A crafted cup of caffeine

Café culture in the UK has seen considerable growth over the last decade, so much so that coffee shops are set to overtake pubs by 2030, with 3.3 new coffee shops opening daily across the UK, and the industry pouring £9.6bn into the economy . Last week we visited London Coffee Festival to explore the new kids on the block, and big players operating within the UK café sector. To celebrate National Tea Day (21st April) and UK Coffee Week, we share the latest insight within the hot beverage market.

Did you know on the average weekday in the UK, 31.4 million cups of tea are consumed? While black tea represents a large proportion of the market, 29% of consumers are expected to drink more green tea they did this time last year and 45% are drinking more matcha. So what’s next for the much-loved cuppa? Reading the tea leaves, more consumers will be demanding drinks that provide functional benefits, while also boasting natural and ethical claims. Premiumisation is key, with 65% of consumers willing to pay more for an upmarket drink, and new sensorial experiences being offered from the likes of Kombucha, Cold Brew and Nitro tea.

Tea faces stiff competition from coffee, with 53% of tea drinkers also drinking their favoured latte, Americano or flat white regularly - and it continues to dominate the morning occasion. At this years' London Coffee Festival, there were a variety of brands and products joining the vibrant coffee shop scene and a new start up taking the show by storm – Girls who Grind. Launched in October last year the brand was created by Melbourne-native Fi O’Brien and New Yorker Casey Lalonde. From bean-to-cup the brand is dedicated to supporting female producers, sourcing speciality coffees from across the world and roasting and grinding the coffee on their farm in Somerset.

This year’s event didn’t disappoint - with new product developments including British brewers Jeeves & Jericho, The Artisan Teasmiths, who have created an all-new warming Spiced Bombay Chai concentrate. 100% natural using only the finest hand picked Assam tea and spices, the Chai is slowly steeped and brewed in small batches to create a powerful balance of flavours ready for the barista or consumer to add to their favourite milk.

Meanwhile, Sandows, dedicated to crafting the “King of cold brew coffees” showcased its new canned cold brew sodas that are all low-sugar and dairy-free. We picked up a sample of the Spiced Cold Brew Soda, a punchy blend of the original cold brew but packed full of flavour with ginger, orange blossom and black spice. It tasted just like gingerbread!

With high street chains and retailers announcing plans to remove takeaway cups from their hot drink offering, unsurprisingly reusable coffee cups were a key feature to this years exhibitor line up too. Keepcup showcased its new Cork edition made with tempered glass, while the ecoffee cup offered an all-natural and sustainable bamboo option. Over on the tea side, it was all about flower power, with Flora Tea showcasing its blends in glass tea sets to create an experience for customers that stimulates all the senses.

We’ll be back next year and can’t wait to see what café culture has in store for us moving forward.

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