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Future of coffee - Connected Coffee Blog

The Future of Coffee in Australia: A Glimpse Into The Next Five Years

At Connected Coffee, our next cup of coffee is kind of always floating around in the backs of our minds. We probably plan our days around the next one without even realising it. Maybe you can relate? 

And as much as we love thinking about future coffees in our mouths, we also like thinking about the future of the coffee scene. A lot’s changed in the past fifteen years, so what’s a cafe going to look like in the next five, ten, maybe even twenty years? 

What will espresso machines look like? What will home machines be capable of and at what price? Will barista training evolve from 2-day courses to 2-year apprenticeships?  

If these things cross your mind too then you might be interested in this post. 

Mid-June this year, Dr. Adam Carr, head of the Coffee Science and Education Centre at Seven Miles Coffee Roasters in Sydney, with colleagues Ben Irvine and Carina Parlas released a report called Cafe 2025. With an extensive background in academic research, Dr. Carr is as legitimate as they come and an asset to the Australian coffee trade. Check out his bio here

Cafe 2025 is an in-depth analysis of current coffee trends and paints a picture of what the Australian coffee scene may look like by…you guessed it, 2025. It’s an impressively informative read and if you’re well acquainted with craft coffee, your experience will likely be filled with many ‘aha’ and ‘eeh interesting’ moments. The format however, is not far off an academic journal though it’s a little more accessible than that. It’s reasonably long too, maybe a two-hour read if you can comfortably process the density of information. 

If reports are your vibe, then check it out here. If you don’t think you’ll get around to it but fancy taking a look under the hood, then read on. 

Keep in mind that Cafe 2025 doesn’t claim to be any kind of crystal ball, but it is a combination of insight, foresight and raw data analysis. It even includes discussion of the impacts of Covid-19. What you’ll find below are not certifications, but estimations broken down into five major trends to look for in the next five years. 

Disclaimers out of the way, a sweeping summary of the expectations on the horizon are too exciting not to mention at least in brief, before cracking into the finer details: 

It may be hard to believe since Australia is already renowned for its high-end coffee and cafe experience, but in all likelihood, the industry is set to make further steps into coffee heaven with a special focus on hospitality in the midst of technological innovations and commitment to the craft. In other words, you may be hard pressed to purchase a poor coffee from a cafe in five years time!

We’re a lucky country, there’s no doubt about it! Now, onto the five trends to look out for according to Seven Miles.

  1. Roasting Trends

There’s two takeaways on this front. Firstly, according to the research layed out in the 2025 Report, the Australian palette has crossed to the dark side. In the next five years we’ll be wanting darker roasts, medium-dark being the most likely. This means we can expect coffee to be a little more bitter, a little less acidic and carry richer caramel tones. 

Secondly, we all know the cafe with the huge glass wall sectioning off the in-house roastery. Well, if you like that kind of thing, then you’re in for a treat. The emergence of small scale roasting technologies becoming increasingly accessible means cafes, especially those that can spare the space, will be tempted to take up the art. Not only is on-site roasting appealing to customer’s perceptions of authenticity and craftsmanship, but cafes can save money buying green beans directly as they pass through less hands before reaching their loading docks. 

  1. Cafe trends 

This section (and the next) are especially dense in the report. There’s so much that could be said, so we’re just going to paint a broad picture here and hone in on just a few areas. 

Firstly, it’s probably best to mention that the emergence of new cafes is slowing down because the market’s reaching saturation. Space is running out, literally. They actually mention that real estate is increasingly difficult to come by for potential cafe owners. Barriers to entry are increasing and the effect will be separating the wheat from the chaff. Think about it this way: for every really great cafe you’d recommend to a visitor from out of town, you probably have an equal list of cafes that you’d tell them to stay clear of. Well, that second list of cafes are going to have to lift their game or they’ll wither away in the dust only to be swiftly replaced by top shelf innovators and artisans with fresh ideas, a smile that makes you feel right at home and a strong hold on technology. And technology is a good segway because it’s likely to play a significant role in the next five years as it develops and is used to cater for evolving consumer demands. 

