Artisan coffee is a trend that is currently increasing in popularity within the UK and around the world, with consumers shifting from the typical high street coffee shops in favour of a more authentic coffee shop experience. Businesses of this nature have become increasingly popular within densely populated cities, with commuters across these areas acquiring a greater taste for the drink. Whilst we as Brits are commonly associated with being notorious tea drinkers, many people are becoming avid coffee lovers with approximately 70 million cups being consumed each year, with numerous factors influencing the coffee we choose to consume and where we choose to consume it.
One factor causing individuals to switch from popular high street coffee shops is the strong sense of comfortability and ambience created in an artisan coffee shop. It allows consumers to enjoy the relaxing atmosphere which contrasts the hectic nature of a busy high street coffee shop. When visiting a high street coffee chain there are some things your usually greeted by upon entry; a frantic barista, a mediocre tasting coffee and a lack of emphasis on the importance of customer service. By no means is this the case for every high street coffee chain, however, comparing the experience to those who have visited, reviewed and compared experiences in both environments, it is clear artisan coffee shops are favourable when looking to work, socialise or relax. If you’re looking for a quick coffee with little concern over the intricacies that differentiate artisan coffee shops from their larger scale competitors, visiting high street coffee branches is a great option.
The intricacies that differentiate artisan coffee shops are now of increasing importance to consumers, particularly in regards to adopting a stronger stance on supporting fair-trade products. Here at Bibium, we support the move towards more sustainable business practices, with our brand of coffee ‘Underdog Coffee’ being fair trade, ethically sourced and produced. Adopting these sustainable practices and understanding the effect it has on those who produce the coffee is vital, this is as a result of stronger feelings of eco-consciousness becoming more prominent in recent years. Possessing a passion and interest in environmental considerations is an attribute that each artisan coffee shop should adopt, whilst also being an attribute that should be reflected in the people you choose to hire. Alongside this, a distinguishing feature of artisan coffee shops is the knowledge the barista’s possess of coffee bean origins and roasting processes, which allows them educate consumers and provide a greater insight into their business, this is the first step in building consumer relationships.
Visit underdogcoffee.co.uk to learn more about our Fairtrade beans and purchase your first freshly roasted bag
It is important in understanding the impact this has on influencing consumers choices on whether to support artisan style coffee shops or whether to stick with well known high street coffee chains who may be less driven in their approach to ensure sustainable practices are adopted. All of the points mentioned above are all aspects of what has been called the ‘third wave of coffee’ *insert dramatic music here*, however this is simply an umbrella term to summarise the movement towards high quality coffee that is seen as less of a commodity with greater focus on its origins and production methods.
Reports have suggested that high street coffee retailers are suffering at the hands of artisan coffee shops, with Costas sales growth slowing down drastically. This is due to the UK entering the ‘third wave coffee movement’ where consumers are more willing to spend more for high quality and innovative drinks. Costa have tried to immerse themselves in this coffee movement, however have shown up too late in order to gain a significant share of this market, with their efforts to catch-up lacking innovative direction. With the number of coffee outlets expected to increase to approximately 31,400 generating a market revenue of nearly £14 billion, it could worsen the position and market share that high street coffee chains possess. If these high street coffee chains wish to be involved in the third wave movement they will need to be more original and develop strategies to make themselves stand out. Many people currently see chains such as Costa and Starbucks as ‘ordinary’ and despite occupying the majority of the market, the increasing number of individuals looking to set up businesses like this could alter the market drastically within the next few years.
Some argue that the nations increasing love for artisan coffee shops and gradual decline of high street coffee shop chains is as a result of an increasing number of millenials favouring the more ethical choice of artisan coffee and the in-store experience that accompanies this. With millennials being avid technology users, the advancement into the digital era has encouraged individuals to use artisan coffee shops as a hotspot for those wishing to work as well as those wishing to socialise.
The transition into the digital era has not just impacted the way customers use the space within coffee shops, but has impacted the innovation within machine production. The competitive nature of this industry means that technological advancements are a necessity in order to stand out from the range of manufacturers. One example of this is the ‘MyCoffee’ App introduced by WMF, which allows people to create their perfect personalised brew from their phone. The ability to customise aspects of your drink including; milk quantity coffee strength and foam quantity creates a more intimate experience, with users having the ability to share coffee creations with friends. This further exemplifies the social aspect of coffee culture.
Whether you love it or hate it, the UK is adopting this coffee craze with no signs of it slowing down anytime soon. Whether you are a customer or an owner, these types of coffee shops are becoming a strong part of our culture. If this sounds like an industry you would like to get involved in but don’t know where to start, check out our blog post on ‘How to Start a Coffee Shop’.