It’s officially fall, (even though it might not feel that way in Texas). The average coffee drinker probably knows this time of year as pumpkin spice season. But coffee shop owners and industry insiders are likely sensing a number of emerging trends far beyond PSLs. We’re sharing coffee shop trends and innovations that are dominating in Fall 2022, and will likely continue to shape coffee shops in 2023 and years to come.
Be a Coffee Trendsetter, Not a Trend Follower
Before we jump in, we want to make this important distinction. At Texas Coffee School, we are in the business of creating trendsetters, not followers. Our 3-Day Coffee Business Master Class teaches innovative coffee business strategy to help students launch businesses aligned to their values, community needs, and visions.
Of course, even visionaries need to understand the consumer behaviors driving business. That’s why we’re outlining how coffee shops are changing and growing in Fall 2022. Here are some of the noteworthy coffee shop trends this season.
Coffee Shop Trends in Fall 2022
Iced Coffee and Cold Drinks All Year Long
Iced coffee isn’t just a summer beverage. A Delish article called People Prefer Iced Coffee shared recently that 74 percent of Starbucks beverage sales in Q3 2021 were considered part of the “cold category,” a 10 percent increase over the previous two years. And iced pumpkin drinks outsold the hot Pumpkin Spiced Latte.
When we looked at the fall 2022 coffee menus from some of our own former students, we noticed a similar trend. Not only are coffee shops reaching beyond pumpkin spice for fall flavors, they’re serving drinks cold. Here are a few:
Source: Red Cow Coffee Facebook
- Iced Apple Chai Cider, Red Cow Coffee in Florence, AL
- Sweet Potato Pie Iced Latte, Red Cow Coffee in Florence, AL
- Creamy Pumpkin Cold Brew (with Pumpkin Cold Foam), Beanstalk Coffee and Sno in Norman, OK
- Peanut Butter Cookie Frappe, Coffee on the Red, Bossier City, LA
- Maple Cinnamon Iced Latte, Coffee on the Red, Bossier City, LA
Tea, Bubbles, and Healthy Drink Options
We have Gen Z and Millennials to thank for a rapidly growing tea industry, which generates $52.1 billion annually, and is predicted to grow to $81.6 billion by 2026. We can also attribute the industry’s growth to a rising demand of “health conscious” drinks.
The “tea and bubbles” trends can be combined (like in our favorite sparkling teas by Rishi) or stand on their own. Teas like matcha and kombucha have a rising presence at coffee shops. We can also spot more teas in cocktails and bottled beverages. And sparkling drinks have been steadily on the rise in waters, juices, and sparkling iced coffees and cold brews.
As consumers prioritize their health in new ways (gut health, anti-inflammation, antioxidants, and more), coffee shops adapt to meet demand. Milk alternatives like oat, almond, or coconut are completely mainstream. (In fact, many coffee shops are now reporting a nearly 50/50 split in dairy to plant based milk drink orders!) Cafe menus showcase vegan, paleo, and gluten-free options to accommodate consumers.
Kombucha by day, salted caramel espresso martini by night? Despite any health trends, coffee can still find its way onto a cocktail menu. And because we encourage coffee shops to adapt some sort of hybrid model to increase revenue, it’s not at all unusual for coffee shop menus to feature beer and wine as well.
Our former student Soiree Coffee Bar, a jazz-themed restaurant, coffee shop, and bar in Dallas, features three Spiked Lattes on the brunch menu. You can order the Nat King, a latte with Bacardi and amaretto, alongside your Dazzling Chicken and Strawberry Waffles.
And if you want the spirits without the buzz, veteran-owned Fire Department Coffee just launched non-alcoholic spirit infused nitro cold brew in a can.
Drive Thrus Still Reign
If you can make it happen, we encourage all of our coffee shop owners to incorporate a drive thru in order to add volume and increase revenue.
Maybe it’s the convenience, or maybe it’s the fact that the pandemic got us all used to wearing pajamas 24/7. Either way, consumers love the convenience of grabbing a specialty drink without having to get out of their car.
Here are some case studies of drive thru success from our former students:
Beanstalk Coffee and Sno
Coffee on the Red
Drive thrus can also be a pathway to rapid growth and scaling. The national chain Dutch Bros is a great example of how a small footprint, convenient, specialty drive thru can take off in 2022. It took Dutch Bros 27 years to reach 328 shops. In the past three and half years, it’s opened 275. Now, it’s the 4th largest coffee chain in the US.
Video Content, Tik Tok, and Reels
Every social media platform is experiencing a major shift into video content. What does this mean for coffee shops? It means behind the scenes with your baristas, video tours of your coffee shop, close-ups of your seasonal menu items, or staff and customer interviews.
Essentially, videos are a great way to share what’s happening in your coffee shop with your digital audience. Check out the reels on Red Cow Coffee’s Instagram page for a great example.
Source: Coffee on the Red Facebook
We know what you’re thinking: aren’t dogs always on trend? And while that’s probably true, we’ve noticed a rise in demand for dog-friendly coffee shops. Whether it’s a pup cups (free cups of whipped cream for dogs), polaroids displayed of furry visitors, or water bowls sitting outside the door, coffee shops are extending the customer experience to accommodate canines.
Hybrid Coffee Shop Models
We’ve saved what we think is the most important coffee shop trend for last: hybrid coffee shop models. We consider hybrid coffee shops to be any business that features coffee and.
Motorcycles at Pop’s Coffee Company
Snow cones at Beanstalk Coffee and Sno
Cocktails + jazz at Soiree Coffee Bar
Hair cuts at Galindo’s
Surf board rentals at Carve
Flowers Lomelinda’s Buzz and Brew
Records at Stylus and Crate
BBQ at Desert Oak Barbecue
Brunch at Oddfellows
Craft beer at Red Horn Brew
(Those are all TCS alums from our 3-Day Coffee Business Master Class, by the way.) We believe hybrid models are the coffee shops of the future. They have endless benefits, including:
- Increasing foot traffic (to both businesses)
- Increasing average transactions and volume
- Extending operating hours or seasonality (adding coffee to an ice cream shop in the winter, or adding beer/wine and food to a coffee shop to extend into evening hours)
- Using a coffee program to market or add revenue your existing business
- Reaching new customers
If there’s anything we’ve learned about entrepreneurs in our years of business, it’s this. The ones who survive are innovative, adaptable, and observant. We encourage coffee shop owners to understand the way our world is impacting consumer behavior. Then, use that knowledge to better serve your customers.
Become an Elite Coffee Shop Owner with Texas Coffee School
Want to become an elite coffee shop owner? We recommend you start with our 3-Day Coffee Business Master Class. For a full list of courses and dates, click here.