The last ten to fifteen years has seen specialty coffee and restaurant quality food become almost staples of the modern cafe. Nothing is likely to change there. Convenience however, is an increasing priority in the modern world so we’re likely to see technology used to increase speed of in-house service through telemetric machinery (machines that talk to each other) and self-ordering devices, not dissimilar to self-service checkouts in supermarkets or the giant sized touch screens in McDonald’s though much smaller and befitting to an independent cafe’s aesthetic. 

The report does mention recently released automatic coffee machines capable of producing craft coffee that’s indistinguishable from that made by a trained barista. Think 7/11 machines but higher end. It’s a little disconcerting and alarm bells are probably ringing for slow coffee devotees and readers with an ‘everything-human-is-being-roboticized’ conscience, but people want it all. We might start seeing self-service kiosks like this in certain clothing shops, hair dresses, chemists, banks, and wherever people wait.  

Other technologies may come into play such as cafe subscriptions where you pay a monthly fee and get a card like a myki or opal that allows you unlimited coffees at participating outlets. Renting tables may become more of a thing if the gig economy continues to expand. Freelancers may be forced to rent a table for a set period of time rather than buy one coffee and spend the day abusing the wifi. Don’t worry, coffee’s included in the rental fee, of course. 

In a saturated market, cafes will likely be using technology in creative ways to differentiate themselves and serve their customers’ demands. Differentiation will most likely also come in the form of an expanded product range and specialty alternatives like chai or hot chocolate. 

We may also see more cafes entering the evening time slot offering meals, alcoholic beverages and shifting atmosphere slightly to operate more like dine-in restaurants. 

The horizon is expansive and much more could be mentioned. Before divulging the next trend, perhaps it’s worth emphasizing that despite the likely technological transformations, the changes will likely come at no compromise to craftsmanship and artisanal skill in making exquisite coffee because this, along with unique experience, is simultaneously what we want as consumers. And that leads us right into our next discussion. 

  1. Consumption Trends

Once again, there’s so much that could be said here. One way to boil it down is to say that here in Australia, we’re all unashamed coffee snobs, especially the younger coffee drinkers among us, and over the next five years, fierce competition and our rapidly maturing palettes will (most likely) drive coffee quality to heights we can only dream of. As we mentioned at the top, if you thought the average cup of coffee was already pretty darn good, just wait! 

In the report, Sevel Miles break down consumption habits by demographic and the most noteworthy is Gen Z, those born between 1996 and 2015. They’re currently between 5 and 24 years old and in the next five years will most likely make up the majority of cafe coffee drinkers if the current age trends have anything to say about it. That is, the largest age demographic, making up 37% of cafe coffee drinkers, are between the ages of 15 and 34. 

Gen Z’s, more than any generation before them (that still exist), car especially about quality, expertise, authenticity and craftsmanship. This is key because cafes will be catering to these fussy people; and therefore, in part, we have these fussy people to thank for our pristine cafe beverages, not to mention the influence of millennials before them. 

Interestingly, not only will customers be expecting exceptional coffee and service, they will also, most likely, know their stuff and as Seven Miles points out, Covid-19 may be somewhat responsible for this. 

Due to lockdown, those people that were considering purchasing expensive at-home machines are pulling the trigger and investing, and they’re pulling no punches. Sales of home espresso machines have been up and around the $4k mark according to the report. Home coffee drinkers at the other end of the spectrum are making upgrades too. Instant coffee drinkers are progressing to pod coffee, as sales have shot through the roof. Next steps would be filter coffee, a home grinder, perhaps a cheap espresso machine after that.

This trajectory is likely to affect the quality of coffee and possibly the role of a cafe and baristas quite a bit. Essentially, if the consumer has more interest in how their coffee is made because they have more knowledge about the process, then they’ll appreciate a good coffee more and more. They’ll probably have more questions too, and who are they most likely to ask?? The local barista might know a thing or two! Cafes are likely to need an increasingly educated and skilled staff, two forms of expertise that haven’t gone hand in hand by necessity, but perhaps they will if they want to satisfy an increasingly astute consumer base. 

Black coffees and more alternative milk options are also likely to rise, with the consequence of dairy milk pegging down a notch or two. Inclining long black sales have inspired the recognition of cold brew which is likely to grow in popularity over the next five years. And for milk lovers  – which the reports says is the vast, vast majority, dairy and otherwise alike – with all of the debate around milk and the myriad intolerances and allergies, there will be plenty of options to choose from. Almond is currently the top pick, and will likely still be the top pick by 2025 with oat and soy as strong contenders.

