is in the era of great changes in coffee.
Looking back on the planting history of coffee in the past six centuries, considering the commercialization process, it can be basically divided into two directions.
The first is the process of coffee commercialization with geographical transfer, which includes the process of economic transactions between countries and regions, and is closely connected with the economic, social and political destiny of planting places, participants and consumer countries.
The second is the product innovation and cultural expansion brought about by the three coffee waves.
The product innovation lies in the development of coffee from a single sour and bitter drink to flavor blending products with sugar, milk, and even alcohol. Coffee flavor is the main line throughout this process.
The cultural expansion is that coffee has developed from a meal beverage centered on the family baking scene to a functional instant and filling refreshing drink, and later turned into a comprehensive experience of “store ready to drink” space oriented by social and business functions, and even differentiated into the consideration of coffee science and aesthetic literacy.
In this process, the germination and rise of each consumption wave is always closely related to new economic factors such as geography, culture, population and so on.
Europe led the beginning of coffee socialization. The United States amplified the function of social scenes and played an important role in the process of coffee commercialization and mass communication. Asia also caught the east wind of the third wave of coffee refinement and took over the helm, becoming the main flag bearer in the category innovation journey.
Innovation around coffee itself requires both competition and cooperation. Syrup, milk, tea, ice, fruit and all kinds of spices, together form the exploration of coffee taste and aroma, which makes all players involved deeply excited.
Taking the key nodes in the history of coffee development in Europe, the United States and Asia as the context, we try to discuss what changes have taken place in coffee in different countries and regions in this era of great changes in coffee. What may the participants who promote the process of Chinese coffee have done right to make local coffee stand on a higher podium in the third wave.
Coffee commercialization process in history
No one would object that Europe was the first entrance of coffee to the upper class. Coffee and tea, which came from overseas trade and colonial expansion, have always been the exclusive supplies of the upper class in Britain, France and Italy.
The popularity of coffee in North America is also related to social politics and economy. The Townsend tax act and the tea tax act passed by Britain in 1767 and 1773 respectively have greatly damaged the interests of middlemen and local colonial merchants.
Taking the Boston Tea dumping incident as a turning point, the resistance of the North American public to tea climbed to the peak, while coffee was bound with patriotism and became a drink to express “anti tea attitude”. Since then, consumption has increased year by year and has become an important part of American culture.
Although the history of coffee development in North America is not as long as that in Europe, North America is indeed a key region in the process of coffee commercialization after the war of independence.
One of the typical features is the liberation of baking. From the 19th century to the end of the last century, practitioners in North America moved coffee from a relatively traditional home baked ready-made drink to a more mass-produced prefabricated drink, sacrificing the flavor and texture of coffee in exchange for the rapid popularity of coffee. Instant coffee and canned coffee are typical representatives of this period. Nestle, Maxwell and other instant brands were born here.
After the first coffee wave, Starbucks, born in the 1970s, is an important player in the second coffee wave.
Like Peets coffee, the original brand only sold raw beans. Thanks to Howard Schultz, a shrewd Jewish businessman, he noticed that local coffee practitioners in North America had their own ideas on how to bake beans and make coffee.
The door of category innovation was thus opened – Starbucks did two things: first, it broke the traditional Italian deep baking law and began to use light and medium roasted coffee beans; second, it created the era of “instant coffee in stores” of American coffee and transformed coffee into “sugar and milk”.
Howard Schultz once mentioned in his book that “Star Ice Music Series” is the most successful innovative category in Starbucks’ history. At that time, the store in Santa Monica, Southern California, found that customers generally demanded a flavored coffee with various syrups and dairy products – they seemed to be alienated from the traditional black coffee.
This is the first game between milk and coffee. Although Schultz himself believed that “this mixture of sugar and milk is not authentic coffee”, after store baristas constantly tested the proportion of starch, milk, ice, jam and coffee, this drink accounted for 11% of the summer sales of that year and contributed $55million to the 1996 financial statements.
Will this undermine Starbucks’ dignity? A pure coffee believer may think so, but importantly, Starbucks customers don’t think so.
