Aotearoa has long been home to innovative coffee operations, fueled by high-quality beans and the well-known “Kiwi ingenuity” — from the zeitgeist of the specialty coffee revival in the early 1990s, to the thriving cafe scene across the country today, and the investment in at-home brewing equipment. With new products on store shelves and a thriving community, the coffee industry appears to have a bright future. Rob Lockyear, global brand leader for the renowned Allpress Espresso, has been contemplating what’s currently making waves and what will be significant in the future of the industry.
Priority is given to the physical spaces in which we interact; integral to coffee culture and the social fabric of society, they help shape the daily rhythm. Rob states that we cannot discuss the future of coffee without discussing cafes. It is heartbreaking to see how much the industry has struggled over the past few years, as they are the reason we get out of bed each morning.
People are more appreciative than ever of these institutions as places to catch up with friends and family, enjoy some solitude, and observe the human tapestry of their neighborhoods. Nothing can replace cafes’ cultural significance and social connection. Already, cafes are leaning toward retailing and technology, which excites him about their future adaptation and evolution. “There has been a widespread adoption of digital tools such as ordering apps,” Rob explains, adding that these changes have prompted Allpress to modify its support strategy for its global cafe community. “Excellent training and technical assistance have been the key to our long-term success — the cafe business model has evolved, and we must adapt as well. Everything, from communication to training to technical support, is ripe for innovation.”
People’s tastes are also evolving as they become more daring, while technological innovation has spawned new categories. Coffee and consumer preferences are diversifying, and a hot cup is no longer the only preferred beverage. Particularly, canned coffee is gaining popularity as its quality improves; Allpress introduced its premium specialty coffee cans last year. “The technology is suddenly available to specialty roasters such as ourselves. We are applying beautiful, high-quality coffee along with our brewing and roasting expertise to a packaging format that was formerly commercial.”