  1. Technology Trends

This chapter is really directed towards the cafe operator but if you happen to be well versed in espresso machine specs then this chapter will really float your boat. 

Otherwise, the main takeaways are fully automatic machinery, which we touched on above, but also include machines that are capable of recording and replicating functions. What does that mean you say? It means that a barista can pull a shot where the temperature, flow rate and pressure could all be recorded then repeated like a pause/play function on a tv remote. This will free them up to focus on milk texturing or customer service. Nothing is certain, but this may well be part and parcel of the future cafe. 

There may be advancements in other areas that take repeated labours away from the coffee craft. Over the next five years, try to take a good look at what’s taking place on the other side of the counter because we’re likely to see advancements in tamping systems and milk systems – the right milk going to the right person!

  1. Other Trends

This trend mostly discusses the environmental impact of cafes and the industry at large. The report mentions possibilities to counter the ever-present disposable cup issue, which, interestingly, contributes a meagre 0.04% of a cafes carbon footprint according to their research. It’s a very small fish in the scheme of things but looks more like a humpback whale in the eye of the consumer. 

There’s likely to be a number of strategies at play from incentives to dine in to cup swap programs, but what we will probably see the most of, and what will probably be most successful, is a push for customers to bring a keep cup. 

Well… there you have it! That’s the five trends! As mentioned at the start, take the time to read the report yourself or take a look at the work of Seven Miles. They’re nothing short of amazing and serious movers and shakers in the Australian coffee industry. 

To sum it all up, the Australian coffee scene is saturated, soaked and overflowing from the brim! 

Subsequently, competition over the next five years will be relentless. 

Quality in food and beverage can still improve across the board, but we’re peaking into heavenly realms given that it’s already so good. The expectation of Seven Miles then, is to see cafes solidify their image as food and drink specialists (if they haven’t done so already), and focus predominantly on consumer experience through technologies that speed up processes and maximise hospitality. 

Let’s just say, there’s much to look forward to! 

Over and out.

The Connected Coffee Team.

And as much as we love thinking about future coffees in our mouths, we also like thinking about the future of the coffee scene. A lot’s changed in the past fifteen years, so what’s a cafe going to look like in the next five, ten, maybe even twenty years? 

What will espresso machines look like? What will home machines be capable of and at what price? Will barista training evolve from 2-day courses to 2-year apprenticeships?  

If these things cross your mind too then you might be interested in this post. 

Mid-June this year, Dr. Adam Carr, head of the Coffee Science and Education Centre at Seven Miles Coffee Roasters in Sydney, with colleagues Ben Irvine and Carina Parlas released a report called Cafe 2025. With an extensive background in academic research, Dr. Carr is as legitimate as they come and an asset to the Australian coffee trade. Check out his bio here

Cafe 2025 is an in-depth analysis of current coffee trends and paints a picture of what the Australian coffee scene may look like by…you guessed it, 2025. It’s an impressively informative read and if you’re well acquainted with craft coffee, your experience will likely be filled with many ‘aha’ and ‘eeh interesting’ moments. The format however, is not far off an academic journal though it’s a little more accessible than that. It’s reasonably long too, maybe a two-hour read if you can comfortably process the density of information. 

If reports are your vibe, then check it out here. If you don’t think you’ll get around to it but fancy taking a look under the hood, then read on. 

Keep in mind that Cafe 2025 doesn’t claim to be any kind of crystal ball, but it is a combination of insight, foresight and raw data analysis. It even includes discussion of the impacts of Covid-19. What you’ll find below are not certifications, but estimations broken down into five major trends to look for in the next five years. 

Disclaimers out of the way, a sweeping summary of the expectations on the horizon are too exciting not to mention at least in brief, before cracking into the finer details: 

It may be hard to believe since Australia is already renowned for its high-end coffee and cafe experience, but in all likelihood, the industry is set to make further steps into coffee heaven with a special focus on hospitality in the midst of technological innovations and commitment to the craft. In other words, you may be hard pressed to purchase a poor coffee from a cafe in five years time!

