Culinary trends and pandemics come and go, but one thing remains the same: US consumers love their coffee. According to the National Coffee Association’s (NCA) 2023 “Atlas of American Coffee,” more Americans (63%) drink coffee every day than any other drink and most people surveyed drank coffee at home during the preceding day (83%).

What Kind Of Coffee Do Americans Drink?

There is no simple way to explain the type of coffee Americans drink. With the variety of caffeine levels, bean roasts and origins, and add-ins, the variety of coffee drinks is endless. But we can get a little clarity with these numbers from the same NCA report. Here’s a general breakdown of how home drinkers make their coffee:

  • 40% drip coffee maker
  • 27% single cup brewer
  • 16% cold brewing
  • 11% espresso machine

You’re probably wondering about all those folks in the line at Starbucks and Dutch Bros. What kind of coffee are they consuming? Two words describe their coffee orders: cold and custom.

According to 2023 Q3 reports, “Starbucks’ cold business reached 75 percent of U.S. beverage sales,” and “More than 60 percent of beverages were customized, nine percent higher than five years ago.” We found these data points in this QSR article, which also highlighted Starbucks’ efforts away from limited-time offers and toward innovation around food offerings and cold brew methods.

Fourth Wave Coffee

Mintel researchers and coffee nerds are leaning into the fourth-wave coffee concept. (This article on Mintel’s website is well worth a read.) To sum up the idea, the first wave of coffee started in the 1800s when consumers could pick up coffee at the grocer. Second-wave coffee is marked by the appearance of coffee-specific shops in the 1980s and 1990s. (Starbucks went public in 1992). Third-wave coffee began in the early 2000s. Its pretentiousness and focus on detail are often made fun of.

Fourth wave, which is in its beginning stages, is a backlash to the third wave. It is an effort to make coffee more accessible, authentic, sustainable, healthful, and flavorful than its over-the-top predecessor. In the fourth wave, you see more people drinking coffee at home, but that doesn’t mean restaurant and coffee shop brands don’t still have an opportunity in coffee.

Is Cold Brew On Your Menu Yet?

We wrote about the cold brew obsession on the Food & Drink Resources blog several years ago.

While it wasn’t brand new then (or now), cold brew has skyrocketed in popularity. That’s evident in the Starbucks article mentioned above, which stated, “Starbucks spends $50 million per year on labor just to make cold brew coffee.” No wonder they are investing in new technology to bring the 20-step process down to only a few steps.

Many fast casual and restaurant brands are making space for cold brew coffees on the menu. Taco John’s tried it. (Will they bring it back?) And First Watch has one of our favorites on their menu (along with their famous juices).

According to the NCA report, “cold brew popularity has skyrocketed by 45% since January 2023 and 300% since 2016.” This Google Trends report echoes this finding, though, search interest is on the decline.

Perhaps many consumers are no longer Googling the topic because they have already found their preferred cold brew concentrate. Regardless, it appears that cold brew is here to stay, and you’d be wise to include it on your menu like these brands do.

Coffee Flavor Trends To Watch For


Our eyes are peeled for more malted flavors in 2024. We love what Flavors & The Menu had to say about it in their 2023 predictions. Hopeful for more malted menu sightings in coffee shops soon.


Everything about coffee tonic seems ripe for a 2024 trend. It’s been popular in Japan for a bit and we have heard some buzz here and there. Will this be the year?

Whipped And Foamed

As with many fad recipes and culinary presentation efforts, we can thank TikTok for the whipped coffee craze. It’s inspired by the South Korean coffee drink called dalgona. You combine and whip water, instant coffee, and sugar for a surprisingly tall and frothy drink.

This is not that far off from a typical cold foam, which is also trending (still). If you are looking for a way of simplifying your coffee drink production, check out Rubix’s packaged Cold Foam. It’s very cost-effective and produces less waste. (Ask us about it for your menu.)


We talked about functional foods and drinks in our recent blog post about 2024 culinary trends. Suffice it to say that if you can call out a health benefit in your menu item, you should. Starbucks tried it with the olive oil coffee to lackluster reviews and surely, you’ve heard about mushroom coffee by now. Then, of course, there are adaptogens and matcha and so on.


With alcohol-free cocktails catching steam, we are betting that decaffeinated coffee trends are not far behind.

To Sum Up

You can bet on coffee for your menu. While consumers are drinking more of it at home, coffee shops continue to do well with improved technology, food pairings, and customizable drink options. Experiment with flavors, add-ins, and presentation for coffee offerings that suit your brand.

Thanks for stopping by and reading the Food & Drink Resources blog. Here we talk about food trends, culinary innovation, and the work of our team.