Coffee Trends Are Brewing With Fall Flavors

Image of multiple cups of coffee for a coffee trends and flavors article article

A Cup A Joe – Coffee Trends

According to IRI, the U.S. coffee category reached $10.8 billion in multi-outlets and conveniences stores sales, which is up 2.1% versus a year ago. The pandemic increased at-home coffee usage with Ready-To-Drink (+21%) and single-cup (+5%) coffees driving growth. Beverage Marketing Corporation’s (BMC) data supports this trend and showed that roast/ground, whole bean, coffee pods, instant coffee, coffee mixes, and RTD coffee registered $56.5 billion in retail dollar sales in 2020. Similarly, the coffee market is projected to reach $18.9 billion by 2026, representing a 14.2% increase from 2020, according to Mintela. Coffee trends are being driven by at-home coffee consumption, fall coffee flavors, and coffee with functional ingredients.

Wake Up And Smell The Coffee

Comax Flavors’ primary research of 1,200 U.S. respondents who consume coffee products including Whole Bean Coffee, Ground Coffee, K-Cup Coffee, Ready-To-Drink (RTD) Coffee, and Barista Specialty Coffee revealed b:

  • 48% of respondents’ coffee habits change depending on the season
  • 75% of respondents drink hot coffee in the fall and winter months while 60% drink cold coffee in the spring and summer months
  • Furthermore, more than half of respondents (53%) drink seasonal flavors during the fall and winter
  • “Taste” and “Flavor,” cited by 61% and 58% of respondents respectively, are the two most important attributes respondents make their coffee product purchases on

Respondents are driven to purchase coffee products based on a variety of attributes, which change depending on the application:

  • “Organic” is the most important attribute that drives shy of a quarter (24%) of whole bean users to purchase
  • 13% of ground coffee users make their coffee purchase based on the “Brand”
  • More than a quarter (27%) of K-cup users make their coffee purchase because of the “Application”
  • 22% of RTD users equally make their RTD coffee purchases on “Mouthfeel/Texture” and “Convenience”

To meet consumer preferences, Comax develops robust coffee flavors and customized solutions for a variety of applications including hot and cold beverages as well as beverage syrups. In addition, Comax creates dairy and plant-based alternatives for flavored creamers that go hand in hand with coffee. For more information, get in touch here.

Spill The Beans

Consumers love coffee. According to the National Coffee Association (NCA), Americans drink 646 million cups of coffee per day, which is nearly 3 cups a day per coffee drinker.c Comax’s data showed that respondents drink a variety of coffee products and flavors.

Hazelnut and Vanilla are the most popular flavors for Whole Bean, Ground Coffee, and K-Cup users:

  • Half of whole bean coffee respondents consume Hazelnut, making it the #1 flavor among all generations. Vanilla closely follows, with 45% of respondents citing it
  • 55% of ground coffee respondents drink Hazelnut while 42% prefer Vanilla making these the top two flavors
  • More than half (56%) of respondents consume Hazelnut K-cups and shy of half (49%) consume Vanilla

Respondents are experimenting with Cold Brew flavors:

  • More than half of respondents drink Vanilla (55%) and Caramel (52%) Ready-To-Drink Cold Brew Coffee flavors
  • 42% of respondents drink Cappuccino Ready-To-Drink Cold Brew Coffee
  • Respondents consume a variety of Mocha and Chocolate Ready-To-Drink Cold Brew flavor directions: Mocha (49%), Chocolate (30%), and Dark Chocolate Mocha (25%)

Comax offers timeless coffee flavors such as Hazelnut, Vanilla, Caramel, Chocolate, and Mocha as well as creative coffee twists like Cocoa Hazelnut, Smoky Vanilla, Vanilla Custard, and Chocolate Glazed Donut. Request your samples here.

Fallin’ For Coffee Flavors

Coffee is a hotbed of flavor innovation with a plethora of applications. According to Technomic’s Bakery and Coffee Cafe Consumer Trend Report, Vanilla and Chocolate flavors dominate. Growth flavors for coffee range from Salted Caramel, Turmeric, and Chai Spices to Orange, Raspberry, Lemon, Cinnamon, and S’mores. 42% of consumers say they would like more coffees with unique flavors.d With fall comes fall flavors and the ubiquitous Pumpkin Spice flavor with a dizzying number of iterations. Love it or hate it, Pumpkin Spice is here to stay.

Comax Flavors offers a wide selection of fall flavors such as Cinnamon Bun, Cinnamon Caramel, Pumpkin Cheesecake, Pumpkin Churro, Sweet Potato Maple Cinnamon, and Sugar Cookie. Additional unique coffee flavors include Affogato, Butter In My Coffee, Cabernet Espresso, Cinnamon Brew, CoffTea, Cold Brew, and Vietnamese Iced Coffee. Looking for a specific coffee flavor? Reach out to us here.

Coffee +

Like other food and beverage categories, functional ingredients are making their way into coffee. Mintel found nearly 70% of consumers currently use products that feature a functional benefit, and 40% use products with three or more functionalities.e When asked what their ideal bottled/canned cold coffee drink would include, research from Mintel revealed that U.S. RTD coffee consumers want options that include antioxidants (47%), promote brain health (40%), are anti-inflammatory (35%) or have added probiotics (30%).f According to Technomic, 29% of café customers want a beverage that will boost their energy levels.d Collagen, CBD, Mushrooms, and Turmeric are on trend functional ingredients emerging in coffee beverages.

National Coffee Day is celebrated annually on September 29 – don’t forget to mark your calendars. Looking to mask a bitter coffee flavor or a functional beverage? Comax has a library of Caffeine Maskers and Bitter Blockers, which can help offset the negative taste by reducing the overall perception of bitterness. Our R&D team partners with our customers to meet your specific technical challenges. Get In Touch with us for your next coffee product.



b N=1,200, Comax Coffee Study February 2019; Whole Bean Coffee N=100, Ground Coffee N=100, K-Cup Coffee N=200, Ready-To-Drink Coffee N=200, and Barista Specialty Coffee N=600