Now an every day drink for millions of Brits, coffee has seen a meteoric rise in the past 10 years and one that is unlikely to stop any time soon. From Nespresso through to Lavazza or La Marzocco, see how the rise of the coffee prosumer is being driven.
The coffee industry continues to go from strength to strength. Mintel research for 2016 reveals that coffee shop sales reached a new high of £3 billion. Over the past 5 years the coffee shop market rose by 28% and this growth is predicted to continue, in fact by a further 26% between 2015-2020. So coffee is proving to be very recession resistant, particular when you consider that an average latte coffee purchased outside the home will set you back £2.50.
The word prosumer is not new to those in sales and marketing. The term prosumer really means someone who has become so knowledgeable and sophisticated about a product that they are no longer just a consumer. They are in fact able to be very selective, want a professional level of Goods and in some cases can even help develop the product they are purchasing.
At ProsumerCoffee.com would argue that the word prosumer is now very apt for the coffee market. Whilst there are always people who will drink anything that is brown and hot and goes under the title ‘coffee’ there are many who are both choosy and knowledgeable about their cup of coffee. In fact Mintel, in their research, said that there were coffee connoisseurs, particularly amongst the 45-64 age group, who say that quality was very important to them when buying a cup of coffee. But how do we see the prosumer influencing the coffee market?
Let’s start with the basis for a good cup of coffee, the coffee bean. Key coffee growing regions around the world include South America, Africa and Indonesia. Columbia for example produces 12% of the coffee made in the world, second only to Brazil who produces a third of all coffee produced in the world. The choice now is huge. The coffee prosumer will probably have tried most of the coffees from different regions and will know what is right for them. Coffee beans from Ethiopia for example are often very bold in taste, full flavoured and full bodied. Beans from Costa Rica are known for their medium body and sharp acidity.
Coffee prosumers will not only know where they like their coffee beans to come from they will also know the importance of freshness and how it is roasted. They are likely to buy their coffee beans in an artisan style coffee bean shop or purchase from a coffee supplier online.
Years ago it would have been unheard of to grind your coffee beans at home, or if you did it would have been with a small, fairly cheap grinder which probably burnt most of the beans in the process. Grinding is probably as important to producing a great cup of coffee as a good coffee machine is. Why is this?
In a nutshell when you grind coffee to make the prefect espresso you need to get the particle size perfect. This will ensure that extraction happens properly. This is why many baristas say that they would rather spend more money on their grinder than their coffee machine. So the grind you choose will impact on the type of coffee you get. A coarse grind will suit a French press whereas if you are using an espresso machine you will want a superfine grind.
So a coffee prosumer will probably have a really good coffee grinder at home, a smaller version of the type you see in a good coffee shop. They won’t have one because they want the volume but rather because they can produce the exact grain that they require for their coffee machine. In fact many manufacturers now produce good, commercial quality coffee grinders for home use.
Coffee machines have really changed over the years from the percolator type models to amazing kitchen design statements. Of course good independent and artisan coffee shops will set great store by the model of coffee machine they have. But the coffee prosumer market now also seeks to have a professional style commercial quality coffee machine at home capable of producing amazing espressos.
When buying a coffee machine one of the first things to ask is how much do you want to do? The rise of the pod machine highlights that there are coffee drinkers who want good coffee but don’t want to have to learn much to produce it. Likewise bean to cup machines grind the coffee for you on demand, with the grinder an integral part of the machine. Then there is the pump machine where you grind, tamp and essentially create your own espresso.
The choice of coffee machines for the home is now huge with most respected manufacturers now cottoning onto the coffee prosumer market. With a little barista knowledge it is possible to start producing lattes, espressos, and cappuccinos which taste amazing without having to leave your kitchen. Many of these machines may look expensive on first sight but when you look at the numbers of coffees they can produce and the cost of buying a latte in a coffee shop then they represent really good value.
Another development in the prosumer coffee market is the growing number of training programmes available to the public to learn basic barista skills. This includes how to grind coffee beans for certain coffees, understanding the difference between a latte and a cappuccino, how to tamp coffee grains, frothing milk properly, and even creating latte art. With a bit of effort it is possible for the prosumer to get really skilful at producing great coffee. The rise of these programmes highlights the demand out there from prosumers to understand more about their coffee and be a barista in their own home.
So the popularity of coffee shows no sign of abating. As a nation we love our coffee and we love our coffee shops. We also think however that there are a growing number of coffee prosumers, real coffee connoisseurs who are developing their coffee skills at home and want amazing coffee without having to leave home. This has led to more coffee goods being made available for this market, from amazing commercial quality grinders, coffee machines, tamping accessories and of course great quality coffee beans.