We’re a lucky country, there’s no doubt about it! Now, onto the five trends to look out for according to Seven Miles.

  1. Roasting Trends

There’s two takeaways on this front. Firstly, according to the research layed out in the 2025 Report, the Australian palette has crossed to the dark side. In the next five years we’ll be wanting darker roasts, medium-dark being the most likely. This means we can expect coffee to be a little more bitter, a little less acidic and carry richer caramel tones. 

Secondly, we all know the cafe with the huge glass wall sectioning off the in-house roastery. Well, if you like that kind of thing, then you’re in for a treat. The emergence of small scale roasting technologies becoming increasingly accessible means cafes, especially those that can spare the space, will be tempted to take up the art. Not only is on-site roasting appealing to customer’s perceptions of authenticity and craftsmanship, but cafes can save money buying green beans directly as they pass through less hands before reaching their loading docks. 

  1. Cafe trends 

This section (and the next) are especially dense in the report. There’s so much that could be said, so we’re just going to paint a broad picture here and hone in on just a few areas. 

Firstly, it’s probably best to mention that the emergence of new cafes is slowing down because the market’s reaching saturation. Space is running out, literally. They actually mention that real estate is increasingly difficult to come by for potential cafe owners. Barriers to entry are increasing and the effect will be separating the wheat from the chaff. Think about it this way: for every really great cafe you’d recommend to a visitor from out of town, you probably have an equal list of cafes that you’d tell them to stay clear of. Well, that second list of cafes are going to have to lift their game or they’ll wither away in the dust only to be swiftly replaced by top shelf innovators and artisans with fresh ideas, a smile that makes you feel right at home and a strong hold on technology. And technology is a good segway because it’s likely to play a significant role in the next five years as it develops and is used to cater for evolving consumer demands. 

The last ten to fifteen years has seen specialty coffee and restaurant quality food become almost staples of the modern cafe. Nothing is likely to change there. Convenience however, is an increasing priority in the modern world so we’re likely to see technology used to increase speed of in-house service through telemetric machinery (machines that talk to each other) and self-ordering devices, not dissimilar to self-service checkouts in supermarkets or the giant sized touch screens in McDonald’s though much smaller and befitting to an independent cafe’s aesthetic. 

The report does mention recently released automatic coffee machines capable of producing craft coffee that’s indistinguishable from that made by a trained barista. Think 7/11 machines but higher end. It’s a little disconcerting and alarm bells are probably ringing for slow coffee devotees and readers with an ‘everything-human-is-being-roboticized’ conscience, but people want it all. We might start seeing self-service kiosks like this in certain clothing shops, hair dresses, chemists, banks, and wherever people wait.  

Other technologies may come into play such as cafe subscriptions where you pay a monthly fee and get a card like a myki or opal that allows you unlimited coffees at participating outlets. Renting tables may become more of a thing if the gig economy continues to expand. Freelancers may be forced to rent a table for a set period of time rather than buy one coffee and spend the day abusing the wifi. Don’t worry, coffee’s included in the rental fee, of course. 

In a saturated market, cafes will likely be using technology in creative ways to differentiate themselves and serve their customers’ demands. Differentiation will most likely also come in the form of an expanded product range and specialty alternatives like chai or hot chocolate. 

We may also see more cafes entering the evening time slot offering meals, alcoholic beverages and shifting atmosphere slightly to operate more like dine-in restaurants. 

The horizon is expansive and much more could be mentioned. Before divulging the next trend, perhaps it’s worth emphasizing that despite the likely technological transformations, the changes will likely come at no compromise to craftsmanship and artisanal skill in making exquisite coffee because this, along with unique experience, is simultaneously what we want as consumers. And that leads us right into our next discussion. 

  1. Consumption Trends

Once again, there’s so much that could be said here. One way to boil it down is to say that here in Australia, we’re all unashamed coffee snobs, especially the younger coffee drinkers among us, and over the next five years, fierce competition and our rapidly maturing palettes will (most likely) drive coffee quality to heights we can only dream of. As we mentioned at the top, if you thought the average cup of coffee was already pretty darn good, just wait! 