Whether xingbingle is defined as a coffee drink or dairy product, this is the victory of coffee. Because in the subsequent global expansion, Starbucks, which is more famous for xingbingle, raised the popularity of coffee to a high point.
However, one detail cannot be ignored. The widespread use and rising status of milk in coffee drinks also foreshadowed the “return to beans themselves” in the third coffee wave.
If the American public needs local players like Starbucks as their own national coffee, do other countries and regions need it?
The answer, of course, is yes. As a cultural symbol, food not only represents itself, but also has a unique narrative significance in the cultural context. Anthropologist Peng Zhaorong elaborated this proposition in the Anthropology of diet. Whether in North America at that time or in Asia today, the popularity or rise of coffee and tea is related to their import and consumption patterns, and affects consumers’ ideas and emotions.
In the process of coffee being introduced into China and taking root, the dividing line of the three coffee waves is not clear. Some people conclude that it seems as if the influence of the first coffee wave has not faded, and the second coffee wave has started rapidly with the arrival and competition of Starbucks and other brands. In recent years, with the change of the global coffee consumption trend, China has also begun to appear “high-end, high-quality” and other typical cafes affected by the third coffee wave.
This is a unique characteristic of a rapidly expanding consumer goods market. The interval between development cycles is compressed, and the cross influence time between cycles is longer. And under different regions and people with different needs, there are differentiated consumption stratification: some people are used to instant coffee in supermarkets or unsold containers, some people are obsessed with hand washing in independent cafes, and people who prefer milk and fruit are trying to find flavored coffee that they can drink for a long time.
In this context, the evolution direction of coffee needs to meet two conditions: first, it must undertake the quality assurance and innovation benchmarking function of a new coffee market; second, for example, it must meet the specific needs of some people in the market for coffee drinks. Thus, in China in Asia, a coffee drink named dirty immediately became popular.
(iron hand coffee “double happiness” source @fayeating)
Simply put, this is a drink made of ice milk and espresso. When espresso is made, hot water and high-pressure impact coffee powder will saturate carbon dioxide, resulting in foam containing coffee oil. At this time, ice milk is used as the base, and when the coffee liquid flows in, it will produce layering and hedging effects. The entrance is cold and hot layering, and the intersection experience of coffee mellow and milk sweet.
Park Zhongxing, a barista from South Korea, mentioned that in regular cafes in Japan and South Korea, the liquid milk used in coffee is divided into three categories: full fat, skimmed and reduced fat milk (especially in South Korea, which attaches great importance to calorie input, and basically all foods will be labeled with calories). Under each category, there are basically two brands to choose from, and cross multiplication is generally six choices. “This is to effectively reduce dairy suppliers to do quality control.”.
In Europe, where Italian coffee dominates the mainstream, the classification of milk is more reflected in the production process of store baristas. For example, the formula of a cup of cappuccino requires steamed milk and milk foam in addition to concentration. There will be differences in container heating time and sending method between boiled milk and milk foam.
Independent cafes in the United States prefer a small range of local or farm brands in the choice of dairy products, partly because consumers have nothing new from childhood to childhood, including several major chain brands, such as horizon organic and hood lactaid.
In addition, considering the needs of the vegetarian population and the popularity of environmentalism, almond milk, coconut milk and quinoa milk in vegetable milk have also become new choices. In Seattle, the birthplace of Starbucks, a chain coffee shop, Storyville, will clearly mark the choice of dairy products, and one of the homemade coconut cashew nut mixed milk is also widely praised.
In China, in addition to the classification of dairy products based on fat content, the field of vegetable milk is subdivided under the no diary category, and the choices are also available from home to abroad. For example, oatly oat milk, which is common in Shanghai, Beijing and other cities, Campbell’s bowl of soybean milk, and even cafes have used the “high protein chickpea milk” launched by yofit, a Canadian start-up.
In contrast, these practices better meet the needs of those who are intolerant of milk or other dairy products. Park Zhongxing also believes that “why there are cafes in Japan and South Korea to make dirty, but only in China can dirty become a star product in the coffee industry”, because this coffee is “more localized and improved”.
