As the Marketing & Technology manager for Heine Brothers’ Coffee, with over 10 years in the coffee business, I was asked by the local newspaper for some predictions in coffee and coffeeshops for 2016. My thoughts:
- In 2015 we have seen an increased interest in alternative milks – not just by vegans, but by all sorts of people. Soy has been a mainstay for years, and we’ve had almond milk for a while too. In 2016 I think we’re going to see an even bigger interest, and in other milks – coconut, macadamia nut, even hemp milk. These each have unique flavors that could go really well in different coffees & espresso drinks.
- Broader tea options are also increasingly on people’s mind – everyone knows English Breakfast, Green Jasmine, and Earl Grey, but there are so many other flavors out there that deserve some love. This summer we introduced an Iced Hibiscus Lemongrass tea that people loved, including its bold beet color. We currently have a Campfire Tea Latte on our Holiday Seasonal Drink menu, that uses a Lapsang Souchong tea, and in 2016 we’re bringing back the Red Velvet Tea Latte, which uses a delicious Vanilla Rooibos.
- Barrel-aged coffee is another – green coffee beans are aged in barrels (bourbon, scotch, brandy) for a determined amount of time, and then roasted. The coffee takes on some notes from the wood of the barrel and the spirit itself. Few roasters have tried this, but more and more are experimenting with it.
- Last – more information on sourcing & transparency. Specialty/Craft coffee has come a long way, and you can get a great cup of coffee at many places throughout Louisville. We’ve seen an increased interest in people wanting to know more about the coffee – not just the roast profile, but about the cooperative that farmer belongs to, and about who is picking the beans. As a member of Cooperative Coffees, all of the coffee the Heine Brothers’ roasts, brews, and sells is fair trade and organic. Not only are the farmers getting a livable wage for the coffee, but the cooperatives that they belong to are able to reinvest money in to their farms, in to education, and in to medical care. We’re able to help them get together with cooperatives from other countries to share stories and tips on overcoming disease that has wiped out many coffee farms, and on how to create organic compost that keeps their plants healthy and producing some great coffee.