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The artisanal revolution helped develop the specialty coffee market


The artisanal revolution is everywhere : artisanal beer, specialty coffee, handmade soap, artisanal ice cream… If some believe that this trend is ridiculously snobbishothers marvel at the aesthetics of craft experiences.

The artisanal revolution is generally seen as a reaction to excessive industrialization or as a way of keep traditions and cultures alive in a homogeneous world dominated by business. Craft businesses and industry professionals contribute to the development of creative professionsinstead of favoring the race for profit. They are driven by creative expression, aesthetic affirmation and quality.

Craftsmanship gives professionals the ability to create unique products that match their deep vision. Manufacturers can thus stand out by expressing their identity in their work.

Craftsmanship bears witness to the ever-increasing desire of producers and professionals to favor aesthetic affirmation, to express their creativity and to create quality products. The coffee market offers a range of cultural resources and expressions such as ‘handmade’, ‘connoisseur’, ‘artisanal’ and ‘coffee snob’.

Create a market

The values ​​and beliefs that underlie craftsmanship as well as aesthetic statementcreativity and quality have seeped into many markets, including men’s hairdressing, beer, butcher, chocolate, cocktails, tattoos, cooking, jeans, fashion, motorcycle and coffee.

Between 1991 and 1998, the number of cafes offering specialty coffees increased from 1,650 to approximately 10,000 in the United States. In 2015, there were some 31,490 cafes offering specialty coffees. Specialty coffee today represents more than half of the value of the US retail market, established at $48 billion.

This increase in demand and popularity for consumer goods designed with an artisan approach has shifted much of the market towards artisan values ​​and beliefs.

Values ​​and beliefs

Companies base their activities on key values ​​and beliefs. Craft businesses conduct their activities with a concern for aesthetic affirmation, creative expression and quality. Conversely, commercial companies such as McDonald’s and Tim Hortons focus on maximizing profits.

Each type of business (commercial or artisanal) therefore innovates in its own way. In the field of coffee, artisanal companies have adopted methods of growing, processing, roasting and infusing coffee that bring out the distinctive flavors of the bean according to its origins, its land (how the context of his culture affects his taste) and his variety.

The products used to make coffee are designed to enhance the consumer and barista experience.
(Oak & Bond Coffee/Unsplash)

Innovative products, such as Screw coffee sievethere Decent DE1+ espresso machine where the Weber EG-1 coffee grinderall have the same essential characteristic: to offer baristas and consumers greater control of the variables of coffee preparation so that they can perfect the aesthetic experience.

Business enterprises introduce products with profit potential. The famous starbucks pumpkin spice latteTHE Nespresso Vertuo and the recently launched line of espresso drinks from Tim Hortons do not consider the coffee experience or the enhancement of a bean’s distinctive flavors. Instead, they provide consumers with cool, affordable, or convenient products and services that help increase their profit margins.

Create a language

Whatever the values ​​and beliefs of commercial and artisanal enterprises, it is the interactions between them that push markets like coffee to move in a more artisanal direction. Commercial companies are thus inspired by the creative and aesthetic aspirations of craft businesses.

They borrow the vocabulary that the latter have brought to the coffee market, such as Dunkin’ Donuts “craft” coffee drinks where the Nespresso coffee capsules “inspired” by Brooklyn and Melbourne baristas.

They automate the complex, ritualistic coffee-making processes of artisan baristas, increasing profitability while introducing ordinary consumers to some aspects of artisan coffee-making.

Craft businesses aesthetically engage in business innovation. They transform Pumpkin Spice Latte using a artisanal syrup and a selection of spices that blend perfectly with the taste characteristics of a specific coffee bean. Some cottage industries have also taken advantage of the convenience of capsule machines and have developed their own versions to offer consumers the opportunity to enjoy premium coffee at home.

Over time, these interactions change the entire market, introducing artisanal values ​​that transform the experience of all consumers.

Commitment, expression and authenticity

The complexities associated with artisanal products have also allowed people to train and distinguish themselves by their tastes. Cultural resources and expertise are central to how we express ourselves and define who we are.

The artisanal revolution has supported the professionalization of many areas. Professions like barber, butcher, barista and cocktail maker now have a high cultural cachet. It has also fostered the emergence of new identities, coffee connoisseurs to bearded villains passing through the cocktail addicts.

Some believe that craftsmanship offers more authentic productspresumably because it creates a sort of direct relationship between producer and consumer, moving away from the standardized mass-market production that largely dominates our economy. But while the creative expression of artisans can be found in their products and presentation, commercial enterprises have become adept at emulating the artistry of professional craftsmen, which makes it difficult to distinguish between the two.

Authenticity is an ambiguous concept ; what some consider authentic may be perceived as elitist by others. Perhaps the success of craftsmanship lies in its ability to harness our nostalgic ideals of work and our ever-increasing desire to learn about the origins of products, their history and the people who make them.

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