Dirty’s real large-scale penetration in China’s coffee market benefits from the improvement of milk quality in the supply chain and the high evolution of purified milk technology.
(source @ Sherry’s coffee and beer)
A key problem is that the purified milk originally used in dirty was handmade by some baristas. They drew on a similar scheme used by panghui, the manager of Beijing September Shang cafe, and panzhimin, a barista at Beijing s.o.e. store: 1L milk was frozen into ice at -20 ℃, then thawed at 4 ℃, and finally 0.5 l milk that was first melted was used for dirty.
Manual purification certainly gives dirty more content, such as craftsmanship, such as the time of baristas. However, due to the instability of ice making conditions, dissolution temperature, freezer temperature and other aspects, as well as the limited output of single hand-made, some cafes had to give up after manual purification for a period of time.
The arrival of the crucial acceleration point of the industry – the dairy enterprises at the end of the supply chain remove part of the water in the milk through the non additive ice distillation purification technology, which not only amplifies the milk fragrance, but also presents a cheese like salty and sweet taste. This greatly reduced the technical difficulty and time-consuming of dirty production, and also contributed to the rapid spread of dirty.
The typical player is a company called Biru. Its “ice bock” has been deeply bound with dirty since then, which has triggered in-depth innovation in the supply side of dairy raw materials.
Park Zhongxing lived in Shanghai for five years. In his eyes, dirty is an extremely successful piece of market education. “As long as they are regular customers of cafes, even young college students who have just come into contact with coffee, they will also use whether they can be dirty to evaluate the level of a cafe, and even ask that there must be hot and cold stratification, and they must use ice cups. Milk is the best ice bock.”.
The persistence of ice cup and the requirements of ice bock are not harsh to consumers, but the exploration of dirty by local practitioners, which has reached a new stage. Hua Zi, the manager of Suzhou sparrow cafe, accidentally learned from the bartender in the bar, but found that the sweetness of milk will increase at low temperature, and the integration with the upper espresso will be slower, so the aroma of coffee can be more stimulated.
(picture source @ Sparrow)
Besides containers, the adjustment and innovation of dirty formula also made some independent cafes famous. O.p.s., the No.1 coffee shop in Shanghai, became popular with special drinks. In the menu in March 2021, the winter trio on the 3rd is more like an upgraded version of the previous “mandarin duck dirty” in the store. Honey and citrus skillfully balance sour and sweet, and subtle whisky and cinnamon still reverberate in the mouth after they are imported.
And the iron hand coffee Bureau, which was established in dirty in its early years, also supports the appearance of Beijing boutique coffee. Thanks to the fact that these independent cafes can always lead the “coffee frenzy” of young people, international brands have also begun to launch cross-border co branding with them. At the Qingdao Fortune Center store of the Tieshou coffee Bureau, which has just opened, the store and Louis Vuitton launched two co branded specialities: yangmeizi and Lingnan litchi drinks.
Chain boutique coffee such as m stand also recently launched the special flavor of “white peach dirty”. From a certain point of view, the innovation gene of boutique cafes has accumulated the potential of brand realization for them.
In the above process, whether it is innovative baristas, dairy manufacturers, or consumers educated by the market, they are warmly responding to each other. They need to prove that an emerging coffee country has the ability to stand in the center of the stage.
What is particularly valuable is that a large number of dairy products that can meet the needs of consumers are willing to become supporting roles here, which complement coffee. On the one hand, they have contributed to the increase of their market share, on the other hand, they have greatly promoted the innovation of coffee categories and a higher degree of popularity.
Why is milk so important to dirty? Why can adding milk make coffee more popular? Graham, a coffee analyst based in Oregon, has long focused on the Chinese market. He mentioned that this is closely related to Chinese consumers’ coffee preferences.
Chinese people prefer milk coffee. Dirty uses Iced Milk to enhance the sweetness to meet the needs of consumers for sugar. This unique technology and taste of bingbock structurally adjusts the bitterness in coffee and retains the mellow and aroma of coffee.
Therefore, espresso diluted by heated water can become Americano with a mild taste, which is a legacy of the prosperity of the American coffee market, and bingbock dirty is an example of the current prosperity of China’s coffee market.
