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A New Report Says Millennials Are All Coffee Snobs

New market research shows that young Brits are drinking less instant coffee, something that could be down to a more discerning coffee palate among twentysomethings than their insty-swilling forebearers.
Phoebe Hurst
London, GB

It started out so innocently. Perhaps you fueled a couple of final year revision sessions on the library's vending machine blend or tried to impress your new boss on that "coffee catch up" by ordering an Americano and finding that it tasted … not gross. Maybe Twin Peaks was just a really big deal for you. But before you knew it, you were that guy in the coffee shop, issuing the barista a well-rehearsed diktat on how to get the milk right in your piccolo latte and telling people you go to "cupping" classes with no trace of humour.


Congratulations, the transformation into coffee snob is complete.

No need to fret those overly caffeinated brain cells though, you're far from being the only one. A new report from market research agency Mintel has found that young Brits are drinking less instant coffee, something it puts down to a more discerning coffee palate among twentysomethings than their insty-swilling forebearers.

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As The Daily Telegraph reports, just one-in-five coffee drinkers consumes instant coffee more than once a day, with this figure falling to less than 8 percent for people in their 20s. While the instant stuff still dominates coffee purchases in the UK, sales fell by 3 percent last year to £782 million and further decline is predicted to dip to £700 million in 2020.

Meanwhile, sales of high-end filter coffee have increased and single-serve pods are encroaching on the shelf space once reserved for jars of (weirdly long-lasting, now you think about it) coffee granules.

Despite the questionable environmental impact of the single-serve capsules, Mintel found that one-in-five coffee drinkers owns a coffee pod machine, linking this to the convenience of being able to make individual cups. The report also found that cafetières are becoming less popular because who wants to look French and sophisticated when you can press a button on a gadget designed to look like a dog and have it spew out a readymade brew for you?


It's not just new kitchen gadgets luring young caffeine hunters away from instant coffee. Elaborately mustachioed baristas have also played their part.

Mintel food and drink analyst Douglas Faughnan explained: "For consumers with a high frequency of visits to coffee shops, switching back to standard instant coffee in the home may not be appealing."

Unsurprisingly, online coffee delivery service founder Stephen Rapoport agrees, telling The Telegraph that "once you've experienced the beautiful flavour and taste in a cup of good quality, freshly roasted coffee, people just don't want to settle for instant anymore."

Oh, you fancy, huh?

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This preference for premium coffee looks set to continue, with Mintel finding that 21 percent of coffee drinkers would be interested in having readymade coffee delivered to their home or workplace and 16 percent would consider having freshly roasted ground coffee sent to their home.

But when you're too hungover to stand up in the shower—let alone grind your own single origin Ethiopian coffee beans—that watery, two-sugared mug of Nescafe Gold Blend doesn't sound so bad, does it?