The Future of Coffee: Going Local, Not Global

Did you know that the vast majority of coffee businesses around the world are actually small businesses? According to our research, over 90% of coffee roasteries generate less than $1 million in annual revenues. This statistic might surprise you, especially when you consider the colossal success story of Starbucks. From humble beginnings as a single coffee shop, they have managed to expand their presence to an astounding 30,000 stores worldwide. But how did they achieve this remarkable feat? The answer lies in their role as pioneers in the "second wave" of coffee and the evolving future of this beloved beverage.

Starbucks' meteoric rise can be attributed to their innovative approach and their ability to tap into shifting consumer preferences. In the early 1970s, when Starbucks was founded, coffee was primarily seen as a convenient commodity. It was a quick pick-me-up without much emphasis on quality or experience. However, Starbucks recognized an emerging trend—a desire for specialty coffee and a more immersive coffee culture.

They initiated what is now known as the "second wave" in coffee. Starbucks redefined the coffee experience by offering high-quality, artisanal coffee and creating inviting, comfortable spaces for people to gather and enjoy their beverages. This approach resonated with consumers, and Starbucks soon became synonymous with the modern coffee shop experience.

However, the future of coffee is shifting once again, and it is pointing towards a more localized approach. While global chains like Starbucks have played a significant role in shaping the coffee landscape, there is a growing movement towards supporting local, independent coffee businesses. People are seeking unique, personalized experiences that highlight the craftsmanship of local roasters and the distinct flavors of different regions.

In recent years, we've witnessed the rise of "third-wave" coffee—a movement that celebrates coffee as an artisanal product, emphasizing the provenance, cultivation methods, and meticulous roasting techniques. This shift is driven by consumers' desire for authenticity, sustainability, and a deeper connection to the communities where their coffee is produced.

Third-wave coffee has paved the way for small, local coffee roasteries to flourish. These businesses, often operating on a smaller scale, have the flexibility to experiment with unique blends, support fair trade practices, and establish direct relationships with coffee farmers. By prioritizing quality over quantity, they can offer consumers an extraordinary coffee experience that is not easily replicated by global chains.

As we look ahead, it's evident that the future of coffee lies in supporting local businesses and embracing the diversity and creativity they bring to the table. While global chains like Starbucks have undoubtedly left an indelible mark on the coffee industry, it is the local roasteries and coffee shops that are driving innovation and shaping the evolving coffee culture.

So, the next time you sip your morning brew, consider seeking out a local coffee shop or roastery. Indulge in the unique flavors and experience the passion and expertise of coffee artisans who are redefining what it means to enjoy a cup of coffee. Embrace the movement towards supporting local businesses and be a part of shaping the future of coffee, one sip at a time. ☕️✨


Adrian Constantin is CEO and Founder of Science of Connectivity™. His background includes 24 years of experience in communications, working with companies such as Siemens, Labatt’s, Givenchy and General Electric

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