Are Young Americans Drinking More Coffee? And More Coffee Shop Trends

Many retailers and small business owners are paying attention to Gen Z coffee shop trends—and with good reason. Generation Z currently makes up a fifth of the U.S. population and holds an estimated $360 billion in disposable income. And they’re more interested in coffee than ever, which is promising for Coffeepreneurs®!

But Gen Z doesn’t spend money lightly. They save one-third of their income, buy secondhand clothing, and cook at home. Let’s dig into a few key statistics to know about Gen Z coffee shop trends and how you can meet this audience where they are.

Gen Z and Coffee: What You Need to Know

coffee shop trends

According to the National Coffee Association (NCA), 51% of young Americans (ages 18-24) drank coffee within the past day. Compared to 48% in January 2022 and 42% in January 2021, that’s more than ever before.

Starbucks also shared that 75% of recent sales came from cold beverages—a Gen Z crowd favorite. According to Howard Schultz, CEO.

And while millennials still lead the way in coffee consumption, Gen Z will likely continue to grow in spending power as they graduate college and enter the workforce. If you dream of a coffee shop that operates for decades to come, it’s time to make way for Gen Z.

More Coffee Shop Trends to Watch

The coffee shop industry is always changing, and it takes smart business strategies to stay ahead of the game. Here are a few additional coffee shop trends to take note of:

  • Overall coffee consumption is on the rise. The NCA reports that 66% of Americans drank at least one coffee beverage in the past day—even more than 60% who drank bottled water and 46% who drank tap water.
  • Cold brew coffee continues to grow in popularity, with 20% of people consuming it in the past week. As for specialty coffee drinks, Gen Z is responsible for 13% of consumption while millennials hold 32% of consumption.
  • Coffee drinkers are associated with up to one-third lower risk of depression and better mental health, according to an NCA study. Following a pandemic and amid worries about inflation, this is good news!
  • Healthy drink options, coffee cocktails, drive thrus, pup cups, and hybrid models are all on our list of Fall 2022 trends to watch. Read more about how to be a trendsetter this year and in years to come.

coffee shop trends

Attract Younger Generations to Your Coffee Shop

If you’re a coffee shop business owner seeking ideas to reach a younger generation, look no further! Here are a few ways to start putting your cafe on Gen Z’s radar.

Tailor Your Coffee Shop Menu

With the surge in popularity of cold brew, health options, and other specialty drinks, it might be time to update your menu. While classic espresso-based drinks will never go out of style, you could consider your coffee shop business concept and target audience (including Gen Z) to identify a few new drink choices to offer.

Just keep in mind that effective menu pricing is how you drive profit and revenue. Calculate the cost of goods sold for every menu item and build enough profit margin into the selling price. Plus, you can try utilizing the same ingredients across multiple menu items to lower your waste, spoilage, shipping expenses, storage needs, and overall risk in the ingredients.

Texas Coffee School teaches baristas how to properly operate an espresso machine, steam milk, prepare classic espresso based drinks, and adapt their skills to different menu items. You can register yourself or your baristas for an upcoming 2-Day Barista Training Class!

Step Up Your Social Media Game

It’s no secret that a social media presence—and even a paid marketing strategy—is a key way to reach the Gen Z demographic. This audience spends an estimated three hours per day on social media, compared to 2.25 hours for millennials and 1.75 hours for the global average.

coffee shop trends

A few social media tips for coffee shops include:

  • Talk to your target audience. You could build a presence on Gen Z’s favorite social media platforms (YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram) and engage followers by replying to comments, reposting content, and so on.
  • Manage your social media aesthetic with brand colors and high quality photos and videos to help followers imagine what it’s like to visit your coffee shop in person.
  • Create short-form video content. Even if you’re daunted by TikToks, Instagram Reels, and YouTube Shorts, creating them is a skill worth having to attract Gen Z.
  • Show behind the scenes with behind-the-counter photos, baristas introductions, polls, and other content unique to your coffee shop.
  • Try out paid marketing. You can build room into your budget to advertise on your own or with professional help. This might look like ad placements or influencer marketing.

Be a Responsible Brand

Unfortunately, less than half of Gen Z’s population views business as a force for good in society. Your coffee shop might be able to change that for your local community’s young people. Issues like sustainability and equity are top of mind for this audience. By reflecting on your personal values and ensuring your brand is doing more than just selling cups of coffee by aligning with a cause, Gen Z is more likely to align with your brand.

coffee shop trends

Stay Adaptable by Attending Our 3-Day Coffee Business Master Class

While Texas Coffee School’s 3-Day Coffee Business Master Class does teach the fundamentals of coffee and business, we also teach Coffeepreneurs® how to innovate. Our instructors—with combined decades of experience—are constantly evolving our training systems, resource materials, and training environment to ensure students are prepared to face what’s ahead.

Ready to get started? Check out upcoming class dates and register today!

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We’ve helped hundreds of students successfully launch their own coffee shop businesses. Join us in our 5-Star Rated Coffee Classes, whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur looking to open a coffee shop, a manager, a barista or home enthusiast looking to sharpen your skills.