serve Coffee.

 Not sure if you’re an NCA Member? Check our Membership list. If you’re not a member but could benefit from access to this research or other key industry resources, explore your Membership options.

How to get the most out of your eCommerce digital content

This is a guest post from HINGE Global, which recently held a webinar on how digital content can help you achieve your coffee eCommerce goals. NCA Members can view a recording of the webinar here, and learn more about Hinge’s Amazon Coffee Data Dashboard here.


In the US, eCommerce has grown by 32.4% since the start of the pandemic, and the US Department of Commerce shows that by the end of 2021, eCommerce will make up 13% of total retail sales (up from just 4% 10 years ago). 

The “endless aisles” of eCommerce means that consumers have easy access to millions of products that meet their specific needs. In 2021, there were 36,263 coffee products across 1,769 different brands, over 100X more than a typical grocery store!

All this means that winning in eCommerce requires a different approach than traditional retail stores.  E-Commerce managers need to make sure that the products can be discovered by consumers (via search), that consumers understand the product benefits (via the product detail page), and that consumers are persuaded to buy (i.e., conversion). Plus, consumer expectations continue to rise. Consumers shop multiple channels and are constantly comparing product offerings across sites.  This means that best-in-class digital content is critical to helping brands win in eCommerce.

1. Great copywriting (and keywords) helps your product be found in search.  The goal of copywriting to improve your brand’s organic search rank within the category.  Improving organic search results will also improve the return on advertising spending, because your marketing dollars will not have to work as hard. The secret to great copywriting is the artful blend of channel-specific keyword research, coupled with persuasive and clear writing, all while staying true to your brand’s voice. 

2. Product photography and lifestyle images drive conversioneCommerce shoppers spend less than four seconds before they click on a specific product listing. This is why it is critical to have eye-catching and appealing digital images. Product images need to grab shoppers’ attention, communicate the key benefits, and persuade consumers to buy the product.  Given the importance of product images, we strongly recommend that eCommerce sellers have at least 5 images per product listing.  To maximize eCommerce sales, all images should be created with a mobile-first approach.

3. Enhanced Brand Content (also known as Rich Media or A+ Content) boosts conversions by 12%-36%, according to Walmart.com. In fact, some retailers are starting to mandate the use of Enhanced Brand Content because of the improved customer experience.  Enhanced Brand Content typically sits below-the-fold, just before product reviews.  Because of this position, many consumers will scroll to this section while they do additional product research before making an online purchase.


HINGE GLOBAL is a leading full-service eCommerce agency, with particularly strong experience in Coffee and Foodservice.  Their team of eCommerce experts can help you optimize your online product detail pages, copywriting, and enhanced content.  Additionally, through their partnership with Salsify, HINGE GLOBAL can publish all your digital content to all your eCommerce sites, including Amazon.com, Walmart.com, Target.com, Shopify, and more. Reach out to HINGE GLOBAL for more information at contact@hingeglobal.com.

Retail Reboot: Away-from-Home Coffee’s Post-Pandemic Future

By William “Bill” Murray, NCA President & CEO


What does the post-pandemic future hold for the hundreds of thousands of retail outlets that provide coffee to Americans away-from-home?

The Spring ’21 NCDT showed a pandemic-induced dip in away-from-home coffee preparation, but there is reason to be optimistic.

The most recent study we conducted, the National Coffee Association’s National Coffee Data Trends report, offers many reasons for optimism for all segments of the coffee sector – including away-from-home.

Unlike some industries – travel, tourism, live entertainment – the coffee industry, as a whole, has fared reasonably well.  Coffee drinking is not only safe, no matter where you enjoy it, but is connected to numerous health benefits.  In fact, a large group of independent studies associates coffee drinking with lower levels of depression – important to know during a horrific pandemic.

All of which supports America’s continuing love affair with coffee, right through the pandemic.  In January of this year, 58% of Americans reported drinking coffee “yesterday,” down from 62% a year ago, a modest change – especially when considering the study’s 2.5% margin of error.

But while coffee continues to be America’s favorite beverage, it is true that the away-from-home segment has been impacted by the pandemic.  This impact, though, is temporary – a direct result of the pandemic – and is already reversing.

We know this because of what the data tells us about the recent past – and consumer attitudes – towards coffee.

First, one reason the away-from-home coffee segment has suffered is because of the rolling, random lockdowns the country has experienced.  These are coming to an end.

Second, the slight decrease in overall coffee consumption is linked to the economic impact of the pandemic.  24% of Americans told us in January of 2021 that their financial situation was “much or somewhat worse” than a year ago, up from 13% who told us the same thing in January 2020.  Stimulus checks are in the mail, and shortages of workers are growing.  Recent reports confirmed a surge in retail sales in March and dropping unemployment.  The economy is poised for a comeback – the worry now is actually over an “overheated” economy, and the inflation that could ensue.

Third, coffee drinking during the pandemic has been up marginally in the morning and at breakfast – but down marginally in the afternoon.  24% of Americans reported having an afternoon coffee in January ’20, down to 20% this past January.  That afternoon coffee is closely associated with socializing, work, or being out and about, and will reverse as America reopens.

Fourth, contrary to the headlines, away-from-home coffee never disappeared.  In fact, over two-thirds of respondents told us in January ’21 that they were already back in their coffee shops, or anticipating a return in the near future.  First responders, truckers, delivery service workers, skilled tradespeople, grocery store employees, public sector employees – those in the “Essential” parts of the economy (including many coffee suppliers, by the way) have been there all along.  About 11% of coffee drinkers drank their coffee during their commute – right through the pandemic.

