Independent coffee shops are on the rise…and why wouldn’t they be? Coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the world and for good reason. Incredibly tasty and filled with rejuvenating caffeine, a good cup of coffee can be the one thing that helps someone get through their day. A cafe worth its salt needs to not only make a mean cappuccino, it also needs to have the proper roster of disposable supplies for the customer on-the-go. This means cheap paper cups, coffee stirrers and an endless amount of sleeves.
How are independent coffee shops faring in the United States? Pretty darn well. These smaller establishments rake in an estimated $12 billion in annual sales. When you take a glance at how the country practically runs on the stuff, it’s not hard to put two-and-two together — customers want a good blend and a good experience, that of which indie shops deliver in fine form. The United States imported over 28 million bags of coffee back in 2014, too, and account for the world’s single largest buyer of coffee.
What kind of coffee reigns supreme? Let’s just say America has a bit of a sweet tooth. While around 30% to 35% of coffee drinkers like their coffee black (with Americanos being composed of espresso shots mingled with water), the rest won’t even touch their drink until it has a little cream or sugar. Syrup flavors are popular for those that don’t quite want the richness of a mocha or a latte, but want their coffee to pack more punch on their way to work. Vanilla is a common request, followed closely by hazelnut and raspberry.
There are two primary types of coffee, Arabica and Robusta, and specialty shops often prefer the former. Specialty coffees (unique blends often only found at certain stores) represent nearly 40% of American coffee cups and are widely considered to be of the highest quality. A dark roast is characterized by its strong flavor and lingering aftertaste, while a light roast is generally sweeter, simpler and more palatable by a wider audience. No matter your tastes, coffee can always deliver.
Independent coffee shops thrive on a unique reputation and a warm familiarity with regular customers, quite unlike more popular coffee shop chains throughout the country. Indie shops generally operate on 30% espresso-based drinks, with the rest brewed on-site. Coffee shops not only create delicious hot and iced drinks, they often provide additional snacks and even meals to cater to every type of customer. Soups are popular (as they’re packaged similarly to coffee), alongside sandwiches, pastries and treats.
Coffee accessories are paramount to creating the ultimate coffee experience. Paper cups with sleeves are classic for the on-the-go visitor, while portable creamer and additional lids can make every trip more convenient. Stir sticks are popular for those that like to customize their drinks, too, and should be considered alongside standard napkins and sugar packs. Last, but not least, white paper coffee cups are particularly useful for their clean design and customizing options (such as names or cute drawings for regulars). America is the country that runs on coffee…and independent coffee shops are the oil in this ongoing machine.