How hot is dirty? Maybe we can see one or two from the discussion of American netizens. Two years ago, a discussion post about dirty appeared on reddit, a local content community. This new coffee species from Asia has conquered the hearts of many Americans.
Today, the number of cafes in Shanghai is 6913, far exceeding that of New York, London and Tokyo. Graham believes that in China, a market with a large enough overall capacity and sub sample size, it is possible to demonstrate the impact of coffee innovation.
There must be a war between coffee and milk tea
When we carefully chew the coffee innovation in China, we will find that flavoring has almost become an unavoidable focus. Both otaly and bingbock, as well as the introduction of coconut extract represented by raw coconut and fino, which have been popular in recent years, have made the flavor of coffee more universal.
(Figure source @ Hainan coconut extract Little Red Book)
Most food critics believe that compared with the outstanding acidity and bitterness of coffee and tea, milk is indeed a species with higher inclusiveness and acceptance. This also explains why xingbingle can become the most successful product line in Starbucks’ history, and milk tea always occupies a large area of the country no matter when the new tea drinking tide comes.
When milk tea people began to reduce the sweetness, or to meet the broader population to create seasoning, their invasion of the coffee market also began to become silent.
Naixue launched frozen top Mandarin Duck at the end of 2018, which is a new product that adds coffee to fresh milk tea to enhance flavor; Since then, Xicha has also launched a series of coffee product lines, including coffee Bobo ice, coffee Bobo double, Zhizhi American style, Zhizhi latte and other drinks, which are basically new products that add coffee flavor to the taste of milk tea.
(Figure source @ Naixue’s tea)
It can be said that there will be a war between coffee and milk tea in the future, and the boundaries will become increasingly blurred. In this war, who is the first to grab the taste buds of diners can win more time windows to do more “boutique and high-end” market education and product innovation.
In fact, as the main drinks in the world except water, coffee, tea and milk have almost never stopped attracting diners and penetrating each other’s hinterland. Looking back from Europe, North America and Asia, no one seems to have played a supporting role in the development of the world economy and culture, whether coffee, tea or milk.
The birth of dirty in Asia and its rise in China can easily be deduced as a landmark event in the process of coffee moving towards a more popular and high-frequency consumer goods. Milk is willing to become a supporting role here, but it is for the continuous emergence of coffee drinks.
With the cooperation of the two, persistent innovation in categories or products is an important prerequisite for the continuous popularization of coffee. Under this premise, the taste of diners is the only criterion.
Therefore, if coffee operators and traders want to stick to the basic plate or let coffee climb to another high point, the fans of “pure coffee” are not so necessary at this moment. This awkward and conservative approach may be slightly changed at some stage.
One phenomenon is that Japan, which previously had far more cafes and per capita consumption cups than China, has significantly slowed down in the coffee wave of the past five years. Although the traditional siphon method or flannel hand punch still has a place, there are relatively few flavor features, so that in the long-term market integration and changes, the per capita consumption of coffee cups has gradually been surpassed by China.
The latest white paper on China’s freshly ground coffee industry shows that by 2021, the per capita consumption of coffee in China’s first tier cities has reached an astonishing 326 cups, far exceeding Japan’s 280 cups, while the per capita consumption of coffee in second tier cities has reached 261 cups, almost the same.
In the United States, the attitude of some cafes that previously strictly implemented the zero tolerance attitude towards sugar, milk and cream has also begun to change. Oddy correct coffee bar, rated as one of the best cafes in Kansas City, Missouri, by diners, now also provides cream and milk in stores. Partner Mike Schroeder said, “they realized that they had to move the fence slightly in order to allow diners to enter the kind of coffee experience they wanted.”.
And Gotham Coffee Roasters, a coffee shop in Manhattan, New York, which not only bakes beans, but also sells drinks, introduced this dirty, which is burning in China, with a more open attitude.
They need to let customers know that on the other side of the ocean, coffee is undergoing the most moist, silent and earth shaking changes.
Author: maikeke; Source: join the community: Cherry (wechat: 15262433826).