In the report, Sevel Miles break down consumption habits by demographic and the most noteworthy is Gen Z, those born between 1996 and 2015. They’re currently between 5 and 24 years old and in the next five years will most likely make up the majority of cafe coffee drinkers if the current age trends have anything to say about it. That is, the largest age demographic, making up 37% of cafe coffee drinkers, are between the ages of 15 and 34. 

Gen Z’s, more than any generation before them (that still exist), car especially about quality, expertise, authenticity and craftsmanship. This is key because cafes will be catering to these fussy people; and therefore, in part, we have these fussy people to thank for our pristine cafe beverages, not to mention the influence of millennials before them. 

Interestingly, not only will customers be expecting exceptional coffee and service, they will also, most likely, know their stuff and as Seven Miles points out, Covid-19 may be somewhat responsible for this. 

Due to lockdown, those people that were considering purchasing expensive at-home machines are pulling the trigger and investing, and they’re pulling no punches. Sales of home espresso machines have been up and around the $4k mark according to the report. Home coffee drinkers at the other end of the spectrum are making upgrades too. Instant coffee drinkers are progressing to pod coffee, as sales have shot through the roof. Next steps would be filter coffee, a home grinder, perhaps a cheap espresso machine after that.

This trajectory is likely to affect the quality of coffee and possibly the role of a cafe and baristas quite a bit. Essentially, if the consumer has more interest in how their coffee is made because they have more knowledge about the process, then they’ll appreciate a good coffee more and more. They’ll probably have more questions too, and who are they most likely to ask?? The local barista might know a thing or two! Cafes are likely to need an increasingly educated and skilled staff, two forms of expertise that haven’t gone hand in hand by necessity, but perhaps they will if they want to satisfy an increasingly astute consumer base. 

Black coffees and more alternative milk options are also likely to rise, with the consequence of dairy milk pegging down a notch or two. Inclining long black sales have inspired the recognition of cold brew which is likely to grow in popularity over the next five years. And for milk lovers  – which the reports says is the vast, vast majority, dairy and otherwise alike – with all of the debate around milk and the myriad intolerances and allergies, there will be plenty of options to choose from. Almond is currently the top pick, and will likely still be the top pick by 2025 with oat and soy as strong contenders.

  1. Technology Trends

This chapter is really directed towards the cafe operator but if you happen to be well versed in espresso machine specs then this chapter will really float your boat. 

Otherwise, the main takeaways are fully automatic machinery, which we touched on above, but also include machines that are capable of recording and replicating functions. What does that mean you say? It means that a barista can pull a shot where the temperature, flow rate and pressure could all be recorded then repeated like a pause/play function on a tv remote. This will free them up to focus on milk texturing or customer service. Nothing is certain, but this may well be part and parcel of the future cafe. 

There may be advancements in other areas that take repeated labours away from the coffee craft. Over the next five years, try to take a good look at what’s taking place on the other side of the counter because we’re likely to see advancements in tamping systems and milk systems – the right milk going to the right person!

  1. Other Trends

This trend mostly discusses the environmental impact of cafes and the industry at large. The report mentions possibilities to counter the ever-present disposable cup issue, which, interestingly, contributes a meagre 0.04% of a cafes carbon footprint according to their research. It’s a very small fish in the scheme of things but looks more like a humpback whale in the eye of the consumer. 

There’s likely to be a number of strategies at play from incentives to dine in to cup swap programs, but what we will probably see the most of, and what will probably be most successful, is a push for customers to bring a keep cup. 

Well… there you have it! That’s the five trends! As mentioned at the start, take the time to read the report yourself or take a look at the work of Seven Miles. They’re nothing short of amazing and serious movers and shakers in the Australian coffee industry. 

To sum it all up, the Australian coffee scene is saturated, soaked and overflowing from the brim! 

Subsequently, competition over the next five years will be relentless. 

Quality in food and beverage can still improve across the board, but we’re peaking into heavenly realms given that it’s already so good. The expectation of Seven Miles then, is to see cafes solidify their image as food and drink specialists (if they haven’t done so already), and focus predominantly on consumer experience through technologies that speed up processes and maximise hospitality. 

Let’s just say, there’s much to look forward to! 

Over and out.

The Connected Coffee Team.



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