September 27, 2018 | Coffee | 4 min read

With the explosion in Australia’s coffee culture, these days it seems as if there’s a new coffee shop opening up on our streets and in our shopping complexes every other week.

The sheer scale of choice and diversity of product options on offer for one of the globe’s favourite beverages is amazing. With more and more exotic ingredients on offer and innovative ways of creating that unique coffee drinking experience being explored every day, coffee lovers are seemingly spoilt for choice.

Warning, Disruptive Change Ahead

Yet, we know nothing stands still in our turbulent world. New disruptors appear frequently on the horizon, threatening to forever change how we perceive and consume coffee.

So, what does the world of gourmet coffee hold for coffee aficionados in 2018 and beyond?

Will it be a renewed focus on wellness-related options, sustainability and organic sources, or will quirky new flavours rule supreme?

Let’s take a minute to check out the latest hot trends driving coffee’s evolution and see which ones we can expect to feature in Australian coffee shops in our near future.


Seriously, the flat white is an economic force best not underestimated. This staple of Australia’s coffee shop scene constitutes more than 10 per cent of orders in premium coffee shops.

The flat white is in danger of becoming the new black as coffee shops’ menu boards are increasingly featuring flat blacks and flat mochas to challenge the old world charms of the flat white. What a difference a couple of milimetres of foam makes.


Globally, there is a collective push for eco-friendly coffee produced on a sustainable basis. The coffee industry is looking hard at supporting ethical sourcing and growing approaches and more sustainable practices.

Be it recyclable paper coffee cups or sustainable agricultural practices, many international coffee icons are renewing their commitment to ethical coffee. Starbucks announced in March this year its launch of a new system to enable its coffee growers to log information on their cultivation practices.

Moreover, research by America’s National Coffee Association recently found the buying decisions of coffee consumers, especially millennials are shaped by ethical certificates and purchase coffee from sources where they know workers are treated fairly and coffee production processes are environmentally friendly.

So, expect to see less plastic and be prepared for more transparency when it comes to tracing where your coffee is sourced from and the processes it went through prior to making its way into your cup.


In Australia as well as the UK and United States the alternative milk industry is predicted to expand by 40+ per cent over the next two to four years.

Plant-based beverages have grown exponentially, fuelled by changing lifestyles and wellness consciousness, the increasing popularity of vegetarianism and greater awareness of conditions such as lactose intolerance.

Naturally, this trend is impacting coffee shops too. In place of the current options of full-fat skimmed and semi-skimmed coffee mixers, expect to see a greater non-dairy presence. Soy, oat, almond, rice, coconut, cashew and macadamia nut milk are growing in both availability and popularity.

As a natural outgrowth of this trend, we are seeing more creative approaches by baristas in how they employ these alternative mixers in their gourmet and specialty coffees.


Thanks to the enduring popularity of the food truck movement and its low-investment threshold and low-risk profile, the street food movement is emerging as a hot spot for entrepreneurs looking to launch a bespoke food and beverage businesses.

Street coffee and food trucks are perceived as a low-risk way of establishing a restaurant without having to pony up an investment of hundreds of thousands of dollars in complex fit-outs.

Towards the end of 2018 and beyond, we can expect to witness more artisan coffee stands appearing as part of street food events as the street food movement continues to gather momentum.

Considering the rising popularity of cold-brew coffee and its ability to complement hot-coffee options, launching a coffee street food based coffee business has the potential to be a viable and rewarding, 12 months of the year enterprise.


These are just a few of the latest trends we can expect to see rippling through the coffee industry over the next one or two years as the coffee sector’s product selection and industry practices continue to evolve.