Is coffee flavour the next salted caramel?

16 Oct 2021

Hype & Trend Signal
Trend Updates

Every few years, a new flavour trend pops up – one that you just cannot miss as a baker, patissier or baked goods developer. In the last decade, the biggest ‘it’ flavour was salted caramel. But now, a new trending flavour profile is emerging: coffee. Research by flavour houses Prova and Lucta emphasise coffee as a major food trend, and American supermarket chain Whole Foods affirms ‘coffee beyond the mug’ as one of the top food trends of 2021. Now that coffee is on its way to becoming the next salted caramel, we help you grasp this new flavour trend with insight into popular flavour combinations and the different ways to apply it in baked goods.

The coffee lifestyle

Coffee is one of the world’s most popular drinks. For a lot of consumers, coffee has almost become a way of life. Many people frequently visit coffee shops with skilled baristas, use locally roasted speciality beans and try out coffeehouse innovations such as iced coffees and cold brews. These consumers also crave these authentic coffeehouse experiences from their baked goods and chocolate, so it’s an interesting new flavour to incorporate into your creations.

Coffee flavour combinations

Flavourhouse Lucta conducted a survey among Millennials and Generation Z consumers throughout the world, focussing on their top taste preferences. The survey shows that the most popular coffeehouse flavours are vanilla bean latte, caramel macchiato and mocha fudge, meaning you almost can’t go wrong with a pastry in one of these flavours.

The survey also asked which coffee and nut pairings were best liked, with almond coming out top. Hazelnut came in second and third place went to pecan in most countries, although some others went for walnut. The combination of coffee and nuts is a classic one since the flavours compliment each other well and the pairing adds depth.

More surprising is the combination of coffee and fruit that stirs a lot of excitement among young consumers. The coffee combinations that pique their interest are tropical and refreshing coconut, the familiar strawberry, and raspberry, all of which pair well with chocolate too. So daring bakers can score big with this experimental combination.

How to adapt your bakes to the coffee trend

Excited to start experimenting with coffee flavours yourself? These are the three most popular ways to incorporate some brew into your bakes:

• Creams & fillings

An easy way to try out incorporating coffee is by flavouring creams and fillings with strong black coffee. The lavish, rich cream in French pastries such as éclairs is the perfect vessel to make coffee flavours shine. Give caramel macchiato cream puffs a go, or try a coconut mocha mille-feuille.

• Caffeinated cakes

From a banana espresso breakfast bar to pecan coffee caramel cake, a caffeinated cake is a perfect way to slip some coffee into your assortment. With these cakes, you also tap into the functional foods trend: by adding coffee or instant coffee powder to your bakes, you are making sure consumers get an uplifting energy boost.

• Coffee textures

Coffee offers a lot of possibilities to add interesting textures as well. Use whole or chopped coffee beans as a crunchy topping on cakes, or get creative with cold brew jelly, which can be used as a cheesecake layer, macaron centre, or as a doughnut filling.

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