Let’s talk UK coffee trends for 2018 and beyond

It’s official: the UK has gone coffee crazy. As a nation, we’re now drinking around 95 million cups of coffee a day – that’s up from 70 million in 2008.

Coffee has never been more popular, so we sat down for one with expert Matthew Carr from The Barista (an events company based in Leeds that specialises in delivering coffee bars across the UK and Europe to the exhibition and conference market), to ask him where the coffee market is heading here in the UK, and his trade secrets for making the best brew.

As a nation, we’re now drinking around 95 million cups of coffee a day – up from 70 million in 2008. Coffee has never been bigger it seems! What are the main trends you’re seeing in the market this year?
Number one has to be the industrial style that so many cafes are adopting. This minimalist look has been around for a while, but how extreme this is going is definitely increasing. The bare concrete and super clean and clutterless work spaces are in, big time.

We’re also seeing the addition of great quality food in addition to the standard coffee offering. There are a number of cafes around Leeds, for example, that seem to be pushing into the brunch market whilst still maintaining a great level of coffee quality. Great for someone like me who prefers meeting friends in cafes.

And then of course there’s the milk alternatives. People are going mad for the likes of oat and almond milk in their coffees.

Finally sustainable consumables have really come to the forefront this year. Independent cafes and the speciality coffee market have been championing this for a while; using cups that are fully compostable or made from recycled materials, but I think this will filter across to the big high street brands soon. And so it should!

What’s your prediction for the next big trend in coffee?
I can see the Nitro market going a bit mad over the next year or so. It’s a coffee drink that is then kegged and when poured it has the consistency of Guinness. It’s brilliant for the summer days and will be a good addition to cafes.

As a top barista, what’s your secret to making the best coffee?
Free up some time! I brew coffee for myself on a weekend at home using my Chemex. It’s great to have the time to do everything properly as opposed to rushing out of the house. In a café environment, consistency has to be king and there are a lot of new products coming out that are helping take out some of the human inconsistencies that affect the final product. It’s a big ask in a commercial environment, but I believe it is the key to success.

What’s your favourite piece of equipment?
I’ve just bought a GINA Coffee Brewer from the people at Goat Story. I’m still getting to grips with it, but the app that comes with it is brilliant. You can use it for standard drip coffee (V60 style, immersion (clever dripper) and also for a cold brew as you’re able to limit the water flow.

And finally, what’s your favourite way to take your coffee?
In the morning, we brew up a filter coffee with the full team and every month we all put money in for ‘Coffee Club’ which allows us to get coffee from various roasters across the UK and Europe (and sometimes further afield). I love the variety in coffee and it’s always great to get a super fruity Kenyan coffee in. It’s amazing how varied coffees can be. In the afternoon, I always try and have a double espresso, to give me the power to finish the day on a high!

 Find out more about The Barista at http://thebarista.co.uk/

 And finally, check out our Urban Collection for trend-led aprons and accessories, ideal for baristas and café staff.

Photography: David Lindsay

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