Fifth, away-from-home coffee has pivoted quickly to adapt to the new reality, and coffee drinkers have responded.  By September of last year, 39% of away-from-home coffee drinkers had ordered through an app, up from 24% in January ’20.

But there’s more.  Turning from what has been happening to what coffee drinkers want to happen, the optimism grows even stronger.

The sixth reason for optimism is that coffee drinkers miss their away-from-home coffee.  In January, 2021, 35% of respondents either agreed strongly or somewhat agreed that they “miss the social aspect” of going out to coffee shops, cafes, and restaurants, 34% said that they miss their “regular” away-from-home venues, and 33% said that they miss treating themselves by going out. 

Some social psychologists have speculated that the post-lockdown period could be like the Roaring 20’s – a country ready to let loose.  Indulging in a favorite coffee beverage prepared by a favorite barista would be one way to do that!

Seventh, the steps that away-from-home venues can take to encourage customers’ return – while requiring some investment – are straightforward.  43% of respondents told us that having workers wear masks and gloves – and having other customers wear masks – were steps that venues can take to “encourage (me) to visit them more often.”  Practicing visible sanitation protocols, and limiting capacity/crowd control also scored highly.  (See our free NCA guide to safely reopening your coffee business for more on this topic.)

Bottom line?  Vaccines are rolling out, even with hiccups.  The economy is improving.  America has not lost its love for, its need for, and its relationship with coffee. America misses its favorite coffee shop, restaurant, and café – and for the one-third of Americans who are cautious about resuming their old routines, there are more reasons every day to feel reassured.

We’ve been through the worst we ever could have imagined – but today, and tomorrow, are better for all of us in coffee – especially the men and women around the world who grow the coffee we love.

Consumer Insights: Coffee Claims [Video]

From sourcing to roasting, coffee companies can have a lot to say about their product. These messages can majorly influence consumer perception and behavior – but not necessarily in the ways you’d expect.

A new NCA Consumer Insights report (based on NCDT data) takes a closer look at coffee claims – which include general statements, perceptions, or things that people find motivating about coffee.

For example, said Cheryl Hung, VP of Research at Dig Insights, during a recent webinar: “What kind of equity does coffee have with consumers? Are there positive and negative associations with coffee among different demographics? Who perceives coffee in a negative light? And what can we say to persuade them from a marketing perspective, or via point of sale?”

Get more highlights in the video below – and to learn more, check out the webinar (on-demand playback free for members) or NCA market research:

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Infographic: What’s Brewing in 2019

Highlights from NCA market research on coffee consumption trends in the US

NCA National Coffee Data Trends (NCDT) Consumer Insights at a Glance

via Dig Insights

For yet another brew-tiful year, Dig Insights has partnered with the NCA to create five new consumer insight reports, to supplement the annual NCDT market tracking research:

  • Single-Cup Brewing
  • Coffee and Gen Z
  • In and Out of Home Coffee Consumption
  • Understanding Attitudes Towards Coffee
  • Cold Brew and Ready-to-Drink

Explore some highlighted insights from each of the mini reports below – and NCA members can check out the on-demand webinar, Single Cup & Consumer Insight Reports, featuring Cheryl Hung, Dig Insights VP.

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Infographic: Sustainability Sells

Shoppers are expected to spend an estimated $150 billion on sustainable products by 2021

via Nielsen

While we expect sustainable-minded shoppers to spend up to $150 billion on sustainable products by 2021, sustainability is starting to drive gains in everything from resource management to product packaging.

Here’s a glimpse into the myriad ways in which companies are embracing sustainability (and outperforming) along the way.

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NCA National Coffee Data Trends 2019

Growth Chart

The Behaviors & Perceptions of U.S. Coffee Drinkers

63% of American adults drink coffee daily, according to new market research announced at the 2019 NCA Annual Convention in Atlanta.


The National Coffee Association USA (NCA) offered a first look at the redesigned and rebranded 2019 National Coffee Data Trends (NCDT) today at the 2019 NCA Annual Convention in the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel in Atlanta, GA. The NCDT report has tracked consumer behaviors and perceptions shaping coffee trends in the US for almost 70 years.

63% of American adults drink coffee daily, according to the NCDT, steady with 2018 consumption.

“Coffee is America’s most beloved beverage – and for good reason,” said William (Bill) Murray, NCA President & CEO. “New consumer values have changed the game for coffee. But the industry is adapting – and thriving – by embracing innovation and transparency.”

From sustainability to wellness, these realigned priorities mean that consumers are paying more attention to what’s in their cup than ever before.

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For RTD Coffee, Cold is Hot

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Generation Z and young millennial consumers are driving RTD market trends

Top industry trends to watch, according to the latest market research.

US cold brew has emerged as a vibrant growth segment for the global coffee market.


Related Resources: RTD & Cold Brew

The NCA Cold Brew Toolkit & FAQ
Science-based guidance for the coffee industry

NCA Coffee Market Snapshot Reports
25% discount extended for a limited time only!

Webinar: What’s Brewing in RTD Coffee
Featuring Mintel


The following post is adapted from the Tea & Coffee Trade Journal Editor’s Blog 

The weather is turning cooler — but RTD coffee does not seem to need hot weather to entice consumers. The appeal is already there and growing.

According to research from the Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD), in 2017 approximately one in five (19%) global new coffee launches was iced, ready-to-drink (RTD), up from 16% in 2015.

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