Restaurant coffee innovation in 2019

Restaurant coffee innovation in 2019

In 2018, we saw a huge change in the way people drink coffee. During the joint hottest summer on record in the UK, they were seen to be replacing their usual soft drink with it, while milk alternatives that suit modern lifestyles and dietary requirements became highly sought after.

So, what does 2019 have in store for the UK coffee scene, and how can restaurants apply this to their own offering? As we look at the year ahead, we can anticipate the changing seasons that will affect customer behaviour with coffee. The popular serves and requests from last year will also continue, heightened even more so as the number of people with specific requirements increases, as will the expectation of these options being readily available.

Furthermore, operators on the higher speciality side of coffee are likely to be intrigued to know about new product development, much of which has got the industry talking a mile a minute. Here are all the trends and buzzwords to look out for…

Flat white

Perhaps not the ground-breaking start you expected, but the flat white is not only one of the most popular serves out-of-home, it is also expected to keep growing. Within the Daisy Green Collection of restaurants, head of coffee Dwayne Lloyd-Smith credits it as being the most popular milk-based drink “by far”, adding that “it’s often seen as the perfect balance of milk and coffee, retaining the flavours of the coffee without being overpowering.”

For customers who want something stronger, Aimia Foods coffee brand manager George Thomas predicts that the cortado will take some of the flat white’s share of the market, but it will continue to conquer in 2019. Like other popular standard options such as latte and cappuccino, it’s important to have the flat white on the menu to appeal to the masses and increase orders.

Cold brew

If summer 2019 is anything like last year’s, operators that offer cold brew coffee can expect to serve a lot of it – and those that don’t should probably start. Not only does it relieve customers during the warm weather and make a more attractive serve than its hot counterpart, cold brew coffee can be considered a somewhat healthier alternative to traditional soft drinks, while still offering that all-important coffee flavour. New as cold brew is, it may appeal more to younger markets, as according to Nestlé Professional, 66% of 18 to 24-year-old coffee drinkers in the UK say that chilled coffee is a good alternative to sugary drinks, compared to 26% of drinkers aged over 45.

Why will cold brew grow in 2019? According to Alliance Online marketing manager Mike Hardman, the temperature of cold brew “allows flavours to form the base that are unique from its traditionally hot counterpart”, resulting in more “delicate flavours of cold coffee being sold, including fruitier and spiced flavours for a lighter and refreshing taste.”

Milk alternatives

As the number of people turning to a plant-based diet grows, so does the importance of offering milk alternatives for coffee. However, it transpires that just one alternative will not do, as people with allergies to nuts lose out if you only use almond milk, as do those who are allergic to soya if you only use soya milk. Other options include oat milk, coconut milk, rice milk and hemp milk.

“The increase in alternative milks is very noticeable,” says Notes Coffee co-founder Fabio Ferreira. “We cannot ignore the oat milk from Oatly, which creates a very tasty drink and has a popularity which is impressive.”

While not vegan, using a cube of butter instead of a splash of milk in coffee is said to have its benefits. This trend was talked about in 2014, but, according to Hardman, it may be making a comeback among very specific consumers.

“With the option to go a step further, you can also add brain octane oil, a type of triglyceride that’s said to help raise fat burning, making what’s known as a bulletproof coffee,” he says. “While the melting fats change your black coffee into what’s almost a creamy latte, the butter also alters the way your body processes the drink. As the fats in the butter take longer to break down, the caffeine release from the coffee is a lot slower instead of the singular large burst you get from regular black coffee that may cause jitters. As well as the creamier taste, butter coffee seems to help aid digestion and boost your gut health.”


Another additional ingredient that can alter the negative effects of coffee, upon dissecting the hemp plant, is cannabidiol (CBD). Coffee with CBD is recognised to have a number of benefits – not only is it non-psychoactive, but it can regulate your mood and immune responses to the point where caffeine jitters are eradicated. Casual dining restaurants can introduce it to their cold brew offering to appeal to guests who want a coffee after a meal or with breakfast.

“Coffee is high in antioxidants and has been shown to improve stamina and endurance, so it pairs amazingly with CBD, which helps with focus and recovery and counteracts the ‘jittery’ feeling you can sometimes get from a caffeine hit,” explains the founders of CBD-infused cold brew coffee High Tide.

For those who want other options for decreasing the negative effects of coffee, take a note out of Daisy Green’s book and introduce a turmeric or chai latte for caffeine-sensitive visitors.


On the subject of natural ingredients, the use of the cascara cherry may be more prominent in coffee this year. The red cherry of the coffee fruit is usually discarded, so utilising it avoids wastage, at the very least, but it does have its benefits.

“It turns out that these contain notable amounts of iron, fibre, antioxidants and protein,” says Hardman. “This has led to more operators using newly-made cascara teas and flours, the latter of which have been perfect for creating cascara-themed coffees which are perfect for the health-conscious consumer.”

Restaurants can use cascara to make a cherry tea and within their espresso martini range, as it offers a sweeter, deeper flavour to the popular coffee cocktail, which brings us onto the next point.


If nothing else, coffee has impacted greatly on restaurant drinks menus thanks to the boom of the espresso martini. Found in licensed venues up and down the country almost just as much as traditional hot coffee, espresso martinis will continue in 2019, making coffee a key component in food occasions from day to night.

“Breakfast and brunch still remain the main times of day and meal types to pair coffee with food,” says Lloyd-Smith. “Usually hearty filling meals pair well with milk-based coffees and black coffees pair well with lighter options but that is all personal preference. Coffee-based cocktails paired with an evening meal are increasing – our signature espresso martini is very popular in the evenings, and of course a coffee once you finish eating is still a classic way to end a meal.”