Coffee Trends We Hope Go Away in 2023

When we founded this website in 2012, we had a policy: positive reviews only. If we didn’t like something, we simply didn’t write about it. At the time, a lot of coffee journalism felt elitist and nitpicky and we wanted to be a positive voice.

Ten years later, we’re decidedly more grumpy. And there’s never been more specialty coffee trends we find annoying. Feel free to disregard this post as “Millenial Barista Yells at Cloud,” but these are the specialty coffee trends we hope will go away in 2023.

“Anaerobic” Process Coffees

The problems with so-called “anaerobic” process coffees are manifold. Bad examples have an acetic-vinegary taste we’ve been known to describe as “baby vomit,” but even the best examples have a fruity kombucha flavor profile that eclipses more subtle origin notes.

In 2023 we would like to see a renewed focus on best farming practices and clean processing techniques to create more terroir-driven (and less process-driven) coffees.

Sugary Seasonal Drinks

Nobody wants to drink your cereal milk latte. And if they do, it’s because humans are genetically hard-wired to crave fat and sugar. You’re not making specialty coffee more approachable, you’re making people drink a dessert at 8:30 am.

The only seasonal drink I want to see coffee shops talking about in 2023 is their fresh crop coffee.

QR menus

Few things kill the moment like being shown a QR code to scan after asking for a menu. We go into cafés to interact with people, not our screens. I’ve even been in the situation where I couldn’t open the menu because I didn’t have data and the café didn’t have wifi!

As long as Gen Z is bringing the 90s back, let’s see some more chalkboard menus.

Ultralight Roasts 

I have a simple rule: if I can’t grind your coffee with my hand grinder, it’s too light. Amongst a certain sort of coffee professional, lighter is equated to better. But personally I rather have a coffee that’s a little too dark than a little too light. Although I don’t care for roasty flavors in my coffee, darker roast are easier to extract and most consumers prefer the flavor profile to the vegetal flavors of an underroasted coffee.

Obviously, a perfectly roasted coffee, like we get from our friends at Methodical Coffee is preferred.

Complaining about High Coffee Prices

We get it: inflation and supply chain shortages have put a squeeze on small businesses. As a business owner myself, I understand. But it’s disappointing to hear so many coffee roasters complaining about the price of green coffee. For over 15 years I’ve heard specialty roasters brag about paying farmers x amount more that the C market. But the reality is, paying a premium above the C market doesn’t speak to the cost of production and other factors.

Higher coffee prices are better for coffee farmers. Let’s celebrate that as an industry.

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