If you are a local coffee shop looking to invest in a custom beverage program, it makes good sense to tailor your menu to your region. Each part of the country has its own idiosyncratic tastes and flavor palate (just think about how much more “sweet tea” Southerners drink than New Englanders) and a healthy knowledge of what the locals want can have a wonderful effect on sales.
How About Some Coffee With That Caffeine?
Most coffee drinkers enjoy a bit of a buzz from the world’s most famous stimulant, caffeine, with their cup of joe, but some prefer a stronger brew than others. In the Pacific Northwest, citizens of Seattle and Portland ranked first and second, respectively, in a study of America’s most caffeinated cities by The Daily Beast. (The results were determined by comparing the average monthly amount spent on coffee and the number of coffee shops per 100,000 people.) Reinforcing this data, a certain corporate coffee giant found that the coffee connoisseurs of Seattle were more likely than those any other U.S. city to ask for an extra shot of espresso in their coffee.
The Temperature Swing
Unsurprisingly, Northern States tend to drink more hot coffee than their Southern friends. America can generally be split along the hot-cold axis, with Florida, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Hawaii and Southern California all ordering more iced coffee than hot. (It’s also interesting to note that another handful of sweltering states, including Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi, did not fall into this category.)
The Brew Effect
In a national study, a well-known American coffee franchise discovered some interesting trends in brewing preferences among American cities. Seattle, Boston, Memphis and Minneapolis were partial to dark brew; New York, San Francisco, Portland and Phoenix chose a medium roast; and light roast was most popular among Chicago, Philadelphia, Denver, Tampa, San Antonio and Charlotte.
The Coffee Snob
While gourmet coffee is the fastest-growing trend across all of America, certain regions demand more than others—again, the Pacific Northwest led the pack in a study conducted by the think tanks over at Redfin and Foursquare of “America’s Snobbiest Coffee Cities,” with Seattle and Portland once more battling it out for the top spot. (The companies based their rankings on the number of independent coffee shops per capita.) Whether it’s actually due to more advanced palates or just how they like to imagine themselves, those Pacific Northwesterners are not for the faint-of-heart coffee shop business owner.
Know Your Age Limit
On a local level, business owners are wise to have a working knowledge of the age demographic. In the University district, the clientele is likely to be significantly younger and will gravitate toward more gourmet drinks, whereas rural locations feature an older crowd probably looking for simpler fare.
No matter where you choose to launch your business and incorporate your custom beverage program, you can be sure the region will have its own unique tastes and characteristics. So plan accordingly!