2023 coffee trend predictions
Our coffee columnist and expert barista Celeste Wong shares her trend predictions for 2023, including at-home brewing methods, coffee shop serves and unlikely infusions
Want the lowdown on what’s hot in coffee from an insider? Our expert barista Celeste Wong shares 10 coffee trends for 2023, and tells us why it’s going to be an exciting year for coffee. Check out Celeste's predictions for the year ahead, then find deep dives into this year's restaurant trends, travel trends, drinks trends and health trends. We also have our podcast where olive columnist Gurd Loyal explores 10 hot food and drink trends for 2023.
Celeste says, “With other industries, such as whiskey and beer, giving coffee a nod of acknowledgement for their similar production techniques, and with travel, health and ‘getting things done’ on the rise again, the spread of innovative uses for and with coffee has never been more intriguing than it is now.”
Celeste Wong’s 2023 coffee trend predictions
Coffee and beer
Coffee-infused beer has been experimented with by the craft coffee and craft beer industry for a while now. You may find it at boutique beer bars, but like anything, it takes time to catch on or move into a more accessible market.
The richer coffee flavours, such as chocolate, malt, nut, cocoa, rum, and raisin, have generally lended well to stouts and porters, with lighter and brighter coffees being combined with IPAs and ales. The rise in different coffee brew methods has also influenced how coffee can be drunk – not just as a hot beverage.
Popularity of the coffee beer concept has been patchy over the years, but Guinness, the iconic Irish stour, recently launched its Cold Brew Coffee Beer – the brand’s highest selling product in years. This brings coffee beer to a larger market, making a statement that this combination is no fad. Perhaps we will see more brands experimenting with this perfect combo and more people drinking this as the day transitions into night.
Examples of coffee beers:
Coffee and CBD
CBD (cannabidiol) has become a more accepted and celebrated part of holistic well-being and health in recent years in the UK. CBD generally withholds the THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, which gives you the ‘high’ from marijuana or hemp), but offers relieving benefits from anxiety and depression, inflammation and pain. So it only makes sense to add it to our daily ritual.
While it has been a popular addition to cosmetics so far, CBD has been increasingly added to coffee as a booster, to offset and even out the effects of caffeine and provide balance. Also, as the coffee cocktail trend continues throughout 2023, you may see CBD bitters or CBD drops added to your favourite coffee cocktails or coffee mocktails for that extra point of difference.
Fermented coffee and coffee kombucha
Fermentation and its health benefits has been trending for a good while, and all the cool kids are doing it. But I hadn’t thought of fermenting green coffee beans until I saw my chef friend Daniel Watkins fermenting coffee for both his koji and his coffee kombucha at his restaurant Acme Fire Cult in Dalston. They ferment everything there… yes, even coffee.
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The taste has been likened to a coffee liqueur crossed with cold brew with an almost citrus-like tang that comes from the fermentation of the scooby. It’s just started here, but is bound to be a hit in 2023. I’m definitely up for trying this!
Seltzers are a very popular “LA” drink, where the health conscious often choose seltzers over alcoholic beverages when out socialising, or hard seltzers which are thought to be even healthier. There are many really great seltzer brands, but adding it to coffee might be something of a new trend in 2023. You heard it here first!
The coffee tonic (espresso, ice and tonic water) is becoming increasingly popular, but because of the sugar in the tonic, many people shy away from it. By summer next year, you’ll see more people adding flavoured, fruit or plain seltzers to their espresso for a fresh, healthy caffeinated kick.
Mixing other drinks with coffee in espresso
I never thought I’d say it, let alone see it, but a trend that could be on the rise in 2023 is the experimentation of mixing other drinks, such as tea or chai, in espresso. In 2021 and 2022, we saw people experimenting with ground coffee and a slice of orange on top of the coffee, extracted in an espresso handle puck. For baristas and cafés, the espresso machine is almost sacred. It must be cleaned and cared for and never misused in a non-purist coffee way, for practical hygienic reasons but also reasons that might negatively effect the flavour of the espresso. To put anything other than the very best coffee into the portafilter is sacrilegious!
However, in 2022, the internationally renowned German café, The Barn, released a Christmas flat white that combines dry ground espresso coffee and dry rooibos tea, which are then extracted together in the same puck through the machine. It's then combined with a heated, textured milk to resemble a regular flat white coffee. What could be next… chai mix to make a “dirty chai” in a completely never-done-before methodology? I’ll be watching!
Move over sugar-heavy Dalgona coffee, hello proffee! That’s the protein and coffee lingo used by the health and convenience conscious. When it was once all about slowing down and embracing decadence at home, post-pandemic life has seen us wanting to make up for lost time.
Rather than consuming everything separately, and taking time to build a luxury coffee like the Dalgona, combining your protein and daily coffee ritual is something that might really take off in 2023. It’s already gaining some momentum, but my predictions are that we may see specialty roasters getting on board with special coffee mixes or pre-made RTD proffee beverages.
Research has shown that coffee has many positive health benefits, including being high in fibre, high in polyphenols that support your gut microbiome, reduced risk of some cancers and of type 2 diabetes, being just a few. But did you know that decaf still offers all these positive qualities, but without the caffeine?
Contrary to common belief, coffee’s benefits often outweigh those of its nemesis, tea, in particular green tea. Years ago decaffeinated coffee had a bad reputation due to its chemical extraction process. But there has been a huge improvement in the decaffeination process, making it non-toxic. With the improvement of specialty beans, the quality of taste has also improved greatly, and is often indistinguishable from regular caffeinated coffee. I know that I’ll be reaching for the decaf brew in the evenings from now on.
Check out my favourite decaf coffee brands to try here.
Instant craft coffee
I believe every trend goes in cycles. Fashion, architecture, music and yes, coffee. When instant coffee was at one time the only really commercially accessible form to consume at home, it was the staple in British households. Then came the specialty coffee influence, where you can have cafe-quality coffee beans at your fingertips at home.
However, the trend to have coffee made slowly is changing. People are constantly trying to hack good coffee done faster. Over the past few years there have been a few specialty coffee companies experimenting and creating instant specialty coffee, but like anything good, things take time. Processes are better, more advanced and produce a cleaner, purer product. With more variety, the ultimate convenience and quality, I think more people will be choosing top quality instant coffee.
Tea has been traditionally synonymous with British people, however the demand and popularity for coffee (specifically artisan coffee), has risen exponentially over the last 15 years. Since discovering some very good sustainable and specialty coffee bags this year (check out some of my favourites here), I predict that this is going to be an ongoing and rising trend in the UK.
Like tea, coffee bags follow the same principle – the ground coffee comes completely sealed inside a bag. Simply pouring hot water over the coffee bag and leaving it to brew for two to three minutes will give you a fresh cuppa. Going hand in hand with the trend for efficiency and convenience, coffee bags seem like the natural and closest option to “real ‘specialty’ coffee” over instant coffee or for when you can’t get to a good café.
Arabica coffee is one of the two species of coffee that are used in the specialty coffee trade. Robusta, also known as coffee robusta or coffee canephora, is the other species. Robusta is generally lower quality, has a higher caffeine content than arabica and tastes more bitter (because of the caffeine and lower sugar concentration). Mainly used back in the day because it was generally cheaper to buy and easier to grow.
But with coffee prices now soaring, coffee farmers and buyers are looking at better ways to take advantage of some of the positive attributes of robusta – its being cheaper and easier to grow, and more hardy against rust and disease. I suspect the encouragement has come from specialty coffee users themselves. I’ve already spoken to and come across a number of top coffee shops and roasters exploring and testing robusta options. You will like see more cafés adding better quality robusta to their espresso blends next year.