Roughly 2.25 billion cups of coffee are consumed each day around the world. The United States imports $4 billion in coffee each year from mostly developing nations, and Americans consume about 400 million cups of coffee per day. There are approximately 24,000 independent coffee shops strewn across the US, and specialty coffee sales are increasing at a rate of about 20 percent a year to nab an 8 percent share of the domestic market – approximately $1.5 billion per year.
Your morning coffee is a big deal, obviously. But what is on the horizon? Are there any big breakthroughs? Or are we relegated to sipping the same old “black with two creams and a sugar” drip coffee we’ve been enjoying for decades? Thanks to a select group of startups in the coffee industry, we might be on the verge of a coffee revolution. Let’s look at some of the big players poised to make an impact on your morning coffee below:
There has always been a certain disconnect between coffee growers and the end consumer. In fact, there are usually up to twelve distinct entities involved in the production of coffee (grower, cooperatives, shippers, importers, certifiers, roasters, etc.) that take their share of the pie while the consumer waits patiently for a simple roasted coffee bean. And the farmers and growers are often paid very little for their product – even as designer coffee brands command a premium on the open market.
Enter VEGA Coffee, a subscription-based service that allows coffee drinkers to receive carefully curated, single-origin coffee that is roasted by the grower and shipped directly to the consumer. This ensures a more equitable experience for the growers and a rich taste and high-quality product for coffee drinkers.
About 30 percent of all coffee consumed in the U.S. each day is brewed using a “K-cup” or single-serving coffee maker, but VitaCup grasped the opportunity to dramatically improve the health benefits of a daily cup of coffee by infusing a variety of vitamins into their proprietary blend. Vitamins like B1, B6, and D3 are added to their K-cup-compatible pods and impart no taste to the blend. Their pods are eco-friendly, biodegradable, BPA-free, and they use fair-trade coffee in their revolutionary K-cups.
Fully compatible with standard Keurig-style brewing machines and designed to give a vitality-enhancing boost to any morning coffee drinker’s day, VitaCup is poised to shake up the market in a big way.
One startup taking the “coffee-on-the-go” phenomenon to new heights is UNA. They claim that their system is the “most intelligent way to brew coffee and tea ANYWHERE and ANYTIME.”
While there is no way to quantify their level of intelligence relative to other instant coffee machines on the market, these guys are bound to be classified as a disruptor in the field. Their coffee brewing system looks like a traditional travel tumbler, but is really a self-contained brewing unit – battery-powered and it can even be controlled via smartphone. It heats water while on the go, brews coffee seamlessly, and is easy to use and clean.
Imagine life before Uber. If you needed to get somewhere and you didn’t own a car or a friend wasn’t close at hand, what were you going to do? Call a cab and wait an hour for a car to come pick you up? The team at Clowder is attempting to be the Uber of Coffee, and their business model is pretty simple.
Clowder will deliver a hot or cold morning coffee to your desk, no tips or fees required, in just 15 minutes – and all starting at just $3.25 per drink. Long lines in coffee shops are the bane of busy commuters, and think of the lost productivity one endures while waiting in the traditional “cattle-call” line at a busy coffee shop. Instead, startup Clowder is creating devoted fans who simply have better things to do than wait in line. Right now, they operate in NYC only, but have plans to expand.